Re: Injured Common Loon in Richmond Marina

Cathy Bleier

Since several people responded, I’ll now respond to whole group. Wendy Beers and I checked it out yesterday, prepared for potential rescue. The problem appears to be 3 patches of tar on its side/belly that it was spending all its time trying to remove, rolling over repeatedly to pick at it. I think the leg is fine (which I couldnt see the day before), and the bird is still very able to dive and quickly swim a couple hundred feet underwater. Thus, rescue would be mostly impossible. That said, it should be able to eat at the moment and is also pretty protected within the harbor (right next to Yacht Club yesterday). Animal Control did not return calls.

Heather Farm Walnut Creek and Oakland Middle Harbor Shoreline Monday


I had to take a friend from Berkeley to a medical procedure, but had time to take a quick spin around Heather Farm before leaving. Had two woodpeckers--a female Downy and the Nuttall's at the nest. Two Green Herons were flying around, two Killdeer chicks are still on the ball fields, lots of Canada Goose goslings and some Mallard ducklings, Barn and Violet-green Swallows, too. Yellow Warblers still in the eucalyptus near the chin-up bars.

Other birders were ahead of me and had a Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, even a distant Northern Harrier. The Caspian Tern was here early and a couple of Warbling Vireos were seen by Tracy Farrington. He also had a bunch of Chickadees.

While waiting for my friend's appointment to be completed, I checked along the edge of Powell Street in Emeryville--absolutely nothing. Point Emery had no available parking space. But I drove to Oakland Middle Harbor Shoreline and drove south to the all-handicap parking along the estuary. And yes, I took a space. Nothing visible along the estuary except for the large containership MSC Rania. It is not that big--only 1089 feet long.

On a mudflat on the way out were quite a few birds, so on the way back I paused and scoped them out the car window. The group included about 60 Marbled Godwits, at least one Long-billed Curlew, three Willets, five or six Black-bellied Plovers in non-breeding plumage, 20-30 Caspian Terns, two Forster's Terns and a bunch of Western and California gulls. Most likely the distant cormorants I saw perched were Double-crested. That was nice.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Re: Injured Common Loon in Richmond Marina

Doug Elinson

I used to volunteer at IBR.  They would take it.  Someone would have to bring it to them.. What did IBR and Lindsay tell you?

Albany Hill

Richard Sintchak <rich815@...>

Hello all, although I don’t bird as much as I used to (back in the late 70’s, early 80’s used to bird with Jean Richmond on occasion and sometimes with Bob, too), I’m started to get back into it again.

Today I hiked around Albany Hill with my wife and 9-year old daughter. I walked here early yesterday (along Cerrito creek next to Ranch 99 Market) and it was fairly dead bird-wise, today was the exact opposite! The early AM rain must have scared up some insects as there were birds everywhere. Entered the trail at the end of Madison Street, and then hiked along the south side of Cerrito Creek, then up the trail to Albany Hill. Highlights included ROUGH-WINGED and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS cavorting with WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS, singing WILSON’S WARBLERS, CASSIN’S VIREOS, and PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS and plus one ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD. Highlight of the morning though was a massive group of BROWN CREEPERS all over the place at one section of the creek on both sides of the trail. We were surrounded by creeper calls on all sides of us and they were really close and tame. In fact one landed on me for a few seconds when he was being chased by another (much to wife’s chagrin), never had that happen! Otherwise 26 species in all, and while nothing over the top except that brown creeper flock, the amount of singing and number of active birds all over the place made for a special morning. eBird list here:

More soon from me (I’m convinced that stretch of Cerrito creek should have great birds) as my new Meopta MeoPro 10x42 binocs should arrive later this week. Time to retire my 1.5 kilo Bushnell Custom 10x50’s I’ve owned since 1976. Oh my aching back...

Richard Sintchak
Albany, California

Injured Common Loon in Richmond Marina

Cathy Bleier

An hour or 2 ago on a bike ride I found a Common Loon in full breeding plumage, floating along the south side of Richmond Marina by Barbara and Jay Vincent Park. It was clearly unbalanced in the water and I could only see one leg as it SLOWLY paddled. It was staying very close to the rocky shores even though people, bikes and dogs were passing. When it finally turned around, it appeared to be missing feathers (and possibly some flesh and possibly the leg). I assume it’s not long for 5us world, but i also don't think it’s going anywhere, so I tried IBR and Lindsay and another number or 2 suggested through a friend who does hawk rescue. If anyone has any ideas about entities interested in rescue, let me kniw (or let them know). Sad; such a beauty.

Lark Sparrows Seaview Trail Tilden and other patch birding.

Jim Chiropolos

Today I walked my local patches in a loop - house- El Toyonol- Inspiration Point - Seaview trail - Vollmer peak -house. The Highlight was 3 lark sparrows seen off Seaview trail. The habitat was dense bush with patches of Monterey pine forest. All three were on pine snags and none were singing. I thought it was unusual habitat as there was no grassland for 100 yards or more and all previous sightings I have had of lark sparrows have been in grassland/savanna bordered by shrubs and trees. Are these Seaview lark sparrows breeding or migrating? (I did see a pair on grassland off Wildcat road on the walk up to Inspiration Point on more conventional lark sparrow habitat).

Other highlights were a MacGillivreys warbler on Seaview. In terms of migrants, only two cassins vireos were found off el Toyonol singing. The only migrant flock of the day was at the house when I left at 9 am after the rain with Cassins and Warbling vireos with Townsends warblers and both vireos were also seen at the house when I got back at 1 pm!

60 species seen during the loop.

Good Birding!
Jim Chiropolos

Contra Costa county 5/15 NORTHERN PARULA, east county Mew Gull, Lesser Nighthawk

Logan Kahle

Hi all,

Spent an enjoyable day yesterday driving around Contra Costa county with bike in tow. I started in Richmond, working southeast briefly to Redwood Park, and then out to East county. Overall, migrant activity was very low, with the only spot with more than a few migrants being my starting spot of Point San Pablo.

I started the morning at the best migrant trap I know of in western Contra Costa, Point San Pablo. As hoped for, migrant numbers were quite good for this date, highlighted by a singing NORTHERN PARULA in the oaks. This bird was likely actively migrating, and was not found later in the morning by another observer. I worked the point relatively comprehensively, and the area around the oaks/marina was the only place that seemed to have good numbers of migrants, the willows at the county park being pretty much entirely devoid. This follows the pattern I have been noting elsewhere in Richmond at other points this Spring: the willows aren't terribly popping, whereas oaky canyons tend to be where the majority of the birds are. Anyway, highlights at the point included:

White-throated Swift-1 was presumably nesting nearby in Richmond
HERRING x GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL-1 loafing on West Brothers Island was late for this hybrid combo
Pelagic Cormorant-1
Great Horned Owl-1 flushed in oaks was a nice surprise
Western Wood-Pewee-1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher-7 four of which were presumed migrants
Stellar's Jay-2 in oaks, where not resident, likely reflected recent local movement. I tend to see this species in Spring and Fall here, rarely in Winter
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW-1 singing here is the first summer observation I've had here, likely reflecting nesting. To my ear this bird sounded to be a Nuttall's, but I'm not positive
Hooded Oriole-4 including at least one definite migrant
Orange-crowned Warbler-1
NORTHERN PARULA-1 represented the second Richmond record that I know of, and about the 10th for the county
Yellow Warbler-6
Wilson's Warbler-8 of which several were likely migrants
Lazuli Bunting-3 all of which were presumably migrants

Full eBird list here:

From there I checked a variety of spots around Richmond. First stop was Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline which was comparatively devoid of passerine migrants. Highlights here were:

Red-breasted Nuthatch-5
Orange-crowned Warbler-1
Wilson's Warbler-2
Lazuli Bunting-1

Full eBird list here:

I briefly poked around Point Richmond neighborhoods, which turned up nothing of note.

A brief stop at Sandpiper Spit produced a single Pelagic Cormorant.

I looked at the Brooks Island colony from Canal Boulevard. The Gulls were doing well, and Terns absent. It seems Cal Gulls have totally taken over this season. Numbers at the colony were:

Western Gull-124
California Gull-420
Brown Pelican-134 was an uptick from 55 last week
Great Blue Heron-2
Great Egret-2
Snowy Egret-14

Full eBird list here:

I then hit Booker T Anderson Park, similarly slow for migrants, but did have a single Yellow Warbler.

Creekside Park was slow.

I spent a while on Pinehurst Rd, partially hoping the Pileated Woodpecker would bless me with its presence, partially hoping for a vagrant warbler or something. The highlight was a pair of Black-throated Gray Warblers in seemingly suitable breeding habitat about two miles north of Canyon. The male was singing away. As far as I know, there are only one or two nesting records for Mount Diablo and none for the rest of the county. Could be worth keeping an eye on.

From there I blasted East. First stop was Bethel Island, where I road around on my bike for chunks, and drove for others. The region was pretty slow overall, with the afternoon heat hampering activity. I skipped Piper Slough as it had been covered earlier this day, focusing on the neighborhoods on the Southeast side of the Island, the Franks Tract overlook, and Willowest Marina. Highlights included:

Wild Turkey-1 female was a bit odd. Often when you see turkeys on the island, theyre in flocks
Allen's Hummingbird-1 male was interestingly in the southeastern neighborhoods, where I have not noted this species previously. While there are perhaps half a dozen or more territories on the island, this species remains exceptionally local in the delta as a whole, seemingly tied strictly to scarlet eucalyptus
White-faced Ibis-84 in two flocks
Red-shouldered Hawk-1 was an uncommon bird for this region this late
Hooded Oriole-6
Great-tailed Grackle-1 on a tree near Piper reflects this species expansion into the Delta in recent years
Full eBird list here:

From there I went to Clifton Court Forebay, my final stop of the Day. Large mudflats have emerged lately on the southeast part of the Forebay (!) attracting 1000s of Gulls among other birds. I strongly recommend visiting this part of the forebay, if you have the endurance. If these conditions persist til Fall, it could be phenomenal. Anyway, wind had picked up considerably so I focused almost entirely on waterbirds. Highlights here included:

LESSER NIGHTHAWK-1 northeast bound flyover near the entrance was my first in years at the Forebay. The Lessers here tend to be weirdly challenging, and the location where I found the bird on this day was likely a fluke. If anyone is interested in trying for this, the Lazy Marina about half an hour before sunrise has traditionally been a good place and time to try. Alternatively, the Lazy Marina region scanning North/Northwest over the iodinebush fields post sunset can be a good place to search too
Black-necked Stilt-2 in the southeast corner
Long-billed Curlew-1 in the southeast corner was late for East county (or anywhere in the county away from Richmond)
MEW GULL-1 a very bleached second-cycle in with the California Gull swarms was my first for the forebay, and represents an exceptionally late Spring record for both East county and for the Central Valley
California Gull-1600 was a great count
BALD EAGLE-2 on southeast flats were historically quite uncommon here but have become progressively more common in recent years
Blue Grosbeak-2

Full eBird checklist here:

Great to get out for another full day of CoCo birding.

Good birding,


Re: Briones reservoir Lawrence’s goldfinch 5/15

Teale Fristoe

I've also seen Lawrence's Goldfinches a couple of times in the east bay in the past week or so. It seems like it may be a good year for this species so keep your eyes open whenever you're in the right habitat and make sure you scan those Lesser Goldfinch flocks.

On May 6th I saw three at Briones Regional Park. A friend posted a photo and the location on iNaturalist:

On May 13th I saw four at Sibley Volcanic Regional Park. Unfortunately they flushed before I could get a photo. They were around 37.860132, -122.202449.

Happy birding,
Teale Fristoe

Wildcat Canyon Saturday Morning

Alan Krakauer

I got out for a long walk in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park this morning for some birding and photography.  I'd heard about San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory's Big Photo Day and figured that was a good excuse to get back in the park. My goal was 50 species detected and 25 photographed. I ended up surpassing those totals, with 55 species seen or heard and 35? with photos of varying quality.

Full list:

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, intersection of Belgum and Wildcat Creek Trail
Lark and Grasshopper Sparrows, between Belgum site and Ridge Trail
Hermit Warblers, North edge of the grove of trees along the ridge above Belgum
Cal Thrasher and Western Tanager, between the low gate on the Bonita Trail and Wildcat Creek Trail

Biggest misses for the list were Brown Creeper, Hairy Woodpecker, Cowbird, Siskin (not sure they're still around), Crow, Black Phoebe, Rufous-crowned Sparrow and kite/kestral/accipiters.

Thanks to Sam Z who joined me for much of the hike.

Good Birding, 
Alan Krakauer
Richmond California

Re: Briones reservoir Lawrence’s goldfinch 5/15

Cathy Bleier

Saw a pair of Lawrence’s Goldfinches yesterday at about 11:30 AM at Briones Park (East Bay Regional Park District) at the Maud Whelan group campsite, up  the Abrigo Trail from the Bear Creek Staging Area parking lot.   (Parking lot there is now open; go online to see status of other park gates and lots). They landed on the picnic table while we were looking the other way at the Bullock’s Orioles.  My husband took a quick, blurry but useful photo, and then the birds were gone. .  Also present there were Western Kingbirds and lots of fledged Barn Swallows; no Lark Sparrows or Lazuli Buntings presented themselves to us, but they should be there.  Along the walk there was lots of vocal House Wren activity, as everywhere else the past week or two, and multiple Ash-throated Flycatchers and Warbling Vireos. 
Safe birding!

Lawrence's Goldfinch


Sorry for the late report, but Lori Stoneman and I had a couple of Lawrence's Goldfinches along Elderberry Trail at Las Trampas Regional Wilderness on Friday May 15.  They were flying back and forth from an oak next to the trail to another one further up the hillside.  There were also singing Cassin's Vireos in the same location.
Approximate location: 37°48'44.5"N 122°02'43.8"W
Elderberry Tr, San Ramon, CA 94583
James Watts

Briones reservoir Lawrence’s goldfinch 5/15

Teri L Wills

We saw a male Lawrence’s Goldfinch from the Oursan Trail about 2 miles west of the trail junction with Hampton trail. There are several access points to this EBMUD property around Briones Reservoir. A permit is required. We started at the Hampton Road entrance which is off Bear Creek Road about 1 mile south of Alhambra Valley Road. The area is called Briones. The bird was about 2 1/2 miles from the trail head.

Chris and Teri Wills

Friday morning in Heather Farm


A lot of the same birds continued today, which have been seen for the last week or so. I had Yellow Warbler and Western Tanager sightings, The White-breasted Nuthatch family appeared near the entrance to the private Seven Hills School, Cedar Waxwings were nearby in the corner eucalyptus there, and a couple of Western bluebirds were also around. A Red-tailed Hawk sat for a while on the power poles up the slope from the school entry.

Wild Turkey poults were south of the equestrian rings in a small riparian area, I saw three in the grass, but more could have been present.

A Nuttall's Woodpecker baby stuck its head out the hole on the side of an oak west of the large pond. South of the concrete pond were two new Canada Goose families. One Mallard mother has kept her 4 ducklings safe in a corner of that pond. Two other families continue on the big pond.

I have not seen the Green Herons for a while, though they are around, I'm certain. They have nested somewhere around the big pond pretty much annually. It sometimes takes a while to learn where is the nest. No Caspian Tern for me today, but I could easily have missed it being in another part of the park.

The Killdeer family continues on the outfield grass across from the parking lot near the wooden railing.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Cesar Chavez Park - Ash-throated Flycatcher 5-15-2020


This morning I saw and photographed an Ash-throated Flycatcher in the wooded area of Cesar Chavez Park. The bird flew off, seemingly to within the nearby trees, and wasn't located in the following ten minutes. I also saw what appeared to be a budgerigar feeding in the fennel along the northern edge of the park. A Least Tern was seen at a distance to the west feeding in the bay.

You can view the checklist here, which includes coordinates to sightings:

Have fun,
Jack Hayden

Heather Farm Park May 14


It is a little cooler than I really like, I started wearing my gloves when I first left the house.

The Nuttall's Woodpecker babies are loud enough I could hear them when an adult came near the nest. Cedar Waxwings were still all over the mulberry tree at the north end of the equestrian area. Several Canada Goose families have young which are close to being teenagers, now. Some of the Mallard ducklings are also growing; most of them do not make it very far in life here.

Yellow Warblers were in the trees near the chin-up bars between the two ponds. David Kent found us a female Western Tanager in a eucalyptus there, I had a couple in the eucalyptus at the equestrian parking lot.

A Caspian Tern showed right after I had scanned the length of the pond. It cruises the length multiple times, sometimes diving to catch a fish, often missing.

Yesterday, Tracy Farrington and I watched a confrontation between some Crows and a young Cooper's Hawk. It mostly ended in a stand-off, though at one point we thought one Crow was sure to be toast. Maybe they are just a little bigger than a Cooper's Hawk would prefer to tackle.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Lions. Mitchell Canyon

Phil Cotty

At 6:45am this morning I encountered 2 mountain lions at the start of Black Pt Trail on the Globe Lily side of the small ravine.

Gorgeous but much too close for me, maybe 50 meters and even closer to Globe Lily Trail.

 I saw only the second lion rushing in, having been alerted by crashing in the brush and what I assume was a deer based on its cry.  

Phil Cotty 

Phil Cotty   
(510) 551-3133 

Re: Green Heron vs. Crow at Lake Merritt: Now with video

Hilary Powers

On 5/1/2020 7:31 PM, Hilary Powers wrote:
Walking along the path on the Bellevue side of the lake below the Nature Center, I found myself following a Green Heron that was prospecting along the low-tide mud.

Crow walks toward heron. Heron hunches and points beak at crow, who withdraws.


Crow backs off, then flaps up and over heron, as though planning to dive. Heron raises beak as high as possible (growing about a foot taller) and snaps at crow.

Crow lands a few feet away, then tries it on again. Heron's response is the same.

Three or four times. Then the crow wanders off a ways and flies down the lake looking innocent....

Never saw that before!

Lyla Arum caught part of the encounter on her phone:


~            Hilary Powers - Hilary@... - Oakland CA          ~
~; ~
~         Needle Felted Sculpture - Real and Fantasy Creatures        ~

Walnut Creek birds--one more thing


To view Fred Safier's list from this morning, check this website:;m=

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Some Walnut Creek birds May 12


Just after 7 AM, I saw an email from Fred Safier that he had an Olive-sided Flycatcher. It was at the Seven Hills Ranch Road area near Walnut Blvd, Cherry Lane and the concrete creek channel. It took me a while to finish dressing and ride my bike there, so the bird was long gone by 7:30 or after. I rode around listening, and finally found Fred returning from Westcliffe Lane near the Iron Horse Trail.

Fred showed me the tree where the Flycatcher had been, and I told him the bird I saw there was a California Towhee. It was a case of "same tree--two different birds."

I was able to show him the pair of Common Mergansers south of the bridge over the creek. Fred first saw them a couple of days back. It seems an odd place to see them this time of year, relatively shallow water and a concrete channel. The male Belted Kingfisher was flying up and down the channel making all kinds of noise, too.

I rode back toward Heather Farm, almost gave up due to the light rain, but hid under trees and behind a storage container for a bit. Glad I did, because I found continuing Western Tanagers in the eucalyptus trees between the gravel boat ramp and the chin-up bars. I also had Yellow Warblers here.

Though the White-breasted Nuthatches seem to have fledged their family, nearby are the Nuttall's Woodpeckers who are feeding their kids.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Spring in my backyard

Jackie Bobrosky

This morning I was surprised and happy to watch a Swainson's Thrush and a Western Tanager together at my fishpond waterfall.  Overhead, a newly fledged Downy Woodpecker was calling its parents who were frantically feeding it.  
The last two days I've watched a Wilsons Warbler while hearing a Pacific Slope Flycatcher somewhere in the trees.  Hooded Orioles and Allen's Hummingbirds continue as well.  
Love my backyard birding world.
Jackie Bobrosky
Old Martinez

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