I'll try to quickly catch up on some sightings since last Friday in the area.
PYRAMID LAKE-FRIDAY, OCT. 10th
As indicated in a brief post that day, while we drove down along the shoreline in Thunderbolt Bay by the Willows, an immature Jaeger was observed flying low south along the shoreline. We later determined it to be a Parasitic Jaeger; however, we could not get any photos as it flew down shore from us. The body was a rufous/dark cinnamon color indicative of a Parasitic and its bill was more on the slender side. As it flew along the shore, it occasionally would swoop down and harass/chase the many gulls lounging on the shoreline. I tried to relocate it along the shoreline, on the water, or flying over the water but despite thoroughly looking at every bird, it could not be relocated. We went south and checked Nine Mile Beach, north and checked Monument Rock, and came back to Thunderbolt Bay again but no dice.
Other birds of note that day were 31 Common Loons off of Monument Rock and 3 off of the Tamaracks. At the south shore and river mouth area, there were no shorebirds of any kind until we reached the river mouth where there were 9 Killdeer. On the way back to the car, 51 Least Sandpipers were observed along the south shore. There were 8 Herring Gulls at the river mouth and a few scattered along other stops during the day.
JACK'S SPRING-SATURDAY, OCT. 11th
On Saturday morning, my wife Ricki, Bill Frey, and I checked out Jack's Spring. Birds of note included an Evening Grosbeak (heard only), 3 or 4 Red Crossbills, 4 or 5 Mountain Quail, 2 or 3 Juniper Titmouse, and about 100 Pinyon Jays. Ironically, given the drought conditions, there was more water trickling down the trail from the discharge pipes than I have ever seen.
MASON VALLEY WMA
I was in Yerington last Monday through Thursday for work, returning yesterday (Sunday) and continuing through this Thursday. Each day through today, I have been able to sneak away for an hour or two to check out Mason Valley WMA. The only areas really open are Hinkson's Slough, Bass Pond, North Pond, and Miller's Marsh. The north entrance at Sierra Way is closed through Jan. 31st and several areas are gated off inhibiting access, including the wetlands loop and the southwest corner of the North Pond.
A Common Tern has been observed at the North Pond during every visit. Today, it was flying/fishing close to the north shore allowing some good looks in the sun. There were definitely more birds (common) on the North Pond last week with very few birds yesterday and today. Last week, there were up to 15 Greater Yellowlegs, up to 90+ Long-Billed Dowitchers, and 2 Lesser Yellowlegs. Yesterday, a lone Long-Billed Curlew was resting on a sand spit.
When I went today, there was a Red-Shouldered Hawk at Hinkson's Slough and there were hardly any birds other than the Common Tern at the North Pond. I was going to leave but decided to check out the pond from the northwest corner of the pond. While looking through the scope, I noted a small raft of Ruddy Ducks with three slightly larger birds nearby resting with their heads tucked behind them. I immediately assumed that they were Ruddy Ducks, but the white patch behind the eye and the white near the bill caught my eye and I suspected that they might be Surf Scoters. I very briefly played a Surf Scoter on my IPod and the three heads immediately popped up looking around therefore allowing a positive ID as Surf Scoters. A documentation photo is at the following link: