Date   

New Yard Bird - Downtown Berkeley

Don Simonson
 

An Orange-crowned Warbler in our backyard near downtown Berkeley BART stop was yard bird #47.  While common here, this species is a rare skulking find in my native Maryland so it was fun to see it in the clear. it rested in a birch while the local Anna's Hummingbird hovered a foot away for a minute or two, giving it the hairy eyeball.
Good birding!
Don Simonson
Berkeley


Townsend's Solitaire

Jeff Acuff
 

This afternoon there was a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE feeding on toyon berries just across Reliez Valley Road and outside of the gates of Queen of Heaven Cemetery in unincorporated Lafayette.  

Good Birding 
Jeff Acuff 
Lafayette 


--
Good Birding,  
Jeff Acuff. Lafayette  


Re: Pleasant Hill White throated sparrow question

Stephen T Bird
 

Wintering white-throated sparrows have a relatively small range. This thesis tracked individual birds with radiotelemetry and found their home-range to be a few acres (see pages 2-6), Piper & Wiley by my interpretation got a similar result. 3/4 mi, by the paper's measurements seems it might be a little far. Anyone who chased that Harris (or White-throated just a bit more north of it) that was at Pacific Commons this winter (I think I've heard its still there) would agree that some species don't seem to move much. The range of Bachmann's was a bit bigger, but the more distant Nelsons & Saltmarsh was much greater. It seems that unwillingness to spread out, for white-throated, can be true foraging at even very short ranges making a trade-off when protection is near. That said, photos and careful details might prove otherwise! Birds do whatever their hearts desire sometimes.
-Stephen

On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 10:35 AM Alan Bade <alanb1491187@...> wrote:
After taking our feeder down due to sick Pine Siskins, our White throated sparrow has been much less frequent. (It's been a regular for 2 winters.) I've been putting seeds out for it on rocks in the yard in a socially distanced manner. Today, it was back after not seeing it for about 2 weeks; https://ebird.org/checklist/S82371848

We looked for white throated sparrow yesterday on our Oak Park Grayson Creek bird survey, as there have been two sightings in the area (approx at the intersection of Astrid Lane and the EBMUD trail https://goo.gl/maps/pBvMcE8bR1BKJNp9A). One was in December and one in mid-Fed. (R. Raffel and D. Heins). This is near where the Chipping sparrows hang out.

While we had a good day for sparrows on the survey (Lincolns, Savannah, Golden-crowned, White-crowned, and Song sparrows), we didn't see the White-throated. https://ebird.org/checklist/S82336241 We didn't go further north to look for the Chippies, but I saw them recently, so they're still there.

Which leads me to a question for more advanced birders than I; how far do sparrows like White-throated go in their foraging rounds? Could the tan-striped individual we see at home also be the one 3/4 mile away? Ours is always in a small flock of white-crowned sparrows. I've been checking regularly over at the Astrid site and always see a large mixed flock of white-crowned and golden-crowned. There is excellent cover over there.

Perhaps this is the same bird? Thanks in advance.

Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill




Possible Townsend's x Hermit hybrid spotted in Berkeley

Elihsdavey@...
 

Hi all,

This little guy has been visiting a friend's backyard live oak in Berkeley, so my guess is he's living in the few blocks between Buena Ave. and Lincoln Street on the N-S and Sacramento and California on the E-W. Today was the first day I could grab any photos. Was hoping someone could confirm that I wasn't crazy, and that he isn't just a strangely marked Townsend's. Photos on eBird: https://ebird.org/checklist/S82397372.

Happy birding,

Eli


Pleasant Hill White throated sparrow question

Alan Bade
 

After taking our feeder down due to sick Pine Siskins, our White throated sparrow has been much less frequent. (It's been a regular for 2 winters.) I've been putting seeds out for it on rocks in the yard in a socially distanced manner. Today, it was back after not seeing it for about 2 weeks; https://ebird.org/checklist/S82371848

We looked for white throated sparrow yesterday on our Oak Park Grayson Creek bird survey, as there have been two sightings in the area (approx at the intersection of Astrid Lane and the EBMUD trail https://goo.gl/maps/pBvMcE8bR1BKJNp9A). One was in December and one in mid-Fed. (R. Raffel and D. Heins). This is near where the Chipping sparrows hang out.

While we had a good day for sparrows on the survey (Lincolns, Savannah, Golden-crowned, White-crowned, and Song sparrows), we didn't see the White-throated. https://ebird.org/checklist/S82336241 We didn't go further north to look for the Chippies, but I saw them recently, so they're still there.

Which leads me to a question for more advanced birders than I; how far do sparrows like White-throated go in their foraging rounds? Could the tan-striped individual we see at home also be the one 3/4 mile away? Ours is always in a small flock of white-crowned sparrows. I've been checking regularly over at the Astrid site and always see a large mixed flock of white-crowned and golden-crowned. There is excellent cover over there.

Perhaps this is the same bird? Thanks in advance.

Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill


California Thrashers - Lafayette Reservoir - 2/25

Paul Schorr
 

Today Nancy and I birded Lafayette Reservoir for the first time in several years. One of our target birds for the day was a California Thrasher and we were delighted to find a pair of them along the Canyon Trail about two hundred yards south of the Lakeside Nature Trail. They posed nicely on a dead snag and photos are included in my eBird report.

We tallied 34 species, and In addition to the thrashers, other noteworthy sightings included:

American White Pelican 7
Wrentit 2
Townsend’s Warbler
Hermit Thrush 4

Happy birding.

Paul Schorr
Antioch


two recent observations

rosita94598
 

Some of us were walking around the stairs and near the spillway at Lake Anza in Tilden Regional Park yesterday, Feb. 23, looking unsuccessfully for the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  So it was nice that Sam and Albert Linkowski were able to re-find the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, good on you.

Today in Heather Farm Park, I was surprised to see a male Wood Duck at the bottom of the gravel boat ramp.  I want to say how gorgeous he was, but then, all of those guys are.  A few minutes after I saw him from the boat ramp, I re-found him from the wooden railing near the parking lot.  By that time he was in the company of a female, no doubt the one who has been around since before Christmas.

At one point she appeared to chase him a very short distance, but I hesitate to comment on what that might mean.  It could be as simple as one duck letting another duck know that "You're too close."  On the other hand, the Canada Geese were rambunctious this morning, and their behavior did not seem to bother the Wood Ducks.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker back at Lake Anza

Sam Zuckerman
 

YBSA back at Lake Anza. Red throat patch with complete black border, no red on crown, white stripe from shoulder down wing, mottled back. Foraging in oak next to stone stairway leading to lawn from lake. No vocalization. Photos at https://ebird.org/checklist/S82168863.
 
 


Bob Lewis not Power

John Sterling
 

Oh silly me, I made a mistake yesterday. I’m looking for Bob Lewis email not Bob Power’s.

And thank to those who responded yesterday.
John Sterling
530 908-3836
26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695


Rails at Pt. Isabel

Claude Lyneis
 

Feb 21, I went out to Pt Isabel Shoreline in the afternoon expect not see much because it was low tide.  As I crossed the bridge between the S 51st entrance and shoreline path a Ridgeway’s Rail was out in the shallow water feeding.
It dug in the mud and pulled out some crab like animal, took a swin and was visible for about 5 minutes.  Then a second one showed up.  Here is the link to the first one to appear.



need Bob Power's email address

John Sterling
 

Can someone send me Bob Power’s email address? Need to have him correct an ebird checklist location in the Sierra Nevada.

thanks

John Sterling
VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695

PO Box 1653
Woodland, CA 95776A

530 908-3836
jsterling@wavecable.com
www.sterlingbirds.com


Re: Harris's Sparrow in Milpitas

Sharon Jue
 

Back in November when the bird was first reported, the advice was to park on Auto Mall Pkwy, see e.g.,


Access seems to be a sensitive topic with the City of Fremont; witness their successful efforts to shut down Mission Peaks RP and Vargas Plateau RP for extended periods. 

On Sat, Feb 20, 2021 at 1:04 PM rosita94598 via groups.io <rosita94598=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I drove to the corner with the Lexus dealership this morning and parked in the empty lot across the street from it.  As I was walking to look for the Harris's Sparrow, a security guard drove up and told me it was a private lot.  I told him I only needed about 10 minutes and he relented.

No birds of any kind were present in the curving triangle there, nor were any along the fence lines.  Finally, I walked west along the south side of that last building.  A picnic table or bench is at that corner where the trail turns north.  A bunch of sparrows were there and I found the Harris's Sparrow on the grass side of the corner, just south of the picnic table/bench.

I was back at the car in 15 minutes and driving away by 10:30 AM.  I do not know why it is made so difficult to park any where around that Pacific Commons Linear Park.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek




--
-Sharon Jue
~Berkeley


Harris's Sparrow in Milpitas

rosita94598
 

I drove to the corner with the Lexus dealership this morning and parked in the empty lot across the street from it.  As I was walking to look for the Harris's Sparrow, a security guard drove up and told me it was a private lot.  I told him I only needed about 10 minutes and he relented.

No birds of any kind were present in the curving triangle there, nor were any along the fence lines.  Finally, I walked west along the south side of that last building.  A picnic table or bench is at that corner where the trail turns north.  A bunch of sparrows were there and I found the Harris's Sparrow on the grass side of the corner, just south of the picnic table/bench.

I was back at the car in 15 minutes and driving away by 10:30 AM.  I do not know why it is made so difficult to park any where around that Pacific Commons Linear Park.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Female Common Merganser, Oak Hill Park, Danville

photohutch
 

Hi birders,
 
Just a short time ago, there was a very bright female Common Merganser actively fishing at Oak Hill Park in Danville. First one this season that I've seen. Did see a pair of Hooded Mergansers there a few weeks back.
 
Happy birding,
 
Steve Hutchcraft
Alamo, CA


Barrow's Goldeneye - Contra Loma R. P., Antioch - 2/18

Paul Schorr
 

After dipping on the Red-necked Grebe at Clifton Court Forebay, Nancy and I headed to Contra Loma R. P. At 2:10, I spotted a male Barrow’s Goldeneye off of the Channel Point parking lot. The bird was about a couple hundred yards out on the reservoir, but provided good scope views. We continued to watch and photograph the bird as it moved closer to shore, making its way toward the swimming lagoon. At that point binocular views were excellent. I will share photos on my eBird posting. For awhile it was accompanied by a first winter female Barrow's Goldeneye.

While I was photographing the goldeneyes, Nancy noticed a Sora that was feeding in open view on the matted vegetation along the shore in front of us. We enjoyed terrific views as it sorted through the vegetation.

In addition there were about twelve American White Pelicans on the reservoir.

Happy birding.

Paul Schorr
Antioch


Advice re salmonella?

Lawrence DiCostanzo
 

Hi! California Wildlife authorities really want people to take down bird feeders because of the salmonella outbreak among pine siskins. I think they fear it would spread to the general finch population and onward.

I haven’t had any sick or dead birds in the yard (except for the rare finch with eye disease). And I keep my feeders and bath clean and I clean out the ground beneath them. I’m also doing the Cornell Feederwatch weekly count, and would stop doing that if there isn’t a feeder.

For me, the birds come first. And if I have to take down the feeder, I will.

Do you have any ideas/advice about this?

Lawrence (Albany)


Swallows today in Walnut Creek

rosita94598
 

After a late arrival at Heather Farm, I stopped briefly at the pond near the private Seven Hills School.  Swallows were flying over the pond, and from the gate I could see they were both Tree and Violet-green Swallows.

This was about 10:30 AM today Wednesday.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: Where are the Lake Merritt Scaup?

Bill Bousman
 

Jim and others,

I don't know if some of the numbers from the South Bay help, we do have a lot of scaup that winter there.

Please excuse me for my wonkish analyses (or just delete).  I've attached a .png figure that you should be able to see on your computer.  I have been engaged since the 1990s looking at temporal data (translation, when are bird here and when not).  What I show in this figure are the cumulative sightings for two locations in Santa Clara County.  The first data set is Alviso Slough Trail (which surrounds Pond A9 through A15 in Alviso).  That dataset is from 2007-16; the highest daily count was 6672 scaup on 29 Oct 2009.  The second data set is the rest of the South Bay in Santa Clara County, including the Alviso ponds, but there is no duplication of the Alviso ponds survey dates.  The second dataset has sightings from 1993-2016; the highest daily count was 22,500 scaup on 24 Dec 2000.  I use the word "sighting" to indicate how many birds are found in one day, that is, if I tally 3,000 scaup (here I group all Greaters, all Lessers, and all not identified to species), then that means I had 3,000 sightings.  A week later I may have recorded more or less sightings and I add them to the dataset.  So for the figure here, the total number of scaup sightings is 154,536 sightings over the time period.

The data show that most scaup have been recorded arriving in the first or second week of October and their numbers remain constant until the first week in February (the linear regression line has an r^2 value of 0.99).  There is a "break" at the beginning of February and wintering birds continue to be seen, but only at 15% of the fall and early winter rate.  My inference is that the fall birds arrive pretty much at one time in early October, most leave in early February, but some remain towards the end of March.  But these are just numbers.  I may believe my inference, but there may be far more going on than I can see from these data.

Bill Bousman
Menlo Park

On 2/16/2021 5:29 PM, Jim Chiropolos wrote:
Work took me to lake Merritt today and I looked at the lake from two areas quickly and saw less than 60 scaup. Intrigued, I looked at ebird Lake Merritt sightings this month and I think the high scaup number (both lessor and greater) is 100 and for the winter 250 or so (one report - thanks Alex). The areas I looked included two of the three spots the large flock usually was. Past years, I think the lake, would hold a flock of 250 to 500 or so all winter (guess on my part)

So, I ask the question? Did I miss the big scalp flock since I did not scan the entire lake?

Or is the flock not there as the eBird reports - or do people just look for the barrows goldeneye and then are done - but has anyone birded  the entire lake to establish the scaup flock size?
I worry that maybe one of the following could be occurring:
1. Lake Merritt is changing and the habitat is not holding scalp as it used to.
2. Scaup numbers overall are down - I don't bird the waterfront much these days so I do not have a sense of scaup numbers on the bay 
3. Scaup are not using the lake in February

Does anyone have historical scaup flock sizes for lake merritt so we can track the flock size and where we are this year. Lake Merritt is one of the birding gems of the east bay and it would be good to know the scaup flock size as they are one of the "keystone" wintering species for the lake.

If anyone does a comprehensive scalp lake survey - can you send me your totals offline in response to this post? IT probably would be  good to note it as a comprehensive lake survey in the ebird list comments - we need one of these at least every year and month if someone uses the lake as a local patch - its too far from home for me.....

I did see 8 red-breasted mergansers on the lake and I think this is a high end number for this species on the lake. I like seeing big scaup flocks on the lake in winter. This is where I learned to recognize greater scaup from lessor scalp by the  nature center so it is a special place for me (and there still is a mixed group of greater and lessor scaup coming in for food.....).

Thanks,
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda

( PS on  the topic of decreasing duck numbers I did not look for Barrows Goldeneyes in the channel but it has saddened me how from over 10 or more using Barrows Goldeneye were present in the winter in the channel about 10 years ago we are maybe down to one pair or so with numbers seemingly decreasing every year . The Merritt channel human habitat is very different from 10 years ago...…)





Re: Where are the Lake Merritt Scaup?

Alexander Henry
 

The explanation provided by Steve Tucker is seemingly supported by eBird data; with the recent Herring Run in late January in Marin County on the northwest side of the Bay, I think some of the large concentrations of scaup which were in the East Bay earlier in the winter moved to the other side of the Bay.


Alex Henry
Berkeley


On Wed, Feb 17, 2021 at 11:38 AM Steven Tucker via groups.io <talkingtrees80=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
At this point in winter I suspect a large number of scaup that winter in the region are following herring runs around the bay - that could account, at least in part, for declines at sites where they were plentiful a month or two ago.


Steve Tucker
San Jose 

On Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 11:07:39 AM PST, <gabikirk@...> wrote:


What a great question, as I have noticed the same. The huge scaup flock was on the lake earlier this winter but seems to have disappeared not long after New Years. Normally you can find decent number of scaups farther into the winter, in fact I distinctly remember seeing some as late as May last year. Weirdly though I also have not seen scaup in large numbers at some of my regular shoreline sites in recent weeks either (Arrowhead Marsh and Middle Harbor). There were hundreds at Arrowhead earlier this winter and no more. Where did they go??

Take care,

Gabi Kirk
Oakland








Re: Where are the Lake Merritt Scaup?

Maureen Lahiff
 

According to Birds of the World:

Lesser Scaup spring departures can start mid February.
Their migrations are really spread out.

Greater Scaup are usually thought to start moving north in March,
but there's some question about starting to migrate north in mid February.

While day length is a big driver,
maybe there are food quality issues this year????

Maureen Lahiff


-----Original Message-----
From: gabikirk@...
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Sent: Wed, Feb 17, 2021 11:07 am
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Where are the Lake Merritt Scaup?

What a great question, as I have noticed the same. The huge scaup flock was on the lake earlier this winter but seems to have disappeared not long after New Years. Normally you can find decent number of scaups farther into the winter, in fact I distinctly remember seeing some as late as May last year. Weirdly though I also have not seen scaup in large numbers at some of my regular shoreline sites in recent weeks either (Arrowhead Marsh and Middle Harbor). There were hundreds at Arrowhead earlier this winter and no more. Where did they go??

Take care,

Gabi Kirk
Oakland




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