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Eastern Alameda CBC results

Jeff Miller <jmiller@...>
 

Thanks to all the birders who participated in the 9th annual Eastern Alameda Christmas Bird Count on December 15.

 

We had 157 species.

 

Best birds included Tundra Swan (flyover at Chain of Lakes, with photos), Greater Roadrunner (lower Mines Road), Lewis' Woodpecker (Koopman Ranch), 4 Cassin's Kingbirds (Clifford Road/Cedar Mt Winery), 13 Mountain Bluebirds (Cedar Mt Winery), 4 Clay-colored Sparrows (Castlewood Golf Course) and Harris's Sparrow (Doolan Road). Yellow-billed Magpie numbers and Golden Eagles seemed to be lower this year. Quite a few Prairie Falcons though.

 

A huge thanks to Rich Cimino who has run the Eastern Alameda CBC for the past 9 years.

 

Jeff Miller


Re: Ballena Bay Herring Run

Carla
 

The account of the people in the outrigger canoe harassing the surf scoters was very disturbing. Any time we witness the mistreatment of wildlife (or behavior that could lead to that) and there's an opportunity to report it, please do! Sometimes as with Ballena Bay, it is not obvious who has jurisdiction but if it's near a known entity, e.g. EBRPD, you could still call it in and they will refer the case to the proper authority.

For EBRPD incidents, here are a few numbers to have on hand:

(510) 881-1833 non emergency

(510) 881-1121 emergency

Every EBRPD park has a designated supervisor who may or may not be on-site, as they cover more than one park, but are able to deploy rangers to the scene. I've called in drones on a few occasions (illegal in EBRPD and many parks) and reported people using slingshots (not allowed). In the latter case, the park supervisor went charging out looking for the individuals himself! As one EBRPD Director said to me, "If you don't tell us, we won't know about it, so please let us know!"

Thanks,
Carla Din
Oakland


Gomes Park (12/22/17) - immature Swamp Sparrow

Jerry Ting
 

Yet another Swamp Sparrow in Fremont and this one is an immature and much easier to see.  I found this SWSP at the west end of Gomes Park (black gate to the golf course).  It was foraging along the creek bank (for some grass seeds) from the last house to the footbridge in golf course with several Lincoln's Sparrows and one Song Sparrow the entire time during my observation.  This is the same location where Bill Chen found a juvenile Field Sparrow and Clay-colored Sparrow back in October.  Here is my eBird report with shots of it and other birds:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41259160

Gomes Park is on the east side of Lake Elizabeth and there is a golf course with trail access in between.

Happy Birding,

Jerry Ting
Fremont 



Clayton Community park

Jerry Britten
 

I birded Clayton Community park for an hour or so late morning today, among 35 species highlights were 2 phainopepla and a purple finch.  This is a very birdy area, with tons of frugivorous (sp?) birds, and the most reliable place in my opinion to see phainopepla in central contra costa county.  

Ebird checklist with some photos here.

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41256132


Jerry Britten, Morgan Territory.



Heather Farm Walnut Creek Friday morning

rosita94598
 

David Kent and I found each other at the wooden railing by the large pond this morning.  I showed him the Merlin which was sitting atop a power pole across the pond and between the two rings at the equestrian area.  I had first seen it while I was on the far side of the pond, and it stayed there quite a while.  As we approached the dog park end of the large pond, the Merlin streaked over us, across N. San Carlos Drive and on across the ball fields. 

Otherwise, it was a typical morning, lots of winter ducks, a couple of P-B Grebes, the Common Gallinule, American Goldfinches and a Pine Siskin along the dog park, and a couple of river otters frolicking in the pond near the Seven Hills School. We saw them from the Contra Costa Canal bike trail.  The north ball fields had at least 21 Killdeer today along with a fair number of Canada Geese.  David and I had already checked for a Cackling Goose, but had no luck.  The Snow Goose from last weekend seems to have found another home.

Yesterday, Fred Safier, Tracy Farrington and I had pretty much the same along with a Hermit Thrush and two Lincoln's Sparrows on the east side of the big pond.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek



Golden Eagle - Antioch - 12/22

Paul Schorr
 

At 11:30 this morning, on a return trip from Brentwood, I drove to the south end of Heidorn Ranch Rd. in Antioch, and watched a Golden Eagle soaring over the tilled fields along the road. At times the eagle was directly overhead, offering very good, close views.

Good birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch


Coyote Hills (12/21/17) - Swamp Sparrow, Hooded Merganser

Jerry Ting
 

I re-found the Swamp Sparrow reported on 12/17 on east section of DUST Trail this (12/19/2017) afternoon around 4:20pm.  It was seen on the Alameda Creek Trail side of DUST Marsh between the 8th and 10th swallow box on DUST Trail after the turn.  I was able to acquire a couple of distant shots for identification and they can be seen in my eBird report:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41243076

There were several (at least 4) Wilson's Snipes also seen in the DUST Marsh.  A female Belted Kingfisher perched on a dead tree nearby constantly making rattling calls. A female Hooded Merganser was seen in the channel before reaching Quarry Parking lot on the park entrance road on my way in.

Happy Birding,

Jerry Ting
Fremont



Info on banded Snow Goose at Arrowhead

verne_nelson@...
 

Gail West was able to get the complete number off of the band of the snow goose I reported at Arrowhead the other day. She got information back from the USGS.

INFORMATION FROM OUR FILES:
Species: Lesser Snow Goose
Date banded: 08/01/2011
Banding Location: IKPIKPUK RIVER DELTA, NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH, ALASKA, USA
Age: WAS TOO YOUNG TO FLY WHEN BANDED IN 2011
Sex: FEMALE

I uploaded a satellite screen shot of its birthplace breeding grounds on Alaska's North Slope.


http://bit.ly/2BfJSSt


Common Mergansers - Antioch City Reservoir - 12/21

Paul Schorr
 

This afternoon I needed to run an errand to the Event Center at Lone Tree Golf Course in Antioch. I checked out the Antioch City Reservoir nearby and spotted 75+ Common Mergansers. Many had joined a feeding frenzy created by at least twelve American White Pelicans. Twenty Snowy Egrets had joined also, closely following/chasing the pelicans in the shallow water.

Good birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch


White-throated Sparrow - Antioch yard - 12/21

Paul Schorr
 

This afternoon while checking out the many White- and few Golden-crowned Sparrows in our yard, a White-striped White-throated Sparrow suddenly appeared from the shrubs. Early, and welcomed Christmas surprise!

Good birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch


Harris's Sparrow continues in Livermore

mskrentz
 

Harris's Sparrow (found originally by Bob Dunn) was seen again this morning in sparrow flock at same location of 5658 Doolan Road. Our group of 5 birders was lucky to see it as we arrived at 10:30 AM sitting up on a dirt mound. It flew slightly south to a small bridge and perched again.

Mary Krentz



Re: Best EB spots for stationary birding?

Lori Stoneman
 

Geeze...just caught another error in my msg- should have been "fee to get in". So sorry, I'll proofread better in the future!
Lori

On Dec 18, 2017 5:11 PM, "dvdrobinson@... [EBB_Sightings]" <EBB_Sightings-noreply@...> wrote:
 

Hi folks. Due to a knee injury, I'm having trouble hiking/walking. I'd be grateful for suggestions on East Bay birding spots where one can remain stationary (whether seated or standing) and still do some satisfying birding..


Thank you!


David R.


Re: Best EB spots for stationary birding?

Lori Stoneman
 

Oops...self-correction error in last message, should have read "Golden Eagle or Osprey"

On Dec 18, 2017 5:11 PM, "dvdrobinson@... [EBB_Sightings]" <EBB_Sightings-noreply@...> wrote:
 

Hi folks. Due to a knee injury, I'm having trouble hiking/walking. I'd be grateful for suggestions on East Bay birding spots where one can remain stationary (whether seated or standing) and still do some satisfying birding.


Thank you!


David R.


Re: Best EB spots for stationary birding?

Lori Stoneman
 

Have you been to Shadow Cliffs? It's got picnic benches near the lake where you can sit and bird watch. If you're lucky, you can catch a Golden Eagle and/or I sorry. Phainopepla at times too...among others. There is a few to get in and it can be busy on weekends. Here's the link:
Hope your knee heals soon.
Good Birdrng,
Lori

On Dec 18, 2017 5:11 PM, "dvdrobinson@... [EBB_Sightings]" <EBB_Sightings-noreply@...> wrote:
 

Hi folks. Due to a knee injury, I'm having trouble hiking/walking. I'd be grateful for suggestions on East Bay birding spots where one can remain stationary (whether seated or standing) and still do some satisfying birding.


Thank you!


David R.


Hybrid Ross's x Snow goose at MLK Arrowhead

David Yeamans
 

My opinion on the reported Ross's goose at MLK Arrowhead Marsh is that it's a hybrid ROGO x SNGO. The photos at https://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41217522 show:

1. Smaller size than SNGO (But that in itself isn't enough to make the ROGO determination.)
2. Flat head rather than rounded, making the forehead/bill angle less than ROGO and greater than SN
GO,
3. Bill has a grin patch smaller than SNGO and bigger than ROGO.

The hybrid is a definite possibility, and, just for interest, less likely than the ROGO.

I hunted again in Saskatchewan this year with two wildlife biologists from FWS.gov.  One got very excited when he found a hybrid in our daily bag. He called over the other expert (they both studied snow geese in Canada for their graduate school work). The other expert, without coaching, made the same call -- hybrid. I took a cell phone photo of the bird flanked by a ROGO and a SNGO. The hybrid looks just like the one at MLK.



The upside of down

Noah Arthur
 

(Couldn't resist this Chris August album name for the title of this post...)

The loss of birding opportunities in San Leandro is likely to actually benefit the birds themselves, I think. Gulls' feet can be harmed by standing around on concrete (such as the Marina parking lots where they currently loaf). With their loafing areas gone and the landfill driving them away, these gull populations will likely disperse to more healthy habitats. Likewise, with public access to parts of the Marina closed and boating activity greatly curtailed, reducing disturbance to birds, the ducks, shorebirds, and other waterbirds that use the Marina area will hopefully prosper, even if they do so out of sight of our binoculars and cameras...

Noah


Birding Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline

Noah Arthur
 

There is still some good birding available at Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline in San Leandro, although much of the former landbird habitat has been bulldozed (I'm not sure why). Most of the southern half of the park remains intact, including sparrow habitat along the park's southern edge and around the Neptune Drive entrance (there's been a sparrow flock on the hillside just northwest of this entrance recently). 

Due to obstruction of the view by a newly constructed building and a new plume of hot air (?) being released by the landfill that causes heat shimmer, it is no longer possible to scope the gulls foraging on the landfill from the east side of the park.

For gulls, ducks, and shorebirds, there is still "Tufted Duck Slough" on the north side of the park. For gulls, it's best to bird this slough on a high outgoing tide, when gulls visit from the landfill to bathe and slowly float outwards with the tide. Despite concerns about parking at the end of Davis Street last year, I haven't yet gotten in trouble for parking there, and often see various trucks parked there (including at least one taco truck!). But if you feel safer, you can also park at the Neptune Drive entrance and walk to the slough (some hill-climbing involved). 

I would urge local birders/gullers to hit this area hard in the coming months, as this may be our last chance! Construction could resume at Oyster Bay any day now, which will likely close off access to some areas and could involve more bulldozing. And, as I said in my last post, gull control efforts will probably commence at the landfill in the near future as well, putting an end to the gull action. 

Noah


Total closure of San Leandro Marina upcoming

Noah Arthur
 

I have heard from a local policeman -- and confirmed online -- that the entire San Leandro Marina will be indefinitely closed to the public in a couple of months, for a redevelopment project that will include the construction of hotels, restaurants, and other new businesses and housing developments. The former par course area will be condos. Combined with increasingly difficult access and construction projects at Oyster Bay, this marks the end of the San Leandro shoreline birding era. (And consequently, from now on, species such as Glaucous and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Wandering Tattler, and White-winged Scoter will be more difficult or impossible in the county.) 

It is also very likely that the improvements at the Marina will precipitate gull control efforts at the nearby Davis Street landfill (behind Oyster Bay), so the limited remaining gull viewing opportunities on the north side of Oyster Bay will probably be lost as well, at least when the Marina project is completed and perhaps sooner. 

Noah 


Ballena Bay Herring Run

Michael Park
 

I have been intrigued by sightings from Ballena Bay over the past week -- high counts of common species such as SURF SCOTER and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, and reports of rare birds -- RHINOCEROS AUKLET and LONG-TAILED DUCK.

Yesterday, 12/19, I took a visit around 330PM. I found that gulls were swarming in the breakwater although not in the numbers that Bob Richmond reported and a very large raft of 2000 or more Surf Scoter. I didn't locate any of the rare birds, but they could have been around.

The raft of birds was regularly disturbed by a couple on an outrigger canoe. Their intention was clear. Because as soon as the raft reformed, they charged out paddling at full effort until the birds dispersed. I observed this 3 times over the course of an hour.

This did present difficulties in scoping the raft.

On the breakwater fishermen were casting net and line. I could see that Pacific Herring, on line and in buckets, were present. As the tide ebbed, roe could be seen on emergent marine algae.

This herring run has been ongoing, and may be ending. I am basing this is the amount of roe that could be seen.

Michael Park
Berkeley


Ferruginous Hawks, Wildcat Canyon

Alan Krakauer
 

This was new for me in the park: 2 light-morph ferruginous hawks. I saw the first one on the ridge trail between the Clark Rd. trail and Nimitz Trail flying north. The second one was hunting and gave good views just to the north of the junction between Havey Canyon and Wildcat Creek trails.

Not bird related, but I saw somewhere around 15 coyotes along the Belgum -> San Pablo Ridge -> Havey Canyon loop. Pretty cool.

Alan Krakauer
Richmond, CA

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