Just as I was catching Fred Safier at the little bridge over the Contra Costa Canal at the north end of Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek, he told me to go back to the west so I could see Buffleheads in the pond closer to the private Seven Hills School. Portions of the pond are visible from the canal trail and he had seen a male and 6 females. Not a duck was visible to me, so I continued west to the concrete creek channel and did see a Kingfisher on the fence way to the south.
I checked the pond again on my return and even rode my bike to the entrance of the school for better viewing and still did not see any Buffleheads. On the Seven Hills Ranch property to the left of the school, a Red-tailed Hawk was perched on a power pole and 70 Mourning Doves were on the wires.
Eventually, I caught Fred and we continued around the pond, finding Walt Duncan and Tracy Farrington as we went. From the south end, we did finally see a single male Bufflehead at the far north end of the pond, but it was associating with two Ring-necked Ducks. Closer to the island were two other Ring-necked Ducks and a total of 3 Pied-billed Grebes. But we did not seen the Northern Shoveler female; she was seen as recently as Tuesday.
The Common Gallinule was out in the middle of the pond, but the Coots either went into hiding or have left.
A Lincoln's Sparrow was seen in the reeds to the left when standing at the bottom of the gravel boat ramp. Most of the other expected species were seen.
Hugh B. Harvey