Male Tufted Duck at Lake Merritt


This morning at Lake Merritt there was a male Tufted Duck in the scaup flock at
the El Embarcadero or Grand Lake Theater lobe of the lake. The tuft was very
short and only visible when the bird was awake; it looked like a single
dreadlock. The female Redhead was still present.

-- Emilie Strauss
Berkeley, California

PS Not sure if a male has been reported yet this season. Wasn't the Tufted Duck
reported earlier this season a female?

Hooded Merganser, Tilden


The male Hooded Merganser continued yesterday at dusk on Jewel Lake (Tilden RP, accessible from the Nature Area for those new to the area). There were 2 females as well, all seen in the SW corner of the lake trying to hide among the rather large numbers of Mallards for this time of year. I had never seen a male before and it's a beautiful bird! Maybe these are the same females as in years past and one of them was enable to entice this fellow for winter companionship.

Male Bufflehead and 2 Pie-Billed Grebes as well.

Jay Dodge

Heather Farm Birds in Walnut Creek


Yesterday I was surprised to see 21 Double-crested Cormorants in the cement pond in Heather Farm Park of Walnut Creek. Today I counted 25. I have not asked if the pond was recently stocked with fish, but I cannot think of another reason.

Also in the same pond this morning was a female Hooded Merganser. It has been several years since I have seen one in the park.

Two male and two female Buffleheads have been present for several days.

The White-throated Sparrow came out of the bushes south of the equestrian area at 8 AM.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Yellow-rumped Warbler defending a nectar feeder?

Charlotte Allen <c.allen@...>

There's a Yellow-rumped Warbler hanging out in my yard drinking
nectar from the Oriole feeder. It spends a lot of time chasing
Chestnut-backed Chickadees away and I wonder if it could be defending
its feeder as the Chickadees also spend a lot of time at the feeder.
The Yellow-rumped doesn't seem to be concerned with the Annas who
frequent the feeder, and they in turn ignore both the Chickadees and
the Yellow-rumped.

Charlotte Allen

Re: Merganser-Golden Eye hybrid

Travis Hails

The first few times I saw this bird, it was in Lake Merritt at the inlet/outlet.  The tide was incoming, and the flock of goldeneyes & the hybrid were diving against the current.  It wasn't until sometime later that it was reported at Laney College.
Travis Hails

--- On Mon, 12/6/10, Hilary Powers <hilary@...> wrote:

From: Hilary Powers <hilary@...>
Subject: Re: [EBB_Sightings] Merganser-Golden Eye hybrid
To: "Kim Burgess" <kimandajburgess@...>
Cc: EBB_Sightings@...
Date: Monday, December 6, 2010, 10:32 PM

On 12/6/2010 10:00 PM, Kim Burgess wrote:
Last Friday and today I saw what looked like a Hooded Merganser and
Goldeneye hybrid male in Lake Merritt.  He was located on the
westerly side of the lake, right in front of the apartment tower at 1
Lakeside Dr.  Each time he was with a Common Goldeneye female. ...
Cool - I wonder if this is a new visitor or our regular hoodie/goldeneye
cross.... That'd be a new location for our usual guy (who is apt to be
near the Nature Center, up at 12th Street, or over at Laney College),
and he tends to hang with the Barrow's Goldeneyes.

If you feed "hybrid goldeneye merganser lake merritt" to Google images,
the first two pictures are our regular guy. Is that who you saw? The
shoulder spikes are really distinctive.

-       Hilary Powers - hilary@... - Oakland CA        -
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-  "Making Word Work for You" -  -
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Pt Pinole (NO thrasher)

Laura Look <chamaea@...>

Today (Tues, Dec. 7), I hiked around Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond. I was unable to find the previous Brown Thrasher, but here're the consolation prizes:

Birds feeding in the toyon bushes near the beginning of the Bay View Trail included a female PURPLE FINCH (my first for Pt Pinole RS) and a Cedar Waxwing.

The birdy corner at the junction of the Bay View and Cook's Pt Trails included a Red-breasted Sapsucker and a tan-striped WHITE-THROATED SPARROW. This may be the same sparrow seen previously along the entrance trail.

A MERLIN flew past the Bay View Trail.

2 Lincoln's Sparrows -- one near the bridge over the RR tracks, the other with the sparrow flock near the pier.

2 White-tailed Kites -- one near the entrance, the other from the Marsh Trail.

1 Black Oystercatcher on the pilings near the pier.

Along the entrance trail was a hybrid male red/yellow-shafted Northern Flicker -- red nape, red mustache, orange wing linings.

Speaking of flickers, the last 2 days, late in the afternoon, I've seen a female apparent "Yellow-Shafted" Flicker from my back window at home in Pinole. She has a red nape, brown face, and gray head, consistent with yellow-shafted. The wing linings looked more golden than yellow to me when she flew, so either it was the lighting or she has a few red-shafted genes.

Good birding,
Laura Look
Pinole, CA

Volunteers Wanted for Eastern Alameda County CBC, December 17

Jeff Miller <jmiller@...>

The second annual Eastern Alameda County Christmas Bird Count will be held
on Friday, December 17. Great birding, fun birders, and free dinner

The count circle is in the vicinity of the towns of Sunol, Pleasanton and
Livermore, and includes five East Bay Regional Parks, significant SFPUC
watershed lands along upper Alameda Creek, and exciting East Bay birding
hotspots such as lower Mines Road, Sunol Wilderness, Calaveras Reservoir,
Lawrence Livermore National Lab, and Springtown Preserve.

Our inaugural count last year had over 75 volunteers who found 144 bird
species in the count circle. Highlight species from 2009 included bald
eagles, well over 20 golden eagles, prairie falcons, northern pygmy-owls,
short-eared owl, burrowing owl, Lewis' woodpecker, 176 yellow-billed
magpies, rock wrens, canyon wren, tri-colored blackbirds, and
rufous-crowned, lark, vesper, and grasshopper sparrows.

You can find information about the count here:

If you are interested in participating or being an area count leader, please
contact Rich Cimino, rscimino@..., (925) 353-0266.

Jeff Miller

Garretson Point 12/7 - BW Teals, Yellow Warbler

Lori Arthur <loriarthur61@...>

I did not find any Blue-winged Teals at the pond where they were originally
reported (Garretson Point Staging Area, at the end of Edgewater Drive, Oakland).
TEALS. I finally found one male and probably two female BLUE-WINGED TEALS in
the creek near Damon Slough Staging Area. They were all sleeping, making
identification of the females difficult.

Along with many YELLOW-RUMPED, a female YELLOW WARBLER was in the eucs along the
bay, just to the north of the Garretson Point parking area. It showed the
distinctive yellow tail spots and plain yellowish face/underparts of Yellow

There were a lot of sparrows in the bushes, mostly WHITE-CROWNED and
YELLOWLEGS, KILLDEERS, etc were with the ducks in the pond.

Noah Arthur, Oakland

Re: Merganser-Golden Eye hybrid

Hilary Powers <hilary@...>

On 12/6/2010 10:00 PM, Kim Burgess wrote:
Last Friday and today I saw what looked like a Hooded Merganser and
Goldeneye hybrid male in Lake Merritt. He was located on the
westerly side of the lake, right in front of the apartment tower at 1
Lakeside Dr. Each time he was with a Common Goldeneye female. ...
Cool - I wonder if this is a new visitor or our regular hoodie/goldeneye cross.... That'd be a new location for our usual guy (who is apt to be near the Nature Center, up at 12th Street, or over at Laney College), and he tends to hang with the Barrow's Goldeneyes.

If you feed "hybrid goldeneye merganser lake merritt" to Google images, the first two pictures are our regular guy. Is that who you saw? The shoulder spikes are really distinctive.

- Hilary Powers - hilary@... - Oakland CA -
- Freelance copyediting and developmental editing -
- "Making Word Work for You" - -
- The edit you want - online, on time, and on target -
- Salamander Feltworks NOW LIVE - -

Merganser-Golden Eye hybrid

Kim Burgess <kimandajburgess@...>

Last Friday and today I saw what looked like a Hooded Merganser and Goldeneye
hybrid male in Lake Merritt. He was located on the westerly side of the lake,
right in front of the apartment tower at 1 Lakeside Dr. Each time he was with a
Common Goldeneye female. I saw them around 4PM both days as I was walking along
the lake, but didn't notice them in the morning when going past the same

A J Burgess, Dublin

Lake Merritt Junco photos

Lori Arthur <loriarthur61@...>

With help from Kitty O'Neil, I was finally able to upload photos of the
possible 'PINK-SIDED' JUNCO from Lake Merritt to my rarity photos web page.
Here's the link to the photos:

Thanks to Kitty for re-sizing the photos so that they can be uploaded to a web

Noah Arthur, Oakland

better link to junco photos

Bruce Mast

For those of you who tried and failed to follow the Picasa link to the
photos of the possible Pink-sided Junco, here's a simpler link that should
go through uncorrupted.

From the main directory, you'll see the junco folder in the upper left hand

Bruce Mast

Some good news for raptors, eagles , Burrowing owls, Bats , song birds and conservationist

richard s. cimino

Audubon Society Chapters, California Attorney General and Wind Companies
Reach Agreement on Altamont Pass
Old wind turbines to be replaced with new turbines that are safer for birds
(Berkeley, California, December 6, 2010) In cooperation with the
California Attorney General's Office, five
Bay Area Audubon Society chapters and Californians for Renewable Energy
(CaRE) have reached an agreement
with wind energy operators owned by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, to
expedite the replacement of old wind
turbines in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area with new, larger wind
turbines that are less likely to harm
Golden Gate Audubon, Santa Clara Valley Audubon, Mt. Diablo Audubon,
Ohlone Audubon, and Marin
Audubon joined the Attorney General's Office in negotiating an agreement
that addresses the state's need for
renewable wind energy and the state's obligation to protect resident and
migratory birds.
"Our agreement sets an aggressive schedule for removing the
old-generation turbines and replacing them with
new-generation turbines that should substantially reduce impacts to
birds," said Michael Lynes, Conservation
Director with the Golden Gate Audubon Society. "According to experts
studying the Altamont Pass, the
removal of the old turbines and replacement with properly-sited turbines
may reduce impacts to birds by as
much as 80%."
Altamont Pass was heavily developed for wind power generation in the
late 1970s and early 1980s, eventually
including more than 5800 turbines covering a 56 mi2 area in eastern
Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. These
lands at one time provided ample habitat for birds and still serves as
an important migratory corridor for Golden
Eagles and other raptors. For much of the last decade, the Bay Area
Audubon chapters and the operating wind
companies have struggled to agree on ways to reduce impacts to birds,
bats and other wildlife while fostering
the environmental and economic benefits of wind energy generation in the
Altamont Pass.
The new agreement reflects the consensus of the Alameda County
Scientific Review Committee that the only
way to significantly reduce impacts to birds and keep wind energy
generation in Altamont Pass is to remove the
old-generation wind turbines and replace them with better sited,
new-generation models. And, regardless of
whether the NextEra Energy Resources companies replace all of their
turbines on this expedited schedule, they
have committed to ceasing all operations of their old turbines by the
end of 2015, three years before they are
required to do so under their current permits.
"This agreement addresses the problem arising throughout the state:
balancing the need for renewable energy
generation with subsequent impacts to wildlife," said Bob Power,
Executive Director of the Santa Clara Valley
Audubon Society. "We appreciate NextEra leading the way in the Altamont
Pass to remove the old turbines and
properly install new ones that should significantly reduce risks to
birds. We are also mindful that impacts to
wildlife will continue and the Audubon chapters will remain engaged in
conservation planning and advocacy on
behalf of birds and other wildlife in the Altamont Pass and throughout
the Bay Area."
Golden Gate Audubon Society, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Marin
Audubon Society, Mt. Diablo
Audubon Society, and Ohlone Audubon Society are independent nonprofit
organizations dedicated to protecting
birds, other wildlife, and their natural habitats. They conserve and
restore wildlife habitats, connect people of all
ages and backgrounds with the natural world, and educate and engage Bay
Area residents in the protection of
our shared, local environment.
Contact: Mike Lynes, Conservation Director, Golden Gate Audubon Society,

Pleasanton Red Winged Blackbirds

richard s. cimino

The Pleasanton detention pond on southwest side of Valley Ave. and
Laguna Creek Lane had 1500 Red-winged Blackbirds this afternoon about 2:25.
Take HY 680 to the Bernal exit headed east turn right on Valley Ave and
follow to the "turn about" the pond is on the southwest corner.
A low flying Red-tailed Hawk put about half - 750 each of the RWBB into
the air.
A few minutes later a Great Egret flew in low preparing to land, this
caused another large group of 600 + to take flight.
Then for several minutes additional smaller group's of RWBB continue to
fly out.
They all flew past the sports park baseball diamond field maybe 1000 ft
. in distance.
I drove around this agricultural field on Oak Vista Way to re-find the
RWBB which were easily seen in mass on the ground under the Cottonwood
Also in the area White-tailed Kites -2 , Wilson's Snipe - 2 and 45 Killdeer.
Zone 7 our local water carrier ( in Pleasanton ) this fall cut all the
field green growth on the islands in the detention pond closest to HY680.
Viewing the islands is much easier this year.
The eastern Alameda County - CBC is Friday December 17th.
Happy Holidays
Rich Cimino

singing juncos

Phila Rogers <philajane6@...>

Dear Birders:

The last couple of days juncos have been singing throughout my Berkeley Hills neighborhood.  Not only are they singing frequently and energetically, but they are including several song variations.

Why?  We're still two weeks away from the winter solstice and to begin declaring territory and attracting mates seems premature.  Still, bird song -- even the simple bell-like melody of one of the most abundant sparrows -- is especially welcome on these short, dark days.

Phila Rogers

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Re: Emeryville Black-throated Gray Warbler


The bird continues at 1:00 today in the line of trees on the grassy mound in front of Bucci's. The parking lot where these trees are is on Hollis at 59th. A Townsend's warbler was in the same area.

Stephanie Floyd

--- In EBB_Sightings@..., Kirk Swenson <khswenson@...> wrote:

The Emeryville Black-throated Gray Warbler has apparently returned to its
former location in the Heritage Square Parking lot (west side of Hollis
between 59th and 62nd streets). It was present Wednesday morning and this
(Friday) morning on my walk from the train station. Last year it spent most
of the winter at this location and I seem to recall one having been reported
from there in prior years as well.

Good birding,
Kirk Swenson
Davis <---> Emeryville

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Lake Merritt in the rain - gulls, junco

Lori Arthur <loriarthur61@...>

The unusual DARK-EYED JUNCO was still at Lake Merritt today, between the lawn
bowling lawns and the fountain. I have received two opinions on it so far, one
in favor of 'PINK-SIDED' and the other in favor of 'OREGON'. I photographed it
some more today, but unfortunately the new camera's photos can't upload to any

Also present in the area were many typical 'OREGON' JUNCOS, WHITE-CROWNED
and an AMERICAN ROBIN with a very pale back, pale and brown enough for me to
think it's probably leucistic.

Gull numbers are back up again at the lake. The bird paddock had many
mixed in. A third-cycle THAYER'S showed up at a bread feeding frenzy near the

Noah Arthur, Oakland

Berkeley Pier 12/05 (Black and White-winged Scoter, Pac. and Red-throated Loon)


I spent 2 hours out on the Berkeley Pier this morning from 7-9 am. There were lots of birds to sort through and glass calm waters making for an enjoyable morning. The real highlight was the female BLACK SCOTER that was first spotted on the south side of the pier about 1/3 of the way down. I then proceeded to the end of the pier where I found a female WHITE-WINGED SCOTER with a group of 5 SURF SCOTERS. Also out at the end of the pier were at least 8 RED-THROATED LOONS and 1 PACIFIC LOON. There must be at least 10 COMMON LOONS hanging around the pier and though the yellow-billed was not seen by me today it could easily have been on the other side of the break wall.

Good Birding,

Zach Baer
Berkeley, CA

Re: Lake Merritt 12/1

Bruce Mast

I finally had an opportunity to stop in at Lake Merritt to check on Noah's
Pink-sided Junco. I was able to quickly find the bird with the mixed flock
of Juncos, sparrows, robins, and butterbutts feeding around the big leaf
piles under the oaks to the east of the lawn bowling club. I've uploaded a
few diagnostic photos, heavily cropped but otherwise undoctored.

The photos show features that should be diagnostic for a female pink-sided:
pale gray face with darker lores, browner on the crest and nape of neck,
paler throat and bib that is lighter than the face and barely contrasts with
the belly, and extensive pinkish sides.


Bruce Mast

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB_Sightings@... [mailto:EBB_Sightings@...]
On Behalf Of Lori Arthur
Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2010 6:40 PM
To: EBB_Sightings@...
Subject: [EBB_Sightings] Lake Merritt 12/1

Sorry for the late post. I've been trying to load photos of the
possible 'Pink-sided' Junco onto my web page, but haven't been able to load
them so far. Lake Merritt's possible 'PINK-SIDED' JUNCO was in its usual
with the 'ORGEON' JUNCO flock between the fountain and the Lawn Bowling
Most of Lakeside Park's small birds seemed to have converged on this area.
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at the edge of the Botanic Garden.

Both numbers and diversity of waterbirds seemed waaay down from last Friday.
"bird paddock" was almost completely birdless, and the only gulls I saw were

GLAUCOUS-WINGED, WESTERN, and RING-BILLED. I didn't see any of the good
ducks (I
didn't spend much time on ducks), although there was one strange-looking
sleeping duck that may have been the Redhead. An immature GREEN HERON was on
edge of one of the islands, stabbing its bill into the back of a male
that came too close.  

I'll post the pictures of the Junco once I can get them onto my web page.

Noah Arthur, Oakland


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Blue-winged Teals at Garretson Point


On Saturday December 4th there was a pair of Blue-winged Teals in the freshwater pond near the Garretson Point Staging Area at the end of Edgewater Drive in Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline. The high tide at the Arrowhead Marsh boardwalk had the usual Clapper Rails and Soras.

- Joel Herr

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