Date   
Re: REMINDER - Modesto WTP Public Access Day is Saturday 4/8

John Sterling
 

what are the visiting hours?


John Sterling
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695

PO Box 1653
Woodland, CA 95776A

530 908-3836
jsterling@...
www.sterlingbirds.com

On Aug 4, 2020, at 4:52 AM, Jimmy Gain <jimgain@...> wrote:

On our recent Bird Census there we had Marbled Godwit, Willett, and Black Tern, all of which were visible from the publicly-accessible areas. Updated information can always be found on the Stanislaus Audubon website https://www.stanislausbirds.org/birding-sites---stanislaus/modesto-sewage-ponds
 
CAUTION: It is critically important that visitors sign-in and out & not go beyond the clearly marked birding areas.
 
ACCESS:

7/8/2020 - IMPORTANT NOTICE: During the current COVID-19 crisis, access is still allowed as long as visitors are masked and practice social distancing.

The Modesto Water Quality Control facility is only accessible on the second Saturday of each month. Birders must contact the office at least 4 days prior to the visit by either emailing or calling (email is preferred):

Patricia Becerra (209) 342-4501 pbecerra@...

DIRECTIONS: This wastewater treatment plant is located at 7007 Jennings Road in southwest Stanislaus County.

 
 
Jim Gain
Modesto

REMINDER - Modesto WTP Public Access Day is Saturday 4/8

Jimmy Gain
 

On our recent Bird Census there we had Marbled Godwit, Willett, and Black Tern, all of which were visible from the publicly-accessible areas. Updated information can always be found on the Stanislaus Audubon website https://www.stanislausbirds.org/birding-sites---stanislaus/modesto-sewage-ponds

 

CAUTION: It is critically important that visitors sign-in and out & not go beyond the clearly marked birding areas.

 

ACCESS:

7/8/2020 - IMPORTANT NOTICE: During the current COVID-19 crisis, access is still allowed as long as visitors are masked and practice social distancing.

The Modesto Water Quality Control facility is only accessible on the second Saturday of each month. Birders must contact the office at least 4 days prior to the visit by either emailing or calling (email is preferred):

Patricia Becerra (209) 342-4501 pbecerra@...

DIRECTIONS: This wastewater treatment plant is located at 7007 Jennings Road in southwest Stanislaus County.

 

 

Jim Gain

Modesto

Hooded Merganser - Merced Falls

mojoedevine
 

Just received 3 fairly decent photos in eBird of a Hooded Merganser just below Hornitos Rd. at Merced Falls. Looks to be a female.

Joe Devine
Modesto, Ca

Early migrants Dry Creek

Daniel Gilman
 

I birded along Dry Creek for about an hour this morning, mostly between McClure Rd. and Lincoln Ave. I had a male WILSON'S WARBLER a PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER and two WESTERN TANAGERS. Most of these were in the open space along the creek about 1/2 mile west of McClure Rd. (near orange netting).  I have been seeing Western Tanagers since July 17. On Friday, July 24, I saw 3-4 HOODED ORIOLES moving between the trees near McClure Rd. and the Palms along the canal just east of McClure.

Daniel Gillman
Modesto

Hooded Orioles

mojoedevine
 

Two days ago I had a male Hooded Oriole investigating my Washingtonian palms. He then flew to the fountain, got a drink & headed south. Today there were 2 female type Hooded Orioles chattering w/ each other from a palm & my white birches. They then headed north to trees along Standiford Ave. in response to my prying eyes.

Joe Devine
Modesto, Ca

Woodward Loon and other stuff

Ralph
 

I birded 28 Mile Road from the bridge at Woodward to Sonora Road and back this afternoon. My best finds from the bridge were nearly SIXTY Clark's/Western Grebes (39 Westerns, 5 Clark's and 19 that were too far out to ID positively, several of the Westerns were on nests), a couple of Black-necked Stilt chicks on the island east of the bridge, a Wilson's Phalarope (also on the island), nearly 100 Forster's Terns (many also on nests and three chicks seen on the island) and two White-faced Ibis. I didn't find anything notable between the bridge and the dirt section of 28 Mile Road but the egret rookery at the ranch on the curve is going strong. The highlight on the dirt section of 28 Mile Road was a couple of GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS. These were in the exact spot that I found them in 2017, 1.1 miles north of the intersection of Eastman Road. They have returned to this spot for the last three years. I saw one perched on the fence on the east side of the road and stopped to take a picture and the bird did not move. I put the car in park and picked up my camera and the bird did not move. I turned off the engine to reduce vibration for a better photo and the bird flew away! I went up to Sonora Road and turned around and when I got back to the spot there was one GRASSHOPPER SPARROW on each side of the road. I got my photos!

But the best sighting of the day came while I was counting the terns and gulls perched out on the boom near the concrete wall on the reservoir. I saw a largish bird with a gray back and heavy bill just as it submerged. I spent the next 30 minutes-or-so searching until I finally relocated the bird. My suspicions were verified: an alternate plumaged COMMON LOON! I got some poor, but IDable photos and spent the next 45 minutes hoping the loon would come close enough for some good photos but it never did. After I drove the dirt section of 28 Mile Road I stopped at the bridge again in hopes that the loon had finally moved closer to the road but I could not refind it.

And as always, happy birding, stay safe, stay SANE and may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank

A Sad Announcement

Ralph
 

I received some sad news this morning from John Harris. The message is below. I only met Steve a couple of times but am still saddened by this. Steve led a bird banding trip for us a couple years ago and it was one of the best trips we've ever done. People who attended that trip still tell me that they feel the same way.

I have some sad news. I learned in the last day or so that Steve Simmons, who did a program and field trip for us about his bird box/banding program, passed away on Monday. Here is a link to an obituary.
 
   

 


And, as always, happy birding, stay safe, stay SANE, and may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank

San Luis NWR today

Ralph
 

I birded the San Luis NWR with Concetta Hurst and Chris Magaña today. I only found one of my three intended targets, missed Lazuli Bunting and Black Tern, but we had a GREAT day anyway, with very little rain early on. We finished the visit to the refuge with nearly 60 species. Highlights included a couple of female Wood Ducks, a pair of Blue-winged Teal, a mother Cinnamon Teal trailing 10 babies, at least one (but possibly as many as five) American Bittern(s) (we kept seeing them flying over but it may have just been the same bird moving around), a Lesser Nighthawk (seen well by me but unfortunately not by the others), a SWAINSON'S THRUSH (one of my targets for the day, a county bird) and several singing male Yellow Warblers.

After Chris headed home Concetta and I continued to the Souza Marsh Trail where we found a Western Wood-Pewee and heard 1-3 Pacific-slope Flycatchers. Then Concetta and I drove up Old Santa Fe Grade Road where we saw 3 more Pewees. And I got home and walked into the house JUST before the heavy rain started to fall. So, as birthdays go, it wasn't bad.

As always, happy birding, stay safe, stay SANE and may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank

Nesting Cassin's Kingbirds, Etc.

Sal
 

I have been monitoring the two nests of CASSIN'S KINGBIRDS at Orestimba Creek Road over the past two months. There are no fledglings yet. Of possible interest to fans of LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES, I enjoyed observing the whole family group foraging together, fifteen days after Daniel Gilman had photographed the fledglings in the nest.  I have made an eBird post of the activity.

Sal Salerno, Modesto


Melanistic (?) Ash-throated Flycatcher at Old Basso Bridge

Garry Hayes
 

While birding at Old Basso Bridge on 5/12/20 I encountered a strange-looking dark-colored bird. I got a couple of pictures (posted on e-Bird at https://ebird.org/checklist/S68944650). The bird had the shape and size of an Ash-throated Flycatcher apart from the dark color. I conferred with Flycatchers of North America and Birding California on Facebook (thanks Sal for the advice), and most of the commenters tended to coalesce around it being a melanistic individual. The bird was close to the southwest bridge abutment in the Russian Olives about 30-40 feet away from the road. I didn't hear it vocalize. I was back there today and saw a normally-hued ATFC, but did not see the darker one. I appreciate any perspectives in the identity of this bird!

Carter Road Yesterday

Ralph
 

I spent about an hour-and-a-half birding Carter Road yesterday afternoon. I birded from the county line to 26 Mile Road and spent most of my time at the riparian area where Simmons Creek comes closest to the road. Highlights started just inside the county line where I saw a pair of Lark Sparrows, one of my favorite sparrow species. At the riparian area I had a male Cooper's Hawk that flew through and got the Western Kingbirds all riled up, an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, a Marsh Wren in a tiny little patch of reeds on the little creek that goes under the road and runs to the south, a Wilson's Warbler and at least three Lazuli Buntings, there could have been as many as five Lazulis, though, the resident male kept chasing birds off his territory and I can't be sure if he was just chasing the male from the neighboring territory or if he was chasing multiple males. I also had several Bullock's Orioles and a pair of LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCHES that appeared to be inspecting potential nest sights. Further east I saw a couple of Loggerhead Shrikes that were acting like a pair and .3 miles west of 26 Mile Road I found a small heron rookery. I counted four active nests and could partially see at least three others but could not tell whether they were active or not.

And, as always, happy birding, stay safe, stay sane and may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank

Cancellation of November 2020 CVBS

Frances Oliver
 

Hi All!

Due to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic in the fall months, the Central Valley Birding Symposium is being cancelled for 2020.  The Symposium Committee felt that the health of our members, presenters, and staff was our primary consideration in making this decision.  If conditions warrant, the Symposium will resume again 
on Nov 18-21, 2021, at the Stockton Hilton Hotel.  We will miss seeing everyone this November, but we hope to see all of you again in 2021.  Stay healthy and safe until then. 

Patricia Bachetti
CVBC President

Frances

Re: Merced Co Steller's Jay & Migrants, Stanislaus Co Cassin's Kingbird & Blue-winged Teal

Ralph
 

I forgot to mention that at 5:10pm, as I was driving up Oakdale Road on my way home, a WHITE-TAILED KITE flew across the road above my car.

And, as always, all that other stuff,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank

Merced Co Steller's Jay & Migrants, Stanislaus Co Cassin's Kingbird & Blue-winged Teal

Ralph
 

This morning I went down to Upper Cottonwood Creek Wildlife Area above San Luis Reservoir to look for the Steller's Jay that Dale Swanberg reported from there two days ago. I parked at 37.077737, -121.199848 and walked down the trail toward the canyon. I had been out of the car for less than five minutes when I heard a STELLER'S JAY calling, less than ten minutes later it flew over and landed behind me in an oak where I couldn't see it. A couple of minutes after that it flew out and went back in the direction from which it had come. I did not see it again but I heard it call a few more times. There may have been two because when I first heard it it seemed that there was a second one calling from further away. This was approx. 700 feet down the trail from the parking area. I did not go any further because I had already seen the bird I had come for and in that short distance I picked over a dozen ticks off my pants and shoes and one off my arm. I found another one when I was about half-way home. At that location I also heard a California Thrasher and saw a family of five White-breasted Nuthatches, a probable SWAINSON'S THRUSH, a male Phainopepla, a Wilson's Warbler, a Western Tanager and a Black-headed Grosbeak.

After seeing the jay I went up to Dinosaur Point Road to look for the Costa's Hummingbird Dale had seen there, also two days ago. I missed that one but I saw two Pacific Slope Flycatchers, a Cassin's Vireo, four Warbling Vireos, a pair of California Thrashers (a species that took me years to get for the county and now I see them every time I go to Dinosaur Point Road!), three Lawrence's Goldfinches, a singing Dark-eyed Junco, an Orange-crowned Warbler, a female Townsend's Warbler, at least five Wilson's Warblers (though there were probably several more) and one Black-headed Grosbeak. I also heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch and at least two SWAINSON'S THRUSHES (I wish I could've gotten a satisfying look at at least one of the thrushes because I still need that one for the county). Most of these were seen along Dinosaur Point Road between the county line and Windmill Road or along the first .3 miles of Windmill Road. The gates to Pacheco State Park and the gate on Dinosaur Point Road are closed but the small dirt parking lot opposite the entrance to the state park is open as are the trails.

After lunch I made a stop at Orestimba Road where it crosses Orestimba Creek to look for Cassin's Kingbird. By this time it had gotten VERY windy but I was able to find one CASSIN'S KINGBIRD. I did not see either of the nests that were found by Sal Salerno and others, however.

Then an the way home I made a brief stop at Ceres Water Treatment Facility (WTF) to see if I could find any interesting shorebirds. There was not much shorebird habitat visible from outside the facility. All but one pond visible from outside the fence were either completely full or completely dry and the one pond that did have low water and exposed mud had zero shorebirds. There were a few stilts, avocets and dowitchers along the shoreline of the pond at the SE corner, but that was it. I did, however, find a pair of BLUE-WINGED TEAL on that same pond. The wind did not make it easy to scope them, though, and it didn't help with photographing them, either.

And, as always, happy birding, stay safe, stay sane, and may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank.

Dry Creek this morning

Ralph
 

I met John Harris, Jodi Smith and Dale Swanberg in front of 1125 Edgebrook Dr a little after 7:30 this morning and we birded along the creek together (but separate). There is a trail between 1125 and 1205 Edgebrook which T's into the bike path right next to the lift station. We walked west for approx. .2 miles then headed back to the east. John departed when we got back to the trail to the road and Jodi left us at 11:00. Dale and I continued birding until about 12:30, birding all the way to the basketball courts.

We had several migrants and returning summer residents. Just west of the lift station, just after we started birding, we found a flock of Bushtits that had among them a Townsend's Warbler, two HERMIT WARBLERS and a CASSIN'S VIREO. A few minutes later we heard and then saw a Red-breasted Nuthatch. A bit after that John spotted a male Black-chinned Hummingbird and then we found an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER.  We also saw a SWAINSON'S THRUSH in a fruiting mulberry across the creek. We heard a few more, as well, possibly five in total.

There were also many Western Tanagers and Black-headed Grosbeaks and Dale and I heard a Western Wood-Pewee and a Bullock's Oriole. We also watched a pair of Northern Rough-winged Swallows carrying nesting material into a burrow above the creek.

And, as always, happy birding, stay safe, stay sane and may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank

Lesser Nighthawk at San Luis

mojoedevine
 

My eBird list I was trying to save on my phone app got erased so I'm passing on this one sighting. At 7:35 pm. while heading back into the refuge to go around the Tule Elk enclosure we had a Lesser Nighthawk fly in front of us over the alkaline pond then across the Tule Elk enclosure.

Joe Devine
Modesto, Ca

La Grange and Hawkins Pond

Ralph
 

This morning I met Richard Brown in La Grange and we walked east along the south side of the river from the bridge to the fence at the end of public access area. We had 54 species in four-and-a-half hours. Notables were two Wild Turkeys that flew across the trail in front of us, two White-throated Swifts, a Western Wood-Pewee, a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, a Hutton's Vireo, a Canyon Wren, two SWAINSON'S THRUSHES, a Lawrence's Goldfinch, a Rufous-crowned Sparrow, a Townsend's, several Wilson's and a Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Western Tanager. Plus several returning breeders; Ash-throated Flycatchers, Western Kingbirds, Bullock's Orioles and Black-headed Grosbeaks. We also watched for several minutes while an Oak Titmouse repeatedly entered a nest cavity with food and left carrying fecal sacks. We also saw an otter in the river a couple of times.

Afterward I did a little out of county birding, with nothing notable to show for it, and then stopped at Hawkins Pond on my way home. At the pond I found an impressive number of shorebirds, the water was a bit low and the pond was nearly covered with birds. The most abundant were Long-billed Dowitchers, a few thousand in all, but there were also many Least and a few Western Sandpipers, exactly 100 American Avocets, a few Black-necked Stilts, a smattering of Dunlin, a Killdeer, two Semipalmated Sandpipers and one WILSON'S PHALAROPE.

And, as always, happy birding, stay safe, stay sane and may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank

Dry Creek Migrants

Daniel Gilman
 

Yesterday (Monday) I again birded along Dry Creek in Modesto.  Best birds were a MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER low in the foliage along the creek directly north of the bathroom, singing GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET in the area near the creek where the path comes down from the golf course parking lot, NASHVILLE WARBLER about 50 m west of "playground".  I also had three BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS (ONE SINGING) and at least six WILSON'S WARBLERS throughout the park.

Daniel Gilman
Modesto

Western Mariposa and eastern Merced County

Ralph
 

Yesterday I went out to the Merced River below McSwain Dam to look for the male Red-breasted Merganser found there a few days ago by Dale Swanberg. I dipped on the merg but I did see a pair of Gadwall, which was a county bird. I also watched an adult Bald Eagle get harassed by an Osprey for a while and saw my first Yellow Warbler of the season, a very handsome male. Plus, while walking back up to the road from the fishing access parking lot, which is currently closed due to the virus situation, I spotted a very healthy Western Pacific Rattlesnake which allowed me to take a few pictures before it crawled off into the grass and vetch. Just minutes before I spotted the snake there was a young woman tromping around on the hillside, in the same knee-high grass and vetch that the snake crawled off into, taking pictures of the Osprey nest on the telephone pole.

Next I headed down to White Rock Road, by way of E Childs Ave and S Fresno Road. On S Fresno Road I found yet another BREWER'S SPARROW, that makes at least 7 that I've seen in the past couple of weeks. I did not find any out-of-the-ordinary birds on White Rock Road but at the old barn in Mariposa County, where I stopped to make a quick check for owls (didn't find any), I looked under an old piece of plywood and found a nice Gilbert's Skink and a Sawfinger Scorpion. I saw a Coyote on 140 on the way home, too.

As always, happy birding, stay safe, stay sane and may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank

Del Puerto Canyon

Ralph
 

Sorry for the late post, folks.

Yesterday I met Richard Brown and Xavier Sandoval (Xavi) in Del Puerto Canyon to look for poorwills, Richard needed that one for his life list. I caught up to them at the Pygmy Owl Pullout at 4:45am and in our own vehicles we drove up the canyon. At approx. 5:15, and approx. half-a-mile beyond the entrance to the OHV park, a COMMON POORWILL flushed from the road in front of Richard's car, he was in the lead, needing to see the bird more than Xavi or I. The bird did some aerial acrobatics then flew over all three cars and disappeared into the darkness. We got out to look for it and did not refind it, but Xavi and I heard one calling from the hillside across the creek when we exited our vehicles.

Later, between Peach Tree Creek and mile post 20, we had a nice assortment of migrants and summer arrivals. We found one, possibly two, HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHERS, a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, several Ash-throated Flycatchers, a Hutton's Vireo, three Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, two of which were acting like a pair, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, two Hermit Thrushes, several Orange-crowned Warblers, only one was seen but there were quite a few singing, a few NASHVILLE WARBLERS, some Yellow-rumps, at least two singing MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLERS, some Wilson's Warblers, many Western Tanagers, one flock was made up of at least 20 birds and only one of them was a female, several Black-headed Grosbeaks, at least one Lazuli Bunting (they have become quite reliable at Peach Tree Creek) and a somewhat surprising male TRICOLORED BLACKBIRD. The blackbird was surprising due to the location and habitat. Richard and I also ran into Sandi Schoeppe and we saw a 2 foot+ rattlesnake. While driving up to meet the guys I also saw a Heermann's Kangaroo Rat sitting in the road.

When Richard started back toward home I headed over to Mines Road and came back via Coral Hollow Road. When I passed the pond where Tricolored Blackbirds have nested in the past (Del Puerto Canyon Road in Santa Clara County) I did not detect a single Tricolored Blackbird, which makes the one that Richard and I saw even more surprising. There was nothing unusual along the Santa Clara County stretch of Mines Road but in Alameda County I spotted a Yellow-billed Magpie, which was a county bird, and a Rich Cimino, who was out with his wife. I had stopped in a shady spot to eat my lunch, a car passed by headed south while I was eating and I thought "That looks like Rich." A bit later I had stopped to bird along the road and the same car passed going north and I thought "That IS Rich." He passed by, then made an abrupt stop and backed-up to say hi.

As always, happy birding, stay safe, stay sane and may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank

P.S. Why did they put the SEND and DISCARD buttons so close together? This is the second time I've had to type a message twice because of their unfortunate placement.