Date   

Dowitcher, peep, & teal highlights at Arrowhead Marsh

gabikirk@...
 

A few uncommon to me sightings at Arrowhead Marsh (MLK Regional Shoreline, Oakland) yesterday, at low tide in the afternoon:
-easily 125-150 dowitchers, assuming short-billed because of the setting. A very large gathering on multiple parts of the mud flats visible from the large wooden platform and path along the channel, with numerous willets & black bellied plovers mixed in and two lesser yellowlegs.
-a spotted sandpiper (lifer for me), very distinct with its cute "butt bob," by itself on the exposed mud of the channel
-five blue winged teals! Another lifer for me, and definitely not as common it seems in the East Bay. They were farther down the channel away from the open water.

Full Ebird list at https://ebird.org/checklist/S82974629

Take care,
Gabi Kirk
Oakland


Re: Albany Bulb Gull Activity

Alan Howe
 

Guess I should note, too, that on Friday the water between the Bulb & Pt Isabel--especially near the Codornices Creek outflow--was swarming with shorebirds & ducks. A large number of green-winged teals was scattered over the area & a good sized flock of American wigeons flew in as I was about to leave around 5:30 or so. There were a few pintails & canvasbacks, & a shoveler pair that I've seen every time I've been up that way over the last few weeks. Also seen (this isn't an exhaustive list): avocet, long-billed curlew, a couple of murmurations of peeps--probably western, marbled godwits, black-bellied plovers (verified by a guy with a scope), great & snowy egret, great blue heron, among others.


On Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 11:56 AM Alan Howe <adhowe@...> wrote:
I was between Pt Isabel & Meeker Slough around 5:10 PM & noticed the gulls, too--in the sky & on the surface--just before I left for home. The light & reflection from the low-in-the-sky sun made it difficult to see from my location, but there was definitely something exciting going on. I thought of a sardine run, but didn't think it was the right time of year & the location for that didn't seem right. (@ least I've never seen a run there.) 

Peace,
Alan Howe
North Oakland

On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 8:00 PM hoggsville <jellsworthhayden@...> wrote:
There was a significant gull feeding event from the tip of the bulb to Meeker Slough this evening. Gulls everywhere, landing on the water foraging and taking off, circulating, making noise. By the time I noticed, it was getting dark but it seemed to warrant a further look and I walked out to the mouth of the mudflats. To my surprise the sky was full of gulls all the way to the Meeker Slough shore. Hard to estimate numbers in the fading light. At least 1,000. It didn't seem like a herring run as I didn't see gulls lining the shoreline anywhere. Noah Arthur, who wasn't present, suggests it may be a sand eel run which usually only last a day.

Two Burrowing Owls were present in the plateau enclosure, and I heard a Great Horned Owl in the eucalyptus near the main beach as I was leaving around 6:40. I saw a Great Horned last weekend around sunset and got some photos (https://ebird.org/checklist/S82472772).The peep murmurations are happening and the best time is right around sunset over the mudflats.

Cheers,
Jack Hayden
Albany




Re: Albany Bulb Gull Activity

Alan Howe
 

I was between Pt Isabel & Meeker Slough around 5:10 PM & noticed the gulls, too--in the sky & on the surface--just before I left for home. The light & reflection from the low-in-the-sky sun made it difficult to see from my location, but there was definitely something exciting going on. I thought of a sardine run, but didn't think it was the right time of year & the location for that didn't seem right. (@ least I've never seen a run there.) 

Peace,
Alan Howe
North Oakland

On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 8:00 PM hoggsville <jellsworthhayden@...> wrote:
There was a significant gull feeding event from the tip of the bulb to Meeker Slough this evening. Gulls everywhere, landing on the water foraging and taking off, circulating, making noise. By the time I noticed, it was getting dark but it seemed to warrant a further look and I walked out to the mouth of the mudflats. To my surprise the sky was full of gulls all the way to the Meeker Slough shore. Hard to estimate numbers in the fading light. At least 1,000. It didn't seem like a herring run as I didn't see gulls lining the shoreline anywhere. Noah Arthur, who wasn't present, suggests it may be a sand eel run which usually only last a day.

Two Burrowing Owls were present in the plateau enclosure, and I heard a Great Horned Owl in the eucalyptus near the main beach as I was leaving around 6:40. I saw a Great Horned last weekend around sunset and got some photos (https://ebird.org/checklist/S82472772).The peep murmurations are happening and the best time is right around sunset over the mudflats.

Cheers,
Jack Hayden
Albany




Albany Bulb Gull Activity

hoggsville
 

There was a significant gull feeding event from the tip of the bulb to Meeker Slough this evening. Gulls everywhere, landing on the water foraging and taking off, circulating, making noise. By the time I noticed, it was getting dark but it seemed to warrant a further look and I walked out to the mouth of the mudflats. To my surprise the sky was full of gulls all the way to the Meeker Slough shore. Hard to estimate numbers in the fading light. At least 1,000. It didn't seem like a herring run as I didn't see gulls lining the shoreline anywhere. Noah Arthur, who wasn't present, suggests it may be a sand eel run which usually only last a day.

Two Burrowing Owls were present in the plateau enclosure, and I heard a Great Horned Owl in the eucalyptus near the main beach as I was leaving around 6:40. I saw a Great Horned last weekend around sunset and got some photos (https://ebird.org/checklist/S82472772).The peep murmurations are happening and the best time is right around sunset over the mudflats.

Cheers,
Jack Hayden
Albany


Black Scoters still in Richmond Mar. 7

rosita94598
 

After Zoom church this morning, Rosita and I drove to Richmond on the off chance we might find the continuing Black Scoters.  We stopped at the viewing platform on Canal Blvd and it actually worked.  They were very far away toward the east end of Brooks Island; scope required, no doubt about it.

We tried different angles from the ferry landing at the old Ford plant and Edwards Park, but they did not work.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Orange-crown Warbler & VG Swallows

rfs_berkeley
 

This morning at the north end of Briones Reservoir an Orange-crowned Warbler sang and 4 Violet-green Swallows foraged overhead.

And 4 River Otters frolicked in the reservoir; literally that, with a good deal of splashing.  I wonder if they were a sibling group. They did not seem full sized and were quite playful; even coming ashore and chasing each other on the beach.

--
Rusty Scalf


Purple finches

mbstern2
 

About 20 Purple Finches have joined dozens more House Finches at my Sunflower seed feeders in Lafayette.

Maury Stern


Mar. 7 Heather Farm in the crisp morning

rosita94598
 

It was a glorious day, despite the crispness of the morning.  Great birds today and some new faces walking, including Jim{?} and Julie from Danville.  Their son at school at Purdue told them to visit Heather Farm for the Wood Ducks.  We found them.

A Kingfisher was on the trees of the island, a Red-shouldered Hawk flew, called and maybe landed in the eucalyptus trees at the north parking lot.

Five sparrow species and a Sora came to some seeds just a bit north of the gap where the river otter crosses the sidewalk and leaves its mark.  A Marsh Wren was singing in the reeds at the same location.  The Lincoln's Sparrow here is one of three seen today.  Two Fox Sparrows were at the otter crossing, too.

Red-winged Blackbirds were singing in two or three locations.  Bushtits were active, as were the Yellow-rumped Warblers.  The most active birds were the Canada Geese, who were honking, flapping wings and pushing each other around.  Ring-necked Ducks, a couple Buffleheads, including a male, and Coots were also on the big pond.  Up to six Ring-billed Gulls were around, too.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek



Rufous Hummingbird

Johan Langewis
 

This morning a male Rufous Hummingbird visited my feeder. The back was completely orange, not a fleck of green to be seen. No Allen’s in my yard yet. Also, a Chestnut-backed Chickadee started nest building in my nest-cam box today. Sure signs of Spring. I’m waiting to see if the Brown Creepers will return to the same nest site they used the last three years. Also waiting to see nesting activity of Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Bewick’s Wren, and a few others. I minimize my observation of nests so I don’t alert the local predators, especially Corvids. I hope everyone keeps this in mind this Spring.

Johan Langewis
Oakland, near Shepherd Canyon & Skyline Blvd


Two morning visits to Heather Farm March 5

rosita94598
 

It was worth it to make two visits this morning, though the first was before 6 AM.  I walked over with a scope to see the conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter.  Couldn't see them, very few stars and worried about whether I was too late, the sky a little too bright and the half-Moon above.  But when I walked out onto the north ball field through the dugout, bang, there they were just over the right shoulder of Mount Diablo.  I was actually too early!  The hot chocolate back home at 6:10 was a nice picker-upper.

Before 7:30, I went again for the birds and on my bike.  Fifteen Cedar Waxwings were in a tree before I even made it down our street to the Contra Costa Canal.  A Marsh Wren was singing like crazy in the reeds just north of the gap where the otter poop is often visible on the west side of the large, mostly natural pond.  This morning some very fresh poop was there and the sidewalk was wet where the otter had crossed to the currently dry Ygnacio Canal.

The Wood Duck pair was visible near the island from the wooden railing below the parking lot.  A Common Gallinule was also there, standing close to a Snowy Egret.  The Ring-necked Ducks are sticking around, but there are only a handful of Coots and maybe two female Buffleheads.

I did not go to the entrance of the private Seven Hills School today, but yesterday two or three Rough-winged Swallows were still flying over that pond. Twelve to fifteen Ring-necked Ducks are also hanging out there.

A couple of Red-winged Blackbirds are also staying, now, singing their cheery songs from the reeds or trees around the large pond.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Red-tailed Hawk at Arrowhead

Claude Lyneis
 

This afternoon there were some interesting birds at Arrowhead.  I saw a Belted Kingfisher hovering and diving into the marsh area.
A presumed Red-tailed Hawk landed in the field, in a tree and flew around a couple of times.  It looks slightly different from others that I have photographed, but Red-tailed Hawks  seem to have a lot of  variety in their markings.

A couple of photos of the Red-tailed Hawk are at this link. https://flic.kr/p/2kH63WT


Re: Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

David Yeamans
 

Thank you for your expert help. I have changed the ID on my checklist to reflect the truth.

Dave Yeamans

*********************
That is best for us which is best for our souls. [Matthew Henry]
*********************


On Thu, Mar 4, 2021 at 7:04 PM Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...> wrote:

David

   That is a Swamp Sparrow, the really rusty wings, bold triangular post ocular, and lack of crisp streaking below seal the ID. The two species are very similar as juveniles, but that only lasts for a very short time after fledging. At this time of year they are readily separable. Nice find!

Alvaro

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 

From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of David Yeamans
Sent: Thursday, March 4, 2021 6:51 PM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

 

In this checklist    https://ebird.org/checklist/S82749997     I included two photos of a sparrow I have called Lincoln's sparrow. It could be mistaken for a swamp sparrow given that Sibley says the two as immatures are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The other option I considered and rejected was white-throated sparrow. I'm seeking opinions. Offline responses are welcome.

 

dy


Re: Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

David

   That is a Swamp Sparrow, the really rusty wings, bold triangular post ocular, and lack of crisp streaking below seal the ID. The two species are very similar as juveniles, but that only lasts for a very short time after fledging. At this time of year they are readily separable. Nice find!

Alvaro

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 

From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of David Yeamans
Sent: Thursday, March 4, 2021 6:51 PM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

 

In this checklist    https://ebird.org/checklist/S82749997     I included two photos of a sparrow I have called Lincoln's sparrow. It could be mistaken for a swamp sparrow given that Sibley says the two as immatures are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The other option I considered and rejected was white-throated sparrow. I'm seeking opinions. Offline responses are welcome.

 

dy


Re: Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

Alexander Henry
 

That’s a Swamp Sparrow! Great bird! (Though maybe not quite as good as that Vesper you found at Mines Road?)

Great Common Gallinule shot too.


On Thursday, March 4, 2021, David Yeamans <davidralphyeamans@...> wrote:
In this checklist    https://ebird.org/checklist/S82749997     I included two photos of a sparrow I have called Lincoln's sparrow. It could be mistaken for a swamp sparrow given that Sibley says the two as immatures are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The other option I considered and rejected was white-throated sparrow. I'm seeking opinions. Offline responses are welcome.

dy


--
Alex Henry


Re: Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

Teale Fristoe
 

Dave,

This bird looks great for a Swamp Sparrow to me. Nice find!

Teale Fristoe
Berkeley


On Thu, Mar 4, 2021 at 6:50 PM David Yeamans <davidralphyeamans@...> wrote:
In this checklist    https://ebird.org/checklist/S82749997     I included two photos of a sparrow I have called Lincoln's sparrow. It could be mistaken for a swamp sparrow given that Sibley says the two as immatures are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The other option I considered and rejected was white-throated sparrow. I'm seeking opinions. Offline responses are welcome.

dy




Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

David Yeamans
 

In this checklist    https://ebird.org/checklist/S82749997     I included two photos of a sparrow I have called Lincoln's sparrow. It could be mistaken for a swamp sparrow given that Sibley says the two as immatures are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The other option I considered and rejected was white-throated sparrow. I'm seeking opinions. Offline responses are welcome.

dy


Re: Where are the Lake Merritt Scaup?

Joe Morlan
 

Jim,

There is a direct correlation between reduced numbers of ducks and the
discontinuing of the twice daily duck feedings at Lake Merritt a few years
ago, due in part to some people’s complaints that the birds were not
migrating (not true), and also to a lack of city funds. In addition there
have been additional claims that feeding ducks is bad for them and
unfortunately several government entities have bought into this false
narrative. E.g. duck feeding is now banned with enforcement at the famous
Palo Alto duck pond with the predictable result that most of the ducks are
no longer there.

More on the controversy from across the pond....

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-derbyshire-50081386




On Tue, 16 Feb 2021 17:29:51 -0800, "Jim Chiropolos" <jnc@wje.com> 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...…)
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA


Cedar Waxwings.. toxic berries?

alisonG
 

At least 8 Cedar Waxwings were found dead, close proximity and no external injuries, at the Claremont Golf Course.
Not clear if a plant/berry is responsible or some other toxin in the area. 
For example, Heavenly Bamboo(Nandina domestica) berries are toxic and CEWAs are known to fall victim poisoning.
I don't know if the Claremont GC has these non-native plants on their grounds. 

Has anyone recently encountered dead CEWAs lacking external injuries?
GGAS, Lindsay Wildlife, Cali F&W have been contacted.
The Claremont GC has been notified. The CGC state that they are "very environmentally conscious, use organic fertilizer, have a special area for bees etc." They have asked to be kept informed.

Saved a couple CEWA specimens if further analysis is needed.
heartbreaking... they are such elegant birds.
-alison


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Re: Long or Short-billed Dowitcher

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Claude

    Was it in fresh water? That looks like a Long-billed, because it is on the very long billed side for a dowitcher. Well over 2 head lengths, nearly 3. As well barring on the flanks looks good, but I am not sure how reliable that character is.

  Alvaro

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 

From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Claude Lyneis
Sent: Tuesday, March 2, 2021 8:34 PM
To: East Bay Birds <EBB-Sightings@groups.io>
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Long or Short-billed Dowitcher

 

Today, out just north of Pt. Isabel I was getting close to photography some of those tiny peeps, but in the process I got some photos of Dowitchers and remembering the earlier post Jim Chiropolos stating that most are short-billed in the bay, I hesitate to ID it as a Long-billed Dowitcher.  Still that is how the iNaturalist artificial intelligence software I.D.s it.  So I leave it to the EBB experts.  Either way since it was not posted to eBird, it won’t upset the bird counts.

 


Long or Short-billed Dowitcher

Claude Lyneis
 

Today, out just north of Pt. Isabel I was getting close to photography some of those tiny peeps, but in the process I got some photos of Dowitchers and remembering the earlier post Jim Chiropolos stating that most are short-billed in the bay, I hesitate to ID it as a Long-billed Dowitcher.  Still that is how the iNaturalist artificial intelligence software I.D.s it.  So I leave it to the EBB experts.  Either way since it was not posted to eBird, it won’t upset the bird counts.

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