King Tide at MLK Shoreline

Teale Fristoe


After the extreme winds yesterday, I couldn't resist giving a king tide at
MLK Shoreline's Arrowhead Marsh one more try this winter. While I once
again missed Nelson's Sparrow, I had quite a few other noteworthy sightings.

- A Sora has been hunkering down near the boardwalk during this round of
king tides. The bird can be tough to find but gives good views once it's
found and isn't too skittish.
- There have been Horned Larks in the Burrowing Owl enclosure. Today I saw
two near the southern corner of the enclosure.
- There were a good number of gulls, ducks, and shorebirds in the pond in
the eastern corner of the Burrowing Owl enclosure. I haven't seen much
activity in that area lately, so it was a nice change. The most surprising
bird seen there was a first cycle Iceland Gull.
- The Brant that has been at MLK Shoreline for the past eight or so months
continues. I often see it near the visitor's center but today it was in the
field nearest Arrowhead Marsh. Additionally, a small flock of 16 Cackling
Geese flew in while I was there.
- Though duck numbers are down in general, diversity is still high. Today I
saw all three Teal species including more than a dozen Blue-winged Teal in
the channel immediately east of the Arrowhead Marsh parking lot.
- I didn't check the western shoreline area today, but recently I've seen a
large group of around 25 American Pipits in the lawn south of the visitor's
center. Additionally there have been two female Barrow's Goldeneyes with
bright orange bills south of the visitor's center around

Tide levels are currently dropping, but I imagine they'll be high enough
over the next few days to push out rails if anyone still hasn't seen the
spectacle this winter.

Happy birding,
Teale Fristoe

White throated sparrow Pleasant Hill

Alan Bade

This morning we made our breakfast on camping equipment due to the power outage, and greatly enjoyed a White-Throated sparrow returning to our yard! It's been hanging out with a group of white-crowned sparrows and forages under our seed feeders. It has been visiting us every once in a while since just before Christmas. Photos here;

--Alan Bade
southern Pleasant Hill

Heather Farm after the big wind


Since most of our street did not have electricity for almost 24 hours, I had breakfast at the Black Bear Diner today.  After I came home, I rode my bike past the leaning power pole south of us and headed to the park.  PG&E had a boom truck propped against the pole overnight so it would not fall across the street.
The birds were pretty good in the park today, including a Cackling Goose on the north ball fields, and the continuing Tropical Kingbird in a tree between the concrete and mostly natural ponds.  It was actually at the intersection of the walkways between the ponds.  One walkway, from that intersection to the bottom of the big hill is being replaced by the city, so we had to walk partway up the hill and come down through the fenced Gardens area.  
When Fred Safier arrived by car today, three Black-crowned Night-Herons were on the lawn near the wooden railing.  He showed me a photo.  We had a Lincoln's Sparrow on the west side with many Crowned and Song Sparrows.  The ball fields also had both Mew and Ring-billed Gulls, along with plenty of Crows.
Cedar Waxwings and Robins have been at the north entrance to the park, near the bridge over the Contra Costa Canal.  There are plenty of berries along the canal trail, and there is bathing at the corner of the dog park for the birds.  By 9 or 9:30, they are pretty much gone.
Two River Otters were in the pond making the Ring-necked Ducks and Buffleheads nervous.
Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek

Bald eagle over north Oakland

Alan Howe

I'm a bit late on this, but this last Thursday I'm pretty sure I saw a bald
eagle high in the sky over our place in north Oakland (59th St,
between Shattuck & MLK). By the time I could grab my binoculars, it was
gone, so I can't be absolutely sure of the ID. It was a sizable bird, dark,
with a very obvious white head.

I know this isn't a really rare sighting, but I was rather surprised to see
it up there.


Alan Howe

Sapsucker at UC Botnical Garden

Chris Carmichael

Sorry for the late posting on this sighting and thanks to Marsha for posting it earlier. I was waiting for photos from someone on the walk, but don’t have them so far. The bird was, as Marsha notes, a Red-naped female or Yellow-bellied male. and clearly not a Red-breasted Sapsucker which are relatively common in winter in the Garden. The bird lacked the red nape spot, had no yellow wash on the belly as far as I could tell, and had a prominent red throat, though I did not focus on the white chin patch of a female Red-naped.

We watched the bird for about 20 minutes starting around 9:30 on Thursday, 2/6. It was in one of the two large evergreen Mexican oaks by Julia Morgan Hall. The main trunks are riddled with holes, though I don’t think any of them are active this winter.
I returned this morning and turned up no sapsuckers.

Chris Carmichael

Richmond and Miller Knox

Sheila Dickie

The White-throated Sparrow reported a couple of months ago is still in my garden and was seen this morning, February 8, in the company of White-crowned Sparrows. It typically likes to perch atop my holly tree. Location 29th Street & Roosevelt, Richmond.

Yesterday at Miller Knox Regional Shoreline Park in Richmond one Eurasian Wigeon was on the lagoon in the company of well over one hundred American Wigeon and assorted ducks. Two Black-crowned Night Herons were on the lagoon island, one adult and one juvenile. Also, one Allen's Hummingbird was briefly seen atop a Eucalyptus Tree near the restrooms at the North End of the park.

Sheila Dickie

Unusual sapsucker at U.C. Botanical garden

Marsha Feinland

This morning on the U.C. Botanical Garden bird walk we saw a sapsucker in the Quecus rugosa near the Julia Morgan building at the garden shortly after 9:30 am. It was either red-naped or yellow-bellied. Chris Carmichael thought it was more likely red-naped.When I get photos from the person who took some I will send them.Marsha

Exceptionally early Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Feb 2nd, Concord, CoCo County.


I recorded the first of this year's Northern Rough-winged Swallows. Three exceptionally early northbound no-shadow Phils or Phillipas (perhaps both) were seen and photographed at Ellis Lakes Park in Concord, Ca, February 2nd, 2020. This record represents this year's first occurrence of this species in the Bay Area and the second for all of Northern California ( 20th January, Santa Cruz Co.)

Compared with other years it is also the second to earliest for Contra Costa County, Jeff Acuff reported one individual in early January, 2015, ( also  from Concord, Central Contra Costa).

Generally for the whole Bay Area, over the years there are some observations from early Winter, i.e. from December and January, however, these observations (at least some of them) may possibly also apply to wintering birds.

For Contra Costa County, usually the first individuals (migrants) appeared after February 17-20, while our local birds return about two weeks later, usually around mid-March.

Good pre-Spring Birding,

Albert W. Linkowski

Osprey at Lake Merritt today

Smokey Bear

Today at noon, an Osprey was perched in the bare tree full of fallow cormorant nests on the islands near the Nature Center. I watched it for a long time. I hope it was digesting.

Other sightings: many common goldeneyes, Bufflehead, and Scaup, Ruddy Ducks, PB and Eared Grebes. Lots of Western and Ring-billed Gulls, minor numbers of California and Glaucous-wings. No Mew Gulls.

Lots of Ruby-crowned Kingslets, Yellow-rumps, and hummers displaying too.


White-faced Ibis at Coyote Hills

David Robinson

The nonbreeding adult or immature White-faced Ibis continues at Coyote
Hills Regional Park.

Around noon today I watched it feeding for quite a while, among coots and
various ducks, in the Main Marsh on either side of where Muskrat Trail
becomes like a little bridge, with a low stone wall along one edge.

Here's my ebird list <>. I'll be
uploading photos later this evening.

Things some might be interested in

Ethan Monk

Hi All,

A few quick notes from my day out today--

The herring run in Point Richmond reported earlier was relatively young but good for gulls: About 1000 were observed eating herring roe from along the Point Richmond shoreline. The predominant taxa were California and Glaucous-winged Gulls, with large numbers of Mew and solid numbers of Olympic and Cook Inlet, as well. I spent a little over an hour with the gulls at low tide which allowed approach within 15 feet, until the activity started to die down with large numbers of gulls hauling out on the Chevron Long Pier. Gull movement was constant throughout my visit. Duck and cormorant numbers seemed unaffected by the spawning, but that should change if the spawning action continues. The spawn across the bay in Sausalito will steal some gulls and waterfowl, of course, but I still expect *significantly* more waterfowl than there were today. To access, there is a set of stairs to the beach at Western Dr. x Cliffside Ct.

I dipped on skimmers at Brooks Island, despite them being reported approx 2 hours earlier. I assume they were foraging or on the S side of the island where I could not see.

The skimmer in Pinole/Hercules at Bayfront Park was also absent around 230, but a male/female pair of Barrow's Goldeneye and a Montana ssp. Song Sparrow were nice consolations.

All the best

Pt. Richmond: Possible herring run

Melani King

Hundreds of gulls in the bay at the end of Western Drive. They seem to be waiting for the tide to go down.

Melani King
Pt. Richmond

Black Skimmers along the Richmond Breakwater

On Jan 28, I observed 5 Black Skimmers resting on the shoreline from our hole in Pt. Richmond. It seems others have seen the same group and posted checklists to eBird. Since I see that none of these have been "confirmed" yet,despite documenting photos, I thought I would post the sightings here. On the "Rare Bird Alerts" there are also sightings of Snowy Plover along the same breakwater, and Black Scoter at Marina Bay.

Tony Brake
Pt. Richmond

Rufous-crowned Sparrows - Black Diamond Mines Regional Park, Antioch - 1/30

Paul Schorr

At 1:15 today Nancy and I located a pair of Rufous-crowned Sparrows along the entrance road to BDMRP. The birds were seen in California Sagebrush shrubs along the steep west side of the entrance road about 200 feet from where the road makes a sharp left turn up a steep incline where the speed is posted at 15 mph. There isn’t available parking along the road, but there are some wide spots above the steep incline.

Good birding,

Paul Schorr

Correction and a note


The MDAS field trip was yesteerday, 1/29, not today.
For reasons entirely unknown to me, totally corrupts the format of my posts.
Everything listed gets ganged together, without punctuation, and often without spaces betweenwords. Paragraph breaks, which I naturally incorporate, do not appear.
I apologize for the confusing appearance of what I have written but I simply have no control overhow things end up.
Best to all,Tracy Farrington,Walnut Creek

Mt. Diablo Audubon field trip report


Annually, around this date, MDAS traditionally incorporates in its repertoire of field trips, areas near to, and including, the Martinez Regional Shoreline Preserve.  Today, 1/29, a respectable number of us continued this tradition, beginning at Waterbird Regional Preserve, overlooking the north end of McNabney Marsh.
Birds identified from this location include:

Mute SwanCanada Goose GadwallEurasian WigeonAmerican WigeonMallardNorthern Pintail
Northern ShovelerCinnamon TealGreen-winged TealCanvasbackLesser ScaupBuffleheadCommon GoldeneyeRuddy DuckHooded MerganserPied-billed GrebeAnna's HummingbirdAmerican CootBlack-necked StiltRing-billed GullCalifornia GullGlaucous-winged GullDouble-crested CormorantAmerican White PelicanWhite-tailed KiteBelted KingfisherSnowy EgretGreat EgretSay's PhoebeBlack-crowned Night HeronBelted KingfisherBlack PhoebeNorthern MockingbirdRed-winged BlackbirdGreat-tailed GrackleGolden-crowned SparrowRock PigeonCalifornia Towhee
Our next destination was the pond in Martinez, along N.Court St, part of the Martinez Shoreline Park. Birds identified from this location include:
Cackling GooseCanada GooseGadwallBuffleheadGreen-winged TealLesser-ScaupCanvasback (Two beautiful ducks)American GoldfinchLesser GoldfinchHouse FinchMarsh WrenRed-breasted SapsuckerWilletMallardBlack-necked StiltHerring GullRing-billed GullCalifornia GullWhite-tailed Kite
Next stop, the observation platform, west side of McNabney Marsh.A great viewing position, generally speaking, but not particularly productive, today.Obviously, looked for the previously reported Eurasian Teal...not found. Also lookedfor the Lesser Yellow-legs...not found. Also on the lookout for luck.Not even a Sora...weird.
We did scope, from quite a distance, a male Kestrel,  perched atop an old Kestrel house at the western end of the  McNabney Preserve.  
The day concluded with lunch and a walk through sections of the renovated Moorhen Marsh, a wetland maintained by the Mt. View Sanitary District.This site was closed for two years during the extensive work, and re-opened to the public last May. The restoration project is ongoing, including removal of much non-native vegetation, and planting of several riparian species. And the birds are returning.
Green HeronGreat Blue HeronCommon Yellowthroat Marsh WrenBlack-crowned Night HeronDouble-crested CormorantRed-tailed HawkYellow-rumped WarblerCalifornia TowheeWhite and Golden-crowned SparrowsSnowy EgretGreat EgretCanada GooseRed-winged Blackbird
Bird numbers and variety will most certainly improve as the riparian growth begins to mature.
All in all, a very pleasant and productive day of birding with a total of 72 species sighted.
Good birding to all,Tracy Farrington,Walnut Creek

2 Glaucous-winged Gulls at Lake Merritt

David Robinson

This evening, among the Ring-billed and Western Gulls, I saw two
Glaucous-winged Gulls.

One was where I saw one yesterday evening: on the semicircular divider line
of buoys (or whatever it is) near the gazebo. The other was at the duck
pond near the nature center.

My ebird list includes pics of both. For folks who, like me, have seen few
Glaucous-winged Gulls, the pics might be especially helpful, especially the
one that allows side-by-side comparison of a Ring-billed Gull,
Glaucous-winged Gull, and Western Gull — the relative darkness or lightness
of their grey backs is easy to compare.

David Robinson

Re: A little more flamingo from 1996


Here is a post from '05 re that 98 sighting from Birdnutz list owner.
Search the EBB archives 1998-1010 here On Tuesday, January 28, 2020, 10:15:42 AM PST, Marcus via Groups.Io <> wrote:

I saved some postings from the past 11 years, one of them from July 13, 2009, referred to a website now defunct, but available via the internet archive.


Donations to the Internet archive are always appreciated btw...

Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA

A little more flamingo from 1996


I saved some postings from the past 11 years, one of them from July 13, 2009, referred to a website now defunct, but available via the internet archive.


Donations to the Internet archive are always appreciated btw...

Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA

Glaucous-winged Gull at Lake Merritt

David Robinson

This evening, I once again saw a single Glaucous-winged Gull at Lake
Merritt — this time, hanging out on the line of buoys (or whatever they
are) separating the little part of the lake by the gazebo and the rest of
the lake. Uploaded pics (nothing special, but good for comparison with
Western Gull) to my ebird list <>.