This is a brief report of various birds in San Benito County, today, October 21, 2011.
PAICINES RESERVOIR still has good mudflats for shorebirds, although there is never a large number: DUNLIN (1), WESTERN SANDPIPER (1), LEAST SANDPIPER (7); various species of waterfowl have been passing through (COMMON MERGANSERS, etc.), but today RUDDY DUCK (8) and WHITE-FRONTED GEESE (8) were present; AMERICAN PIPIT (8) were at the water's edge; VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS (8) made a brief pass; and an immature BALD EAGLE was in the oaks at the northwest corner. I've seen ADULT BALD EAGLES and PRAIRIE FALCON at the reservoir, lately. The Hollister Sewer Ponds are fairly hopeless at the moment.
LOWER QUIEN SABE ROAD (I define this area as the part of Quien Sabe Road between Highway 25 and the intersection of Santa Ana Valley Road): one PRAIRIE FALCON was present. It usually can be found sitting on a telephone pole. This individual will likely hang in this area for at least several weeks. It was pushed away from its' previously special place on Santa Ana Valley Road by a Ferruginous Hawk.
SANTA ANA VALLEY ROAD: A FERRUGINOUS HAWK has taken up its' winter residence not far from the intersection with Quien Sabe Road, near mile marke 7 (I think). See above. Continuing on Santa Ana Valley Road, you will find the favored hunting grounds of the raptors near the intersection with John Smith Road. Here, I found a second FERRUGINOUS HAWK and an immature GOLDEN EAGLE. On recent past drives, I have seen many raptors on along this stretch of the road. Finally, at mailbox #4451, I found a CASSIN'S KINGBIRD, below, which I photographed.
Debi Shearwater, inland Annie Auklet
San Benito County Birding