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Friday, May 4, 2012

Number 353

During April 2012 a new bird species was added to the Bodega Head (& surrounding areas) bird list.

A Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) was observed and photographed in early April in the village of Salmon Creek at the north end of the Bodega Dunes.  On 30 April 2012, I photographed either another or the same individual at the Bodega Marine Laboratory.  

(I heard an unfamiliar bird call while sitting in my office...walked outside to go to a meeting and saw the bird perched.  I ran to get my camera and had a few minutes to capture these images before the bird flew off into the dunes.  As far as I know, it was not seen again.)

Note the large bill, flattened crown, long keel-shaped tail, and bright yellow eyes.

Great-tailed Grackles are rare in Sonoma County.  Up until about 1900 their range barely extended into Texas, but it rapidly expanded northward (coincidental with urbanization and irrigation).  They were first documented in California in 1964 (with breeding in 1969), first observed in San Francisco in 1978, and first recorded in Sonoma County in 2001.

Here's one more photo.  The bird was landing...the photo is blurry, but still seemed interesting.

With the addition of Great-tailed Grackle, the bird list for Bodega Harbor, Bodega Head, and Bodega Dunes now stands at 353 species.

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