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Photo by Tom Grey

Santa Clara County Bird List Discussion Archive 2016

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec |

 

Compiled by: Brooke Miller. Please email additions, corrections, or comments to Brooke at idbirds@me.com. Monthly reports are made up of eBird sightings, postings on South Bay Birds, and direct email reports.

 

Please post all your sightings at south-bay-birds@yahoogroups.com and/or eBird. You can use eBird to follow first-of-the-year sightings. Due to the fact that not everyone uses eBird, not all sightings will be included, however. To see first-of-the-year sightings in eBird do the following:

 

  1. Click on "Explore Data" at the top of any eBird page
  2. Select "Explore a Region"
  3. Type in "Santa Clara" and wait for the page to fill it in
  4. Select "Current Year" and click "set"
  5. Click on "First Seen"

See the Santa Clara County Bird List 2016.

 

January

We started off 2016 with 176 birds seen on January 1, and a total of 205 birds for the month of January. The average for January 1st is 153, and the average for the month of January is 198. Thank you to everyone who birded, and took the time to report birds either on SBB, eBird, or send emails directly to me.

Of the 205 birds that were recorded for January, there were 4 birds rated as rarity (6) and 8 birds rated as rarity (5) they are:

Rarity Code 6's:

The Orchard Oriole (6) seen at the end of Embarcadero Way, and the Black-throated Sparrow (6) at Santa Teresa County Park continued from the end of 2015. A Black Oystercatcher (6) was found on the A5/A8 levee on January 29.

Rarity Code 5's:

One of more Red-necked Grebes (5) continued on January 1, on the far end of Calero Reservoir. A Red-naped Sapsucker (5) was found in the area behind the Spring Valley Unit of Ed Levin County Park on January 1. The first Evening Grosbeak (5) of the year was found in downtown Los Altos on January 11.

The year's first reporting of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (5) (also known as the 'mystery sapsucker') in the dirt parking lot across from the Spring Valley Unit of Ed Levin County Park, was made on January 15.

On January 17, the Northern Waterthrush (5) was found at Charleston Road Marsh. On January 21 the Swamp Sparrow was found after high tide near the trail that parallels the Palo Alto Airport.

On January 24 a single flyover Red Crossbill (5) was heard from the Lower Saddle of Loma Prieta. A Townsend's Solitaire (5) was seen flying over the area of Highway 35 and Long Ridge OSP on January 27.

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February

First of all, for January, a Wilson's Warbler banded on January 31 at CCFS was left off the list. So, that increases the January total from 205 to 206. There were 13 new birds found in February, which brings the total, at the end of February, to 219. That is 11 birds over the average for the month, and 54% of all the bird species seen in Santa Clara County.

There were no Rarity Code 6's found in February.

Rarity Code 5 birds found in February:

  • Swainson's Hawk, found on February 27, above the dirt parking lot at Ed Levin County Park
  • Black Rail, heard on February 11, at Alviso Marina County Park
  • Cassin's Kingbird seen on February 24, on San Felipe Road in the south county
  • Summer Tanager, seen in a private yard in Santa Clara on February 10

Rarity Code 4 birds found in February:

  • Rufous Hummingbird, found on February 28, at Sierra Vista OSP

Rarity Code 3, 2, and 1 birds found in February:

  • Ring-necked Pheasant (3), heard at the Alviso Marina County Park, on February 18
  • Common Poorwill (3), seen along Gilroy Hot Spring Road, on February 13
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow (2), seen in Coyote Valley OSP on February 13
  • Cliff Swallow (1), seen on February 25, at the Chynoweth Recharge Pond
  • Barn Swallow (1), seen on February 24, seen at Don Edwards NWR
  • Hooded Oriole (3), seen in a private yard in Almaden Valley, on February 29
  • Lawrence's Goldfinch (3), seen on February 6, at Henry Coe State Park.

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March

There were 9 new birds found in March, which brings the total, at the end of the month, to 228. That is 7 birds over the average of 221 YTD, and 56% of all the bird species recorded in Santa Clara County.

In house cleaning, I got a report of a Ring-necked Pheasant on January 31 near Salt Pond A8, and revised the record from the previous date of 18-February.

The birds first seen in March were, in chronological order, with rarity codes in parentheses:

  • 08-March: Pacific-slope Flycatcher (2), at Joseph D Grant County Park
  • 10-March: Warbling Vireo (2), at Guadalupe Creek Trail
  • 14-March: Bullock's Oriole (1), at Ed Levin County Park
  • 19-March: Black-headed Grosbeak (1), at Stevens Creek County Park
  • 21-March: Cassin's Vireo (2), at Hidden Villa
  • 26-March: Purple Martin (4), at the lower saddle of Loma Prieta
  • 26-March: Lewis's Woodpecker (3), on Roop Road across from the OSP
  • 27-March: Red-necked Phalarope (2), on Salt Pond A12
  • 27-March: Caspian Tern (2), on the island at Salt Pond A16

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April 

Last month, I neglected to include the first sighting of a Western Kingbird, seen at Ogier Ponds on 20-March on an SCVAS field trip.  That increases the March total from 228 to 229. 

In April there were 22 new birds found and that brings the total, at the end of the month, to 251.  That is 9 birds over the average of 242 YTD, and represents 62% of all the bird species recorded in Santa Clara County.

The birds first seen in April were, in chronological order, with rarity codes in parentheses:

  • 1-April:           Black-chinned Hummingbird (4), at a feeder in a Willow Glen yard
  • 3-April:           Ash-throated Flycatcher (2), at Monte Bello OSP
  • 4-April:           Nashville Warbler (4), at Monte Bello OSP
  • 5-April:           Hammond’s Flycatcher (5), Smith Creek (Grant County Park)
  • 6-April:           Calliope Hummingbird (5), at a feeder in a Los Gatos yard
  • 7-April:           Lazuli Bunting (2), at Santa Teresa County Park
  • 8-April:           Bank Swallow (5), in Morgan Hill
  • 9-April:           Yellow-headed Blackbird (5), at Sunnyvale WPCP
  • 9-April:           Yellow Warbler (1), at Alamitos Creek Trail
  • 10-April:         Common Loon (4), at Coyote Lake County Park
  • 10-April:         Cattle Egret (5), at Lake Cunningham
  • 12-April:         Vaux’s Swift (3), at Los Capitancillos Ponds
  • 15-April:         Western Wood-Pewee (2), at both Don Edwards NWR & Twin Creeks
  • 16-April:         MacGillivray’s Warbler (4), at Smith Creek (Grant County Park)
  • 16-April:         Olive-sided Flycatcher (3), at Loma Prieta
  • 20-April:         Little Stint (6), at Don Edwards NWR
  • 21-April:         Ruddy Turnstone (5), Don Edwards NWR-Salt Pond A16
  • 23-April:         Yellow-breasted Chat (5), at Llagas Creek
  • 26-April:         Red Knot (5), at Don Edwards NWR-Salt Pond A17
  • 28-April:         Black Swift (5), at Loma Prieta
  • 29-April:         Semipalmated Sandpiper (4), at Don Edwards NWR
  • 30-April:         Wilson’s Phalarope (2), Don Edwards NWR

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May 

There were two sightings in April that were reported after I did last month’s report.  They were:

  • 6-April:           Palm Warbler (5), seen at the Sunnyvale Municipal Golf Course
  • 20-April:         Tropical Kingbird (6), seen at the Sunnyvale Municipal Golf Course

That brought April’s total to 253.
 
In May there were 10 new birds reported, bringing the total to 263, which is 13 species over the average of 250, and is an all-time record number of species for the end of May.  This represents 65% of all the bird species recorded in the County.
 
The birds first found in May were, in chronological order, with rarity codes in parentheses:

  • 2-May:            Gray Flycatcher (5), found near Salt Pond A17 in Alviso
  • 5-May:            Swainson’s Thrush (2), found at Sunnyvale Baylands Park
  • 7-May:            Bell’s Sparrow (3), found on Del Puerto Canyon Road near the junction of Mines Rd
  • 7-May:            Dusky Flycatcher (5), found at Ulistac Natural Area
  • 8-May:            Painted Bunting (6), found at Ulistac Natural Area
  • 8-May:            Tennessee Warbler (6), found at Ulistac Natural Area
  • 15-May:          Black Chinned Sparrow (4), found at Henry Coe State Park
  • 21-May:          Willow Flycatcher (4), found at Grant County Park
  • 23-May:          Bell’s Vireo (6), found outside an office building in Alviso
  • 25-May:          White-faced Ibis (4), reported at the Palo Alto Baylands

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June 

During the month of June, I was made aware of two sightings that had been entered into eBird, but had not been previously included in my reports.  These were:

  • 20-Jan:          Clay-colored Sparrow (5), seen on the Permanente Creek Trail
  • 23-Feb:          White-winged Scoter (5), seen on Salt Pond A8

That increased the year’s total to 265 before June.

In June there was 1 new bird reported, a Pacific Golden-Plover (5), found on Salt Pond A13 by Mike Rogers, Mike Mammoser, and Richard Jeffers, during a shorebird survey.  This brings the total to 266 at the end of June, which is 11 species over the average of 255.  We’re still at a record pace, with 4 more birds reported than any year in the past.  At the half-year mark we have seen 66% of all the bird species recorded in the County.

July’s average for new birds is 4. 

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July

In July there were 2 new birds reported:

  • 6 LEAST TERNS (4) at Salt Pond A2E on 24-July; and
  • An ELEGANT TERN (4) at Salt Pond A3W on 27-July. 

(The number in parentheses is the rarity code for that bird for Santa Clara County.) 

This brings the total species to 268 at the end of July, which is 9 species over the average of 259.  We are still at a record pace, with 1 more bird reported than any year in the past.  We have reported 66% of all the bird species recorded in the County.

August’s average for new birds is 6. 

eBird users will notice some changes that occurred in August during the annual taxonomic updates of the eBird/Clements checklist:

  • Western Scrub-Jay has been split into 2 species.  California Scrub-Jay (our local species) and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay (Great Basin etc. species).  In your eBird lists, our local scrub-jay is now California Scrub-Jay.
  • Two formerly separate species, American Coot and Caribbean Coot, have been lumped into one species, American Coot.  In eBird, all American Coots in North America are now “American Coot (Red-shielded)” and American Coots in the Caribbean are now “American Coot (White-shielded)”.  In your eBird lists you can use either “American Coot” or “American Coot (Red-shielded)” for our local coots.

Pete Dunten, our county’s eBird reviewer, sent me the following, in response to my question about whether eBird would be updating their lists to conform with the recent AOU taxonomic changes:  "AOU-NACC implemented some sweeping changes this year with regard to the sequence of orders among the non-passerines, and sequence of families within Passeriformes. We have not followed these changes in the current eBird/Clements Checklist, but we expect to so in our next round of revisions (August 2017)."

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August

In August there were 6 new birds reported.

  • 11-Aug:  BAIRD’S SANDPIPER (4) at Salt Pond A13;
  • 15-Aug:  SOLITARY SANDPIPER (5) at Coyote Lake;
  • 21-Aug:  BAR-TAILED GODWIT (6) at Salt Pond A17;
  • 28-Aug:  2 WANDERING TATTLERS (6) on the A10/A11;
  • 28-Aug:  2 BLACK TURNSTONES (6) in a closed area of Don Edwards NWR; and
  • 28-Aug:  PECTORAL SANDPIPER (4) flying over A15. 

(The number in parentheses is the rarity code for that bird for Santa Clara County.) 

All of August’s new birds were shorebirds and all but one were found at Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge in Alviso. 

This brings the total species to 274 at the end of August, which is 9 species over the average of 265.  We are still at a record pace, with 2 more birds reported than any year in the past.  We have reported almost 68% of all the bird species recorded in the County.

September’s average for new birds is 10!

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September

In September there were 8 new birds reported: 
 
  • 2-Sep:    STILT SANDPIPER (4) at New Chicago Marsh in Don Edwards NWR in Alviso;
  • 15-Sep:  2 SABINE’S GULLS (5) at the Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant;
  • 17-Sep:  CANADA WARBLER (6) at the Santa Clara Valley Water District Headquarters;
  • 18-Sep:  CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (6) at Sunnyvale Baylands Park;
  • 23-Sep:  SANDHILL CRANE (6) at Gilroy Water Treatment Plan/Llagas Creek;
  • 25-Sep:  BLACK TERN (5) at Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant;
  • 25-Sep:  2 COMMON TERNS (4) at Don Edwards NWR in Alviso; and
  • 25-Sep:  VESPER SPARROW (5) at Don Edwards NWR in Alviso.
(The number in parentheses is the rarity code for that bird for Santa Clara County.)  
 
This brings the total species to 282 at the end of September, which is 7 species over the average of 275.  We are still, barely, at a record pace, with 1 more bird reported than any year in the past.  We have reported almost 70% of all the bird species recorded in the County.
 
October’s average for new birds is 5.  
 
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October

In October there were 4 new birds reported: 
 
  • 12-Oct:  BROAD-WINGED HAWK (6) above a South Palo Alto residence
  • 12-Oct:  MAGNOLIA WARBLER (6) at Sunnyvale Baylands Park
  • 15-Oct:  CAPE MAY WARBLER (6) at the Palo Alto Waste Water Treatment Plant, and
  • 26-Oct:  COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD (5) in a backyard in the Almaden Valley area.
 
(The number in parentheses is the rarity code for that bird for Santa Clara County.)  
 
This brings the total species to 286 at the end of October, which is 7 species over the average of 279.  We are now tied with 2013 for most birds observed.  We have reported almost 71% of all the bird species recorded in the County.  
 
November’s average for new birds is 3.  
 
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November

In November there were NO new bird species reported. This is only the second time, according to the records I have, that no new species were found for a month. The other time was July 2009. However, there was a nighthawk species seen at Uvas Lake on November 11. It could not be determined whether it was a Lesser or Common Nighthawk.
 
So, we stand at 286 species at the end of November. This is 4 species over the average of 282, and 1 species less than the record through November which is 287. We have reported almost 71% of all the bird species recorded in the County.
 
December’s average for new birds is 3.
 
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December

In December there were 3 new bird species reported:
  • 3-Dec: 10 TUNDRA SWANS (5) were seen flying over Salt Ponds A12/A13 by Chris Johnson;
  • 3-Dec: BARROW’S GOLDENEYE (female) (4) was seen in Salt Pond A15 by Chris Johnson; and
  • 18-Dec: RED PHALAROPE (5) was seen in Salt Pond A13 by Mike Rogers and Steve Rottenborn during the San Jose CBC.
This brings the total species count to 289 for 2016, which is 4 birds over the year-end average of 285.
 
It’s now a new year and all the species counts are reset to zero. This is also a good time to start using eBird if you haven’t already. Not only can you use it to input your sightings, but there is a lot of data you can sort through to help you find and learn more about birds in our county and across the globe.
 
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