Date   

Pt. Pinole Allens Hummingbirds

Sheila Dickie
 

There were two male Allens Hummingbirds at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park yesterday afternoon, January 28. One at the pond off Owl Alley and one on the Sobrante
Trail near the chip pile. The former was on top of a bramble and the latter on Coyote Brush.

A White-tailed Kite was also present at the meadow opposite the new Atlas parking lot harassing a Red Tail hawk sitting atop a small tree.

Sheila Dickie
Richmond


Pt inole

Sheila Dickie
 


Barn Owl at Lake Chabot

Emily Serkin
 

This evening, a little before 5, a Barn Owl was flying around the meadow just downhill from the Nike Classroom.
Emily Serkin
Castro Valley


Nesting Anna's and Ruby-crowned Kinglet with ruby crown showing

George A Suennen
 

Hello,

Took a walk yesterday afternoon at the Canyon Trail Park in El Cerrito and saw many Ruby-crowned Kinglets, one with his red crown clearly visible. Also saw many Anna's Hummingbirds, with one female on it's next. Seems early in the year for these signs of Spring.

Other birds sighted were Lesser Goldfinch, House Finch, White-crowned Sparrow, American Robin, Dark-eyed Junco, California Towhee, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a White-tailed Kite. At first I thought the Kite was a seagull gliding by overhead, but it circled and flew like a raptor. After looking at the photos I confirmed it was a White-tailed Kite.

I posted some photos on my website at http://birds.avianist.com/2018/180127-Canyon-Trail


Best Regards,
George
http://birds.avianist.com


Three California Thrashers singing along Nimitz Way from Inspiration Point to Wildcat Peak

Lee Friedman
 

I birded from Inspiration Point to Wildcat Peak along the Nimitz Way this morning. I think the highlight is the beginning seasonal change: three California Thrashers were singing mightily at different points (two on opposite sides of the trail about 100 yards north of the Redwood Grove, the third past the 1.5 mile marker and just before entering the long Eucalyptus strand which ends at the Wildcat Peak cutoff trail). Hearing just one is reason enough for me to go birding. At the 1.5 mile marker there was also a Northern Harrier hovering briefly over a field by the EBMUD-Tilden border. Six Pygmy Nuthatches in conifers near Inspiration Point were sharing the trees with a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Hutton’s Vireo, Townsend’s Warbler and Hairy Woodpecker. 


My reference to beginning seasonal change is also prompted by the singing all this month of the Oak Titmice in my north Berkeley neighborhood—a phenomenon that occurs every year, but usually not until March.


Full eBird list of the Inspiration Point outing with 24 species and some photos is here:

https://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42291103


Good birding,

Lee Friedman


Re: Contra Costa county 1/17 WINTER WREN, Hooded Oriole

John Sterling
 

I looked for the Wren a couple of days ago and heard what I think was a Pacific Wren at that location. I discussed it with Logan. There may be two different birds there so Logan is sending his recording to friends at Cornell to see what they think. 


John Sterling
530 908-3836
26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695

On Jan 18, 2018, at 10:13 AM, Logan Kahle logan@... [EBB_Sightings] <EBB_Sightings-noreply@...> wrote:

 

Hi All,

Had a fun day bouncing around some of my favorite Contra Costa county patches yesterday in mostly foggy weather.

Off to a late start in the morning, I decided to cover my newly-found favorite Richmond hotspot, Point San Pablo. It was decently active overall, but activity was patchier than I am used to for this spot. Several sections (e.g. the area just north of the county park) that are normally full of birds were completely quiet. Highlights included:

Northern Pintail-1 is a scarce bird on bayside CoCo
Pelagic Cormorant-2
Red-shouldered Hawk-1 immature was a good bird here
Black-bellied Plover-27
Black Turnstone-7
Dunlin-83
Least Sandpiper-17
Western Sandpiper-6
Spotted Sandpiper-1
Willet-1
Allen's Hummingbird-1 was one of several today. This species seems to have arrived in good quantities in the past few days
Red-breasted Nuthatch-1 at the county park
Brown Creeper-1 in the oaks, where the species does not breed
WINTER WREN-1 (see below)
Orange-crowned Warbler-2
Townsend's Warbler-1
Pine Siskin-1

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41992018

A little bit of background and commentary about the Winter Wren. If you are not interested in chasing this bird you can skip the next five paragraphs. In case there was any confusion this is referring to the nominate eastern species, a rare vagrant to California, and not to our resident Pacific Wrens. Two weeks ago, on 1/2, in the afternoon, Augie Kramer and I were birding around the Railroad tracts that run out of the Marina when I heard a bird that sounded to me like a Winter Wren. However, the bird was distant, quiet, and seemed to shut up for long periods of time. At least at that distance and at that time, it did not respond to playback. My recording attempts were unsuccessful. Furthermore, there was a flag chinking right next to us, and I couldn't fully distinguish if the sound was a Winter Wren or the flag (!) Anyway, today upon pulling off at the top of the hill, I was shocked to hear the bird calling right next to the road. I got some recordings, played a bit of playback, and the bird came right in, calling aggressively. I only got a very fleeting glimpse of the bird, and nothing that could have aided in the ID. However, it was calling persistently for over 15 minutes.

Pending acceptance by the CBRC, this would represent the first Contra Costa and East Bay record, bringing the county list up to 369 species NIB. Thanks to John Sterling and Rob Fowler for ID confirmation in the field.

Now notes on chasing and seeing the bird. If more than 3 or so people are chasing this birds at the same time, parking will be a small issue. There is a single pulloff (pulloff 1) very near the wren spot. This spot can hold 1, possibly 2, cars. Other than that there is a second pulloff (pulloff 2) about a quarter mile down farther up the road. This can hold another couple cars. Another 150 yards farther up road there is another, slightly larger pulloff (pulloff 3). This can probably hold 3 cars or so. If all of these spots are full, there is also parking in the Marina. However, keep in mind the Marina is technically private. I have talked with the owner and warned her of potential visitors but if you do find yourself needing to use the Marina parking please 1) be courteous of the homeowners and 2) park only in the lot that runs east-west. The lot that runs north-south past the railroad tracks are for homeowners only. These spots have been outlined at the following map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?ll=37.96361050011325%2C-122.42269677151529&z=17&mid=1ek7MCdtL7X652saKv2z7PPeZM0LzPtkG Again, this will only be an issue if more than a couple people are chasing this bird at the same time which (given that its in Contra Costa) may be unlikely.

As for seeing/hearing the bird, this bird has so far been extremely skulky. Anyone wishing a good view will likely have to bring some patience. It has so far been seen at two locations. Those spots are both visible on the above map. The bird seems to range quite a bit up and down the blackberry/willow ravine. The bird's vocal activity seems to correspond with time of day. In the morning the bird seems quite vocal, but in the afternoon much less so. The bird can remain quiet for many minutes on end. I ask that playback be used sparingly if at all to ensure the bird doesn't get "taped out". If the bird does stop responding to playback, managing a view could be nearly impossible. So, if you must used playback, please try to keep it to just a few rounds.

Also, for anyone chasing this bird I strongly recommend checking out the whole area (Point San Pablo) on your visit. The place is huge, full of birds, and ludicrously under-covered. A map with my top favorite birding spots on the peninsula can be seen here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1ybzhGCESOKx8gaEwR3YmxEPV2Gc&ll=37.95791045852934%2C-122.41802035&z=14

Recordings of the bird can be found here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41992018

Anyway, back to the birding I continued on to Miller/Knox. Landbird activity was decent as was the pond, but the bay was deader than usual. Highlights during the brief visit included:
Eurasian Wigeon-4 (3 males and a female)
Common Loon-1
Osprey-1
Cooper's Hawk-1
White-throated Swift-10
Allen's Hummingbird-1
Orange-crowned Warbler-1

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41995347


I proceeded to Canal Boulevard, where a flyby Red-throated Loon was the soul highlight. Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41996854


From there I headed over to the S 51st st entrance to the Bay trail and Meeker slough. At this point it was already high tide, and so shorebirds were concentrated near the breakwater at meeker. Interestingly, though, the high tide roost seemed to consist almost entirely of avocets. Shorebirds numbers included:
American Avocet-400
Marbled Godwit-1
Black Turnstone-3
Least Sandpiper-1

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41997434


Blasting east I stopped at waterbird regional preserve. The water levels were high and while shorebirds seemed nonexistant, diving duck numbers were high and dabblers were average. Highlights included:
Mute Swan-1 was more of a lowlight
Ring-necked Duck-2 were uncommon here, perhaps early migrants?
Glaucous-winged Gull-1
Great-tailed Grackle-6

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42015620


Heading on to east county I stopped first at Jersey Island mostly prospecting for potential shorebird habitat revitalized by recent rains. No joy. No real highlights here to mention, but the full eBird checklist can be seen here http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42002031


Proceeding to Bethel, the habitat was much improved from a visit two days ago. The hole field south of harbor east of bethel island road was flooded and had plentiful ducks and shorebirds. I checked the fields, Piper Slough, Franks Tract, willowest marina. Duck numbers on Franks Tract and piper were decent but not exceptional. Highlights here included:
Mute Swan-26 present where this species used to be rare. Disheartening to see these invasive creatures spread through the county over time
Ring-necked Pheasant-7 was the most I have seen in the county at one time. Possibly indicates release?
American Coot-7800 is their regular concentration here
Black-necked Stilt-7
Least Sandpiper-60
Wilson's Snipe-3
Greater Yellowlegs-11
Lesser Yellowlegs-2
Mew Gull-1
Western Gull-1
ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD-1 the population at Willowest Marina has returned on time with the rest of the county's populations
Merlin-1
House Wren-1
Orange-crowned Warbler-1
HOODED ORIOLE-1 adult male at Willowest Marina may represent the only winter record for the county away from the clifton birds.


I ended the day with a quick stop at Byron WTP. Unfortunately time commitments thwarted my attempt to end at Clifton Court, but this stop was nonetheless productive. The fields south of the ponds, sporadically flooded, were flooded now and brimming with birds, including a very diverse (5 species) goose flock. Highlights here included:
Snow Goose-5
Ross's Goose-1
Greater White-fronted Goose-1
Cackling Goose-2
Canvasback-1
Hooded Merganser-1
Black-necked Stilt-6
Long-billed Curlew-103 was a nice count for the county
Wilson's Snipe-2
Greater Yellowlegs-1
Herring Gull-7
Iceland (Thayer's) Gull-1
Horned Lark-5

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42016420

Anyway, was nice to bounce around the county once again, and had a nice total of 128 species, a good count considering it was only a 7 hour day and I didn't cover any interior areas, hence missing birds like Oak Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, etc

Good birding,
Logan Kahle
San Francisco, CA



Contra Costa county 1/22 Herring Run, East county local rarities, etc

Logan Kahle
 

Hi all,

Spent a great day with Dominik Mosur bouncing around some of my favorite Contra Costa county spots. We hit relatively few spots compared to my average visit, focusing more on thoroughly checking each spot we did hit. The morning started with low fog throughout the bayside, cleared on the bayside but was still overcast for the afternoon in East county.

We decided to mix up the route somewhat, skipping Pt. Isabel and Meeker Slough. We started at Vincent Park, checking the channel, harbor, and adjacent shoreline. Duck and diver numbers seemed low to me, but shorebird numbers more than made up for the dearth:
Red-throated Loon-1
Common Loon-1
Horned Grebe-20 was a nice count
Pelagic Cormorant-4
Black Oystercatcher-3
Black-bellied Plover-1
Long-billed Curlew-2
Marbled Godwit-4
Black Turnstone-50 was a good count in the county, but the flock unfortunately included no Ruddies
Sanderling-42 was a good count for the county
Dunlin-50
Least Sandpiper-8
"Thayer's" Iceland Gull-1 was mixed in with a large gull group of primarily Ring-billed and California at the lawn at dawn

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42154778

We proceeded to Canal Boulevard Viewing Platform for another look at the channel. Similarly small numbers of ducks, but many more birds were visible beyond Brook's Island. Highlights here included:

Brant-1 southbound flyby was my first in the county in a while
Red-breasted Merganser-1 was a good bird for here
Red-throated Loon-5 included 4 past brook's and 1 just 20 meters or so off the platform (!)
Black Oystercatcher-2
Black-bellied Plover-3
Long-billed Curlew-2
Marbled Godwit-2
Sanderling-120 was a very good count for the county
Dunlin-2
Least Sandpiper-15

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42155573


From there we headed to Point San Pablo where we spent a large amount of time exploring the various spots around the point. We started at the Ship Hull overlook where we witnessed a MASSIVE movements of Cormorants into the San Pablo Bay from across the bridge, presumably originating at the Chevron Pier Roost site. We estimated of 9000 Cormorants, which seems to likely be indicative of a HERRING RUN in this part of the bay just off San Quentin. The majority of the Cormorants were streaming to two different feeding sites, one off San Quentin and one just north of the Point San Pablo. While it was just attracting cormorants at this stage (so likely the fish haven't layed yet?) this may turn into a massive multi-family feeding frenzy in the next week, so stay tuned! Anyway, after the Ship Hull overlook we proceeded to the county park, where we spent a good amount of time checking the willows and adjacent areas on the immediate bayside. From there we headed to the pond and briefly checked around the edge. We then spent a good chunk of time walking around the oak ravines. We received one negative comment by a marina resident for parking in spot #3 as described in my Winter Wren post. By the time we got to the oaks activity had already dwindled significantly, and there was just a single main flock. Early morning appears to be best on this side of the peninsula. Anyway, highlights here included:

Surf Scoter-1500 was a good count here
Red-throated Loon-14
Pelagic Cormorant-30
Brandt's Cormorant-30
Double-crested Cormorant-6000 this was a great count of cormorants for the county, and the largest I know of
Cormorant sp-2500
Osprey-1
Sharp-shinned Hawk-2
Red-breasted Nuthatch-4
Brown Creeper-1 at county park was my first for that site
ROCK WREN-1 continuing awesome find by Colin, hopping around cement blocks just before road turns near pond

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42161471


From there we blasted straight out to the bethel island area, briefly checking Summer Lake for any potential Boneparte's Gull concentrations. Highlights here included:

Boneparte's Gull-2
Forster's Tern-4

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42163219


From there we spent a large amount of time on Bethel Island. We started at Piper Slough, working through the ducks and searching for passerines. We then hit Willowest Marina, Frank's Tract overlook, and ended with an intensive search of the Golf Course in the middle of the island, an area I've never covered in the past. Passerine activity was quite high for the afternoon, and we found a nice assortment of ducks in the channel. Highlights included:
Cackling Goose-1 in with White-fronts was unusual to be perched on the island
Ring-necked Duck-2 were uncommon for the island
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER-1 female-type just off Piper Slough was rare in East county, and my first
Ruddy Duck-1080 was a nice count for the county
Ring-necked Pheasant-4 in the same spot as last time
Sora-1
Common Gallinule-2 on Franks Tract were a good bird for the island
American Coot-19000 constituting 9000 from Piper and 10000 from Frank's Tract was a good count
Black-necked Stilt-15
Killdeer-46
Least Sandpiper-8
Long-billed Dowitcher-6
Greater Yellowlegs-6
Lesser Yellowlegs-3
Mew Gull-1
Allen's Hummingbird-1 at traditional Willowest spot
Prairie Falcon-1 over golf course was a rarity for Bethel
HUTTON'S VIREO-1 photographed at Piper is the first documented record for East county
BROWN CREEPER-1 well-seen at willowest was the first record for this well-covered island, and one of few for east county
"Myrtle" Yellow-rumped Warbler-1

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42167915


We ended the day with a brief stop at Clifton Court, scanning from the parking lot. Northing exceptional was noted here, but a flock of at least 25,000 gulls stretched across the eastern shoreline of the forebay. For any larophiles out there, clifton court at dusk could be great in the next few evenings!

All in all it was a great day afield with 133 species noted.

Good birding,
Logan Kahle
San Francisco, CA


Barrow's Goldeneye and Tricolored Blackbird - Contra Loma R. P., Antioch - 1/23

Paul Schorr
 

At 12:30 today, from Channel Point Parking Lot, we were observing a raft of ~ 15 goldeneyes, when a male Barrow’s popped into view. This was our first sighting of this species at the park/reservoir. In addition, later in the day, there were several large flocks of blackbirds and starlings in the grassy margins of the gravel parking lot directly south of the entrance to Channel Point. Included in the mixed flock of European Starlings, Brewer’s and Red-winged Blackbirds was at least one Tricolored Blackbird.

In addition, we had a seven-raptor species day: Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Harrier, White-tailed Kite, American Kestrel and Turkey Vulture. There were also at least 20 Common Gallinules dispersed in different locations on the reservoir

Good birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch


Laysan Albatross - Carquinez Strait - Contra Costa County

Eric Pilotte
 

From 7:40am until 9:05am I watched a Laysan Albatross trying to find its way back to the sea while trapped within the confines of the Carquinez Strait.  At times the bird flew along the Contra Costa side of the strait, at others it was seen flying on the Solano side (including within Benicia State Recreation Area).  More details, including pix and videos, are in eBird.  Unfortunately, the bird had left by 10:30am despite multiple observers.

 

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42187795

 

Eric Pilotte

Benicia, CA




Peregrines

peter dramer
 

Peregrines have returned to the Campanile at the UC Berkeley campus.


Wingbar "Oregon" Junco in Concord, CoCo County

albertlinkowski
 

Several days ago I had the opportunity to photograph this "odd" looking Oregon type of Junco. This one can only be untypical regular "Oregon" type, aberrant one, or perhaps intergrade ( if only possible) of Oregon "with White-winged?


All opinions and comments are welcome,


Albert W. Linkowski


http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41858598



Re: White Faced Ibis

Don Bernstein <donb@...>
 

I stopped by today, and saw 5 Ibis. Their eye color has been shifting to red over the winter.

On 1/21/2018 9:00 PM, Don Bernstein wrote:

I returned to Wildcat Marsh (at the end of Parr Blvd) in Richmond Friday for the first time in a while, and was happy to see the four first-year Ibis are all still there. On a few trips I had only seen two or three, so I was worried that one had perished, but it's just a little standoffish.


--
Don Bernstein


--
Don Bernstein


Palo Alto Adult School birding classes

Matthew Dodder
 

Folks,

Palo Alto Adult School's birding program continues this winter with three popular classes.
There is still room in some classes, so please check the website for details:




Matthew Dodder
Mountain View


Winter Pelagic Feb 24 and Alvaro's Adventures Pelagic schedule 2018

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Hello Bay Area and Monterey Bay Folks

 

Thanks so much for the participation in last year’s trips. We really appreciate it. We saw some awesome birds out there, rarity of the season was the Wedge-tailed Shearwater we photographed near Half Moon Bay. Of course all sorts of other goodies were seen, including our fine regular seabirds which we are always happy to enjoy. We are looking forward to 2018. Here are some news:

  1. We have a winter pelagic coming up on Feb 24. Kittiwakes, Ancient Murrelets, Short-tailed Shearwater are out there for us to find.
  2. Two Cordell Bank trips this year – out of Bodega Bay!
  3. Four different Farallon Island trips early in the season.
  4. We will be trying a longer Albacore Grounds trip out of Monterey Bay this year.
  5. Morro Bay will be added as a departure – details to come.
  6. We are planning on partnering with the Redwood Region Ornithological Society, Golden Gate Audubon, Santa Clara Valley Audubon, Sequoia Audubon, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, and Morro Coast Audubon Society this year. Thank you to all of these organizations.   
  7. Have a look at the schedule, and book trips -  http://alvarosadventures.com/boat-trips/pelagics/

 

We are so looking forward to enjoying the ocean, the birds, and your company!

If you have questions, contact me privately.

Good birding,

Alvaro

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 


White Faced Ibis

Don Bernstein <donb@...>
 

I returned to Wildcat Marsh (at the end of Parr Blvd) in Richmond Friday for the first time in a while, and was happy to see the four first-year Ibis are all still there. On a few trips I had only seen two or three, so I was worried that one had perished, but it's just a little standoffish.


--
Don Bernstein


Varied Thrushes - Tilden Regional Park - 1/20

Paul Schorr
 

During a late morning outing to Tilden Regional Park, we birded along the closed South Park Drive and found at least four Varied Thrushes within the first 200 yards. South Park Drive is closed from Nov. 1 through March 31 to protect migrating newts. Consequently, our walk along the road was very pleasant without the flow of vehicles. We began across from the Botanic Gardens and continued perhaps a quarter of a mile, encountering lots of bird activity in addition to the thrushes.

Other noteworthy species included:

Wrentit (heard only)
California Thrasher (heard only)
Band-tailed Pigeons (~20)
Anna’s Hummingbird (nest-building)

Good birding,

Paul and Nancy Schorr
Antioch


5 Goose day

shuckabone@...
 

Of local interest this morning between 8:30AM and 9:00AM I drove W. Jack London Blvd in Livermore and had a 5 goose surprise. A single Ross’s Goose was with a flock of Canada Geese in the vacant lot west of the water treatment facility. Further west on W. Jack London I scanned the large flocks of Canada Geese and picked out 1 Snow Goose, 25 Greater White-fronted Geese and 20 Cackling Geese mixed with the Canada Geese. On May School Rd a Prairie Falcon was soaking up the early morning sun on a transmission pole.

 

Good birding.

 

Steve Huckabone

Alameda County

Livermore, CA

 


Elsie Roemer and Arrowhead, Friday 1-19-2018

Alan Krakauer
 

A couple of quick birding stops along the bay on my way to pick up some lost luggage at Oakland Airport.

Elsie Roemer in Alameda ~ noon. The tide was very high- good numbers of Dunlin and Westerns, also Black-bellied Plover. Most noteworthy were some Red Knots, around 10 on the sand to the north and another one in the vegetation amongst the plovers and dunlin to the south.

Arrowhead Marsh- tide was still high. Only saw a couple of Ridgeway’s rails this time, and heard a few more. Burrowing owl was present and pretty cooperative. Around 25 cackling geese in with all the Canadas on the grass- some with prominent white rings on their necks and some without. Also about 9 blue-winged teal.

Not birding related, but there was a detour on Otis road, so instead of going straight from Elsie Roemer to MLK Shoreline I had to go back to 880 and come in via Hegenberger.

Good birding,
Alan Krakauer
Richmond, CA


Contra Costa county 1/17 WINTER WREN, Hooded Oriole

Logan Kahle
 

Hi All,

Had a fun day bouncing around some of my favorite Contra Costa county patches yesterday in mostly foggy weather.

Off to a late start in the morning, I decided to cover my newly-found favorite Richmond hotspot, Point San Pablo. It was decently active overall, but activity was patchier than I am used to for this spot. Several sections (e.g. the area just north of the county park) that are normally full of birds were completely quiet. Highlights included:

Northern Pintail-1 is a scarce bird on bayside CoCo
Pelagic Cormorant-2
Red-shouldered Hawk-1 immature was a good bird here
Black-bellied Plover-27
Black Turnstone-7
Dunlin-83
Least Sandpiper-17
Western Sandpiper-6
Spotted Sandpiper-1
Willet-1
Allen's Hummingbird-1 was one of several today. This species seems to have arrived in good quantities in the past few days
Red-breasted Nuthatch-1 at the county park
Brown Creeper-1 in the oaks, where the species does not breed
WINTER WREN-1 (see below)
Orange-crowned Warbler-2
Townsend's Warbler-1
Pine Siskin-1

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41992018

A little bit of background and commentary about the Winter Wren. If you are not interested in chasing this bird you can skip the next five paragraphs. In case there was any confusion this is referring to the nominate eastern species, a rare vagrant to California, and not to our resident Pacific Wrens. Two weeks ago, on 1/2, in the afternoon, Augie Kramer and I were birding around the Railroad tracts that run out of the Marina when I heard a bird that sounded to me like a Winter Wren. However, the bird was distant, quiet, and seemed to shut up for long periods of time. At least at that distance and at that time, it did not respond to playback. My recording attempts were unsuccessful. Furthermore, there was a flag chinking right next to us, and I couldn't fully distinguish if the sound was a Winter Wren or the flag (!) Anyway, today upon pulling off at the top of the hill, I was shocked to hear the bird calling right next to the road. I got some recordings, played a bit of playback, and the bird came right in, calling aggressively. I only got a very fleeting glimpse of the bird, and nothing that could have aided in the ID. However, it was calling persistently for over 15 minutes.

Pending acceptance by the CBRC, this would represent the first Contra Costa and East Bay record, bringing the county list up to 369 species NIB. Thanks to John Sterling and Rob Fowler for ID confirmation in the field.

Now notes on chasing and seeing the bird. If more than 3 or so people are chasing this birds at the same time, parking will be a small issue. There is a single pulloff (pulloff 1) very near the wren spot. This spot can hold 1, possibly 2, cars. Other than that there is a second pulloff (pulloff 2) about a quarter mile down farther up the road. This can hold another couple cars. Another 150 yards farther up road there is another, slightly larger pulloff (pulloff 3). This can probably hold 3 cars or so. If all of these spots are full, there is also parking in the Marina. However, keep in mind the Marina is technically private. I have talked with the owner and warned her of potential visitors but if you do find yourself needing to use the Marina parking please 1) be courteous of the homeowners and 2) park only in the lot that runs east-west. The lot that runs north-south past the railroad tracks are for homeowners only. These spots have been outlined at the following map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?ll=37.96361050011325%2C-122.42269677151529&z=17&mid=1ek7MCdtL7X652saKv2z7PPeZM0LzPtkG Again, this will only be an issue if more than a couple people are chasing this bird at the same time which (given that its in Contra Costa) may be unlikely.

As for seeing/hearing the bird, this bird has so far been extremely skulky. Anyone wishing a good view will likely have to bring some patience. It has so far been seen at two locations. Those spots are both visible on the above map. The bird seems to range quite a bit up and down the blackberry/willow ravine. The bird's vocal activity seems to correspond with time of day. In the morning the bird seems quite vocal, but in the afternoon much less so. The bird can remain quiet for many minutes on end. I ask that playback be used sparingly if at all to ensure the bird doesn't get "taped out". If the bird does stop responding to playback, managing a view could be nearly impossible. So, if you must used playback, please try to keep it to just a few rounds.

Also, for anyone chasing this bird I strongly recommend checking out the whole area (Point San Pablo) on your visit. The place is huge, full of birds, and ludicrously under-covered. A map with my top favorite birding spots on the peninsula can be seen here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1ybzhGCESOKx8gaEwR3YmxEPV2Gc&ll=37.95791045852934%2C-122.41802035&z=14

Recordings of the bird can be found here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41992018

Anyway, back to the birding I continued on to Miller/Knox. Landbird activity was decent as was the pond, but the bay was deader than usual. Highlights during the brief visit included:
Eurasian Wigeon-4 (3 males and a female)
Common Loon-1
Osprey-1
Cooper's Hawk-1
White-throated Swift-10
Allen's Hummingbird-1
Orange-crowned Warbler-1

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41995347


I proceeded to Canal Boulevard, where a flyby Red-throated Loon was the soul highlight. Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41996854


From there I headed over to the S 51st st entrance to the Bay trail and Meeker slough. At this point it was already high tide, and so shorebirds were concentrated near the breakwater at meeker. Interestingly, though, the high tide roost seemed to consist almost entirely of avocets. Shorebirds numbers included:
American Avocet-400
Marbled Godwit-1
Black Turnstone-3
Least Sandpiper-1

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41997434


Blasting east I stopped at waterbird regional preserve. The water levels were high and while shorebirds seemed nonexistant, diving duck numbers were high and dabblers were average. Highlights included:
Mute Swan-1 was more of a lowlight
Ring-necked Duck-2 were uncommon here, perhaps early migrants?
Glaucous-winged Gull-1
Great-tailed Grackle-6

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42015620


Heading on to east county I stopped first at Jersey Island mostly prospecting for potential shorebird habitat revitalized by recent rains. No joy. No real highlights here to mention, but the full eBird checklist can be seen here http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42002031


Proceeding to Bethel, the habitat was much improved from a visit two days ago. The hole field south of harbor east of bethel island road was flooded and had plentiful ducks and shorebirds. I checked the fields, Piper Slough, Franks Tract, willowest marina. Duck numbers on Franks Tract and piper were decent but not exceptional. Highlights here included:
Mute Swan-26 present where this species used to be rare. Disheartening to see these invasive creatures spread through the county over time
Ring-necked Pheasant-7 was the most I have seen in the county at one time. Possibly indicates release?
American Coot-7800 is their regular concentration here
Black-necked Stilt-7
Least Sandpiper-60
Wilson's Snipe-3
Greater Yellowlegs-11
Lesser Yellowlegs-2
Mew Gull-1
Western Gull-1
ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD-1 the population at Willowest Marina has returned on time with the rest of the county's populations
Merlin-1
House Wren-1
Orange-crowned Warbler-1
HOODED ORIOLE-1 adult male at Willowest Marina may represent the only winter record for the county away from the clifton birds.


I ended the day with a quick stop at Byron WTP. Unfortunately time commitments thwarted my attempt to end at Clifton Court, but this stop was nonetheless productive. The fields south of the ponds, sporadically flooded, were flooded now and brimming with birds, including a very diverse (5 species) goose flock. Highlights here included:
Snow Goose-5
Ross's Goose-1
Greater White-fronted Goose-1
Cackling Goose-2
Canvasback-1
Hooded Merganser-1
Black-necked Stilt-6
Long-billed Curlew-103 was a nice count for the county
Wilson's Snipe-2
Greater Yellowlegs-1
Herring Gull-7
Iceland (Thayer's) Gull-1
Horned Lark-5

Full eBird checklist here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S42016420

Anyway, was nice to bounce around the county once again, and had a nice total of 128 species, a good count considering it was only a 7 hour day and I didn't cover any interior areas, hence missing birds like Oak Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, etc

Good birding,
Logan Kahle
San Francisco, CA



Broad Winged hawk(?) and Blue Heron

Marcus
 

Sunday afternoon around 4:30PM we spotted what has been a rather constant sight. A Broad Winged hawk perched up on a light pole adjacent to Ward Creek on Industrial Blvd, between Addison and Ruus.     We've been spotting it for more than a month since my partner moved nearby. It either perches on a light pole or on the rail of the bridge that crosses Ward Creek. VERY intent. Almost flew off when it spotted something then relaxed again.   Watched for about 15 minutes, parked rather illegally on the shoulder. of eastbound Industrial Blvd.
I know there have been a few sightings reported on EBB in the past of what is normally an east of the Mississippi raptor.   Would love for someone to double check this before I report it.
We got a real good look at it with binoculars and it does match closely the face on view of the Audobon pic although it seemed a bit darker.  http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/broad-winged-hawk
We'll be heading back with camera next time.
Not to forget, while watching the hawk we saw a Blue Heron slowly flying east a dozen feet above Ward Creek.
 
Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA