Long-tailed Duck at Emeryville Marina

Noah Arthur

Today Bob Battagin and I had a great day birding various points along the East Bay shore from Richmond to San Leandro. Bob's duck wizardry came in handy at Emeryville Marina, where he picked out a female LONG-TAILED DUCK in with the flock of scaup and other ducks (to my eyes, little blobs of feathers with their heads tucked in) on the water across the street from Trader Vic's Restaurant. Hundreds of shorebirds were roosting on the riprap in this area, allowing close approach within a few yards, by far my best views ever of most of the species. Highlights here were several WHIMBRELS showing interesting variation in head and back patterns that you'd never notice at a distance.
For those who like impossible gull ID's, there was a candidate 'Vega' Gull (the AOU still considers Vega a subspecies of their vague, cosmopolitan "Herring Gull" entity) in with the gulls loafing on Emery Point: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73989529@N02/sets/72157632871787754/
San Leandro Marina and Oyster Bay didn't yield any rarities despite large numbers of gulls. 
Noah Arthur, Oakland

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