September’s flurry of notable sightings had birders scrambling most of the month. The action started on the evening of Aug 31 when a Buff-breasted Sandpiper was found at the flooded shorebird fields at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (SH). Dozens of birders enjoyed this rare visitor, only the county’s second, for the next two days.
Coming in at the end of the month, a Common Nighthawk was heard giving its distinctive call over east Davis at 10pm on Sept 29 (EW). This species, known only from a few sight records, was previously considered unconfirmed in the county.
An Eastern Kingbird, the county’s fourth record, was a one-day wonder at Putah Creek Riparian Reserve (PCRR) on Sept 3 (JC, ER); it was enjoyed by many.
A singing Gray Catbird played cat-and-mouse with birders for six days at Babel Slough beginning Sept 9 (RF). It represents the second record for fall, and only the fifth record ever for the county.
Other notable birds included a Townsend’s Solitaire at Yolo Basin Wildlife Area on Sept 9 (DC) and another, which stayed two days, at the Wood Duck Ponds on Sept 19 (LE). An American Redstart at the latter location on Sept 13 was a real treat (LE). A Plumbeous Vireo was found in north Davis on Sept 17 (CD) and a Blackpoll Warbler at PCRR on Sept 19 (HC). The often-wary Summer Tanager first found Aug 14 at PCRR was last seen on Sept 20. A winter male Indigo Bunting was there on Sept 17 (JS); it may or may not have been the same individual from August. There were four Green-tailed Towhees reported between Aug 25 and Sept 5, from the Sacramento River to Putah Creek Canyon. A Brewer’s Sparrow found Sept 3 at YBWA (TE) was present for six days. Another was found Sept 28 at PCRR (MP). Grasshopper Sparrows have been especially scarce this year, but one was at Grasslands Park on Sept 27 (DH).
Rounding out the month were a couple noteworthy gulls: two Franklin’s Gulls were found an hour apart on the evening of Sept 20, one at Davis Wastewater Treatment Plant (HC) and another at North Regional Pond in Woodland (HC, SH). Finally, an Iceland (Thayer’s) Gull at the former location on Sept 30 (SH) is a very early record.
Thanks to the following for their reports: Holly Coates (HC), John Colbert (JC), Dan Cook (DC), Chris Dunford (CD), Todd Easterla (TE), Leo Edson (LE), Rob Furrow (RF), Douglas Hall (DH), Steve Hampton (SH), Michael Perrone (MP), Erica Rutherford (ER), John Sterling (JS), Ed Whisler (EW).
Checklists with Photos:
Buff-breasted Sandpiper: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S48226087
Compiled by Steve Hampton, Davis, CA