North Richmond Shoreline census

Eddie Bartley

11/15/2012 - David Anderson and I counted peeps for the Pacific Flyway
Shorebird survey in the North Richmond shoreline area in perfect weather for
that sort of thing. The hardest part of this type of survey is ignoring
non-focus birds, in this case anything that is not a shorebird or raptor.

We located two YELLOW WARBLERS just outside the office doors of the West
County Wastewater Plant as we went in to sign in. In the treatment plant
settling ponds along with many hundreds of peeps (mostly Least Sandpipers)
we had a single BONAPARTE'S GULL actively feeding near Mew (68), Ring-billed
and California Gulls who were loafing. Pipits were seemingly everywhere, at
least 100 I'd estimate although we weren't counting them. Only a single
WILSON's SNIPE but we were in a bit of a hurry, much territory to cover. Bet
there is something really interesting in all that.

We split up after the treatment plan and David called me from the Landfill
Loop when he spotted a PALM WARBLER - neat-o!

I went north and covered the Richmond Jetty and then on to the tip of Pt.
Pinole. An OSPREY was perched on a piling near the jetty, counted 13 Black
Turnstones, one SURFBIRD, nearly 350 Willets plus a few Godwits, Whimbrels
and a few small Calidris flocks were about. Many American Wigeon and about a
dozen CANVASBACKS were chilling. On the short drive over to Point Pinole I
saw a MERLIN perched near where the road goes over the RR tracks.

The long slog out to Point Pinole did not seem all that productive for
shorebirds but by the end of it I counted about 300 Least/Western
Sandpipers, picking up Spotted Sandpipers the further toward the point I
went. As afternoon came on the wind calmed to almost nothing and birds in
the uplands got really busy perhaps inspired by the pressure drop. I heard a
Lincoln's Sparrow mixed in with the Zonos and Juncos. A Nuttall's woodpecker
was fun to see, working on a Euc even - I hadn't remembered them being at
this site. Raptors were very active as well with Kites, Red-shoulders and
Red-tails mixing it up.

Once I reached the point I was done with the counting and birded the main
trail on the way back. I haven't birded this park in a few years - it
appears that there has been some restoration work, perhaps a controlled burn
and some oak and pine trees and native shrubs have been planted. It was
hands down the largest sparrow flocks I've seen this season, mostly all Zono
Sparrows and Juncos but a few others as well. It didn't take very long to
locate a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW of the tan stripped persuasion in amongst
them. The number of WESTERN BLUEBIRDS was off the hook and they were loosely
associating with Yellow-rumped warblers and American Goldfinches. I estimate
between 40 & 60 bluebirds were working the field, I can't remember ever
seeing that many there, or maybe anywhere at one time.

Happy Trails!

Eddie Bartley
San Francisco

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