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Photo by Tom Grey

Santa Clara County Bird List Discussion Archive 2015

Compiled by: Brooke Miller. Please email additions, corrections, or comments to Brooke at idbirds@me.com

Please post all your sightings at south-bay-birds@yahoogroups.com and/or eBird.

January 2015

We started off 2015 with 163 birds seen on January 1, and a total of 207 birds for the month of January. Thank you to everyone who took the time to report birds either on SBB or to eBird, or send emails directly to me.

Of the 207 birds that were recorded for January, there are three birds rated as rarity (6) and nine birds rated as rarity (5) they are:
Pelagic Cormorant (6) first seen by Pat Kenny and Mike Rogers near the Calero Reservoir dam on January 1;
Ovenbird (6) found by Mike Rogers behind Charleston Road Marsh on January 11;
Slaty-backed Gull (6) found by Gena Zolotar at Vasona County Park on January 28;
Great-tailed Grackles (5) seen by multiple observers at Shoreline Lake throughout the month;
Evening Grosbeaks (5) first seen in late December 2014, in Mountain View, then continuing into January, and more birds found in Sunnyvale in January;
Red-necked Grebe (5) two continuing birds from December, one at Calero Reservoir dam, first seen on the Morgan Hill--Calero CBC on December 27, and a second bird at Coyote Lake;
Red-naped Sapsucker (5), another continuing bird from December 2014, at the dirt parking lot at Ed Levin County Park;
Pacific Loon (5), 1 bird continuing from December at Salt Pond A16, and a second bird at Shoreline Lake;
Northern Waterthrush (5) first reported in 2015 by Mike Rogers at Charleston Road Marsh;
Swamp Sparrow (5) – one bird continuing from December at the Palo Alto Baylands, and another bird reported in January by Michael Hawk at Charleston Slough/Coast Casey Forebay;
Yellow-headed Blackbird (5) seen by Caroline Lambert on January 27th, at Joseph D Grant County Park;
Black Rail (5) heard by Jason Liu on January 31 in the salt marsh next to Salt Pond A12.

A few other interesting birds for January: A Red-throated Loon (4) at Shoreline Lake, and a second one on Salt Pond A16;
Both Rock Wren (4) and Canyon Wren (4) at Coyote Lake dam;
A Nashville Warbler (4) found at Lick Mill Park on January 31, by Steve Rottenborn;
A Yellow Warbler (1) at the Palo Alto Baylands, perhaps the same over-wintering bird as was seen there last winter;
A Black-headed Grosbeak (1) coming, several times in January, to a yard in Los Altos—quite possibly an over-wintering bird;
An immature Bullock’s Oriole (1) found in an office park in Sunnyvale on January 31 by Steve Rottenborn, another overwintering bird (?);

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February 2015

Brooke Miller reported 163 species on 1 Jan., and 207 species for the month of January, but Brooke received some reports after she published January’s results. There were 5 more birds observed on 1-Jan., bringing the first-day-of-the-year’s total to 168. Four MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS were found on private property on 8 Jan. This brings the January total to 208.

In February, 9 more birds were added to the year list, bringing the County to a total of 217 at the end of February. This ties the record for the most number of species recorded in February!

One 1 was found in February. A CLIFF SWALLOW was photographed at Lake Cunningham on 28-Feb.

Four 3’s were found during the month. The first was a PACIFIC WREN at Joseph D Grant County Park on 12-Feb. On 15-Feb both NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL and NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL were found at Monte Bello Open Space Preserve. On 16-Feb a HOODED ORIOLE was discovered along the Coyote Creek Trail in Hellyer County Park.

Two 4’s were found. A WHITE-FACED IBIS was seen circling high above Charleston Rd Marsh on 1-Feb, and a GLAUCOUS GULL was spotted at Ogier Ponds on 7-Feb.

The one 5 was a TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE found in a street tree in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose on 10-Feb.

One 6 was found during February. A male BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, was spotted on 9-Feb. along Los Gatos Creek just South of Main Street in Los Gatos.

An ICELAND GULL found on 22-Feb at Ogier Ponds in Morgan Hill, but is not included in February’s numbers. It has been submitted to the CBRC (California Bird Records Committee) for review. If it is accepted it will be added to the list.

The average number of new birds for March is 13. With migration beginning we will be seeing and hearing plenty of new birds!

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March 2015

In March we added 13 new birds. This brings our year total to 240 as of 31-March. As far as “numbers” are concerned, 13 birds for March is the average, and 240 birds by the end of March is above the average of 220 birds.

We had one 1 in March, a WILSON’S WARBLER that was found at Stevens Creek County Park on 8-March. All of the “1’s” for the county have now been found for the year.

Five 2’s were found during the month. The first was a WARBLING VIREO detected at Stevens Creek County Park on 8-March. The second bird found was a CASSIN’S VIREO heard at the John Nicholas trailhead in Sanborn County Park on 24-March. The third and fourth birds were both found on 14-March, at Joseph D Grant County Park, those being a PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER and a WESTERN KINGBIRD. The fifth bird was a CASPIAN TERN seen on 21-March at Alviso Marina County Park.

The two 3’s found in March were LAWRENCE’S GOLDFINCH at San Felipe Road on 6-March, and a COMMON POORWILL heard on private property in Los Gatos on 28-March.

There were four 4’s for the month. A male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was found on 4-March at an Almaden-area backyard hummingbird feeder. On 21-March a HERMIT WARBLER was seen along the Los Gatos Creek Trail just West of Meridian Avenue in San Jose. A MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER was found on 28-March along the Ridge Trail at Star Creek Ranch, a restricted area between Highway 101 and Highway 129 in the South County. Finally, a BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD was seen at a hummingbird feeder in the Willow Glen area of San Jose on 31-March.

Two CASSIN’S KINGBIRDS were found on San Felipe Road on 5-March, our only 5 for the month.

Other than January, April is the month we find the most new birds. The average is 21 new birds for April, and in the first 5 days of April we are already 1/3 there. Spring migration is in full swing!!

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April 2015

We added 20 new birds for the month of April in Santa Clara County, bringing the cumulative year list to 250.
This is 9 birds over the average of 241.

Five 2’s were found:
1. Ash-throated Flycatcher, on Apr 2 at Almaden Reservoir Dam;
2. Lazuli Bunting, on Apr 5 at Santa Teresa County Park;
3. Red-necked Phalarope, on Apr 11 on Salt Pond A15;
4. Western Wood-Pewee, on Apr 14 at the Lower Saddle on Loma Prieta;
5. Swainson’s Thrush, on Apr 26, a fly-over in San Jose.

There were three 3’s:
1. Vaux’s Swift, on Apr 5, at Vasona Lake County Park;
2. Olive-sided Flycatcher, on Apr 10, above Lake Ranch Reservoir in Sanborn County Park;
3. Bell’s Sparrow, on Apr 19, at the Lower Saddle on Loma Prieta.

Four 4’s for the month are:
1. Purple Martin, on Apr 10 at the Lower Saddle on Loma Prieta;
2. Common Loon, on Apr 10 on Salt Pond A18;
3. Black-chinned Sparrow, on Apr 14 at the Upper Saddle on Loma Prieta;
4. Elegant Tern, Apr 20 foraging above Salt Pond A1.

There were six 5’s in April:
1. Swainson’s Hawk, on Apr 1 over Coyote Valley;
2. Hammond’s Flycatcher, on Apr 3 at Smith Creek;
3. Calliope Hummingbird, on Apr 11 at Ed Levin County Park;
4. Solitary Sandpiper, on Apr 18, found by a birdathon team at the end of Old Oak Glen Ave off Uvas Rd.;
5. Yellow-breasted Chat, on Apr 27 at Llagas Creek/Gilroy Water Treatment Plant;
6. Ruddy Turnstone, on Apr 30 at the San Francisquito Creek mouth.

The two 6’s for April were:
1. Black Oystercatcher, on Apr 14 on the levee dividing Salt Ponds A10 and A11;
2. Broad-winged Hawk, on Apr 19 at the Lower Saddle on Loma Prieta.

May brings fewer new birds, typically about nine new species. We'll see how we've done by the end of the month.

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May 2015

In May we added 5 new birds for the year bringing the cumulative total to 255. While the average new birds for May is 9, we are still above the cumulative average of 250.

There was one "4" found in May, a Willow Flycatcher, found by Mike Rogers at the South County Regional Water Authority (SCRWA) in Gilroy, on 22-May.

Three new "5" birds were found, a Black Swift found by Garth Harwood in the Loma Prieta area of the Santa Cruz Mountains, a Bank Swallow sitting with other swallows at the Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant on 16-May, and a Franklin's Gull seen by Emily Moffitt on Salt Pond A16 on 21-May.

A young male Chestnut-sided Warbler was seen and heard singing in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose on 26-May, the only rarity code "6" for the month.

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June 2015

In June we added 2 new birds for the year bringing the cumulative total to 257. While the average new birds for June is 4, we are still above the cumulative average of 254. We now have observed 64% of the bird list in Santa Clara County.

Found in June was (1) a Black-and-white Warbler, a "5", heard and recorded along the Guadalupe River Trail on June 9th by Kevin Gin, and (2) a second year male Summer Tanager, a "5", found at Ed Levin on June 22nd by Bill Bousman.

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July 2015

In July we added 6 new birds bringing the cumulative county total to 263. These 6 new birds were:

  • July 3: A Semipalmated Sandpiper (rarity code 4), found by Steve Rottenborn at New Chicago Marsh in Alviso.
  • July 5: A Curlew Sandpiper (rarity code 6), found by Mike Mammoser at State & Spreckles Streets in Alviso.
  • July 9: A Pacific Golden-Plover (rarity code 5), found by Victoria Heyse at Salt Pond A16 in Alviso.
  • July 19: A Black Tern (rarity code 5), found by Vivek Kanzode at the Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant.
  • July 20: A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak (rarity code 5), found by Melissa Beaver in her Almaden yard.
  • July 25: At least 3 Least Terns (rarity code 4), found by Mike Mammoser on Salt Pond A2E.

August 2015

In August we added 7 new birds bringing the cumulative county total to 270. These 7 new birds were:

  • August 2: A Common Tern (rarity code 4) was found by Brooke Miller, at Salt Pond A2E in Mountain View.
  • August 16: A Baird's Sandpiper (rarity code 4) was reported byJimmy Dhillon, from the entrance road to Don Edwards NWR inAlviso.
  • August 21: A Red Knot (rarity code 5) was found by Matthew Grube, at Salt Pond AB1 in Mountain View.
  • August 23: A Pectoral Sandpiper (rarity code 4) was seen by Peggy Don, at the triangular no-name pond in Mountain View.
  • August 23: Two Black Turnstones (rarity code 6) were found in a closed area of Don Edwards NWR in Alviso, by Mike Rogers, Mike Mammoser, and Richard Jeffers.
  • August 23: A juvenile Common Murre (rarity code 5) was found in Alviso Slough opposite Salt Pond A9 in Alviso, by Mike Rogers, Mike Mammoser, and Richard Jeffers.
  • August 25: A juvenile Stilt Sandpiper (rarity code 4) was discovered by Gena Zolotar, at the Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant.

September 2015

In September we added 8 new birds bringing the cumulative county total to 278 at the end of September. This is 4 birds over the running average over the last 15 years. These 8 new birds were:

  • Sep. 13: A Parasitic Jaeger (rarity code 5) seen by Bill Bousmanover Salt Pond A2E in Mountain View.
  • Sep. 14: A Blackpoll Warbler (rarity code 5) found by Pat Kenny at the Sunnyvale Baylands.
  • Sep. 18: A Magnolia Warbler (rarity code 6) found by Bob Reiling at Ulistac Natural Area in Santa Clara.
  • Sep. 22: A Red Crossbill (rarity code 5) seen and heard by Alex Rinkert flying over the lower saddle along Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz Mtns.
  • Sep. 23: A Vesper Sparrow (rarity code 5) found by Garth Harwood at the sag pond down the hill from Monte Bello Open Space Gate MB05.
  • Sep. 23: A Sage Thrasher (rarity code 6) found by Don Pendleton along the Palo Alto Bay Trail between San Francisquito Creek and the Palo Alto golf course.
  • Sep. 25: A Tennessee Warbler (rarity code 6) found by Pat Kenny at the Sunnyvale Baylands.

Cattle Egret on 26-Mar. by Jason St Pierre, in a closed area of the Newby Island Recyclery, in Santa Clara County, went previously unrecorded until now.

This month Brooke Miller have also revised the county's first Ruddy Turnstone sighting from 30-Apr-2015 to 18-July-2015, found by Will Brooks and Jasen Liu, in Salt Pond A17 in Alviso. Apparently the April 30th sighting was at the mouth of San Francisquito Creek and deemed to be in San Mateo County, not Santa Clara County.

It was an exciting month with 2 separate Curlew Sandpiper (rarity code 6) sightings at Don Edwards NWR in Alviso. There was an apparent juvenile bird, discovered by Will Brooks on 11-Sept. in A16, and a second bird, an apparent adult in basic plumage, found by Bob Powers in New Chicago Marsh on 13-Sept. One has to wonder if this adult bird was the same one seen by Mike Mammoser on 5-July, or if it was a third bird!

With 3 months to go in 2015 we need 7 more new birds before the end of the year to tie the average of 284.

October 2015

In October we added 6 new birds bringing the cumulative county total to 284 at the end of October. This is 5 birds over the long-term average of 279. The Pine Warbler was a new bird for the county bringing the county total to 403.

November usually brings us 3 new birds, and at almost mid-month we are already there. We'll see how the rest of the month goes.

The 6 new birds for October were:

  • Oct. 7: Pat Kenny found a PINE WARBLER at Sunnyvale Baylands Park. This is a new bird for Santa Clara County!
  • Oct. 7: An EASTERN PHOEBE (rarity code 6) was found by Will Brooks on the Stanford University campus.
  • Oct. 19: Gary Kittleson watched a WHITE-WINGED DOVE (rarity code 6) fly at eye level along a fence line near the Tularcitos Trail near Ed Levin County Park.
  • Oct. 25: A female WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKER (rarity code 6) was found by Alex Rinkert, on the Santa Cruz County side of Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz mountains; it eventually flew across the road and into a knobcone pine in Santa Clara County.
  • Oct. 26: A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW (rarity code 5) was found by Joyce Wong at the BeWell Garden on the Stanford University campus.
  • Oct. 31: A TROPICAL KINGBIRD (rarity code 6) was found by Rob Furrow and his Palo Alto Adult School birding class at the Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant.

This month Brooke Miller revised the county's first Tennessee Warbler sighting to 17-August-2015. It was found by Bob Reiling at Ulistac Natural Area on that date.

November 2015

In November we added 4 new birds bringing the cumulative county total to 288 at the end of November. This is 6 birds over the long-term average of 282. The Snow Bunting was a new bird for the county bringing the county total to 404.

December usually brings us an average of 3 new birds, although we have gotten as many as 7 new birds, as we did in 2014. Looking through the county list, here are a few birds that are possible this time of year that we should be on the lookout for in December: Tundra Swan, both Scoters, Sandhill Crane, Long-eared Owl, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (not the 'confusing bird' at Ed Levin), Nelson's Sparrow, and Harris's Sparrow.

The 4 new birds for November were (with rarity code in parentheses):

  • Nov. 1: Steve Miller found a juvenile VIRGINIA'S WARBLER (6) at Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant.
  • Nov. 5: A SNOW BUNTING (6) was first seen by Sachindev Shenoy at Charleston Slough. This is a new bird for the county!
  • Nov. 7: Pete Dunten found a LAPLAND LONGSPUR (6) in a group of American Pipits at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto.
  • Nov. 23: Pete Dunten found a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (6) during a survey on land closed to the public.

Brooke Miller re-revised the county's first Tennessee Warbler sighting back to 25-Sept-2015, after hearing from Bill Bousman, our county records compiler.

December 2015

In December we added 3 new birds, December's average, bringing the cumulative county total to 291 at the end of the year. This was 6 birds over the long-term average of 285, and 2 short of our recent-year high of 293 species in 2011. For the year we added two new county birds, Snow Bunting and Pine Warbler, bringing the total species of birds recorded in the county to 404.

The 3 new birds for December were (with rarity code in parentheses):

  • Dec. 20: Steve Tracey found a female RUFF (6) at Don Edwards NWR in Alviso.
  • Dec. 21: During the Palo Alto CBC Mike Rogers and Nateri Madavan found a young male ORCHARD ORIOLE (6) at the end of Embarcadero Way in Palo Alto.
  • Dec. 27: On the Calero/Morgan Hill CBC Steve Tracey found a BLACK-THROATED SPARROW (6) at Santa Teresa County Park, a fifth county record.

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