Red-shouldered Hawk

I hope everyone participated in at least one day of the four day Great Backyard Bird Count of 2018. I submitted five checklists from four different locations yielding 44 species.

As I walked out on my back porch on Friday morning, the first day of the count, it was a cool, clear day and the birds were very active at the feeders. As the Red-Shouldered Hawk seen above screamed overhead, Acorn Woodpeckers not only treated themselves to the woodpecker feeder, they had to attack the sunflower feeders as well.

Acorn Woodpecker Male

There were scores of House Finches chirping in the tree tops so I scoured the scene and finally found a pair of Purple Finches that were traveling with them. A male…

Purple Finch Male

and a female.

Purple Finch Female

There were several Anna’s Hummingbirds vying for spots at the feeders but a few were bathing in the water feature’s waterfall.

Anna's Hummingbird

Most of the birds feeding at the various feeders would occasionally take time to drink or bathe at the water feature. Here is a male Lesser Goldfinch taking his turn.

Lesser Goldfinch Male

As an adult Bald Eagle and a first of the season flock of Tree Swallows flew overhead, several birds were cleaning up underneath the feeders. There were California Scrub-Jays gathering up as many sunflower seeds as they could hold in their beaks…

California Scrub-Jay

and Spotted Towhees who would occasionally perch up in the trees waiting their turn.

Spotted Towhee Male

The suet feeder was visited by not only the Scrub-Jays and Acorn Woodpeckers, the White-breasted Nuthatches and Nuttall’s Woodpeckers took their turns at the fat rich meal.

Nuttall's Woodpecker Male

Following two days of observing and recording my yardbirds I took a drive to Lema Ranch, a birding hotspot in Redding, about 25 miles west of my home. On the way to town I always find some great birds on the country roads and I usually stop to observe and sometimes photograph them. Sunday was no exception. Not only did I have Sandhill Cranes flying overhead, there were the usual American Kestrels perched on the wires and dozens of Turkey Vultures …

Turkey Vulture

and our local Lewis’s Woodpeckers.

Lewis's Woodpecker

Wild Turkeys were out in full display.

Wild Turkey Male

Lema Ranch has several ponds and is always a great spot for waterfowl but I was surprised to find four Snow Geese on secluded pond! The ranch’s ponds yielded several Ring-necked Ducks

Ring-necked Duck Drake

large numbers of American Wigeon

American Wigeon Pair

several Bufflehead

Bufflehead Drake

and Pied-billed Grebes.

Pied-billed Grebe

There were Black Phoebes hawking insects around the ponds …

Black Phoebe

Ruby-crowned Kinglets foraging in the trees…

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

and a male Bushtit collecting nesting material.

Bushtit Male Collecting Nesting Material

Of course, Lema Ranch is one of the locations of my bluebird trails, so I found several Western Bluebirds, including this female intensely hunting ground dwelling insects.

Western Bluebird Female

All in all, I tallied 44 species. They are Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Anna’s Hummingbird, Acorn Woodpecker, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, California Scrub-Jay, Tree Swallow, Oak Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Junco, Spotted Towhee, House Finch, Purple Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, Ring-necked Duck, Greater White-fronted Goose, Canada Goose, American Wigeon, Mallard, Snow Goose, Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Black Phoebe, Common Raven, Bushtit, Bewick’s Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Western Bluebird, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Wild Turkey, American Kestrel, California Quail and Pine Siskin. Fun birding!

Written by Larry
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.