Date   

Hawks but no Mountain Plovers

Cathy Bleier
 

Mountain Plovers continue to elude me on the Robinson/Flannery Road circuit, but it was nice to see the adult male Rough-legged Hawk (https://ebird.org/checklist/S80156780) and 2 Ferruginous Hawks (Zambie Rd at Hwy 12) (https://ebird.org/checklist/S80155875) in addition to many Kestrels, Loggerhead Shrikes and huge Killdeer flock. No Prairie Falcons; oh well. 


Black Throated Gray Warbler in Walnut Creek

fgsafier
 

This afternoon I took a walk in my Walnut Creek neighborhood (north end of Homestead/Seven Hills Ranch Road). Among the mildly unusual sightings I had a large Cooper's Hawk, probably an adult female, and a Red-shouldered Hawk, as well as a Downy Woodpecker in addition to the expected Acorn and Nuttall's. The outstanding bird was a male Black-throated Gray Warbler in the large oak at the very end of Homestead. I reported it to eBird (https://ebird.org/checklist/S80159284)with the following comments:
Warbler shape and bill. Active feeding high in an oak. Strongly marked with black and white stripes on the face, thinner black streaks on the flanks; clearly a male: strongly marked black throat. This was not a Townsend's; I saw no yellow except for a pale wash on the breast. (Also, if it had a yellow spot on the lores, I could not see it.)
If eBird wishes to reject this observation on the grounds of rarity, and the fact that I cannot submit a photograph, that's OK, but I point out that this is not the first time that I have found a BT Gray Warbler in our neighborhood in January, and the last time the sighting was confirmed by m.ob.
Fred Safier


High number of wood ducks @ Valle Vista it’s a.m.

rudebuschj@...
 

Hello,

This morning around 9:00 I counted 16 wood ducks at Valle Vista, the highest by far I’ve seen here. The caveat being that a spotting scope is almost certainly required because of how distant they are in that main water channel. The four canvasback also continue, as well as some other mixed waterfowl (again, quite far out).

Other than that and the varied thrush I heard from the parking lot, the overall diversity and quantity here continues to be lower than average. Just one line RTHA as far as raptors go. Water levels in the res are very low. Trails are a little muddy but not bad, and there’s been some tree work done recently. Large oak has toppled over on the Riche Loop but someone has cut a path around it through the brush.

I will have a complete eBird list you can find under my name I’m the hotspot but I don’t have the link at the time of writing this.

Happy birding,

Jane in Orinda, CA


Pine Canyon Friday afternoon

rosita94598
 

It was a very nice afternoon following our overnight rain, so Rosita and I took a walk to the second meadow in Pine Canyon.  The highlight for me was actually twofold; we had Spotted Towhees under some trees before we reached the first picnic area, and we had a four-thrush day.  The four were Robin, Western Bluebird, Hermit Thrush and Varied Thrush. 

We spent a couple of hours walking and sitting at the benches at the top of the two meadows with a total of 23 species.  Very pleasant.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Golden Eagle, Wildcat Canyon

Alan Krakauer
 

I just headed out in my neighborhood of East Richmond Heights to look for a rainbow (no luck), but while scanning across Wildcat Canyon I saw a strange dark spot on a hill above the Monte Cresta Trail in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. My first thought was it was a person in a hoodie hunched over admiring the bay, but after I took a very distant photo and zoomed in as much as possible, I thought, could it be, GOLDEN EAGLE?! A moment later a raven came over to harass it, and it took flight, and yup, it was a Golden Eagle. It circled a couple of times then headed east over the ridge.

This isn't my first Golden Eagle here but maybe only my second, and both were 'waaaaaaay over there' sightings. If I'd been hiking that trail it looks like it would have been an amazing look.

It was pretty hawky as well with 3 Red-tails and a Sharp-shinned also visible in the Canyon and a Red-shouldered screaming overhead.

Good Birding, 
Alan Krakauer
Richmond, CA


High Tide at Arrowhead Marsh Jan. 28

rosita94598
 

What a great day at Arrowhead, and I was all alone.  Between the sun, the moon and the rain, the tide was extremely high.  Yes, it was raining even harder as I turned off the freeway and toward the airport  By the time I was parked around 10 AM and preparing to walk, it was raining but not quite as hard and an umbrella sufficed.  There was no wind at all, and after a short while it stopped raining altogether.  I walked back to the car, left the umbrella and returned with my scope.

Four Ridgeway's Rails were easily visible from the sidewalk as I walked out to toward the boardwalk.  No going between the bushes, no binoculars required.  Two more were seen out in the marsh beyond the boardwalk, first seen with my binoculars, then the scope.

Two pairs of Blue-winged Teal were close to the boardwalk, which was covered with Willets and Marbled Godwits, and some Black Turnstones and Dowitchers.  Some Greater White-fronted Geese were on the lawn near the wooden viewing structure, and a few Canada Geese were closer to the boardwalk.

Common Yellowthroats and Marsh Wrens were in the bushes along the edge, along with a number of White- and Golden-crowned Sparrow, and at least one each of Savannah Sparrow and Song Sparrow.

Way out in the flooded arrowhead, were four Great Blue Herons just sitting there, and a very wet looking female Northern Harrier.  Another female Harrier was eating something in the mitigation area beyond the fence as I drove out.  I could not believe how much trash was floating in the water today, it was more than disheartening.

I stopped briefly at Garretson Point, but there is no water in the pond at the end of the road.  I did find a Spotted Sandpiper along the edge of Damon Slough.  When I started home on the freeway about 12:30, it started raining again.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Oh No - It’s a Dowitcher!

Graham Chisholm
 

Thanks Jim, I would recommend a on-line presentation by Jon Dunn to the Los Angeles Birders on exactly this issue -- Dowitcher identification -- it is archived and available for your viewing pleasure:  https://www.labirders.org/webinars/dowitchers.html

Graham Chisholm
Berkeley, CA



---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Jim Chiropolos <jnc@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 27, 2021 at 4:58 PM
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Oh No - It’s a Dowitcher!
To: <EBB-Sightings@groups.io>


Oh No! It’s a Dowitcher!

As I look at eBird reports (I am not an eBird reviewer) but I know many of them, I think there is no bigger problem in the birding community of identifying dowitchers. Most people who see a dowitcher positively identify it as either a long-billed or short billed dowitcher. Other birders, somehow, presumably ones who like big lists, whenever they see dowitchers, they always seem to identify both species of dowitchers if there are more than one. Obviously, there are some big problems in dowitcher ID - especially if they are not calling. I rarely see both species of dowitchers together, although it does happen, especially on migration.

If you do not know for sure which dowitcher “sp” it is, it is best to identify it as dowitcher, “sp”. My experience is many of the dowitchers on the bay are short billed, and dowitchers on freshwater ae more often than not long-billed. Birding my Emeryville patch, aside from migration where there is occiaisionally several long billed dowitchers when birds are moving, its almost always short billed.
Ebird lists are meant to be a tool for conservation, so mis id-ing dowitchers is a problem as it is showing their range incorrectly and population trends will not be based on actual information. Do not be part of the problem. I know that when I look at dowitchers, and I have stared at a lot, unless they are feeding and close-up I am not comfortable with their ID. So think about this email next time you are looking at dowitchers and you want to put the identity down as a dowitcher species. These lists are looked by many people who all have their ideas based on their observations, and the people that accept that they cannot positively identify every bird are accorded more respect than lists with poorly identified birds. If you are a photographer, take good pictures and send them to someone who knows feather patterns. (please not me however).

Its hard being a citizen scientist - but pretty cool too.

Good Birding!
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda





--
Graham Chisholm
c. +01-510-409-6603


Re: White-throated Sparrow - Creekside Park and Road, Brentwood - 1/27

Alan Bade
 

Hi Paul- I'm glad you saw the Creekside Park White-throated sparrow again. We need to make it over there. 

We're happy to report our 2nd year yard White-throated sparrow continues over here in southern Pleasant Hill. It ate hungrily yesterday before the storm, also associating with a group of White-crowned sparrows and a few Golden-crowned. The birds of the day however, were Cedar Waxwings. We had a flock of at least 75 Cedar Waxwings coming first to our oak tree, then to eat camphor berries in our front yard trees. A male and female western bluebird are still hanging around and seem to be guarding a nest cavity they've used in the past.
List here, but sorry no photos of the White-throated. https://ebird.org/checklist/S79931463

Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill

On Wed, Jan 27, 2021 at 4:21 PM Paul Schorr <pkschorr@...> wrote:
Today we birded from 11:40 - 1:55 at Creekside Park and Road, walking as far south as Wolfe Ranch.  Following last night's significant winter storm which was the best of the season and badly needed, Marsh Creek was flowing nicely. Air temperatures during our walk hovered at 48F degrees, wind speed was about 5 mph and skies were cloudy and gray.  As a result, the numbers of birds was significantly lower for Nancy and me, but it was  indeed a very enjoyable winter’s walk.  

We spotted the White-throated Sparrow just north of Wolfe Ranch along a concrete wall that separates the homes within Somerset 4 from Creekside Road.  This was the third time that we have seen the sparrow at this location.  It was associating with White- and Golden-Crowned Sparrows.

We could not find the previously-reported Plumbeous Vireo or Western Tanager.

In addition to the WTSP, our complete list of birds seen or heard follows:

Mourning Dove 3
Anna’s Hummingbird 1
Turkey Vulture 3
Nuttall’s Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 4
American Kestrel 1
Black Phoebe 3
CA Scrub-Jay 6
Common Raven 1
Bushtit 7
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Western Bluebird 3
Hermit Thrush 1
House Finch 5
PURPLE FINCH 9
Lesser Goldfinch 1
Dark-eyed Junco 5
White-crowned Sparrow 35
Golden-crowned Sparrow 8
Yellow-rumped Warbler 25

Happy birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch





Oh No - It’s a Dowitcher!

Jim Chiropolos
 

Oh No! It’s a Dowitcher!

As I look at eBird reports (I am not an eBird reviewer) but I know many of them, I think there is no bigger problem in the birding community of identifying dowitchers. Most people who see a dowitcher positively identify it as either a long-billed or short billed dowitcher. Other birders, somehow, presumably ones who like big lists, whenever they see dowitchers, they always seem to identify both species of dowitchers if there are more than one. Obviously, there are some big problems in dowitcher ID - especially if they are not calling. I rarely see both species of dowitchers together, although it does happen, especially on migration.

If you do not know for sure which dowitcher “sp” it is, it is best to identify it as dowitcher, “sp”. My experience is many of the dowitchers on the bay are short billed, and dowitchers on freshwater ae more often than not long-billed. Birding my Emeryville patch, aside from migration where there is occiaisionally several long billed dowitchers when birds are moving, its almost always short billed.
Ebird lists are meant to be a tool for conservation, so mis id-ing dowitchers is a problem as it is showing their range incorrectly and population trends will not be based on actual information. Do not be part of the problem. I know that when I look at dowitchers, and I have stared at a lot, unless they are feeding and close-up I am not comfortable with their ID. So think about this email next time you are looking at dowitchers and you want to put the identity down as a dowitcher species. These lists are looked by many people who all have their ideas based on their observations, and the people that accept that they cannot positively identify every bird are accorded more respect than lists with poorly identified birds. If you are a photographer, take good pictures and send them to someone who knows feather patterns. (please not me however).

Its hard being a citizen scientist - but pretty cool too.

Good Birding!
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda


White-throated Sparrow - Creekside Park and Road, Brentwood - 1/27

Paul Schorr
 

Today we birded from 11:40 - 1:55 at Creekside Park and Road, walking as far south as Wolfe Ranch.  Following last night's significant winter storm which was the best of the season and badly needed, Marsh Creek was flowing nicely. Air temperatures during our walk hovered at 48F degrees, wind speed was about 5 mph and skies were cloudy and gray.  As a result, the numbers of birds was significantly lower for Nancy and me, but it was  indeed a very enjoyable winter’s walk.  

We spotted the White-throated Sparrow just north of Wolfe Ranch along a concrete wall that separates the homes within Somerset 4 from Creekside Road.  This was the third time that we have seen the sparrow at this location.  It was associating with White- and Golden-Crowned Sparrows.

We could not find the previously-reported Plumbeous Vireo or Western Tanager.

In addition to the WTSP, our complete list of birds seen or heard follows:

Mourning Dove 3
Anna’s Hummingbird 1
Turkey Vulture 3
Nuttall’s Woodpecker 3
Northern Flicker 4
American Kestrel 1
Black Phoebe 3
CA Scrub-Jay 6
Common Raven 1
Bushtit 7
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Western Bluebird 3
Hermit Thrush 1
House Finch 5
PURPLE FINCH 9
Lesser Goldfinch 1
Dark-eyed Junco 5
White-crowned Sparrow 35
Golden-crowned Sparrow 8
Yellow-rumped Warbler 25

Happy birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch


White-Winged Scoter at Richmond Marina plus Red-Breasted Merganser and Pelagic Cormorants

Sam Zuckerman
 

The female White-Winged Scoter continues in Richmond Harbor, this morning swimming at a stately pace with surf scoters in the channel between the marina and the SF Bay Trail on south side of the harbor just west of Tradewinds Sailing Club. First observed the WWSC around 9:30 am deep inside the marina but the scoters soon entered the channel close to the trail. Eventually, the WWSC swam within 15 feet of the riprap 100 yards west of Tradewinds. 37°54'44.2"N 122°20'45.9"W. A Red-Breasted Merganser was also in the channel and four Pelagic Cormorants were on a wharf in the marina 75 yards north of Tradewinds where the SF Bay Trail makes a turn to the east. And grebes galore, more than eight eared plus horned, western and pied-billed. Pretty good action in the calm after the big storm. 
 
 


Re: Lake Anza wildlife

Rosemary Johnson
 

Correction - I was there on the 25th. 

Yesterday I  stayed near home. On the Bay Area Ridge Trail on Pinole Ridge I saw a Red Tail, a kiting Kestrel, a juvenile Harrier and a Northern Flicker.



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


-------- Original message --------
From: Rosemary Johnson <compasros@...>
Date: 1/27/21 10:27 AM (GMT-08:00)
To: Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...>, ebb-sightings@groups.io
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Lake Anza wildlife

Went to Lake Anza yesterday afternoon. Didn't see the sapsucker but did see the red-shouldered hawk. Both before and after I circled the lake. First in a tree between the trail and the meadow and then at the far side of the parking lot.



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


-------- Original message --------
From: Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...>
Date: 1/26/21 11:02 PM (GMT-08:00)
To: ebb-sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Lake Anza wildlife

Jan 25 I went over to Lake Anza in the afternoon to see I the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was there.  There was one other birder there and while neither of us saw it we both heard it briefly.  Not all was lost however, because a Red-shouldered Hawk landed in one of the Oak trees and stayed around for about 15 minutes, which was enough time to get some photos.

Red-shouldered Hawk. https://flic.kr/p/2kw6Z9L

More surprising to me was that a North American Otter was cruising around Lake Anza.  A quick check of Youtube showed this was not the first sighting.  OK, it is not a bird but here is the link to my best photo. https://flic.kr/p/2kw2PMD


Re: Lake Anza wildlife

Rosemary Johnson
 

Went to Lake Anza yesterday afternoon. Didn't see the sapsucker but did see the red-shouldered hawk. Both before and after I circled the lake. First in a tree between the trail and the meadow and then at the far side of the parking lot.



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


-------- Original message --------
From: Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...>
Date: 1/26/21 11:02 PM (GMT-08:00)
To: ebb-sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Lake Anza wildlife

Jan 25 I went over to Lake Anza in the afternoon to see I the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was there.  There was one other birder there and while neither of us saw it we both heard it briefly.  Not all was lost however, because a Red-shouldered Hawk landed in one of the Oak trees and stayed around for about 15 minutes, which was enough time to get some photos.

Red-shouldered Hawk. https://flic.kr/p/2kw6Z9L

More surprising to me was that a North American Otter was cruising around Lake Anza.  A quick check of Youtube showed this was not the first sighting.  OK, it is not a bird but here is the link to my best photo. https://flic.kr/p/2kw2PMD


After the storm in Heather Farm

rosita94598
 

What a glorious morning following the rain and wind overnight.  I was taught by my birding girlfriends that the birds are always out after the storm, and they were today.

Over 100 Mew Gulls were on the north ball fields.  In with them were a California Cull, at least one Ring-billed Gull and an unexpected large Herring Gull.  The last really stood out, as it was so much larger than all the others.

It was a 5-sparrow day again, with White- and Golden-crowned, Song, Fox (2) and a Lincoln's Sparrow.  It was also a 3-rail day, with Coots, a Common Gallinule and a Sora.  I have heard the Sora make a few single-note calls, but today it really surprised me.  I was watching the sparrows come out on the sidewalk for the seeds I scatter, and the Sora joined them.  It did not come onto the pavement, but it was up out of the willows and reeds right at the edge of the walkway.  It seemed to be as interested in the seeds as the sparrows were.

The female Wood Duck continued in the pond near the private Seven Hills School, and the Common Goldeneye was in the large, mostly natural pond early.  I saw it later in the concrete pond near the rose garden.

The Yellow-rumped Warblers were very busy, as were House Finches, Cedar Waxwings and Robins.  A Western Bluebird surprised me as it was at the top of a tall conifer near the maintenance area of the park.  It took me a while to realize, oh, a Bluebird.  Often lately, there has been a Starling sitting up there.

The Canada Geese have been quite rambunctious lately, even attempting copulation.  The Mourning Doves are cooing as the days are already a little longer.  The world seems to be awakening after a long slumber.

Hugh B.Harvey
Walnut Creek


Lake Anza wildlife

Claude Lyneis
 

Jan 25 I went over to Lake Anza in the afternoon to see I the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was there.  There was one other birder there and while neither of us saw it we both heard it briefly.  Not all was lost however, because a Red-shouldered Hawk landed in one of the Oak trees and stayed around for about 15 minutes, which was enough time to get some photos.

Red-shouldered Hawk. https://flic.kr/p/2kw6Z9L

More surprising to me was that a North American Otter was cruising around Lake Anza.  A quick check of Youtube showed this was not the first sighting.  OK, it is not a bird but here is the link to my best photo. https://flic.kr/p/2kw2PMD


Lake Anza wildlife

Claude Lyneis
 

Jan 25 I went over to Lake Anza in the afternoon to see I the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was there.  There was one other birder there and while neither of us saw it we both heard it briefly.  Not all was lost however, because a Red-shouldered Hawk landed in one of the Oak trees and stayed around for about 15 minutes, which was enough time to get some photos.

Red-shouldered Hawk. https://flic.kr/p/2kw6Z9L

More surprising to me was that a North American Otter was cruising around Lake Anza.  A quick check of Youtube showed this was not the first sighting.  OK, it is not a bird but here is the link to my best photo. https://flic.kr/p/2kw2PMD


Re: EBB Archives Search

BirdWideWeb.com
 

Those who wish to access the 1998-2010 EBB Archives directly in their original chronological format can still do so:

Dal Leite
Walnut Creek


Dipper continues at Sunol

dp_eas
 

The American dipper is still present upstream from the vehicle bridge at Little Yosemite trailhead parking lot. Bird is at (37.5049547, -121.8280806). Or hike up Little Yosemite trail about 0.2 miles to a cattle guard. Take the right hand side trail after the cattle guard and proceed down to the creek. 

Emilie Strauss
Berkeley, CA


No Dipper Today

Aaron Maizlish
 

EBB Folks,

I got up to Sunol Regional Park this morning, since the day was sunny, ahead of the much-anticipated rainstorms that are supposed to start tomorrow.  Fortunately my son, who’s still on winter break, wanted to get in a hike in as well.  I spent two hours in the relevant stretch of creek on the way up, then went for a hike with him, and spent 45 minutes or so on the way back down, but there was no American Dipper to be found.  I ran into Bob Dunn and Vicky Robinson and a few other birders whom I didn’t know, but as far as I know it wasn’t seen today.  

The relevant stretch of creek is south (upstream) from the bridge over Alameda Creek that is immediately south of the last parking area, as one starts out on foot toward Little Yosemite.  The bridge is here 37.508907, -121.828847.  The three positive reports of the bird are upstream from the bridge in the first few hundred yards.   There is a lot of clear, running water in the creek, and this is a perfect Dipper stream - clear flowing water, lots of small rills, some rock perches and some pools for dippering. 

If we really get 6-8 inches of rain this week, I expect the creek might become a raging torrent of turgid water carrying a lot of silt and debris - given the fire damage at the back of the watershed.  So if you still want this bird tomorrow morning could be the last chance.  Anyway, as I said, it didn’t seem to be there this morning.

The walk up in the hills behind Little Yosemite was not particularly birdy.  We had a nice flock of Band-tailed Pigeons, a flock of Siskins and a ton of Acorn Woodpeckers but nothing rare.  I did hear and see a couple of Rufous-crowned Sparrows.  The uphill (sunny) slope of the trail is usually a good place to see them - one of the easier spots to photograph them in the East Bay.

By the way, there are a lot of newer members on this list-serve.  I’ve approved about 150 new members since taking over as moderator last year.  The #1 reason that people give for joining EBB-Sightings is because they want to know more about places to go birding in the East Bay. It would be nice if we could all remember to occasionally add a little bit of description in our posts of how to bird the location and where the specialty birds are found.  



Aaron Maizlish
San Francisco CA



Re: eBird report of American Dipper at Sunol

Martin Lycan
 
Edited

I got a late start yesterday afternoon but had some luck and immediately found the bird about 150 yards upstream from the vehicle bridge that crosses Alameda Creek and was able to take a few photos: To be clear - this is the bridge in the park at the staging area to Little Yosemite - typically closed to vehicle traffic.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S79856003

fyi - I recall sightings from the 1990's along Alameda Creek.

Marty Lycan
San Ramon, CA

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