The Sora was the Stand-Out today, 11-10-20

I got up around 5:30 this morning and was out the door before 6:00 with the dog to head over to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.  It was 34° and slightly overcast when I left the house.  It only got up to a high of 61° by the late afternoon.

Wetland area, looking west toward the foothills and Snow Mountain.

On the way to the refuge I counted 21 hawks along the highway, all Red-Tails as far as I could tell.  I also saw a huge flock of crows and a Raven.

When I got to the refuge, I wasn’t really surprised to see frost on the ground near the restroom facility.  The big Red-Shouldered Hawk in a nearby tree was a nice treat, though.  I saw quite a few hawks along the auto-tour route today. The first thing I saw, though, was a White-Tailed Kite. It seems to have taken up residence there.        

There were a lot of sparrows all along the route, mostly Savannahs, as well as the usual ducks and geese. 

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Something was really riling up the Snow Geese; they took off en masse several times while I was there. One gentleman said he’d seen an eagle, but I didn’t see any. 

Snow Geese, Chen caerulescens

I did watch a Peregrine Falcon trying to eat his breakfast on one of the little islands. It was being accosted by a small flock of Turkey Vultures, including a dark-headed juvenile who was a bit more assertive than the adults.

In one section, there was a flock of Lesser Goldfinches eating the dried blossoms and seeds of the teasel and Starthistle around the tules.      

Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria, male

And in the slough by the extension loop gate, there were a couple of young Pied-Billed Grebes and a fussy little Sora.

I actually drove the route TWICE and was still out of there before noon. There were too many cars on the auto-tour route today, which causes the wildlife to move further away and hide, but I still got to see quite a lot… even though it was much of the same.  Looking forward to better, more varied fare as the season moves forward.

Species List:

  1. American Coot, Fulica americana
  2. American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
  3. American Pipit, Anthus rubescens
  4. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  5. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  6. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  7. Bristly Oxtongue, Helminthotheca echioides
  8. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  9. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  10. Common Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  11. Common Raven, Corvus corax
  12. Common Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum
  13. Eared Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis
  14. Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides ssp. Peploides
  15. Gadwall duck, Mareca Strepera
  16. Goodding’s Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
  17. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  18. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  19. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  20. Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  21. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  22. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  23. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  24. Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris [heard]
  25. Narrowleaf Willow, Salix exigua
  26. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
  27. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  28. Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus
  29. Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  30. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  31. Red Gum Eucalyptus, River Redgum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis
  32. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
  33. Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
  34. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  35. Ring-Necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
  36. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  37. Ross’s Goose, Chen rossii
  38. Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
  39. Salt Grass, Distichlis spicata
  40. Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
  41. Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens
  42. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  43. Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  44. Sora, Porzana carolina
  45. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  46. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  47. White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
  48. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  49. Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis