There are few birds more spectacular than a breeding plumaged Red Phalarope. Three of them arrived on May 18 during a morning thunderstorm and spent a few hours in a rice paddy just north of the Davis Wetlands (JT). This was the first chaseable record in decades. A breeding plumaged Sanderling was at the Woodland Wastewater Treatment Plant the same morning (LE).
Spring migration also brought several vagrant warblers, none more exciting than the county’s first Kentucky Warbler on May 27 (MP). This skulky visitor spent one day playing hide-and-seek with dozens of birders at Grasslands Park. Single observer sightings including an adult male Tennessee Warbler, photographed May 9 at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) (MD) and a female American Redstart June 8 at Babel Slough (MS). Other spring highlights included a cooperative singing male Indigo Bunting, which spent a week at YBWA after it was found on June 11 (ED) and a Plumbeous Vireo in Davis on May 17 (SH).
Unusual summer records included a scattering of Red-breasted Nuthatch reports from June thru early August, a Pine Siskin at a backyard feeder in Davis on June 9 (KE), and a Tundra Swan at YBWA beginning July 2 (EI).
A Prairie Falcon over Capay on May 23 suggests local breeding (BW). Likewise, Cassin’s Vireos were singing from apparent territories on Rd 53 and Rayhouse Rd (SH, EI, MP, KS). A Pacific-slope Flycatcher nest with chicks was photographed up Rayhouse Rd (EI). Dark-eyed Juncos were confirmed nesting at both UC Davis Arboretum and south Davis, a significant expansion of their breeding range in Yolo County onto the valley floor. Say’s Phoebes continued to nest in Woodland and elsewhere. The county also hosted several large Tricolored Blackbird colonies, some of them successfully fledging thousands of young (RM).
Fall migration starts early for Allen’s Hummingbird, and almost any Selasphorus hummer seen in June is this species. A fully green-backed adult male was seen well on June 19 along Putah Creek near Winters (ZP). Green-tailed Towhees were discovered in backyards in Davis on Aug 26 (SE) and West Sacramento on Aug 30 (AB). Exceptional early records were a Wilson’s Warbler at Babel Slough on July 7 (MP), a Black-throated Gray Warbler in Davis the following day (JH), an Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warbler at Wild Wings Park on Aug 2 (BC), and a Hermit Thrush at Babel Slough on Aug 14 (KS).
Thanks to the following for their reports: Ann Burris (AB), Brett Campos (BC), Eric Digitrek (ED), Matthew Doyle (MD), Ken Ealy (KE), Leo Edson (LE), Sid England (SE), Steve Hampton (SH), Joan Humphrey (JH), Emmett Iverson (EI), Robert Meese (RM), Michael Perrone (MP), Zane Pickus (ZP), Mark Sawyer (MS), Kirk Swenson (KS), Jim Thomas (JT), Bart Wickel (BW).
Checklists with Photos/Audio:
Red Phalarope https://ebird.org/checklist/S69281510
Kentucky Warbler https://ebird.org/checklist/S69719480
Tennessee Warbler https://ebird.org/checklist/S68758931
Indigo Bunting https://ebird.org/checklist/S70332373, and https://ebird.org/checklist/S70425626
Pine Siskin https://ebird.org/checklist/S70265417
Green-tailed Towhee https://ebird.org/checklist/S72851691
Compiled by Steve Hampton, Davis, CA