Date   
Bradford and notes

Logan Kahle
 

Hi all,

As I think it is possible (probable??) that many people will want to chase the Bell's Vireos, I figured it's worth explaining a bit of how to bird one of Contra Costa's many isolated treasures.

Bradford Island is relatively unique in that is almost entirely below sea level, most of it by about 12 feet. This means that most of the island consistently floods in winter, making real estate development mostly infeasible. This also means that vast forests of willows and cottonwoods dominate this sparsely populated island, and as such it is one of the region's largest strongholds for Blue Grosbeaks, Chats, and, as I'd always hoped, Bell's Vireos (the former two likely have dozens of territories on the island).

In hopes of it bringing more people both to this island and to chase Mark and Lucas' fantastic find, here are a few tips on how to get to the island, how to bird it, and what might be found.

Getting to the island. This is actually not as trivial as it may sound. Unlike most of the islands in the region, there is no road to get on to Bradford. One must take a ferry that departs on the hour ever hour (of varying schedules) during the day at the end (NE terminus) of Jersey Island road, past the gate with marked hours, here: 38.0547258,-121.6575015 If you Google "Bradford Island Ferry" it will come up. You can purchase tickets for the ferry one of two ways: 1) you can go to the Valero on Cypress Dr north of Knightsen. Here you can buy tickets for $7.75 or 2) you can purchase the tickets for $10 at the dock. There is a sign at the Ferry that says "for property owners only" or similar, but as far as I've been able to ascertain from both friends who own property on the island as well as people operating the ferry this is actually not the case.

Birding on the Island. Birding on Bradford can actually be a little overwhelming. There is a lot of habitat. And a lot of good habitat. To try to break it down a little I've constructed a google map of what spots are good for what: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1bTzGTGTCKO-V40YZfElc-U_6kMMvqmGG&usp=sharing

Ferry Departure/Arrival Times: All the ferry info you need can be seen at this site: https://bradfordisland.com/ferry-info/

Also remember to be back to the ferry by the designated time. If you miss the last ferry you are stuck on the island for the night.

I hope many people get a chance to chase this awesome bird and also to bird this island in future seasons. It is a spectacular destination and perhaps one of the most overlooked gems of the entire delta.

Good birding,

Logan Kahle
San Francisco/Willows, CA

Bell's Vireo - Pinned location

blakelock@sbcglobal.net
 

Thanks Logan for the info on Bradford.  I never would have thought to go out there if I hadn't seen your Bird reports from there.  I agree, it is a special location. 


I just wanted to point out that the location you gave for the Bell's Vireo is a little south of where we saw it.  Here is the exact location where we observed it from the road.  


https://goo.gl/maps/NQMYMpkUn2U2


Good birding,


John Blakelock

Access to Bradford Island

Patricia Bacchetti
 

Logan, et al:


From Google Maps access to the ferry is from the the end of Jersey Island Road.  It's been my experience that Jersey Island from the intersection of E Cypress Road is private property about halfway out and clearly marked.  If that's not passable, how do you get onto the SE side of the slough through Bethel Island to get to the ferry?  I'm looking forward to going to Bradford Island next week-that's for discovering this wonderful piece of the county.


Pat Bacchetti

Oakland

Lake Del Valle local interest, Saturday, June 9

Bruce Mast
 

East Bay Birders,
I had the opportunity to bird the south end of Lake Del Valle yesterday for about 4 hours, tallying 60 species. Most tantalizing birds were a fly-over Lawrence's Goldfinch and an unseen Willow Flycatcher giving its "Fitz Pew" call from a willow thicket on an island.

Raptors were in good evidence, with an adult Bald Eagle cruising over the lake, a soaring Peregrine Falcon, Kestrels, a couple Red-shouldered Hawks, and the ubiquitous Red-tailed. I didn't check the Bald Eagle nest this time.

Otherwise, it was a great day for watching fledglings and taking pictures. Full check list is at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46423145

Bird on,

Bruce Mast
Oakland

carpool to Chautauqua?

sharon jue
 

Anyone from the Bay Area heading out to Mono Basin birding festival and interested in carpooling? I'm in Berkeley, but can meet anywhere locally. Thanks, and happy birding!

-Sharon Jue

Re: Bell's Vireo - Pinned location

Melani King
 

The continuing Bell’s Vireo was seen yesterday at approximately noon at the location pinned by John Blakelock. It was and moving around in the willows, alternately preening and vocalizing.

https://goo.gl/maps/NQMYMpkUn2U2

Thanks for all the information regarding location, ferry, etc. 

-Melani King
Pt. Richmond

Heather Farm Park Walnut Creek Monday June 11

rosita94598
 

I saw Fred Safier before arriving to the park today.  He told me he found an Ash-throated Flycatcher on the west side of the large, mostly natural pond.  The bird then flew in the direction of the equestrian rings.  I thanked him and spent quite a bit of time searching there from my bike, pausing, listening and looking.  I could not re-locate this bird.

The city is starting to clean the pond, having the large pond skimmer machine brought in today.  This is an annual event, sometimes it happens a second time later in the summer.  On occasion, the machine seems to be abandoned near the gravel boat ramp for long periods of time.  They ususally work on the concrete pond too.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Continuing Bell’s Vireo on Bradford Island, CC County

Patricia Mahoney
 

I visited the Bell’s Vireo on Bradford Island in Oakley, CA, this afternoon from 1:30 - 4 pm. I parked on the road shoulder near the ferry dock and walked onboard (alternatively, you can drive on to the ferry and on Bradford Island). It’s a short hop and a fun ride from Jersey Island to Bradford Island. After a half-hour stroll on the flat road I reached the aforementioned dropped-pin spot (OK cell signal) and heard the Bell’s Vireo singing! From the road, I walked down the grassy slope (a narrow birders’ “goat path” and a magenta sock tied to some grass were helpful visual aides!) to the edge of the fennel patch that’s in front of the willows and stood next to the barbed wire fence (cows are on the other side). The vireo was actively moving around the willows but sang persistently which helped me find it- and get a few good scope views, too. In between vireo sightings: Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Oriole, Bullock’s Oriole, Western Kingbird, Blue Grosbeak, Chat (several sang along the road and one flew out of the fennel and into the willows), American Goldfinch, Brewer’s Blackbird, House Finch, Raven, and Barn, Cliff and Tree Swallows... and Great Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons along the water’s edge. While I waited for the 5 pm ferry, a river otter swam by, a Caspian Tern flew over and a Northern Harrier soared overhead.

I bought a ferry ticket ($8) at Gas N Save (Valero) on E. Cypress Road. From E. Cypress Rd. take Jersey Island Rd. to its (northeast) end for the ferry dock. As Logan mentioned, the ferry is on the hour and the last one’s at 5 pm. The ferry’s dockhand asked me if I’d found The Rare Bird: Yes!

A big Thank You to Mark and Lucas for finding the special vireo- and thanks to everyone for sharing info! It was my first visit to Bradford Island and I look forward to returning.

Pat Mahoney
Hayward

Bradford Is. Bell's Vireo and access

Dave Weber
 

After some early morning birding in Amador County, I planned to make the 10 am ferry crossing to Bradford Island, but construction on Cypress Rd prevented that. While waiting for the 11 am ferry two vehicles with Bradford residents got in line. I asked one gentleman about the island. He gave a lot of info, including that the residents on Webb Island are not so tolerant of strangers. He was intrigued by the vireo and apparently was unaware that birders had been visiting. No one said anything about Bradford being non-accessible, not even the Sherriff who was also there or the ferry deck hand or the guy at the Valero who sold me the ticket. At noon I found the Bell’s Vireo. It was almost exactly 8/10s of a mile from the ferry. A barbed-wire fence pointing downhill and a black pipe parallel to it point almost exactly to the vireo spot. I got in line for the 1 pm ferry back. One of the vehicles from earlier pulled up and a woman who was friendly wanted to know if I was DFW. Just birding I told her and said that birders had been informed that being on the island was OK. She said it was not, and that they pay a huge assessment to the county for their privacy. I totally agreed with her and said I would pass it on. Me… I won’t go back.  Thanks to those who found the bird… but just wondering who besides residents are actually allowed on the island? I could ask a lot more questions but won’t.

 

Dave Weber,

Milpitas

San Leandro Marina

Bob Richmond
 

Seen today -

1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo in some eucalyptus trees on the golf course opposite the south parking area for Marina Park. The trees are SE of the grove of poplars that had a Yellow-throated Vireo in early June of 2017.

Bob Richmond

Re: San Leandro Marina

judisierra
 

Since this is a threatened species in Calif. it's probably not a great idea for hoards to descend on it.
--------------------------------------------

On Tue, 6/12/18, Bob Richmond bobrichmond94544@... [EBB_Sightings] <EBB_Sightings-noreply@...> wrote:

Subject: [EBB_Sightings] San Leandro Marina
To: "EBB Sightings" <ebb_sightings@...>
Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 4:53 PM


 









Seen today -
1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo in some eucalyptus trees on the golf
course opposite the south parking area for Marina Park. The
trees are SE of the grove of poplars that had a
Yellow-throated Vireo in early June of 2017.
Bob
Richmond

Sent
from Yahoo Mail on Android









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Hutton's Vireo Nest

Anne Krysiak
 

A pair of Hutton's Vireos built a nest on the crossbeam under my patio roof. We first noticed the birds working on the nest in early May. On May 25, the mama began sitting on the nest full-time. The male bird was hanging around. When he would call, she would leave the nest. This past Saturday, I noticed feeding behavior for the first time. It looks like both birds are feeding the chicks although only the mom sits on the nest. There were three eggs that I could see, but I have only seen two heads sticking up from the nest. 


I have pictures to share but am not certain how to upload them. 

Bradford Island access notes

Logan Kahle
 

Hi all,

With the recent discussion about Bradford birder access, I thought it would be relevant to chime in what I know about the topic.

As I am currently in the field, I am not able to research this as thoroughly as I would like. However, I still believe there is useful information here that would be of interest to potential visitors.

According to Department Engineer for the Delta Water District that Bradford is part of, the island ferry and the main levee road are entirely public property. I am still researching whether or not the roads through the middle of the island are public as well. As long as one does not trespass on private land on the island, which is not necessary to view the vireo or most other birds present, there should be no issues. As Dave mentioned, there are a couple specific individuals who do not take too kindly to visitors, but visiting the island is entirely legal granted one does not trespass.

As for the birds, it is of great import in my opinion to keep close tabs on this/these vireo(s). This is a state and nationally listed taxa, and as such breeding evidence could have a large number of conservation implications for the island. I visited the site on 6/9 and also had a Willow Flycatcher at the same location as the vireo. While almost certainly a migrant, Southwestern Willow Flycatchers, another listed taxa, once bred all the way up to Stockton (per Grinnell and Miller) in the 1940s. Should there be a Willow Flycatcher at this site in a week, it is very much worth keeping an eye out for any nesting activity (may be a bit of optimistic thinking on my end but heck, it is at the exact same spot as a Bell's Vireo...)

Anyway, I just hope none are too disheartened by a couple sour apples on the island. Landowners often, very reasonably, do not like people in the vicinity of their land, but in this case I feel the importance of keeping tabs on and documenting one of the most ecologically and conversationally important species in the Bay Area right now outweighs these concerns of privacy. The levee road is entirely public and any issues the neighbors have are personal and not legal matters. As such it seems reasonable to me that overall conscientiousness and respect towards the residents of the islands should be all that is needed. That said, this argument is moot if people are trespassing or otherwise exhibiting bad behavior, so please stay on the levee when on the island.

In any case, I hope many others get to visit the island in coming months. I was told that if being accosted by landowners ever becomes an issue, this is an problem that should be brought to the board of directors of the island to address. Please do mention if you have any issues with landowners. It would be great to make this situation as pleasant for the birders and residents alike. Ultimately, I believe this location is likely one of the top five or so  birding locations in the county and it would be a shame if people did not visit this under-covered gem out of fear of legal ambiguity. Good luck out there!

Good birding,
Logan Kahle
San Francisco/Willows, CA

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Kay Loughman
 

For the ninth time in the last twenty years, we've had a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak visiting our feeders.  This year it showed up on June 13, was not seen on June 14; but reappeared today (June 15).  Regrettably, this feeder is visible only from inside the house, and I have not been able to see where the bird goes when the scrub-jays assert themselves - (possibly Garber Park).  See  pictures on my website.

Kay Loughman
in the hills on the Berkeley/Oakland border


Virus-free. www.avast.com

Bradford Island access issues, June 15th

Jeff Hoppes
 

 I birded Bradford Island this morning (Friday, June 15) in search of the Bell's Vireo. The vireo was singing at the previously noted location between 9:30 and 11. Shortly after 11 I and another birder were asked to leave by an island resident who told us that the willow patch with the vireo was his family's property, and that birding was not permitted at that location (even from the road), as the road itself was also private property. I don't have the expertise to evaluate the accuracy of that claim, but thought it was worth passing along to this list for the information of birders considering future visits to the island.

 Good birding,
 Jeff Hoppes
 Richmond

Probably Costa's Hummingbird

Steve Huckabone
 

This morning while driving Mines Rd I stopped at a house that had 3 hummingbird feeders hanging from the second story patio. I pulled off the road the best I could and watched several hummingbirds coming and going. One looked good for an adult male Costa’s but could not get pic or good view. I got out of the car and walked along the shoulder to get a better vantage point and snapped a few pics of a sub-adult male. After I got home and looked at the pic’s I thought the one good pic showed a sub-adult male Costa’s. See eBird report https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46615503. The interesting field mark is the gorget coming in at the corner of where the gorget will be eventually. I don’t have allot of experience with Costa’s but books and photos show this field mark and description for sub-adult male Costa’s.  The house is on the right side when traveling south from Livermore in the area where there is a small group of homes on both side of Arroyo Mocho creek. Sorry didn’t record mile marker. Feedback appreciated.

 

Good birding.

 

Steve Huckabone

Alameda County

Livermore, CA

 

Hayward Regional Shoreline

Bob Richmond
 

Seen today

A Black Tern was seen in Hayward Marsh from the Least Tern Sign.

Bob Richmond

Marsh Creek and Big Break Trails--Good Raptors, Blue Grosbeak

Lee Friedman
 

Yesterday morning in Oakley I birded Marsh Creek Trail from E. Cypress Road north to the junction with Big Break Regional Trail and followed the latter west for 1 mile before returning. My realized hope was to see a Blue Grosbeak (along the Marsh Creek section), and I was pleasantly surprised by all of the raptor action in the large fallow area (former agricultural land) west of Marsh Creek and south of Big Break--3 American Kestrels, 1 Swainson's Hawk, 1 Red-Tailed Hawk, 1 Northern Harrier, and a coyote to boot. There was also a Cooper's Hawk on the Big Break side.


A full eBird list with some photos is here:

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46659592


Good birding,

Lee Friedman

Osprey in the hood

Joel Denney
 

Never seen one here in Maxwell Park, Oakland in 27 yrs. It was hauling something about the size of a squirrel down the street, stopped on a pole for a moment before a couple agitated crows chased it toward the flat lands - too quick for me to see its catch. Anybody missing a large carp?

Bradford Island

mskrentz
 

Four of us birded Bradford Island today arriving on the 9:00 AM ferry and leaving on the 1:00 PM ferry.
We heard the Bell's vireo singing on territory at the previously reported location. It also perched and return to the same perch on a bare branch fairly had in the willow. Seen well in a scope.

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to drive the road in the middle of the island as on the southern side near the ferry landing, the gate on the road has been locked. On the northern side, there is a turn to the road near some houses; however about halfway down the island, another gate was locked and we had to turn around. The part that we did drive had high bushes on both sides so it was not that great for finding birds. It was much better on the levees.

We ran into the same person that Jeff Hoppes did and got the same message. The guy is about 60 years old and drives a red truck with a dog (border collie or Australian Shepherd type. He lives north of the vireo location past the other dock and his property is entirely enclosed with a wood fence on the right side of the road as you travel north with Eucalyptus trees near the fence. We ate lunch at that location and he drove up and said we would have to leave at first claiming the island was private. We mentioned that the levee road was public property and at first he said agreed but then claimed we were on his private property since he has an easement on the other side of the road. When I again mentioned that we had check with delta engineers, he said," Would you like to have me check that check that by me calling the sheriff." Tthat is really a idle threat as its an island and I doubt very much that the sheriff's department  are going to run out and take the ferry there to get someone off levee roads. However, to avoid further escalation we left while he stayed in his parked truck until we drove off.  He is a thoroughly unpleasant person who wants the island to be private. He mentioned that Webb Island didn't allow people to get off there and obviously wished his island was the same.

I had done some checking on the island before going. There are many parcels of land on the island, few houses and although they pay Contra Costa taxes on the properties  and a reclamation tax to keep the ferry open, this is one of the places that exists only because of tax payers keeping the levees repaired.

We also saw at least 5 Blue Grosbeaks and heard at least 4 chats.

Mary Krentz
Oakland, CA