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Heather Farm Sunday morning

rosita94598
 

The female Wood Duck first seen earlier this week was present and visible again today in the pond adjacent to the private Seven Hills School.  This is located between the equestrian rings and the Contra Costa Canal.

A Double-crested Cormorant was on he edge of the dirt in front of the big oak tree and green bench on the west side of the large, mostly natural pond.

At the bottom of the gravel boat ramp where the pond-skimmer machine is now floating, we saw a Green Heron, a Snowy Egret and an adult Black-crowned Night-Heron.  The Night-Heron did not have any white plumes.

The Red-shouldered Hawk was again in the tree partway up the big hill and in front of the houses.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


American White Pelican found dead at Lake Merritt

Lyla Arum
 

Fellow birders,

Yesterday, I found a dead American White Pelican in the water in front of the Lake Merritt Boat Rental center. The sight churned my stomach, not just because of the loss of such a large bird, but because last week, the boat rental staff thought they had seen our beloved long-term disabled pelican resident (since 2003!), Hank, spending time on their docks.

Concerned that the deceased could be Hank, I reached out to a long time caretaker of her's for help. Once he arrived, we pulled the pelican out of the water onto a tarp and gently tried to examine it to determine: a) how it died, b) if it was Hank. Unfortunately, the bird's decomposition and bloating prevented a positive ID and cause of death. We wrapped the body in the tarp and placed it in an empty cardboard trash box. I submitted a Wildlife Mortality Report on California Department of Fish & Wildlife's (CDFW) website yesterday and this morning a message was left at Oakland's Animal Services notifying them of the location of the body.

I would like to ask the birding community for help with the following:  1) Please keep a lookout at the lake for any other pelican fatalities and report them to CDFW and Animal Services. 2) If you see Hank, please notify me and, if possible, take a photo. We do not know the cause of this pelican's death. It could be from natural causes, or perhaps its death was hastened by humans (shot at by BB guns like a Canadian goose was at the bird yard; run over by one of the many large toy motorboats people are racing on the lake; smoke pollution from the fires, etc.). 

If there were any other steps we should have taken upon finding this pelican, please let me know. I am very sorry to be the bearer of such sad news.

- Lyla




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Common Murre in Seaplane Lagoon

Dawn Lemoine
 

Monarch St in Alameda. Drive all the way to the bay.


Wednesday morning at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek

rosita94598
 

I had limited time this morning to ride my bike around, it was pretty quiet, anyway.  The best bird by far was a Wood Duck on the edge of the concrete pond near the private Seven Hills School.  I found Ted Robertson on his bike and told him about it.  His eBird list is here:  https://ebird.org/checklist/S72581758

Wood Ducks are seen on this pond or the large, mostly natural pond just a handful of times each year.

Hugh B.Harvey
Walnut Creek


Clark's Grebe chicks, Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area

Gerry McChesney
 

On a bike ride around Quarry Lakes yesterday (8/18/20), I noted a pair of Clark's Grebes with two roughly half-grown young on Lago Los Osos. The pair was making foraging dives and fed the chicks. The pair also performed some exquisite courtship dances.

About 20 or so Western/Clark's Grebes were on Lago Los Osos and another 25 or so were on Horseshoe Lake, but these were the only young seen.  

I'm fairly certain that two Western Grebe nests I observed on Lago Los Osos earlier this summer failed. 

Gerry McChesney


Trip to Jewel Lake: Wilson's Warblers, Hutton's Vireos, Jays, Towhees, and more

George A Suennen
 

Hi all,

I miss all the bird walks, so decide to take a trip up to Jewel Lake.    Not as active as it has been during the Spring before the lock down, but still saw a few of the usual summer birds. 

Saw lots of Wilson Warblers, a couple of Hutton's Vireos, a Scrub-Jay and multiple Stellar's Jays.  A prerequisite Black Phoebe, dozens of Dark-eyed Juncos and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Towhees (California and Spotted), Song Sparrows by the remnants of the Lake, a few Bewick's Wrens and Pacific-slope Flycatcher. 

I posted photos at http://birds.avianist.com/2020/200818-Jewel-Lake

Best Regards,

George

http://birds.avianist.com


Facilities update—Richmond WTP

Ethan Monk
 

Hi All—

Just a quick update on the current birding situation at the Richmond WTP. I’ve been on and off the phone with employees for a while now trying to figure out why they are closed/how long they will be closed for,etc. The current answer is that one should consider the WTP closed indefinitely to public visits until the city of Richmond can safely consider the COVID-19 pandemic “over” or “controlled.” An employee mentioned to me today that this could be until there is a working vaccine, but quite possibly longer. How long this will be who knows.

So for now, only the 4 roadside ponds are viewable through the chain link. 3 of these ponds with good habitat recently, 1 dry.

Good birding,

Ethan


Monday morning in Heather Farm Park Walnut Creek

rosita94598
 

It was fairly quiet in the park this morning following our very hot weekend.  Lots of scum floating on the surface of both the natural and the concrete ponds.  A few observations of note.

A Great Egret came in and landed on top of the gnarly oak tree just across the Ygnacio Canal on the west side of the large, mostly natural pond.  A Crow did not like that and harassed the Egret for a bit, including flying at it and sitting on an adjacent branch while calling.  The Egret was not phased at all and was still on top of the tree when I left the park.

A Green Heron was in the left corner at the bottom of the gravel boat ramp.  It had a dragonfly, which it was working in the extreme tip of its bill.  At one point it dropped it, then reached down to the water and picked it up.  After a little more moving it around, gulp, down the hatch it went, followed by two sips of water.  It looked like a Common Green Darner from what I see in the Tim Manolis' Dragonflies and Damselflies of California.

Two other observations were the CA Towhee with three Cowbird fledglings, and the fact that I did not hear or see a Black Phoebe.  They must be around, I just missed them.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek



Willow flycatcher

Sheila Dickie
 

A Willow flycatcher visited the garden this afternoon August 16. The female Anna's perched 6 inches away and gave it a good stare before going on her way to the Woolly blue curls.

Sheila Dickie
Richmond


Bird transport needed today - Heather Farms to Lindsay Wildlife

Megan Jankowski
 

Hi everyone, this is super off topic so apologies. There's a woman attending a horse show at Heather Farms today and she has a possibly injured juvenile White-Tailed Kite that she brought from her home in Tracy. She is likely not able to leave the horse show in time to bring it to the Lindsay Hospital. If anyone in Walnut Creek is willing to pick the bird up from her and bring it to the hospital, please contact me off list and I can put you in touch with her. Thanks!

Megan Jankowski
Oakland


Pt Pinole. Western Kingbirds

Sheila Dickie
 

There were two Western Kingbirds today at about 4 p.m. high in a eucalyptus tree along Owl Alley midway between the pond and the Maintenance yard. The birds were flying out and back. Quite spectacular. Location pt Pinole Regional Shoreline Park, Richmond.

Sheila Dickie
Richmond
8.13.20


Early Warbler Migration

Teale Fristoe
 

Lately I've been spending most of my birding time at the shoreline looking for shorebirds and terns, but today I dragged myself out of bed early enough to visit my local forest/chaparral hotspot, Claremont Canyon. I wasn't expecting much action in this limbo time between breeding and fall migration, so I was pleasantly surprised to have a four warbler hike.

The two biggest surprises were three Black-throated Gray Warblers (a species I've never seen there before) and four Hermit Warblers, all female/juveniles. The other two warblers were the expected Wilson's and only slightly less expected Orange-crowned.

In addition to the warblers, I saw many migrants in areas I'm not used to seeing them, indicating to me that they are either actively migrating or dispersing from nearby breeding locations. These species included one Black-headed Grosbeak, two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and many Pacific-slope Flycatchers. I also saw one female Selasphorus hummingbird, at this time of year likely a migrating Rufous.


Happy early fall,
Teale Fristoe
Berkeley


New bird in our backyard

Claude Lyneis
 

This morning (August 13, 2020 at about 9:30)  in the Berkeley Hills, 741 Keeler,  I spotted a new bird in out backyard.  It appears to be a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  It landed on the horizontal support of my bird feeder for about 20 second before flying off.  I had my Nikon ready because I have been documenting the squirrel activity at the feeder.

Probably not so unusual in Berkeley, but I have never seen one before.

Here is the link to a photo on Flickr.       https://flic.kr/p/2jw1B8u



Osprey at Lake Merritt

Hilary Powers
 

This afternoon, an Osprey was perched in the bare patch in the thick trees on the west side of the near island. Sat for a while, rose up and circled the lake, came back. This was about an hour ago; dunno if he's there still....

Best viewing from the cage end of the boat house parking lot.

Only my second sighting of an Osprey at the lake, ever.


-- ~ Hilary Powers - Hilary@... - Oakland CA ~ ~ www.salamanderfeltworks.com; www.Etsy.com/shop/SalamanderFeltworks ~ ~ Needle Felted Sculpture - Real and Fantasy Creatures ~


Re: Male Surf Scoter at Albany Bulb

Fred Werner
 

An adult male Surf Scoter was on land next to a female Greater Scaup at the Albany Bulb on July 24.  Photos and links to videos in the eBird list: https://ebird.org/checklist/S71795274

Apologies for the late addition to this thread.  I was intrigued to see the Scaup and Scoter so close, but didn't think there was anything unusual about Scoters there even on land, even this time of year. 

That week and earlier, there was much discussion on this list about Greater vs. Lesser Scaups.  So I was more focused on trying to distinguish the three scaups I saw: two seemed clearly Greater, one seemed clearly Lesser.  Photos / videos of those are also on that eBird list.

- Fred

Fred Werner
Berkeley


On Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 8:47 AM Edward Tanovitz via groups.io <edtanov=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
I saw one male very close to shore near Trader vics in Emeryville in late July.


Bright Red Crest -- the results are in, sorta

Mike Hall
 

Thank you all so much for the suggestions! Nobody contributed anecdotes of parallel experiences, so before I share my “conclusion,” I’ll tell you about this one time a few years back. I’m in the succulents section of S.F. Botanical Garden (Golden Gate Park) when a gold-headed hummingbird flies by and perches, too close for binocs. Crown, nape, face all bright goldenrod, gorget red, body green. While my heart rate doubles and my mind pages fruitlessly through field guides, the bird plunges into a nearby cactus blossom and emerges even brighter. Thus it dawns on me – Anna’s as pollinator! True story.
The most popular ID nomination for my red-crested mystery was Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but I didn’t bother to include RCKI in the why-nots, because, although it does sometimes sip and can really flare its crown, its wingbars cannot escape notice and its flight is not straight and level. And when was the last time you saw one sit really still? at the tip-top of a tree? I’m grateful to Michaela for the Kingbird suggestion – I’d actually forgotten about the hidden crown stripe (which some field guides fail to mention). The Macaulay gallery, as far as I got, shows only one example of the stripe flared – visible head-on, possibly a courtship signal, not rising above the crown. WEKI’s direct flight style is right, but shape and size are wrong. Kay thought of Pyrrhuloxia – nice red crest, but also many obvious touches of red here and there, and just as big as the Kingbird. And undulating flight. Wen’s Chipping Sparrow has the right size and, if it’s turned somewhat away, potentially the right shape and crown brightness; but, you know, striping on the back, wingbars, and – undulating flight. Finally, Judi contributed Red-crested Cardinal (Sibley: “Escapes regularly occur in Florida and California”). Mainly a ground feeder, with hard-to-mistake white and gray body; no info on flight style. I haven’t been able to find any local current or historical sightings records. I’m holding off for now. That bold red triangle, highly unlikely in any case, could as well have resulted from a Titmouse thrusting his head into a blossom to grab a spider or bug.
Hence, my Inconclusion: leave the eBird comment as is for now, under “Passerine sp.”


Re: Male Surf Scoter at Albany Bulb

Carla
 

While I'm not familiar with the molting pattern of Surf Scoters, the attached photo was taken (from a distance) of one of the males at Albany Bulb last Thursday evening, Aug. 6th, in case it helps. I thought it unusual to see the Scoters on land.

Best,
Carla


Re: Male Surf Scoter at Albany Bulb

Edward Tanovitz
 

I saw one male very close to shore near Trader vics in Emeryville in late July.


Re: Male Surf Scoter at Albany Bulb

Michael Carnall
 

There is a group of scoters that seem to be permanent residents near Brooks Island.  I kayak in the area regularly and have noted them in July as early as 2013. 
Mike Carnall
Point Richmond

On Monday, August 10, 2020, 10:59:32 AM PDT, cwells2073@... <cwells2073@...> wrote:


While this seems unusual I am beginning to think this is normal. I saw a male and female scoter pair in this same location on July8th of last year and a group of 5 males at sunset in this spot on July 28th of this year. One of the males had most of the secondary flight feathers on its right wing missing and the vanes on the primaries looked pretty much useless. I was thinking maybe it was the victim of a shark or seal attack but I am finding out that this is the time of year that scoters typically molt their flight feathers. Perhaps this is a refuge they are using annually during this vulnerable molting period? Does anyone know the flight feather molting pattern of a scoter? Do they lose one wing at a time?
Charlie Wells
Oakland


Re: Male Surf Scoter at Albany Bulb

Charlie Wells
 

While this seems unusual I am beginning to think this is normal. I saw a male and female scoter pair in this same location on July8th of last year and a group of 5 males at sunset in this spot on July 28th of this year. One of the males had most of the secondary flight feathers on its right wing missing and the vanes on the primaries looked pretty much useless. I was thinking maybe it was the victim of a shark or seal attack but I am finding out that this is the time of year that scoters typically molt their flight feathers. Perhaps this is a refuge they are using annually during this vulnerable molting period? Does anyone know the flight feather molting pattern of a scoter? Do they lose one wing at a time?
Charlie Wells
Oakland

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