Re: Carquinez Strait BRANDT's Cormorant, Richmond Herring?, etc.

Rosemary Johnson

Snow Geese - 1 at Miller-Knox yesterday

Greater White-fronted Geese - 1 at Miller-Knox yesterday, 2 at MLK Shoreline on Thursday

Cackling Geese - 2 at Miller-Knox

Brandt's Cormorant at Miller-knox - @1000 flying from breakwater towards cranes at Point Molate on Monday, Jan 24 and @900 on breakwater yesterday, Jan 29

1 Pelagic at Miller-Knox yesterday perched on post

Loons - 4 Red-throated and 2 Common at Miller Knox yesterday

2 Eurasian Wigeons - Miller-Knox yesterday

On 01/29/2022 7:08 PM Ethan Monk <z.querula@...> wrote:

This evening I walked from Port Costa down the railroad tracks to within about a half a mile of the Eckley Pier in Crockett. Here, in addition to 11 Barrow's Goldeneye, I ran into a Brandt's Cormorant just beyond the Western tip of the dilapidated pier that runs parallel to the Amtrak lines west of Port Costa. This bird was found yesterday by Albert Linkowski at the Eckley Pier, a little over a half mile away, and after I watched it for a bit it picked up and flew directly north (possibly crossing into Solano County) and then banked west where it flew back to Eckley Pier and landed nearshore on the pier's west side. This is an incredibly far inland record of Brandt's Cormorant and I believe the second most inland county record (in 1998 Steve Glover had one at Clifton Ct. Forebay on the valley floor). Quite possibly "tickable" for Solano if one were to walk either from the Eckley Pier or Port Costa along the railroad tracks until they see the bird, and then sit with it hoping that it flies north into Solano. The strait is very narrow here, so perhaps that won't be too infrequent of an occurrence?

Yesterday in Richmond behind Brooks Island (as viewed from Canal Blvd.) there was a large scrum of gulls and cormorants feeding, including ~30 Brandt's Cormorant which normally come this far into the bay en masse only to take advantage of herring runs. So presumably the herring are around. A cryptic message from earlier today suggests perhaps that they did spawn? Also behind Brooks yesterday were 108 Brant (Geese)—my personal high count for Contra Costa. In terms of continuing wintering waterfowl, 3 Snow Geese continued at Dotson Marsh yesterday (but no Short-eared Owls did) and 2 Greater White-fronted Geese continued at Nicholl Park in downtown Richmond. And one of the two Black Scoters was in Richmond Marina early (and I presume the second was behind a boat somewhere).

Going way back to the 23rd, a morning baywatch at Miller/Knox turned up 5 Red-throated Loon which is normally not in anyway exceptional, but I have struggled to find any in the bay this winter. It seems to be a very crappy winter for them! (as for many other things too). Also on that date, the Tropical Kingbird and Western Flycatcher continued by the playground at Berkeley Aquatic Park amid decent numbers of Monarch Butterflies--which apparently winter here? I had no idea!

And as signs of Spring, I had my first of season Allen’s Hummingbird on the 25th in Walnut Creek, and picked up my first of season for West County yesterday at Vincent Park. Normally I see one on the bay shore first! then one inland. There were also perhaps 80-90 Tree Swallows at Dotson Marsh yesterday morning, most foraging over the marsh but some groups early in the morning streaming by headed NE over the bay. Some Tree Swallows will winter in Richmond but I presume this high count as well as the birds leaving out over the bay represent the first pulse of Spring.

Ethan Monk

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