McNabney Marsh on Thursday


I spent an hour on the entry road to Mt. View Sanitary today, looking for the continuing Eurasian Teal and Blue-winged Teal(s).  I had no luck with either.  I first stopped at the wooden viewing platform, which gives a pretty good view both north and south along McNabney Marsh.  Then, I walked south toward the very shallow end, which today was largely mudflat.  I saw lots of ducks, mainly N. Shovelers, Green-winged Teals and Gadwalls.  There were also American Wigeons, one Eurasian Wigeon male, Buffleheads and a handful of Common Goldeneyes.  I also saw one male and four female Hooded Mergansers, along with one Cinnamon Teal.
There were lots of gulls out there, too, but I did not spend very much time working on them.  Many of the other expected species were also seen, shorebirds and waders, grackles, Say's Phoebe, etc.  Too many birds, just not enough time.
Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek

Glaucous-winged Gull at Lake Merritt

David Robinson <dvdrobinson@...>

Late afternoon/early evening today, during a quick visit to Lake Merritt, I
spotted a Glaucous-winged Gull among the Western & Ringed-bill Gulls on and
near the shore opposite the Cormorant Islands (facing the islands, the
playground is behind you).

Here's my elist with pics of the bird:

David R.

Redwood Park sapsucker hybird


After an unsuccessful attempt at finding a Pileated Woodpecker, hiking from
the Skyline Gate Staging Area in Redwood Park and putting my backpack in my
card, I saw some woodpecker action and took a look before driving off. In
addition to a couple of the resident Acorn Woodpeckers I saw what I expected
to be a Red-breasted Sapsucker but immediately realized wasn't and was
likely to be a hybrid. I went back to my car, got my camera, and on getting
back to the spot about 100 yards from the parking lot I relocated the
sapsucker but it immediately fly down the direction of Phillips Loop trail.
I headed down that way, thought I'd check out the small bunch of
trees/bushes where a hybrid was seen last fall, soon after heard pounding
and re-found the bird about 30 yards away on a young eucalyptus tree. I've
categorized this as Red-naped/Red-breasted Hybird but am open to opinions as
I'm taking a break after a lot of hiking this morning.

Derek Heins

Contra Costa County 1/21 (near-adult) Glaucous Gull, Pacific Loons, Continuing Eurasian Teal, etc

Logan Kahle

Hi All,

Yesterday (1/21) I spent a fun day bouncing around some of my favorite Contra Costa spots with Cédric "Jugglerboy" Duhalde. We worked from Richmond east to East County, ending at Clifton Court. Waterbird action in Richmond has picked up significantly with thousands of cormorants along with loons, gulls etc foraging distantly in the Bay. It looks like there is some Herring Run action somewhere on the other side of the Bay.

Seeing a terrible (10+ minute?) wait to go the quarter mile west to the offramp of Point San Pablo, we decided started the morning at Miller/Knox instead. Our coverage was relatively quick and focused on waterbirds on the pond and bay. Highlights included:
'Aluetian' Cackling Goose-1 flew into pond
Eurasian Wigeon-3 but surprisingly no females
Lesser Scaup-1
Red-breasted Merganser-20 was a good count for the county
Black-bellied Plover-36 was a good count, presumably reflecting birds pushed up w the tide
Red-throated Loon-7
PACIFIC LOON-1 was the first in CoCo I've seen in almost two years, and traditionally quite rare overall
Golden-crowned Kinglet-1 up on the ridge
Brown Creeper-1

Full eBird checklist here:

Our next spot was Sandpiper Spit. We focused on looking at the jetty and offshore. Large numbers of birds were roosting on the jetty, presumably escaping the high tide. Highlights here were:
Black Turnstone-21 was a nice count for the jetty, counted in flight
Western Sandpipere-700 huge flock on jetty
Red-throated Loon-9
PACIFIC LOON-1 represents the only time I have seen two in the county on the same day
Double-crested Cormorant-1050

Full eBird checklist here:

We proceeded to Canal Boulevard for a better view of Brook's. The tide was higher than I have ever seen it at Brook's, with essentially zero (0) exposed shoreline. The slight drizzle predicted for the day was starting to pick up. We did not focus on jetty birds because we had a better view from Sandpiper Spit. Highlights here included:
Brant-37 was a good count for the county
BLACK SCOTER-1 may have represented one of the Richmond Marina birds, or possibly not
Red-throated Loon-4

Full eBird checklist here:

We continued onto Waterbird Regional Preserve, which held the most birds I have ever seen there by a good margin. Extensive mudflats and islands through the pond allowed for large numbers of Gulls to concentrate, something I have never seen previously at the preserve. Among the huge flocks of ducks and gulls were:
Mute Swan-6 (lowlight)
Blue-winged Teal-6 was my highest count for this location (and traditionally a challenging bird in the county)
Eurasian Wigeon-1 was a good bird here
'EURASIAN' GREEN-WINGED TEAL-1 continuing third county record found by Srikant Char earlier this winter. The horizontal stripe was hidden at times (making us briefly wonder if two birds were involved) so the bold white stripes on the face was perhaps easiest/most reliable way to pick the bird out from the American swarms
Hooded Merganser-13 was a good count for here
Lesser Yellowlegs-1
Thayer's Gull-2
Western Gull-2 were good birds here
'Olympic' (Western x Glaucous-winged) Gull-2
'Cook inlet' (Glaucous-winged x Herring) Gull-4
Forster's Tern-4

Full eBird checklist here:

From there we went to Bethel Island where we spent the next little while. We checked the fields in the central part of the island (including the north end opposite Piper Slough), all of which were dry, except the far northern fields. No good shorebird concentrations were present though there were good numbers of Blackbirds at certain spots. We then hit Piper Slough, Willowest Marina, Frank's Tract and finally the Golf Course. Passerine activity was low, and diversity of waterbirds at Franks and Piper was slightly lower than expected (at franks this was partially because the majority of the birds were really, really far away making ID impossible). Highlights here were:
Snow Goose-1300 which included a PURE WHITE individual with no black on the primaries! I have only ever seen one such individual before, and none in California
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE-1 adult male on Frank's Tract was only the second I have ever seen on the island
Common Gallinule-1
American Coot-12200, estimated, was about average. Likely double this number among the distant Franks Tract Swarms
'Thayer's' Gull-1
Sharp-shinned Hawk-1
Horned Lark-1
House Wren-1 was a low count
Orange-crowned Warbler-1 was a very low count
Yellow-rumped Warbler-5 was very low

Full eBird checklist here:

We took Dutch Slough rd over to Jersey Island hoping there might be some open water there. Not a whole lot on Dutch Slough spare a Cooper's Hawk and a Merlin (which seemed quite pale but I was unable to get a good view to determine subspecific identity).

Jersey was quite productive, though no exposed water was present. Likely due to the rain earlier in the day, large numbers of birds were using the fields to forage. A brief check of the island produced:
Ferruginous Hawk-1
American Pipit-280
White-crowned Sparrow-230
Yellow-rumped Warbler-100

Full eBird checklist here: <>

We next made a brief detour to Discovery Bay on our way south. We didn't have much time to bird but still managed to find a few interesting birds:
Hooded Merganser-2
Common Merganser-9
Glaucous-winged Gull-1
Red-breasted Sapsucker-1
Red-breasted Nuthatch-1

Full eBird checklist here:

From there we proceeded to our final real stop of Clifton Court Forebay. I had hoped to arrive at the Forebay no later than 4 but that did not turn out. This turned out to be not so great for us, as it was too dark to even partially sort thorugh the flock of 30-50000 gulls roosting in the middle of the reservoir. The only gulls we were really able to pick through were about 1000 birds roosting on the levee and allowing for great views. While driving through the swarm one Glaucous-winged Gull came towards the car, nearly entered through the open window but eventually veered off after slapping me in the face. Glad it didn't enter the car. It didnt appear to be harmed. Anyway, highlights of what we could make out on the forebay included:
Lesser Scaup-1000, most right in channel
Greater Scaup-3 was an interestingly low count
American Coot-6000 was a low estimate of the number present
GLAUCOUS GULL-1 third-cycle on levee was the oldest Glaucous Gull I have ever seen in California
GLAUCOUS x GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL-1 first-cycle on levee was a nice study
Other gulls-30-50000 gulls were present on the reservoir, of which it seemed the vast majority were California and Glaucous-winged Gulls, which seemed roughly even in number (though big gulls outnumbered cal gulls by a decent margin). Other taxa present in lesser numbers included Herring Gull, 'Cook Inlet' (Herring x Glaucous-winged) Gull, and Thayer's Gull. It seems very likely that several Glaucous Gulls and one or more Lesser Black-backed and/or Slaty-backed Gull is currently present in the swarm if anyone wants to take on the challenge

Full eBird checklist here:

All in all was great to do my first all-day Contra Costa run since being back. Despite marginal weather we managed to find 133 species over the course of the day.

Good birding,
Logan Kahle
San Francisco

Richmond 1/14-16 Snowy Plovers, Brandt's Cormorants etc

Logan Kahle

Hi All,

Hit up a few spots in Richmond in the past few days.


I birded this day with Max Laubstein and Oscar Moss. We started at Point San Pablo to see if any wintering goodies were around. We were not able to find the Winter Wren this year, and no real Herring Run seemed to be present just off the tip as sometimes is the case (though there was a large flocks of ducks far to the north). We also ran into John Toldi at the tip and birded together for a bit. Highlights at this spot included:
Cackling Goose-42 in one flock heading SW were late (early?) migrants
Lesser Scaup-2
Band-tailed Pigeon-90 represented a high total for here in winter. The species has been noted moving in flocks through the winter at other concentration points, but often associated with east winds of some kind.
Sanderling-40 around West Brothers was a good winter count for this far into the Bay
BRANDT'S CORMORANT-2 on West Brother. This is the farthest up in the bay that the species regularly occurs, and is normally associated with Herring Runs
'Myrtle' Yellow-rumped Warbler-30 in a homogenious flock by the Marina was the highest number of this taxa I have noted on the peninsula

Full eBird list here: <>

We continued onto to Canal Boulevard to see if anything was pushed onto Brook's with the high tide. It was quite active for this spot, with large numbers of shorebirds roosting both on the island proper and on the jetty. Highlights included:
Brant-7 was part of the wintering/sometimes resident group
SNOWY PLOVER-9 represents I believe an all-time high count for the county. Birds were on the island and associated loosely with Sanderlings. These birds have been located here several times since. This species is rarely very chasable in the county, often appearing as only one- or two-day wonders
Double-crested Cormorant-2050 was a nice count and likely corresponding to a Herring Run nearby

Full eBird list here:

Our next (brief) stop was the Richmond Marina, mostly hoping the recently-reported Red-necked Grebe would be there. No such luck, but we did have nice looks at the two continuing male Black Scoters and a Greater White-fronted Goose in with the big goose flock.

Full eBird list here:

Our final stop of the morning was Meeker Slough, with the hope that the extreme tides would push up a Nelson's or Swamp Sparrow or something. No luck on that front, but we did have a
Ridgway's Rail-1
Black-necked Stilt-1 a species which has only recently colonized this particular stretch of bay in response to the addition of mitigation ponds where the large willow patch/marsh used to be
American Avocet-280 was a nice count
Long-billed Dowitcher-40 in impounded ponds. This could be a good place to look for Stilt Sandpiper or other goodies

Full eBird list here:


I braved the storm hoping that something would be blown in but unfortunately had little to show for it.

I spent the majority of my time at Canal Boulevard baywatching. As with most baywatches, there wasn't much. However, gulls were flying by at eye level giving a great opportunity to sort through them as they streamed south. Viewing conditions were far less than optimal so I wasn't even able to give a thorough check of what was on the island, but I gave it a shot. Highlights in my 40-minute watch here were:
Brant 4
BRANDT'S CORMORANT-60 was a good count for CoCo, and strongly indicates a Herring Run nearby.
American Pipit-1 flying over Brook's gave me a start for a second

A brief check of Richmond Marina was unproductive.

Good birding,

Logan Kahle

San Francisco, CA

Miller-Knox - Eurasian Wigeons and Aleutian Cackling Goose

Melani King

This afternoon about 2 pm I went to Miller-Knox in Richmond to see if there was any interesting activity. It had mostly the usual species but with very high numbers of American Wigeon - about 130 and three Eurasian Wigeons among them. There was also an Aleutian Cackling Goose hanging out with the Canada Geese.

-Melani King
Pt. Richmond

Buffleheads, Oak Hill Park, Danville


This afternoon, there were two pairs of Buffleheads at Oak Hill Park in Danville. After struggling with the water quality at the park for a year or so, it appears that they're getting it under control and diving ducks are starting to come back. Finally.

Happy Birding,

Steve Hutchcraft
Alamo, CA

Black Skimmers at Middle Harbor

Ted Robertson

On Sunday, there were two Black Skimmers at Middle Harbor in Oakland
resting on the mud flat about 100 feet from shore between two rock jetties
along the eastern shore. They were there between 11:00 and 1:00 tucked
between about 40 resting avocets. I Saw a lot of interesting shorebirds
including Whimbrel, Sanderling and many Semi-palmated Plovers.

*Ted Robertson*

Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Lake Temescal


Yesterday, Friday 17th, saw a Ruby-crowned Kinglet on the west shore working the reeds.......First I've seen. Bright red stripe on it's head. Plus a pair of Hooded Mergansers - male and female - working the south end of the lake.

White throated sparrow Pleasant Hill

Alan Bade <alanbade@...>

Good morning! - This morning we have a white throated sparrow back in our yard amidst a small flock of white-crowned. (Tantalizingly, it came one day after the CBC central county count week ended as well. I believe white throated sparrows eluded us on the central county CBC.) It never seems to stay very long and is an intermittent visitor, but great fun to see. Here's a morning checklist with a few photos;

Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill

Black Skimmers at Middle Harbor, Oakland

Travis Hails

Yesterday, Jan 15, there were 6 Black Skimmers at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. They were on the southmost mud bar between the entrance and the observation tower. They were very close to the shore. They were waiting out the hi tide with a mixed flock of terns, gulls, and shorebirds.

I observed them from 1:30-3:15PM, with the hi tide at 3:01PM

Travis Hails

a few Contra Costa Birds


Since Monday morning, we have been seeing a female Lesser Scaup with the Ring-necked Ducks in Walnut Creek's Heather Farm Park.  Not too long ago, the Ring-necked Ducks numbered upwards of 60-80 individuals.  Then, last week there numbers plummeted to less than 10.  Today they were back up to 28.
This evening, Rosita and I walked out the trail from the TransMontaigne Pipeline off the east part of  Waterfront Road.  We did this at dusk and were rewarded with a distant, perched Short-eared Owl.  Several Kites and Harriers were flying around, too.
Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek

Black Skimmer at Arrowhead Marsh

Dawn Lemoine

Seen this morning (10am - noon) at the shorebird roost just east of the fishing pier.


high tide at Arrowhead on Saturday Jan. 11


Lots of birders were present today for the high tide at Arrowhead Marsh, and we were all entertained with sightings of Ridgeway's Rails.  I heard that some saw a Sora and some even had a departing Virginia Rail.  Some of us had a Peregrine Falcon on a channel marker, a Brant across the channel with Canada Geese, and a couple of Forster's Terns near the boardwalk.
Personally, I spent a lot of time socializing with other birders, which is also one of the highlights of these types of events.  It is always fun to renew birding friendships, meeting those whose names appear in various postings around the bay, or someone like one of my high school friends who is also a birder.  We are all out there for the same reason, so thank you to everyone for helping everyone else find the good birds.
Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek


Ethan Monk

Hi all,

Had an extra hour or so of free time today, so I headed down to Point San Pablo for an hour (and forgot a scope) 12-1. There wasn’t much of note and my coverage wasn’t very thorough. At whatever bend in the road it was at the last 2 years, I thought I heard the Winter Wren trill once but I am not 100% certain. It was far away and didn’t call again. Generally it is more vocal early-mid morning, so if it is continuing, that’s when I recommend going.

As well, there seems to be a young herring run forming off the top of the Point, visible from the marina? Gull numbers were quite low but looked mostly pale-mantled. Many diving ducks (600 hundred plus scaup) were clustered in black amoebas. Still kicking myself I forgot a scope. It’s still a little early to know if this is a herring spawn event, but any concentration of this size is worth monitoring for Long-tailed Duck and such.

And of very very local interest there was a Golden-crowned Kinglet or two at the county park. A Hutton’s vireo or two seem to have set up shop there as well. Maybe they’re spreading? And no Allen’s yet.


Summer tanager, Chetwood in Oakland

Kate Hoffman

This morning I finally got a great view of the female summer tanager on Chetwood. She presented herself atop a short bush about 7-8 feet away as I was walking to work. She's orangeish on top and golden below. A looker! Lots of other insectivores around there. Also a flock of turkeys. Perhaps the huge camellia bush attracts them? The neighbors are very patient with birders.

Kate Hoffman
Oakland, CA

Quarry Lakes (1/6) - Red-necked Grebe, 'maxima' Canada Geese

Jerry Ting

The immature Red-necked Grebe continued on the southeast corner of lower Horseshoe Lake at Quarry Lakes this afternoon. It's loosely associated with a group of mixed Clark's/Western Grebes.
At Rare Fruit Tree Groove (the isle that divides Horseshoe Lake), I found a group of 6 .maxima' Canada Geese with excessive white on forehead and chin patch. There was also a 'minima' Cackling Goose in lawn north of the beach area.
Photos of above mentioned can be seen in my eBird checklist:

Happy Birding,
Jerry Ting

Creekside Park Brentwood

Jerry Britten

Creekside Park and adjoining John Marsh Trail north of Concord Ave. in
south Brentwood again today provided a number of birds noteworthy for east
Contra Costa: Orange-Crowned and Townsend's warbler, Golden Crowned
Kinglet, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Purple Finch, White-Throated Sparrow,
Hutton's Vireo,...

ebird checklist with some photos here:

Jerry Britten
Morgan Territory

Weekend Access to Outer Point, Point Reyes


Hi birders,

I heard from park staff that some birders were trying to drive out past Drakes Beach earlier today after the shuttles started running. Apologies for that, esp. for those trying to get out to Mendoza, or B Ranch, to see the Painted Bunting.

The park runs shuttle buses on the weekends to alleviate the traffic nightmares of the past from visitors wanting to see whales and elephant seals. The shuttles operate on weekends and federal holiday Mondays from late Dec thru late March to mid-April. Please check the park website at for details, logistics, hours, etc.

Good birding,
Carlo Arreglo
Park Ranger
Point Reyes National Seashore

Summer Tanager - Oakland - Update

Travis Hails

The Summer Tanager remains in the area of the Oakland (Morcom) Rose Garden & 661-667 Chetwood St, Oakland.

I have seen it at 8:00AM 1/2/20, 8:30AM 1/3/20, and 11:00 & 1:15 today, 1/4/20. Western Bluebirds are always present when the tanager is present.

I am back to believing that this is an adult female, which Sibley illustrates as 'Eastern Population' and Nat'l Geo calls a 'Red Morph'. This bird seems to be more orange than either guide illustrates, however.

Pictures (such as they are) at

Travis Hails

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