Field Trip: Saturday Afternoon Bird Walk to Hudeman Slough

Date: Saturday March 05, 2011

Time: 3:00 PM

Trip Report added on 3/7/2011. (NSAS Event)


Trip Report: by Dave McMullen
Murray Berner led about 10 of us on a cloudy, breezy, late-afternoon walk around the Hudeman Slough Wildlife area, where high numbers of Short-eared Owls have been seen this year. Our trip ended before dusk and thus we probably missed the peak numbers of Short-eared Owls, but as expected there were several seen hunting to the south, starting about 5 pm. Other highlights included Long-billed Curlews, and 5 Virginia Rails seen foraging in the open--an uncommon sight. Although we missed the oft-seen Golden Eagles at Hudeman, Murray spotted an adult Bald Eagle on the ground about a quarter mile off. The eagle stayed for a long while before taking flight and obliging us all with a good view as it flew closer and closer to us. Before it took off, several of us watched through the scopes as 1 or 2 of the Short-eared Owls harassed the eagle, repeatedly swooping down to it, something I had never seen before.

eBird Report:
Number of species: 48

Cackling Goose 1
Canada Goose X
Gadwall X
American Wigeon X
Mallard X
Cinnamon Teal 7
Northern Shoveler X
Northern Pintail 500 - a conservative estimate
Green-winged Teal (American) X
Bufflehead X
Ruddy Duck X
Pied-billed Grebe X
Double-crested Cormorant 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Snowy Egret X
Turkey Vulture X
White-tailed Kite X
Bald Eagle 1 - on ground s. of slough at 1700, strafed by Short-eared Owl, departed to nnw about 1740.
Northern Harrier X
Red-tailed Hawk X
American Kestrel 2 - female with sleek dark gray rodent 2/3 long of itself, caught on berm side of e. reservoir
Virginia Rail 5 - in open in flooded field/marsh e. below reservoir
American Coot X
Killdeer X
Black-necked Stilt 6
Greater Yellowlegs X
Long-billed Curlew 20
Least Sandpiper X
Dunlin 10
Long-billed Dowitcher 7
Mew Gull 8
Ring-billed Gull X
gull sp. 1
Barn Owl 1 in barn
Great Horned Owl 1
Short-eared Owl 7 max of 5 s. of slough at 1730. 2 s. of pkng lot at 1800. departed a little early so unable to see usual numbers aloft at dusk.
Loggerhead Shrike 1 along Ramal Rd 1/4 mi e. of barn
Common Raven X
Tree Swallow X
Marsh Wren X
American Robin 1
European Starling X
Yellow-rumped Warbler X
Savannah Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow X
Red-winged Blackbird X
Western Meadowlark X
Brewer's Blackbird X
House Finch X

This list was generated automatically by eBird

Pre-Trip Description: We've planned something different for this field trip to Hudeman Slough. We will arrive about 3:30 pm for a loop around the marshes when most of the areas plentiful raptors are up and flying. There are dozens of Red-taileds, kites and harriers. Golden Eagle, Merlin and Ferruginous Hawk are possible. Ducks and shorebirds are common on the flooded fields. Visibility is really good at this time of day and before sunset Short-eared Owls begin hunting. We will have looped back to the parking lot by then, so we won't be walking at all in darkness. Up to 27 owls have been seen recently. It begins with a few and increases toward dusk. As the light fails, Great-horned Owls will be heard and perhaps a Barn Owl will fly out of the nearby barn. When it is too dark to see, our day will conclude. Bring water, and even if it's warm where you are earlier on Saturday, it can be breezy and chilly toward sunset at Hudeman.

Directions: From Napa, Vallejo turn west at the stoplight from Highway 29 onto Highway 12/121. Continue to Duhig Rd. Turn left and proceed on Duhig until it becomes Ramal Rd. at a sharp turn over Huichica Creek. Continue on Ramal Rd. past Skaggs Island Rd. The gravel parking lot is on the left approx. 1 mile past Skaggs Island Rd. A large barn is located near the parking area.

Read more about these trips on the Saturday Bird Walks page.

Friday Bird Walk at Long Canyon © 2010 Dave McMullen Dialing in © 2009 Frank Toller Murray Berner © 2009 Frank Toller * Murray at Coast.jpg Δ

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