From Peter Colasanti:

   June is lovely. It’s mostly spring, the days are the longest, we’ll have clear skies at dawn. It’s a great month to get married or go birding in other places. Sierra birding is best in June, the first two weeks are prime time to look for eastern vagrants at the Outer Point or Bodega Bay. In the Petaluma Wetlands…well, it’s better than July.

   On the plus side, bird activity is still pretty good, especially early in the month with summer and resident passerines working hard to raise families, and that can provide some challenges too. If you’re looking to confirm nesting activity, there’s lots of recent fledglings in juvenile plumage begging for free meals from the folks. The hard part is identification as first plumages are often radically different from the adults, and they’re so short lived that field guides generally don’t illustrate them sufficiently. So, watch for the attendant parents and see what you can learn about the youngsters.

   On the minus side, diversity is down considerably from the rest of the year; my records show only 83 species have been recorded in 15 years of surveys. Not to worry though, that does winnow down the possibilities when puzzling over identification, and there are some interesting things that can happen in June.

   Some years back we had a pair of Brant appear in the central pond in June. Other surprises have included Black-headed Grosbeak in the Ellis Creek riparian corridor and Acorn Woodpecker across the river at Haystack Landing. There’s also a couple records of Black Rail calling from Alman Marsh. In the center of Alman there’s an original, unchanneled slough where 3 Black Rails have been seen on tidal events and they call reliable along it May and June, mostly in the middle of the night, but also in early morning.

   June has also been pretty good for terns, with Caspian and Forster’s occurring occasionally; Least or Black Skimmer could happen. Straggling waterfowl and shorebirds are liable to be found, but the vast majority are north of us raising another brood to bring back to us in the fall. 

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