Date   

Re: Oil Spill in Richmond - oiled wildlife contact

Lawrence DiCostanzo
 

Thanks for the phone numbers, Rudyard.

On Feb 9, 2021, at 10:09 PM, Rudyard Wallen <arelist12@...> wrote:

Hey Folks,

I'm sure most of you are aware of the oil spill in Richmond by now.

With the new moon the tides over the next few days are at about eight feet, so hard so say to what degree the spill will move or birds will fly in and out of it.

I'm also sure you're aware that any bird or mammal in distress will be covered with a carcinogenic substance. Though no oiled animals have yet been reported, OWCN (Oiled Wildlife Care Network) has been notified. Anyone observing oiled birds or mammals should not attempt to capture them. If you see an oiled animal, or animal in crisis, please call the OWCN Response Hotline at:

1-877-UCD-OWCN
(1-877-823-6926)


Thanks. The more eyes the better.

Rudy W
SF




Hooded Merganser at Lake Anza

Claude Lyneis
 

Feb 9.  I spent sometime mid afternoon at Lake Anza on a cool cloudy day.  The most interesting bird for me was what I thought was female Common Merganser with an overdone crest.  However, when I got home and stuck it in 

Lightroom, it turns out to be a  female Hooded Merganser, with a fine looking crest.  A new bird for me.  Here is the link to the photo.    https://flic.kr/p/2kAnjrP

It was the only Merganser around on this day, although in the past weeks I have seen several of the Common Mergansers out and about at the Lake.


Oil Spill in Richmond - oiled wildlife contact

Rudyard Wallen
 

Hey Folks,

I'm sure most of you are aware of the oil spill in Richmond by now.

With the new moon the tides over the next few days are at about eight feet, so hard so say to what degree the spill will move or birds will fly in and out of it.

I'm also sure you're aware that any bird or mammal in distress will be covered with a carcinogenic substance. Though no oiled animals have yet been reported, OWCN (Oiled Wildlife Care Network) has been notified. Anyone observing oiled birds or mammals should not attempt to capture them. If you see an oiled animal, or animal in crisis, please call the OWCN Response Hotline at:

1-877-UCD-OWCN
(1-877-823-6926)


Thanks. The more eyes the better.

Rudy W
SF


Local Interest and Allen's Hummingbird S&D

Ethan Monk
 

Nothing super exciting for a while now, but a couple more local things of interest. If you don't care about Scaup, skip to the third paragraph. Monday in the Peyton Slough Marsh Complex (McNabney, Waterbird, etc.) diving duck numbers were higher than I ever remember. Seemed to me to indicate a sign of Aythya migration, which I poorly understand. Fide Albert L., this year has been better than most for Aythya sp. Ducks in this area, but 33 Canvasback and 10 Greater (!) Scaup, including a group of 6 Greater Sc. in the dinky, shallow, freshwater pond on Waterbird Way seems to speak to something more.

Today at Bethel Island, Logan K./Jonah B.’s Tufted Duck continued despite a decent period of absence. See Logan’s previous email for access info. Also, there were 3 returning Allen’s Hummingbirds in this very odd and disjunct breeding population.

Since Allen’s Hummingbirds have been back for a couple of weeks now, and with Rufous right around the corner, it’s a good time to remind everyone of Selasphorus distribution in the East Bay. A very important topic, if you care about eBird data quality! There is no easy way to summarize it, but the simplest way to think of it is Allen’s Hummingbird do not regularly occur East of I-680. In the Eastern two-thirds of Contra Costa, and Alameda as far as I know, Allen’s Hummingbird is uncommon to a serious rarity. The single biggest problem spot for this species is Mt. Diablo where Allen’s Hummingbirds are reported on the daily during Spring. Allen’s Hummingbird is a very scarce breeder on Mt. Diablo (I think there were three confirmations on the atlas?), Grinnell had zero, and for what very little it is worth, I haven’t seen one yet either. They’re definitely around (I heard a pair bred at Mitchell last year) but they are very overreported—not one photo exists in eBird of an Allen’s on Diablo! For the 100+ Allen’s reports on Diablo in eBird, you would expect at least one photo! (Rufous, on the other hand, are exceedingly common in the Diablo Range at about the same time 90% of those Allen’s reports come in from Diablo) My house where I can and do photograph Selasphorus tails, in a very wet suburb 1 mile East of 680 last Spring had some 30+ Rufous and by comparison a scant 5 Allen’s; imagine how that changes on dry, chaparral-covered Mt. Diablo. As I’m sure any of the birders who regularly cover the parks immediately E of I-680 can confirm, Rufous Hummingbirds are more common there, too. And of course, once you get to the valley floor away from the anomalous breeding populations on Bradford and Bethel Islands, Allen’s are mostly nonexistent. I’m no expert on this topic, and you really don’t have to be to report Selasphorus accurately. If you are in the vicinity of 680 or further East, female-type and not-optimally seen male hummingbirds should be put down as slashes (Allen’s/Rufous) if not just plain old Rufous unless showing evidence of breeding (Allen's), or with conclusive photos of the spread tail, or displaying, or at a known Allen's breeding location until maybe the latter half of May. Hopefully this doesn’t fall on deaf ears!

Good birding,
Ethan


Re: Oil Spill - Richmond - Miller Knox Area

Melani King
 

I’m one of those birders that lives in Pt. Richmond and I agree that this is the worst possible time. I will be paying close attention and will post if I see any activity.

Ugh. So disappointing and heartbreaking. Every morning on my walks during this pandemic many of the birds I count are those in the bay just down the street so I have a good idea of what I normally would expect. We’ll see what changes.

-Melani King
Pt. Richmond

On Feb 9, 2021, at 5:32 PM, Jim Chiropolos <jnc@wje.com> wrote:

An oil spill has occurred in the Point Richmond area and is staining the beach at the east side of Miller Knox per the news.

This is the worst possible time for an oil spill as in past years the herring run in this area has occurred at some time from January through February 18, attracting some years thousands of birds, with the actual dates varying. Normally the herring run - in Richmond - if it happens is one of the most exciting birding events in the east bay. Can the local birders local birders please track the activity in the area, and post immediately if the herring run is occurring? I am very much hoping there will be no herring run this year. If there is, there will need to be exceptional activity to either immediately clean the oil spill or keep birds out of this area, and we, the birding community, will need to put pressure on organizations to do this..

Fingers crossed there is no herring run this year.

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda



Oil Spill - Richmond - Miller Knox Area

Jim Chiropolos
 

An oil spill has occurred in the Point Richmond area and is staining the beach at the east side of Miller Knox per the news.

This is the worst possible time for an oil spill as in past years the herring run in this area has occurred at some time from January through February 18, attracting some years thousands of birds, with the actual dates varying. Normally the herring run - in Richmond - if it happens is one of the most exciting birding events in the east bay. Can the local birders local birders please track the activity in the area, and post immediately if the herring run is occurring? I am very much hoping there will be no herring run this year. If there is, there will need to be exceptional activity to either immediately clean the oil spill or keep birds out of this area, and we, the birding community, will need to put pressure on organizations to do this..

Fingers crossed there is no herring run this year.

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda


Sora behavior Heather Farm in Walnut Creek

rosita94598
 

For the third time in two weeks, a Sora came up to the sidewalk to grab seeds I toss for the sparrows.  Today I had a witness in Tracy Farrington.  Pretty crazy, I know--the Sora not Tracy.

We were trying to re-find a Rufous-crowned Sparrow reported yesterday by David Kent.  No luck on that one, but we had the Cal Towhees, Golden-crowned, White-crowned, Song, Fox and Lincoln's Sparrows.  Before the new year, we had two Lark Sparrows in the park, but I have not been lucky to find them since around Christmas.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: Berkeley Meadow and North Basin ebird hotspots

judisierra
 

Yes although there are seasonal ponds were these can be found but I doubt so far this year.
Unfortunately not everyone who posts on ebird read this list.


On Saturday, February 6, 2021, 01:16:54 PM PST, Sam Zuckerman <samzuckerman@...> wrote:


I often see ebird checklists for the Berkeley Meadow showing ducks and shorebirds that were clearly in the North Basin between Cesar Chavez Park and the Berkeley shoreline north of University Ave. Shouldn't those observations be recorded in ebird's separate North Basin hotspot and not in the Meadow? 
 
Sam Zuckerman
 




Berkeley Meadow and North Basin ebird hotspots

Sam Zuckerman
 

I often see ebird checklists for the Berkeley Meadow showing ducks and shorebirds that were clearly in the North Basin between Cesar Chavez Park and the Berkeley shoreline north of University Ave. Shouldn't those observations be recorded in ebird's separate North Basin hotspot and not in the Meadow? 
 
Sam Zuckerman
 


Mute Swans

Lawrence DiCostanzo
 

This is not in the East Bay, but I went cycling yesterday in Marin. I love to stop by the Laguna on Chileno Valley Road because there are usually a lot of water birds. Yesterday, there was a big accumulation of mute swans. At least 30 to 40. It was hard to count because the Laguna is so broad. I think that these guys find the Sonoma/ Marin border area to be a nice place. But it does show how an introduced species can grow and grow. Last autumn, we saw a group of at least 70 swans all together in a “pack“ at the Laguna. They are, of course, very beautiful to look at.

Lawrence (Albany)


Allen's Hummingbird, pt Pinole

Sheila Dickie
 

I saw my first Allen's hummingbird of the year at pt Pinole Regional Shoreline Park yesterday afternoon. It was atop a blackberry behind the pond and seen from the path that connects Owl Alley with the Point Pinole trail. I am hoping that its fellow Allen's will be in place to be counted in the Great Backyard Bird Count next weekend.

Sheila Dickie
Richmond


Owls duetting El Cerrito

Don Simonson
 

A pair of Great Horned Owls were calling steadily in duet from 6:30  to 7:30 pm from backyards near Tassajara Park in El Cerrito Wednesday night. They were species number 75 for the day, capping an unforgettable birding day , beginning with seeing a single flock of 10,000 to 30,000 Snow and Ross’s Geese liftoff along I-5 in Yolo County. It rose and undulated north up away from valley, catching a powerful warm south tail wind, brilliantly lit against a backdrop of retreating charcoal storm clouds.
Good birding!
Don Simonson
Berkeley 


FOS Allen's Hummingbird

Chris Carmichael
 

Heard and then saw my first of season Allan’s Hummingbird at the UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley, this morning. The vibrant male was feeding in a patch of Echium spp. In the Mediterranean Area by the Garden of Old Roses.


Ridgeway Rail sighting Pr. Isabel

Claude Lyneis
 

Feb 4, there weren’t so many birds out on this quiet blue sky afternoon just north of Point Isabel.  I was at the bridge where the S 51st entrance joins the shoreline trail and spotted a Ridgeway Rail.  While they are known for this area, it isn’t often that they show themselves.

Link to a photo of the Rail. https://flic.kr/p/2kyJAXX

The usual suspects were there, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, American Wigeon, Red-tailed Hawk, Goldeneye, and White-crowned Sparrows.


Bald Eagle at Albany Hill

George Speckman
 

At 2pm today (Feb 4), I saw an adult Bald Eagle soaring pretty low, just north of Albany Hill.  The Eagle then passed just over Albany Hill before circling higher and higher above Berkeley. 

My family and I got very clear views of it, with the striking white head and tail. 

George Speckman
Richmond


Townsend's Solitaire in Briones RP Wednesday morning, Feb 3, 2021

David Quady and Nancy Boas
 

Hi, East Bay Birders:

About 10 am yesterday, February 3, 2021 a very cooperative Townsend’s Solitaire was found in the trees along the entrance to the north parking lot (near Oak Grove, the outhouse) in Briones Regional Park, Contra Costa County. The bird worked its way along the road toward the eastern most parking lot, briefly croissant to the water trough near the hills (which was covered with Western Bluebirds and Dark-eyed Juncos), posing as it went, occasionally hunting on the ground and showing white outer tail feathers, until it disappeared into the trees at the east end of the lot where the trail begins. At one point it raised its crown feathers, cresting a little crest.

The birder who found and photographed the bird wishes to remain anonymous. I’ve seen a photograph …. it’s a lovely looking bird.

Good luck to those who seek it.

Dave Quady
Berkeley, California
davequady@att.net


Re: Patterson Pass Hawks (Not) and other birds….

Alexander Henry
 

These are some interesting observations! I had personally noticed Ferruginous Hawk numbers in eastern Alameda county seem to be lower this year than last year, but I was wondering if that was just me.

That’s a lot of shrikes. I often check them for Northern Shrikes, but maybe I’m just day dreaming - that seems pretty unlikely (but perhaps possible?).


On Monday, February 1, 2021, Jim Chiropolos <jnc@...> wrote:
Since my days doing tallgrass prairie restoration and breeding bird surveys in Illinois a long time ago, I have always enjoyed grasslands. In the bay area, the best grasslands are off Patterson Pass and it’s one of my favorite birding and biking routes. Yesterday I biked up Patterson pass from the Cedar Mountain Winery to the county line where development starts in San Joaquim county and back, my standard route.

I was amazed at how few hawks there were. I only saw ONE!!! Red-tailed hawk off Patterson pass road!!. In past years doing the route and bailing due to heavy fog at the pass have seen more redtail-hawks with visibility of 40 feet in fog and visibility yesterday was great with the Sierras in view from the pass. Past checklists for this time when I have biked with good visibility I have counts of 20 or red-tails along the route!!! I think this shows how severely the drought is affecting the prey species of redtails and large raptors (no harriers either). I only saw two 2 TVs, one Golden Eagle and a beautiful rusty Ferruginous Hawk to complete the large raptor count! Astonishing low numbers. It’s a good thing birds have wings as the hawks must be somewhere else to find food. I have suspected all year that it is a very low number of raptors this winter and this is a good example.

I was surprised to see a good number of Loggerhead Shrikes however. I saw at least nine, with what appeared to be four pairs and saw one territorial battle between two pairs of shrikes (the high count for Patterson Pass in eBird is 11). They were quite loud with their fascinating buzzing calls. Their food source must not be as severely impacted as the hawks.

The highlight of the day was a group of 1,000 to 2,000 blackbirds on a cottonwood next to the road near the power plant. Most were trikes (Tri-colored Blackbirds), with some red-shouldered blackbirds. Trikes, a California endemic with plummeting population numbers, are colonial nesters and forage in very tight groups. Watching trike is fascinating, like watching a colony of nesting seabirds as they feed. They put out a lot of noise, and the din from the flock was quite impressive.

At the winery, mountain bluebirds were present as usual. I think I missed the big flock, which were flying away just as I arrived at 10:15.

And I have one more thing for the listers out there. A Cassin’s Kingbird is at the intersection of Tesla and Cross roads on fenceposts and wires – this is a good spot for them as I have seen them here in the past. I am now seeing Cassin’s on a regular basis in the winter in the greater Livermore area over the last two years. Only six or seven years back, a Cassin’s Kingbird would draw large numbers of county listers when found in Alameda county but now to a lister, it’s just another bird. I’m going to predict in the next year or two, a chaseable Cassin’s will be found in Contra Costa county several miles north, as I think they are moving their range north. Its funny, that bird will draw hoards of listers while the same species several miles would be considered not worth watching. What a beautiful bird they are, especially in the winter.

Good birding

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda


--
Alex Henry


Patterson Pass Hawks (Not) and other birds….

Jim Chiropolos
 

Since my days doing tallgrass prairie restoration and breeding bird surveys in Illinois a long time ago, I have always enjoyed grasslands. In the bay area, the best grasslands are off Patterson Pass and it’s one of my favorite birding and biking routes. Yesterday I biked up Patterson pass from the Cedar Mountain Winery to the county line where development starts in San Joaquim county and back, my standard route.

I was amazed at how few hawks there were. I only saw ONE!!! Red-tailed hawk off Patterson pass road!!. In past years doing the route and bailing due to heavy fog at the pass have seen more redtail-hawks with visibility of 40 feet in fog and visibility yesterday was great with the Sierras in view from the pass. Past checklists for this time when I have biked with good visibility I have counts of 20 or red-tails along the route!!! I think this shows how severely the drought is affecting the prey species of redtails and large raptors (no harriers either). I only saw two 2 TVs, one Golden Eagle and a beautiful rusty Ferruginous Hawk to complete the large raptor count! Astonishing low numbers. It’s a good thing birds have wings as the hawks must be somewhere else to find food. I have suspected all year that it is a very low number of raptors this winter and this is a good example.

I was surprised to see a good number of Loggerhead Shrikes however. I saw at least nine, with what appeared to be four pairs and saw one territorial battle between two pairs of shrikes (the high count for Patterson Pass in eBird is 11). They were quite loud with their fascinating buzzing calls. Their food source must not be as severely impacted as the hawks.

The highlight of the day was a group of 1,000 to 2,000 blackbirds on a cottonwood next to the road near the power plant. Most were trikes (Tri-colored Blackbirds), with some red-shouldered blackbirds. Trikes, a California endemic with plummeting population numbers, are colonial nesters and forage in very tight groups. Watching trike is fascinating, like watching a colony of nesting seabirds as they feed. They put out a lot of noise, and the din from the flock was quite impressive.

At the winery, mountain bluebirds were present as usual. I think I missed the big flock, which were flying away just as I arrived at 10:15.

And I have one more thing for the listers out there. A Cassin’s Kingbird is at the intersection of Tesla and Cross roads on fenceposts and wires – this is a good spot for them as I have seen them here in the past. I am now seeing Cassin’s on a regular basis in the winter in the greater Livermore area over the last two years. Only six or seven years back, a Cassin’s Kingbird would draw large numbers of county listers when found in Alameda county but now to a lister, it’s just another bird. I’m going to predict in the next year or two, a chaseable Cassin’s will be found in Contra Costa county several miles north, as I think they are moving their range north. Its funny, that bird will draw hoards of listers while the same species several miles would be considered not worth watching. What a beautiful bird they are, especially in the winter.

Good birding

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda


7 Black Skimmers at Middle Harbor Shoreline

Megan Jankowski
 

There was a good variety at Middle Harbor Shoreline today, but the highlight were seven Black Skimmers. I arrived just a little after high tide, but it looks like they were seen in the morning and yesterday as well.

Megan Jankowski
Oakland


Re: Black Skimmers on Bay outside Richmond Marina

Ethan Monk
 

You beat me to it... yesterday at 930 am there was also a Skimmer (presumably one of the pair) on Brooks Island just East of the Heron Rookery. Photos in eBird soon. Presumably they will behave like last year and return to Brooks to roost at random and unpredictable hours. 

Ethan Monk

On Jan 31, 2021, at 3:40 PM, Lee Friedman <lfried6@...> wrote:


Yesterday (Saturday 1/30) at around 4:30PM, I was treated to the delightful sight of two Black Skimmers plying the waters along the Bay's coast from the Richmond Marina entrance down to Shimada Park and back again. I was standing at Vincent Park looking out at the Bay side. They may have been heading towards Brooks Island as a resting spot.
 
 
Good birding,
Lee Friedman



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