The Mt. Diablo Audubon field trip to Contra Loma Reservoir was very successful today. We had a total of 67 species, including three owl species, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, Virginia Rail, plenty of Western Bluebirds and 7 sparrow species, not counting California Towhee. A Great Blue Heron caught a 2+ pound Rainbow Trout in front of us and then took a while before it finally swallowed the thing whole. It actually went down more easily than we all had surmised. We did not find the previously reported Red-necked Grebe, though.
Following lunch, some of us continued to Frank's Tract to look for the previously reported Tufted Duck. Upon asking permission in the Bethel Harbor office, the staff is very birder friendly, we were asked if we wanted to see the "Siberian Duck," and were told to look for it with the Coots. We bought drinks and headed upstairs where, within a few minutes, we did find the male Tufted Duck. He dove, preened and gave us a pretty good show of his tuft. We all had a good time looking at the 100s of Coots and a few other ducks, discussed Barrow's and Common Goldeneyes, watched American White Pelicans do their feeding behavior, and then followed a Green Heron as it zoomed past us and landed on the levee to our left.
A couple of boats passing on the water eventually disturbed the ducks and Coots, so we lost track of the Tufted Duck before we left. A big thanks goes out to the folks at Bethel Harbor.
Hugh B. Harvey