First Visit to Tanzanite Park, 02-01-20

I got up around 6:30 am and was out the door by 7:30 to head out with friend and fellow naturalist Roxanne to Tanzanite Park in the Natomas area of Sacramento.  We’d never been there before, but were going to see if we could find the Vermilion Flycatcher that’s been visiting the park over the past month or more.

Weather: Super foggy then clearing to sunny skies
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 3.5 hours
Start Time: 8:30 am
End Time: 11:30 am
Start Temperature: 44º F
End Temperature: 59º F
Miles Walked: 1.5

We first had a leisurely breakfast at Hot Off the Griddle, and then headed over to the park.  We were hoping the fog would have lifted a bit by then, but no… It took another 90 minutes or so for the fog to rise and dissipate. We didn’t see the Vermilion Flycatcher, but did meet another pair of birders who were looking for it, too. 

This is the guy we were looking for and didn’t find. [This is not my photo]

And we got the chance to walk almost the full length of the park and keep a look out for other birds.  The first things we saw were crows, geese and gulls.  I actually think that some of the geese we saw were Cackling Geese (smaller kind-of twins of the Canada Geese, they have a shorter bill). 

It was foggy to begin with, so a lot of my initial photos were through the fog and focusing on the dew on some of the plants and spiderwebs.  Once it started to clear a bit, I was able to get better photos of the birds.  Some of them were so far away or so elusive that it was still a little difficult to get the images I wanted sometimes. Some of the dew images turned out to be rather interesting, though, so I couldn’t complain.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

We were both surprised by the number of Audubon’s Warblers we saw all over the park. They seemed to be everywhere. Roxanne got to see her first Belted Kingfisher.  It was flying back and forth across the pond, and sometimes chased Green Herons from the trees.

A male Audubon’s Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni

It worried me that there piles and tins filled with rotting moldy bread set out for the birds.  Some of the crows and geese were eating the stuff; it couldn’t possibly have been good for them.  I wanted to create an interpretive sign for the park telling people what kind of HEALTHY food they can put out for the birds, and why bread (especially moldy bread) is horribly bad for them.  I wonder if I can get a grant for that?

Being so close to residences, too, it was upsetting to see the amount of trash in the water: plastic bottles, plastic bags, shopping carts.  Humans are such pigs. It’s embarrassing.

The trash in the water impacted on quite a few photos like this one of a Snowy Egret, Egretta thula

We walked for about 2 hours and then headed back home.

Species List:

  1. American Coot, Fulica Americana
  2. Audubon’s Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  3. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
  4. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  5. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  6. Bristly Oxtongue, Helminthotheca echioides
  7. Cackling Goose, Branta hutchinsii
  8. California Gull, Larus delawarensis [dark eye, red spot on bill, yellow legs]
  9. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  10. California Sycamore, Platanus racemose
  11. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  12. Common Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  13. Common Juniper, Juniperus communis
  14. Common Merganser, Mergus merganser
  15. Crepe Myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica
  16. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  17. Eurasian Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto [heard]
  18. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  19. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  20. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  21. Green Heron, Butorides virescens
  22. Jeffrey Pine, Pinus jeffreyi
  23. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  24. London Plane Tree, Platanus × acerifolia
  25. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  26. Mistletoe, American Mistletoe, Big Leaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
  27. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  28. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  29. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  30. Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  31. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  32. Seven-Spot Ladybeetle, Coccinella septempunctata [Introduced Species]
  33. Sheet Weaver Spiders, Family: Linyphiidae [webs]
  34. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  35. Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis
  36. White Sweetclover, Melilotus albus
  37. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  38. Yellow-Billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli