Merlin and Allen's Hummingbird, Lake Elizabeth, Fremont


Fifteen participants joined park ranger Sandy Ferreira and I this morning for Ohlone Audubon's field trip at Lake Elizabeth in Fremont's Central Park (Paseo Padre Parkway at Grimmer). We walked from Five Palms (near the Waterpark) north along Mission Creek as far as the soccer fields.

Near Five Palms, the continuing Merlin was seen in a large snag in a field east of the parking lot and in a tree south across the lake from Duck Island. An Allen's Hummingbird, first of season for most of us, was buzzing around and then perched for excellent viewing in the berry bushes along the creek near the lake end of the parking lot. Two Green Herons were together along the banks by Duck Island, a Red-Tailed Hawk was in a tree by the platform on Duck Island, and a Common Goldeneye was on the lake (not common here).

Tree Swallows and at least one Violet-Green Swallow were swirling over Duck Island and seriously checking out the nest boxes that Sandy so painstakingly places and monitors. Several Tree Swallows (and several House Sparrows...) were perched near or on or entering the nest boxes.

A lone American Pipit (also uncommon here) stood on the railroad tracks at the northeast end of the lake. This arm of the lake - Railroad Bay - is now once again under water as BART construction continues. Wilson's Snipes had been frequenting the muddy pools that have been there for months; today one Wilson's Snipe was in the reeds of New Marsh (north of the lake). The resident Loggerhead Shrike was in its favorite tree next to New Marsh. On the soccer lawns, we found a small flock of Greater White-Fronted Geese and more than one Cackling Goose. Red-Tailed Hawks are hanging around the nest that they successfully fledged young from last year atop a high tree near one of the octagonal red restrooms.

Here's a great pic of the Merlin that Sandy took last week:

The park is planning a special "Bird's Isle View" event for birders and photographers (ages 14-adult) on Saturday, May 12. Rangers Sandy and Sue will talk about the birds that nest and roost on Duck Island and then take participants out in a boat to tour the perimeter of the island to see nesting egrets and herons up close. The fee is $25 and participation is limited to two sessions; register online at www. For more information, call 510-790-5541.

Stephanie Floyd

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