Western Tanagers at Fairyland! Oh My!


The Lake Merritt/Lakeside Park trip (4th Wed. of the month at 9:30 AM), led by Ruth and Hillary had a fantastic day birding.
The highlight for me, was a pair of Western Tanagers near Fairyland.
(Location:, as you face Fairyland main entrance, take right path around backside of Fairyland train ride).
They are in the trees, about half way down the path, on the right and fly to the trees on the left, too. These gorgeous birds, first identified by Lewis and Clarke on their 1803-06 journey were so beautiful, a red/yellow crown, with a red forehead, and a yellow nape, very red throat.
I only got a minute view as they seemed shy, but oh so breathtaking!

The other special event for me was to witness a Cooper's Hawk flying into a small flock of sparrows and taking one in flight. I had never seen this. It happened in a split second.
The Cooper's was incredibly fast and could turn a 90 degree angle in a millisecond, I thought. We watched it greedily devour the sparrow and then take off, with a portion of it's lunch, to a nest in a tree further across the meadow.

Another highlight was the Black Phoebe nest in the corporation yard. Located on the building, between the 1st and 2nd window, going left to right, by the electrical tubing, high up. She is diligently sitting on her 2nd clutch of the season. Hard to spot but once spotted, a very nice find. I could have watched her all day! So sweet!

Other birds of the day:
Great Egret
Forster's Tern
Double Crested Cormorants
Cedar Waxwings
Downey Woodpecker
Bewick's Wren
Western Wood-Peewee
Lesser Scaup
Canada Geese and Goslings (in the Garden Center
Please call if you need better directions to the Western Tanagers. They are worth a trip to Lake Merritt!
Submitted by Ellen Gierson (510-593-8678)

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