Date   

locked Re: Introduction / California thrasher

Ellen Sampson
 

Order a Tee for me, too!

On Mon, Jun 8, 2020 at 9:27 AM Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...> wrote:
I would buy that tshirt 😊
   I am glad that you have gotten a bunch of good info. I would suggest too that you look at eBird bar charts for your county, or hot spots near or at, where you go birding. Geography and time of year are key in understanding what is likely and not likely to be seen. Also it can eventually help you plan, to gear up for fall migration (which begins in July actually!!!) and study up on species that may be expected to start showing up.
  Have fun.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@...
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alia.S.
Sent: Sunday, June 7, 2020 10:32 PM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Thanks, everyone, for all these great suggestions ⁠— I've got lots of apps to try and my fingers crossed that classes and field trips resume soon.

... also, Alvaro is right that a thrasher is more skate-punk than metal. Here, I fixed it: https://i.imgur.com/tNhyXqC.png . 😉




locked Re: Introduction / California thrasher

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

I would buy that tshirt 😊
I am glad that you have gotten a bunch of good info. I would suggest too that you look at eBird bar charts for your county, or hot spots near or at, where you go birding. Geography and time of year are key in understanding what is likely and not likely to be seen. Also it can eventually help you plan, to gear up for fall migration (which begins in July actually!!!) and study up on species that may be expected to start showing up.
Have fun.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@alvarosadventures.com
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alia.S.
Sent: Sunday, June 7, 2020 10:32 PM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Thanks, everyone, for all these great suggestions ⁠— I've got lots of apps to try and my fingers crossed that classes and field trips resume soon.

... also, Alvaro is right that a thrasher is more skate-punk than metal. Here, I fixed it: https://i.imgur.com/tNhyXqC.png . 😉


locked Re: Introduction / California thrasher

Alia.S.
 

Thanks, everyone, for all these great suggestions ⁠— I've got lots of apps to try and my fingers crossed that classes and field trips resume soon.

... also, Alvaro is right that a thrasher is more skate-punk than metal. Here, I fixed it: https://i.imgur.com/tNhyXqC.png . 😉


locked Re: Introduction / California thrasher

Steven Hunter
 

Hi Alia,

You might like to try BirdNet as well, which is Cornell's entry in the bird sound ID app arena (Android only so far). I've found it to be pretty good so far. One caveat: you have to be online, since the analysis is done on their servers (they've built a neural network based on 2.5M recordings from their collection).

The birdsong course that they offer is among the best they have–well thought out with an excellent user experience. It will introduce how we visualize and describe birdsong, and help you practice focusing on one target species among others vocalizing at the same time. I see that it's on sale right now for $48.

Once things get back to normal and we can gather in classrooms again, you can't go wrong taking one of Denise Wight's classes, offered through both the Golden Gate and Mount Diablo Audubons. Be advised that they fill up almost immediately when the registration opens online, so you have to be ready sign up on the day.

I've found LarkWire to be an excellent resource as well. It keeps track of how you've done identifying different species, tailoring what it plays you accordingly. I will say that even if you pick the west coast bird pack, the birds might not sound exactly like the representatives you'd find around here; however, there's something to be said for just training your ear to listening to the differences between similarly sounding species.

Finally, as a free option, you could try the eBird quiz app. They offer it as a means to crowdsource review of their photo and sound collections. You pick a location and a date, and it gives you 20 items that you'd be likely to see/hear in that location at that time of year, to identify and then rate. As a beginner you might find it a bit steep at first, but you'd still be associating sounds with their species.

-Steve


On Friday, June 5, 2020, 12:06:32 PM PDT, Alia.S. <ealiasalim@...> wrote:


Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia


locked Re: Introduction / California thrasher

Steve Taylor
 

It was free on Apple. But it’s hard to beat Marlin Bird ID

On Jun 6, 2020, at 12:39 PM, Joyce Rybandt <jrybandt@earthlink.net> wrote:

Hello,

A heads up. I was considering installing the Bird Genie app and followed the link from Alvaro. I recommend you read the reviews on the app before buying and installing. The reviews look to be recent. It seems to have some frustrating problems. On Android several people mentioned that the app fills the photo gallery with photos of birds, which is not good if you don't have lots of storage space.

Joyce Rybandt


-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io [mailto:EBB-Sightings@groups.io] On Behalf Of Alvaro Jaramillo
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 12:46 PM
To: 'Alia.S.' <ealiasalim@gmail.com>; EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Alia
Regarding apps, one you may want to try is BirdGenie http://www.birdgenie.com/
It was created by Tom Stephenson a friend of mine, but admit that I have yet to use it as my brain wired to bird song before cell phones were even a viable idea. But the technology behind it is very cool, you record a song and it identifies the birds for you. If you can find articles by Tom regarding how to think about and visualize bird song, I would recommend doing that. He has developed a pretty consistent language to describe bird song.
Now, old school, here is what worked for me. When you hear something that you don't recognize, chase it down. Focus on the sound, and follow it until you can visually identify the bird. The connection your brain makes with the sound, the image, and the time you are focused and searching is like no other tool. You will miss a bunch, and that is ok. But as you learn you will find that you have to chase down fewer and fewer until you realize that you know ALL of the birds in your home patch. That is an amazing accomplishment, and from there you expand to wider areas geographically and for some magical reason birds become easier and easier to learn as you know more of them.
California Thrasher - to me the name has always been more Skate Punk than metal, but I know what you are saying.

Have fun.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@alvarosadventures.com
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alia.S.
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 11:59 AM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia



locked Re: Introduction / California thrasher

Joyce Rybandt
 

Hello,

A heads up. I was considering installing the Bird Genie app and followed the link from Alvaro. I recommend you read the reviews on the app before buying and installing. The reviews look to be recent. It seems to have some frustrating problems. On Android several people mentioned that the app fills the photo gallery with photos of birds, which is not good if you don't have lots of storage space.

Joyce Rybandt

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io [mailto:EBB-Sightings@groups.io] On Behalf Of Alvaro Jaramillo
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 12:46 PM
To: 'Alia.S.' <ealiasalim@gmail.com>; EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Alia
Regarding apps, one you may want to try is BirdGenie http://www.birdgenie.com/
It was created by Tom Stephenson a friend of mine, but admit that I have yet to use it as my brain wired to bird song before cell phones were even a viable idea. But the technology behind it is very cool, you record a song and it identifies the birds for you. If you can find articles by Tom regarding how to think about and visualize bird song, I would recommend doing that. He has developed a pretty consistent language to describe bird song.
Now, old school, here is what worked for me. When you hear something that you don't recognize, chase it down. Focus on the sound, and follow it until you can visually identify the bird. The connection your brain makes with the sound, the image, and the time you are focused and searching is like no other tool. You will miss a bunch, and that is ok. But as you learn you will find that you have to chase down fewer and fewer until you realize that you know ALL of the birds in your home patch. That is an amazing accomplishment, and from there you expand to wider areas geographically and for some magical reason birds become easier and easier to learn as you know more of them.
California Thrasher - to me the name has always been more Skate Punk than metal, but I know what you are saying.

Have fun.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@alvarosadventures.com
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alia.S.
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 11:59 AM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia


Black-chinned Sparrow at Sibley Volcanic Regional Park

East Bay Birding
 

After several hours touring the Volcanic and Quarry trails, the Black-chinned Sparrow started singing loudly and distinctively at the north end of the Volcanic trail, 37.859130, -122.201275,  starting around 10am. Hard to find, eventually it flew across the road and disappeared heading North. This was overlooking Quarry Rd as Teale mentioned yesterday.

Good Birding!
John & Erica


Black-chinned Sparrow at Sibley Volcanic Regional Park

Erica
 

After several hours touring the Volcanic and Quarry trails, the Black-chinned Sparrow started singing loudly and distinctively at the north end of the Volcanic trail, 37.859130, -122.201275,  starting around 10am. Hard to find, eventually it flew across the road and disappeared heading North. This was overlooking Quarry Rd as Teale mentioned yesterday.

Good Birding!
John & Erica


Re: Searching for kite communal roost site

Ken Copen
 

I also can't confirm if it's still active but I have photographed communal roost sites at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, 10 to 15 kites at a time in the fields north of the D.U.S.T trail. 

Ken Copen

On Saturday, June 6, 2020, 11:36:46 AM PDT, Maureen Lahiff via groups.io <mlahiff@...> wrote:


For several years, there was a communal kite roost at Wavecrest in Sam Maeo County.

Does anyone know if kites still use it? People on the South Bay list may know.

Maureen Lahiff


-----Original Message-----
From: Sherrill Cook via groups.io <sherrill_c@...>
To: EBB-Sightings <EBB-Sightings@groups.io>
Sent: Sat, Jun 6, 2020 10:41 am
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Searching for kite communal roost site

I am a raptor rehabilitator with Lindsay Wildlife in Walnut Creek. Due to SIP, our resources are severely constrained and we need to release some teenage kites. We would like to get them into a communal roost site, so they can learn from the kites roosting there. These kites are too old to foster into a nest site and too old to hack.

Does any one know of a communal roost site in Alameda or Contra Costa County that has 10 or more kites that come in at dusk and leave in the morning? Many thanks for any leads you can provide...off list please.


Re: Searching for kite communal roost site

Maureen Lahiff
 

For several years, there was a communal kite roost at Wavecrest in Sam Maeo County.

Does anyone know if kites still use it? People on the South Bay list may know.

Maureen Lahiff


-----Original Message-----
From: Sherrill Cook via groups.io <sherrill_c@...>
To: EBB-Sightings <EBB-Sightings@groups.io>
Sent: Sat, Jun 6, 2020 10:41 am
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Searching for kite communal roost site

I am a raptor rehabilitator with Lindsay Wildlife in Walnut Creek. Due to SIP, our resources are severely constrained and we need to release some teenage kites. We would like to get them into a communal roost site, so they can learn from the kites roosting there. These kites are too old to foster into a nest site and too old to hack.

Does any one know of a communal roost site in Alameda or Contra Costa County that has 10 or more kites that come in at dusk and leave in the morning? Many thanks for any leads you can provide...off list please.


locked Re: Introduction / California thrasher

Dawn Lemoine
 

Welcome Alia!  Let me add one more:  Our SF birding friend Dan Brown has written a wonderful app that uses all of the North American recordings from xeno-canto.  It’s called “Birdgram US“, downloadable from your app store.  It takes a little practice, but I have found it quite valuable all spring.  

Happy Birding!
Dawn


On Jun 6, 2020, at 10:50 AM, Sharon Jue <sljue1@...> wrote:


Welcome Alia!

It sounds like you are on the right track, but just wanted to throw out a couple more references

In addition to the apps and websites mentioned by Alvaro Jaramillo and Alan Bade (in his Pine Siskins post), there are a couple of excellent books with accompanying websites:
Nathan Pieplow's "Peterson Field Guide to Western Bird Sounds" and earbirding.com
Donald Kroodsma's "Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist" and http://birdsongforthecurious.com/index.php

and of course no discussion of bird sound is complete without mention of xeno-canto.org

best wishes,
Sharon Jue
Berkeley


On Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 12:06 PM Alia.S. <ealiasalim@...> wrote:
Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia



locked Re: Introduction / California thrasher

Sharon Jue
 

Welcome Alia!

It sounds like you are on the right track, but just wanted to throw out a couple more references

In addition to the apps and websites mentioned by Alvaro Jaramillo and Alan Bade (in his Pine Siskins post), there are a couple of excellent books with accompanying websites:
Nathan Pieplow's "Peterson Field Guide to Western Bird Sounds" and earbirding.com
Donald Kroodsma's "Birdsong for the Curious Naturalist" and http://birdsongforthecurious.com/index.php

and of course no discussion of bird sound is complete without mention of xeno-canto.org

best wishes,
Sharon Jue
Berkeley


On Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 12:06 PM Alia.S. <ealiasalim@...> wrote:
Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia


Searching for kite communal roost site

Sherrill Cook
 

I am a raptor rehabilitator with Lindsay Wildlife in Walnut Creek. Due to SIP, our resources are severely constrained and we need to release some teenage kites. We would like to get them into a communal roost site, so they can learn from the kites roosting there. These kites are too old to foster into a nest site and too old to hack.

Does any one know of a communal roost site in Alameda or Contra Costa County that has 10 or more kites that come in at dusk and leave in the morning? Many thanks for any leads you can provide...off list please.


Late Pine Siskins Pleasant Hill

Alan Bade
 

Hi everyone- we just had two Pine Siskins at our feeder this evening. This seems kind of late, is anyone else seeing them recently? We don't usually see them past March. https://ebird.org/checklist/S70102878

And welcome to Alia S. who posted about the Cal Thrasher earlier! Come see us at our Audubon chapter meetings, either Mt Diablo Audubon or Golden Gate! The birding apps are great for learning bird song (I'm no expert, so I use them all the time). I like the Audubon app and Merlin. (There are ethical guidelines for using the apps in the field to consider however.) I'm going to try out Alvaro's app suggestion (bird genie), and I'm learning to use Bird Net (https://birdnet.cornell.edu/)

The Cornell lab of ornithology also has good courses at The Bird Academy and some are free. https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/ . (You can find one tailored to western birds.)
Have fun, and hope to see you out there!

Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill


Re: Black-chinned Sparrow at Sibley Volcanic Regional Park

Teale Fristoe
 

Hello again,

This morning several birders braved gusty winds, dense fog, and bone chilling cold to refind the Black-chinned Sparrow discovered yesterday. The bird was more skulky than ever, only appearing briefly in flight a few times, but sang frequently. It took a while to locate the bird on the slope overlooking Quarry Road (best staked out around 37.858511, -122.201500), but it spent most of its time there, unlike yesterday when it moved around a lot.

Happy birding,
Teale Fristoe
Berkeley

On Thu, Jun 4, 2020 at 1:21 PM Teale Fristoe <fristoe@...> wrote:
Hello,

This morning Dorian Anderson, a birder visiting from San Mateo, found a Black-chinned Sparrow at Sibley Volcanic Regional Park. When I went out to see it (10:30-12:30) it was moving around Volcanic and Quarry Trails, singing fairly regularly. It often perched within coyote bushes making it difficult to locate and moved around a fairly large area. If you look for the bird I recommend slowly walking down Volcanic Trail listening for it.

Happy birding,
Teale Fristoe
Berkeley


locked Re: Introduction / California thrasher

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Alia
Regarding apps, one you may want to try is BirdGenie
http://www.birdgenie.com/
It was created by Tom Stephenson a friend of mine, but admit that I have yet to use it as my brain wired to bird song before cell phones were even a viable idea. But the technology behind it is very cool, you record a song and it identifies the birds for you. If you can find articles by Tom regarding how to think about and visualize bird song, I would recommend doing that. He has developed a pretty consistent language to describe bird song.
Now, old school, here is what worked for me. When you hear something that you don't recognize, chase it down. Focus on the sound, and follow it until you can visually identify the bird. The connection your brain makes with the sound, the image, and the time you are focused and searching is like no other tool. You will miss a bunch, and that is ok. But as you learn you will find that you have to chase down fewer and fewer until you realize that you know ALL of the birds in your home patch. That is an amazing accomplishment, and from there you expand to wider areas geographically and for some magical reason birds become easier and easier to learn as you know more of them.
California Thrasher - to me the name has always been more Skate Punk than metal, but I know what you are saying.

Have fun.
Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo
alvaro@alvarosadventures.com
www.alvarosadventures.com

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alia.S.
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 11:59 AM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Introduction / California thrasher

Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia


locked Introduction / California thrasher

Alia.S.
 

Hi all! I’ve been lurking on the list for the past month but wanted to introduce myself: my name is Alia; I live in Berkeley and am a very beginner birder (like … genuinely still pretty excited about the difference between ravens and crows).

I’ve always been curious about birding, but a few things aligned for me recently to actually try it. Like a lot of people I found myself with more opportunity and motivation to pay attention to birds due to the shelter-in-place order. I also recently upgraded my ancient cell phone to one that can run the Merlin Bird ID app. I’m guessing there’s a range of opinions on being tech-dependent, but it has made a big difference—especially since I often go by bicycle and prefer not to carry guidebooks.

Anyway, the high point of my week was seeing my first California thrasher on Frowning Ridge above South Park Drive on Wednesday. I heard a weird, garbled racket in the coyote brush that at first I thought might be an injured gopher or rabbit. When I followed the sound I found the bird in the same laurel tree where I saw my first lazuli bunting a few weeks ago. The beak makes for a beginner-friendly ID, and I love the name⁠—very metal. 🤘🏾

I would like to be able to identify more common local species by ear and wondered if others could suggest any good resources for learning how. I would also be interested in going (masked and distanced) birding with more experienced birders one day: if you're feeling charitable and bird in Tilden or Wildcat Canyon, let me know!

Happy Friday,

Alia


Fernandez Ranch today

Rosemary Johnson
 

On the ridge near a log bench I flushed two lark sparrows who flew up to oak tree where I had a good look at them.  Believe that I heard several more singing in the woods on my way down Whipsnake Trail.

Just another dozen feet away from these birds, I spotted an Ash-throated Flycatcher perched with a big bug in its bill.  It wasn't eating it so I kept watching until it flew to a nearby snag.  I went around to the far side where I saw it fly down to a perch sans bug.  There was a big cavity above it but I wasn't in time to actually see it fly out of it.  It flew off but I kept watching waiting for it to return.  I was rewarded by seeing both of the pair return, one with a bug which it took into the cavity and the other which stayed on the aforementioned perch.

The snag is almost at the top of Whipsnake Trail.  It is a small spindly snag which I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't seen the bird fly to it.  It is surrounded by leafy branches from the adjacent large oak.  At the V of the snag, the right hand branch is broken off, only about 2' high.  The cavity was on the downhill side of this branch about 2.5' from the top.

My complete list is at  https://ebird.org/checklist/S70055778.


Rosemary Johnson


Black-chinned Sparrow at Sibley Volcanic Regional Park

Teale Fristoe
 

Hello,

This morning Dorian Anderson, a birder visiting from San Mateo, found a Black-chinned Sparrow at Sibley Volcanic Regional Park. When I went out to see it (10:30-12:30) it was moving around Volcanic and Quarry Trails, singing fairly regularly. It often perched within coyote bushes making it difficult to locate and moved around a fairly large area. If you look for the bird I recommend slowly walking down Volcanic Trail listening for it.

Happy birding,
Teale Fristoe
Berkeley


Mt. Diablo south Gate and Summit Roads

rosita94598
 

After reading about the Black-chinned Sparrow being seen in San Mateo County, I decided to breakout and try South Gate Road on Mt. Diablo. Just below the entry kiosk used to be the place to find them, but it has not worked for years. It did not work today, either. IN fact, it was eerily quiet, though I finally heard a singing Bewick's Wren.

I drove as high as Muir picnic area, where the Red Columbine's are still blooming. No Black-chinned or Bell's Sparrow here, either. They may be around, it just did not work for me.

At Muir I did hear a California Thrasher and also had a House Finch, Lesser Goldfinches, a nice N. Flicker (Red-shafted), both Bewick's and House Wren, and a female Cowbird bird-dogging an Ash-throated Flycatcher.

I stopped a couple of other places on the way down and had Western Bluebird, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Lazuli Bunting, and heard more CA Thrasher, Wrentit and Spotted Towhee. I was home before 11 AM.

Advisories for Mount Diablo State Park may be read here: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=517

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

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