Coyote Hills - Baird's Sandpipers, Wilson's and Red-necked Phalaropes, Yellow-headed Blackbird

Teale Fristoe

I braved the thick smoke today to explore Coyote Hills and had some fun surprises. I was on my bike so could cover good distances and focused on shorebirds rather than going through the marsh or forest habitats.

Highlights were:
- 2 Baird's Sandpipers with a mostly Least Sandpiper flock along Bayview Trail. When I first saw them they were fairly close, but they repeatedly flushed when bikers came by and became more and more distant.
- 15 Wilson's Phalaropes roosting and foraging across the trail from the pump station near the beginning of No Name Trail. The roosting birds were easy to differentiate from nearby Yellowlegs, which were much bigger. The foraging birds gave good views until they flushed and flew south.
- Hundreds of Red-necked Phalaropes. I saw three huge flocks of phalaropes south of No Name Trail. Two were too distant to id to species, but the third seemed to be completely made up of Red-necked Phalaropes.
- A Yellow-headed Blackbird made an appearance on my return trip along Alameda Creek Trail. I think it's a young male, so not exactly the epitome of this beautiful species, but still a fun find. The bird seemed to be tied to the North Marsh Pond, though it crossed to Alameda Creek while I watched it. It was difficult to locate it at rest but was pretty easy to see when flying. It wasn't associating with any other blackbirds that I saw.

Plenty of other great birds out there too. My complete checklist with some documentation photos:

It's autumn migration, the most wonderful time of the year!
Teale Fristoe

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