31 January 2013

ABA needs

I was shuffling through some of my old blog posts just now and stumbled across this one from early 2011.  I figured it was time for an update.

As many birders know, the American Birding Association (ABA) puts out a checklist every once-in-a-while that has a 1-6 scale ranking the difficulty of finding any particular species (you can see the most-recent ABA checklist at: http://www.aba.org/checklist/abachecklist.pdf).  The lower the number, the easier the bird should be to find.  With that in mind, here are some species I'm still searching for....

Code 1 (n = 1):
Leach's Storm-Petrel     

Code 2 (n = 19):
Emperor Goose
Himalayan Snowcock
Mottled Petrel
Buller's Shearwater
Ashy Storm-Petrel
Red-faced Cormorant
Bristle-thighed Curlew
Red-legged Kittiwake
Brown Noddy
Bridled Tern
Aleutian Tern
Parakeet Auklet
Least Auklet
Whiskered Auklet
Crested Auklet
Arctic Warbler
Bicknell's Thrush
McKay's Bunting

As you can see, I'm hurting most with my lack of seabirds/alcids and things from Alaska.  Considering how violently ill I become on any boat, I doubt I'll see them anytime soon.

This list reminds me of my "nemesis" list... birds I've tried for and missed (sometimes many times!).  If I had to pick the top couple from the above list, they would be:


Arctic Warbler

Last of January

I vowed to do a better job at updating my blog but it looks like I haven't done my work lately.  Here's an update.

I just returned from a trip to Missouri/Iowa but I'll post about that trip later.  For now, some more recent pictures from the Sacramento area.

WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS are year-round residents here which was a new concept for me when I moved here back in 2011.  I won't complain, I love having them around:

A PACIFIC LOON was found on Lake Natoma in Sacramento County a while back.  A decent record for inland CA, I think there are actually more PALO records for Iowa than Sacramento County.  I finally got up to see it and was pretty surprised at how photogenic it chose to be:

This is the spot that this loon has been seen:

View PALO in a larger map


There have been some crossbills irregularly at the Sacramento City Cemetery this winter.  I spun up recently to see if I could relocate them again but no luck.  However, I did find this RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, my first for this location:

There is hardly a lack of phoebes around here in the winter.  Here is a SAY'S PHOEBE from our local patch here in Elk Grove:

... and the related, quite abundant, BLACK PHOEBE:

There have been at least two FERRUGINOUS HAWKS at our local patch as well this winter.  Yesterday this one came right overhead which is somewhat unusual:

If you wish, you can see my full checklist from this visit to our local patch here.

12 January 2013

2013 begins with a...

I see I haven't posted on my blog since Christmas?  How depressing.  I guess it's high time for another pile of photos for you all.

We did the Folsom CBC this year which yielded good birds like this adult BALD EAGLE (pics taken by Ash).  It's very strange for me living somewhere where BAEAs aren't actually dirt.  Here in Sacramento County, though, they're quite uncommon and a decent county bird:

Here is the very shocked California subspecies of RED-SHOULDERED HAWK.

I also managed my Sacramento County ROCK WREN finally, this one along a dam:

Later in the week I chuckled when I saw this sewage pond.  Birders know all about sewage lagoons but I can't say I've seen one this full outside of California.  This one is in Davis:

Ash and I drove to Monterey about a week ago.  But first, we had to GET there without finding good birds.  We were unsuccessful.  We were zipping along at 60+ mph when I saw a kingbird on the power lines.  Knowing I should follow my instinct on those, I swung around to find that it was a CASSIN'S KINGBIRD.  Although they aren't rare here in the summer, having this one in January is quite surprising: 

Once we got to the harbor, there were tons of tame things to take pictures of.  Let's start with this WESTERN GREBE:

We saw 4 species of loons on our visit including this RED-THROATED LOON:

... and several COMMON LOONS:

HORNED GREBES were no surprise either:

Whether this is an evil, ice-walker from GOT or just a bird with an amazingly blue eye, I took a picture of it all the same:

The WESTERN GULLS here were some of the tamest I've seen.  So if you think this is a wonderful picture, go there with your own point-and-shoot camera and get your own!

Not all the gulls there were huge.  There were many MEW GULLS as well:

It was interesting to see some inshore NORTHERN FULMARS too, this one just swimming around the jetty (yeah, it's pretty distant, just a gray blob on the water):

The purpose of our trip though was to see the continuing ARCTIC LOON.  This worked out nicely:


I've been doing some additional shorebird capture for work lately.  Of course I usually end up taking pictures of things that AREN'T shorebirds, like this LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE:

I generally dislike all coots.  However, when I caught one in one of my noose-mats... well, I still dislike coots:

We ventured up to the American River the other day to chase a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE.  Although we only heard the TOSO, it was worth it (it's a good county bird among other things).  While there, I had to take pictures of something so this CALIFORNIA GULL got things started off:

Even this OAK TITMOUSE wanted in on some of the action:

Back near home, we're continuing to do more local birding instead of chasing.  At one of our local patches this NORTHERN HARRIER flew by:

It HAS been interesting seeing FERRUGINOUS HAWKS so often now; this one at one of our local patches near the Stone Lakes NWR.  At this rate, I expect I could find one from my yard.

One of the most abundant species, a BREWER'S BLACKBIRD:

I'll leave you with some pictures from our local neighborhood lake.  For some reason it continues to host great numbers of ducks:

... and this female BARROW'S GOLDNEYE is nary a surprise anymore:

RUDDY DUCKS are the most numerous currently:

 ... and this is a LESSER SCAUP: