We had a nice day in Yolo County with Jon Dunn on day one of the Youth Scholarship fundraiser field trip. Although our focus was shorebirds, we started out near Lot B at the Yolo Bypass hoping for Least Bittern. After studying the cloud of swallows overhead, including examples of adult and juvenile Barn, Tree, and Cliff Swallows, a friendly birder let us know that he had seen a Least Bittern to the north. We headed over and were able to hear one giving its lesser-known kek-kek-kekcall. Next, we took a short detour to the south to find a singing, male Blue Grosbeak, before heading to Lot C and the August shorebird ponds.
At Lot C, we found our best bird of the day, a juvenile Willet, not a common species in the Central Valley. Jon also quickly identified a Baird’s Sandpiper, and our scopes were lined up to watch it moving among the Least and Western Sandpipers. We also discussed the few species of brown, eclipse plumage ducks. In the shorebird ponds to the east, we spent time closely studying Least and Western Sandpipers to familiarize ourselves with these common species. We also located another Baird’s Sandpiper.
At the Davis Wastewater Treatment Plant, the birds were pretty far away, but we observed Wilson’s Phalaropes spinning among the Long-billed Dowitchers and other assorted shorebirds. Jon located another distant Baird’s Sandpiper and a group of Long-billed Curlews through the heat haze. We finished the day at the Woodland Clean Water Facility, finding a number of both Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalaropes in the first pond. A lovely and informative day was had by all!