Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow at Arrowhead/ Hooded Mergansers at Tilden

Jim Scarff

This morning Bob Lewis, Eleanor Briccetti and I went to Arrowhead March in
Oakland at the high tide. After considerable looking, we found the Nelson's
Sharp-tailed Sparrow just east of the boardwalk. I first spotted it in the
shrubs on the south (near) side of the little channel about 15 yards east of
the boardwalk. Later it flew across the channel and we saw it several more
times in the cordgrass. It was a major skulker and we tended to see a lot
more shaking grasses than bird. It was alone, not with the numerous Song
and White-crowned Sparrows, and generally quite low, but not on the ground.
Despite numerous large cameras, I was the only one lucky enough to get a
photo, though everyone there eventually saw it. Photo here:

Arrowhead was pretty quiet, notwithstanding the high tide. We only saw about
4 Clapper Rails and one Sora. There was a lot of cordgrass emergent above
the water even with a 7.1' tide and some of the rails may have been using
the rail "houses" at the end of the marsh.

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours in Tilden. The highlights for me were
a pair of Hooded Mergansers at Jewel Lake, that with luck swam by fairly
closely. There
was also a pair of Buffleheads in the lake and a Belted Kingfisher flying
back and forth.

I also was surprised at the west side of the lake to have (what I identified
FWIW! as) a Sharp-shinned Hawk, which I had not seen in Tilden in several
years. Photos at:

Hiking along the upper and lower Pack Rat trails, I came across lots of Fox
Sparrows and 6-7 Varied Thrushes who remain very "challenging" to
photograph! Otherwise the usual suspects: lots of Chestnut-backed
Chickadees, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hutton's Vireo, Brown Creeper, Bushtits,
Townsend's Warbler, etc.

Enjoy the sunshine while we have it, and hope for the increasingly needed

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