Date   

Re: Western Kingbird - Antioch outskirts - 3/11

Alexander Henry
 

Be sure to check any Kingbirds you see carefully! There's lots of the rarer Cassin's Kingbird around, maybe one will make it to Contra Costa this spring. Western Kingbirds are just starting to show up. 

Check for the white tip of the tail which is a diagnostic field mark for Cassin's, the easiest way to identify them is the vocalizations though.

Alex Henry
Berkeley



On Fri, Mar 12, 2021 at 3:35 PM Paul Schorr <pkschorr@...> wrote:
This afternoon during a drive on Deer Valley Rd. south of  Chadbourne Rd., Nancy and I spotted a FOS Western Kingbird on a fence along the road.  We were able to stop and watch it long enough to see it hawking insects.  Nice to see them returning.

Happy birding.

Paul Schorr
Antioch



Western Kingbird - Antioch outskirts - 3/11

Paul Schorr
 

This afternoon during a drive on Deer Valley Rd. south of Chadbourne Rd., Nancy and I spotted a FOS Western Kingbird on a fence along the road. We were able to stop and watch it long enough to see it hawking insects. Nice to see them returning.

Happy birding.

Paul Schorr
Antioch


nesting activity

rosita94598
 

Rosita called my attention to the Anna's Hummingbird taking nest material in our patio this afternoon.  She later sent me a photo of a Bushtit doing the same.  Earlier in the week the Lesser Goldfinches were also grabbing nest material, so she had to refill the little metal frame today.

This morning I found a presumed Mallard egg lying on the bare dirt at the bottom of the gravel boat ramp at the large pond in Heather Farm Park.  Usually we see the first ducklings around Easter, which is 3-1/2 weeks away.

The Canada Geese have been going crazy for at least two or three weeks with honking, hissing, pushing, chasing and other aggressive behavior.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: Band-tailed Pigeons in Eastern Alameda

Alexander Henry
 

Dave,

I was not at all intending to single you out. I was more making the general point that Band-tailed Pigeons are less common in the eastern part of Alameda county (versus the lusher, more forested East Bay hills), so we should all as a group strive to document our Band-tailed Pigeon sightings in the part of Alameda county east of Livermore.

I think there are likely at least a couple erroneous reports by other observers. And even for the reports which are correct, which there are many, I am just encouraging people to make more of an effort to do write-ups or get photos, and bringing their attention to the fact that the status of this species is different in different areas of the East Bay counties.


On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, David Yeamans <davidralphyeamans@...> wrote:
Thank you Alex for correcting one of my impressions. My GISS (general impression of size and shape -- also including behaviors) was incorrect, even with a photo. I thought I could tell the difference between rock pigeons and band-tailed pigeons in flight in poor light at a distance but in one case I was mistaken. Checklist has been corrected.


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
Dave Yeamans
My job in this world is to wage peace. [see Ezekiel, Ch.38 YMMV]
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-


--
Alex Henry


Re: Band-tailed Pigeons in Eastern Alameda

David Yeamans
 

Thank you Alex for correcting one of my impressions. My GISS (general impression of size and shape -- also including behaviors) was incorrect, even with a photo. I thought I could tell the difference between rock pigeons and band-tailed pigeons in flight in poor light at a distance but in one case I was mistaken. Checklist has been corrected.


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
Dave Yeamans
My job in this world is to wage peace. [see Ezekiel, Ch.38 YMMV]
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-


Titmice nest building

judisierra
 

An Oak titmouse pair have been building a nest in the yard box and must be nearing completion as they were gathering the dog hair today that I had hung up for them. They started building on  Feb 17. Last year they had 2 broods. Beginning in late summer one would come to the box and peer in, sometimes going inside briefly several times a week that I observed.
Judi Sierra
Oakland


Before the rain late today

rosita94598
 

I made a late bike ride to Heather Farm and went pretty straight to the pond near the private Seven Hills School.  There were about ten Rough-winged Swallows flying over that pond--pretty hard to tell with all the swallow dips and turns they make.  I had one over the large, mostly natural pond this morning, too.

The numbers of Ring-necked Ducks took a big drop, but it has happened a few times during the winter.  We'll see what happens after the storm passes.  It could be that it is late enough in the year that they are actually leaving for good.

Five Cackling Geese continued this morning; they were on the north ball fields until a dog owner decided to take his large dog out there to chase either a ball or a Frisbee.  Some of the owners have decided over the last year that the ball fields are a good alternative to the dog park.  Needless to say, they pay no attention to the signs and city ordinance prohibiting dogs on the athletic fields, where children, teens and adults participate in group sports.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Orange-crowned Warbler - Antioch yard - 3/9

Paul Schorr
 

This morning an Orange-crowned Warbler took a bath in our bird bath. It soaked its feathers pretty well and even got the top of its head wet, which allowed the orangish feathers of its crown to be exposed nicely. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to retrieve my camera.

Happy birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch


Re: Band-tailed Pigeons in Eastern Alameda

Lyn Dailey
 

I’m by no means an expert birder but pretty sure there were large flocks lurking in my neighborhood for about a month recently in the east Oakland hills. I was able to observe them in close trees for long periods and they appeared to be band tailed pigeons to me.
Lyn

On Mar 9, 2021, at 11:29 AM, Alexander Henry <awhenry@umich.edu> wrote:

Hi all,

Sorry to be nitpicky, but here goes.

There have been a lot of reports of Band-tailed Pigeons in Eastern Alameda county recently.

Please keep in mind that Band-tailed Pigeons are NOT common in east county. There is lots of suitable habitat at the upper elevations of Mines Road, and high counts of Band-tailed Pigeons there do not surprise me, however they are still not particularly common at Mines Road, and do in my opinion merit either written notes or photos if large numbers are observed.

Elsewhere in the eastern part of the Livermore Valley and the Altamont Hills (such as Cedar Mountain Winery), there is very little suitable habitat, and Band-tailed Pigeon sightings should definitely be documented with write-ups or photos. I’m not saying they don’t or can’t occur, just that they are uncommon enough in that area that care should be taken to separate them from other pigeon and dove species, and some form of written or photographic documentation would be greatly appreciated (at least by me personally).

In order to understand the status of Band-tailed Pigeon in this area, consider that they are flagged “rare” in eBird in both Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, I believe. There are only 2 previous records of Band-tailed Pigeon from Del Puerto Canyon (not far from upper Mines Road), and only a handful of records, mostly small numbers, from Kiln Canyon in the Corral Hollow Pass area (near Tesla Road and Cedar Mountain Winery). Given the rarity status of this species only a few miles away over the county line, I think we should all make a collective effort to properly document Band-tailed Pigeon sightings in eastern Alameda county.

Again, sorry if it seems like I’m nitpicking! (I am, admittedly). And for those who are interested in finding rarities, given the large numbers of Band-tailed Pigeons at Mines Road, a trip to Del Puerto Canyon could be a good idea! (It’s also getting into that Costa’s time of year, isn’t it?)

Thanks!
Alex Henry
Berkeley



Band-tailed Pigeons in Eastern Alameda

Alexander Henry
 

Hi all,

Sorry to be nitpicky, but here goes.

There have been a lot of reports of Band-tailed Pigeons in Eastern Alameda county recently.

Please keep in mind that Band-tailed Pigeons are NOT common in east county. There is lots of suitable habitat at the upper elevations of Mines Road, and high counts of Band-tailed Pigeons there do not surprise me, however they are still not particularly common at Mines Road, and do in my opinion merit either written notes or photos if large numbers are observed.

Elsewhere in the eastern part of the Livermore Valley and the Altamont Hills (such as Cedar Mountain Winery), there is very little suitable habitat, and Band-tailed Pigeon sightings should definitely be documented with write-ups or photos. I’m not saying they don’t or can’t occur, just that they are uncommon enough in that area that care should be taken to separate them from other pigeon and dove species, and some form of written or photographic documentation would be greatly appreciated (at least by me personally).

In order to understand the status of Band-tailed Pigeon in this area, consider that they are flagged “rare” in eBird in both Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, I believe. There are only 2 previous records of Band-tailed Pigeon from Del Puerto Canyon (not far from upper Mines Road), and only a handful of records, mostly small numbers, from Kiln Canyon in the Corral Hollow Pass area (near Tesla Road and Cedar Mountain Winery). Given the rarity status of this species only a few miles away over the county line, I think we should all make a collective effort to properly document Band-tailed Pigeon sightings in eastern Alameda county.

Again, sorry if it seems like I’m nitpicking! (I am, admittedly). And for those who are interested in finding rarities, given the large numbers of Band-tailed Pigeons at Mines Road, a trip to Del Puerto Canyon could be a good idea! (It’s also getting into that Costa’s time of year, isn’t it?)

Thanks!
Alex Henry
Berkeley


Re: White-throated Sparrow: White or Tan-Striped?

Stephen T Bird
 

On a limb, if I was forced: 1st winter white.

The supercilium is a poor differentiator in basic molt, particularly a late-winter well-sullied adult or 1st winter.
The darker lateral stripe & (apparent) lighter median stripe, sharply contrasting throat & gray cheeks, rufous upper wing suggest a 1st winter white morph to me (which also permits the light breast streaking); but thats all the caveats accepted that winter can be difficult.
Once I've accepted that, I spuriously delude myself into thinking "yeah, that supercilium is fairly light for a 1st winter."

Other's thoughts? Don't take my word for it.


There are not intermediates (to my knowledge). The morph is due to a a gene inversion following a chromosome duplication/introgression likely from Harris Sparrows.
The argument is made, it uniquely has "4 sexes: near-obligate disassortative mating (i.e. a white morph must breed with a tan morph, regardless of each's sex). Almost as interesting as Acorn Woodpecker mating strategies.

-Stephen


On Tue, Mar 9, 2021 at 6:59 AM Sam Zuckerman <samzuckerman@...> wrote:
I photographed a White-throated Sparrow on Rifle Range Trail in Wildcat Canyon Park Monday afternoon and have had a hard time identifying which morph it is. To my eye, the sparrow has features of both. Here's the checklist with photo: https://ebird.org/checklist/S83048389
 
Many thanks for any help on whether this bird is white-striped or tan-striped. I put tan-striped on the checklist, but will change if necessary. 
 
Sam Zuckerman





White-throated Sparrow: White or Tan-Striped?

Sam Zuckerman
 

I photographed a White-throated Sparrow on Rifle Range Trail in Wildcat Canyon Park Monday afternoon and have had a hard time identifying which morph it is. To my eye, the sparrow has features of both. Here's the checklist with photo: https://ebird.org/checklist/S83048389
 
Many thanks for any help on whether this bird is white-striped or tan-striped. I put tan-striped on the checklist, but will change if necessary. 
 
Sam Zuckerman


Rufous-crowned Sparrow - Black Diamond Mines R. P., Antioch - 3/8

Paul Schorr
 

Today Nancy and I spent the better part of the day hiking and birding at BDMRP. Finding a pair of Rufous-crowned Sparrows along the entry road was the highlight of the day. However, there were some other noteworthy sightings among the 36 species seen or heard:

Rock Wren: seen from the pullout near the fire trail gate which is approximately 1/4 mile south of the old Mueller Ranch buildings which are being restored. The wren was seen on the large boulders in a gully east of the road.
Female Slate-colored Junco among the 50+ Dark-eyed Juncos seen throughout the day.
Red-breasted Sapsucker
White-tailed Kite (pair)
American Kestrel
Cedar Waxwing: 25+ were seen foraging on toyon berries along the entry road.

Good birding.

Paul Schorr
Antioch


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

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