Date   

Western Kingbird eating an insect

Claude Lyneis
 

April 6.  I was at Arrowhead Marsh around noon today and spotted a Yellow Bird that didn’t match any in my photo list.  It was hoping around in a tree eating something.

The most instructive photo showing that it is a Western Kingbird with an insect is in the link below.



Contra Loma R. P., Antioch - 4/5

Paul Schorr
 



Today, as Nancy and I were driving along the road to the entrance kiosk we saw two courting Western Kingbirds on the adjacent fence.

When we arrived at the boat launch area, we heard and then saw at least two male Bullock’s Orioles.  We encountered at least two more near Loma Island and an additional bird near the swimming lagoon, giving us an estimated total of six for the day.  

We were very surprised at the high count of Golden-crowned Sparrows we had for the day.  There were numerous flocks of many birds and our estimated total of birds was 75, more than our estimated total of 40 White-crowned Sparrows.  Usually we tally far more White-crowns than Golden-crowns.

Near the swimming lagoon, we had a calling Sora.

During our drive on the East Side Drive, two women walkers came upon a large snake which turned out to be a gopher snake about three feet in length.  They were pretty nervous about the snake and wanted us to give them a ride, but when I picked up the snake and offered to let them pet it, they were okay to continue their walk.  

Although it was quite breezy, it was a good day to be out.  We tallied 33 species for the day.  My eBird report follows:


Happy Birding.

Paul Schorr
Antioch


Re: Nesting osprey pair at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

Rosemary Johnson
 

This nesting site is in use every year, at least for the last several years. I presume it is the same pair as that is typical osprey behavior.

On 04/04/2021 10:35 PM mj@mjawili.com wrote:


Yesterday was my first time at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, and I was amazed at all the birds I saw. Most notable was a nesting osprey pair. On the pier, facing the water (not the park), look at the top of the second wooden structure to the right of the pier. I saw an osprey sitting on a nest, with a second osprey atop another wooden post about twenty feet away. Here's a photo I took with my phone through my binoculars: https://photos.app.goo.gl/DjAEnhFV91uYovbk6

eBird checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S84723738

Mary Ann Jawili
El Cerrito


Kingbird in Sunol RP Saturday on Flag Hill

lwpayne919
 

Saturday afternoon at the top of Flag Hill a kingbird perched and darted about in the trees above the cows near the stone "Flag Hill" sign. By the time I dug out my book it had flown off, so I could not discern which kind of kingbird. I'll go out on a limb and posit: presumably Western; presumably not Couch's : )

The beautiful Sunol Saturday included lots of Western bluebirds, oak titmice, TVs, some red tails, gc and wc sparrows, Annas hummingbirds, CA towhees. Seeing lots of Brewer's blackbirds walking looking for bugs in the grasses brought to mind how infrequently I see Brewer's blackbirds. If memory serves correctly it was the most common city bird I'd see in the Bay Area. Now I NEVER see them. Crazy.

There were lots of starlings everywhere as well. The usual corvids too.

Another Sunol highlight was flying kestrel with a something...a large bug or an amphibian or something...in its bill. The kestrel landed on a tree limb and gave the prey to another kestrel that then flew off.

Lots of lovely people too!

Lewis


Nesting osprey pair at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

mj@...
 

Yesterday was my first time at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, and I was amazed at all the birds I saw. Most notable was a nesting osprey pair. On the pier, facing the water (not the park), look at the top of the second wooden structure to the right of the pier. I saw an osprey sitting on a nest, with a second osprey atop another wooden post about twenty feet away. Here's a photo I took with my phone through my binoculars: https://photos.app.goo.gl/DjAEnhFV91uYovbk6

eBird checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S84723738

Mary Ann Jawili
El Cerrito


Castle Rock/Diablo Foothills Regional Park, Walnut Creek

tracy_farrington
 

Migrant activity is beginning to tick up nicely as my outing to Diablo Foothills, this morning, was to reveal.
Walking through the Castle Rock recreation area ( where I began a little after 7am), I noticed that there 
are still a fair number of Golden-crowned Sparrows. A considerably smaller number of White-crowned
Sparrows were distributed around the general area. Small numbers of California Quail foraged over
the little ball field. Several House Finches carried nesting materials in the pic-nic areas near the 
pool. All of the Western Bluebirds I saw wore their vibrant dark azure, characteristic of Spring.

Further up the road, about 150 feet beyond the ball field, I spotted my FOS Bullock's Oriole. The richness
of deep orange plumage on this male can not be overstated. In the next couple of weeks we should
be able to find at least five nesting pair from the pool area up to, and beyond where I found this morning's
bird. Nearby, there was a single Pine Siskin.

Moving on, I heard, and then spotted, a brightly singing Rufous-crowned Sparrow. It was about 100 feet beyond
the first cattle gate. Orange-crowned Warblers were also heard. I would continue to hear, and see, several more
throughout the morning.  Most of the Yellow-rumped Warblers have molted into their alternate finery. One among the 
several I saw was a very bright and distinct Myrtle

I then made my way to the Castle Rocks, and while it took a few minutes, saw one of the Peregrines. Along the way to the
State Park boundary, at the second cattle gate, I had my FOS Wilson's Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Hutton's Vireo,
and Cassin's Vireo. Upon my return, there were numerous White-throated Swifts, and a few Violet-green Swallows well 
above the Castle Rocks. Soaring higher still, was a single Golden Eagle

Spring!

Good birding, all.

Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek


Sunday morning in Heather Farm

rosita94598
 

Despite being Easter Sunday and wearing lots of clothes, when I saw Ted R as I was leaving I told him I was becoming cold.  Still, I had some interesting bird sightings.

The Downy Woodpecker male is on at least Day 12 of his construction project.  He was busy tapping even deeper in his hole this morning, while a Black-crowned Night-Heron perched in the willows on the pond-side of the trail.  I noticed that the bottom of the entrance is already elongated due to the going in and coming out of the both of them.

Swallows of three species were seen, Barn, Rough-winged and Violet--green.  They were over the large, mostly natural pond, not the pond near the private Seven Hills School.

After skipping Friday for a visit to Garin Reg. Park, the Ring-necked Ducks have left as of yesterday.  Their numbers have dwindled to less than fifteen or twenty, but by yesterday there were none.  Of the winter ducks, one female Bufflehead persists.

And for the occasion, the Easter Egg of the duck world, the male Wood Duck, was swimming in the concrete pond with the female. 

Today I heard a Hutton's Vireo calling somewhere in the giant Eucalyptus trees at the north ball field parking lot.  Never found it, but did see the Starlings copulate on a light standard and they may have a nest in one of the trees.

The sparrow population has also dwindled, though yesterday I did have one Lincoln's Sparrow come out for seeds.  Did not see it today.  Another I missed today was the little Song Sparrow which is missing a tail.  He has been that way for a couple of months, now.  But I am also seeing fewer White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: Walnut Creek sightings

Alan Bade
 

Hi Fred- Thanks for the sparrow report. We still have our regular White-throated sparrow amidst its small flock of white-crowned sparrows. We live in southern Pleasant Hill.

It over-wintered here last year and this year and is a regular visitor in our yard. Last year, it left around April 6th, 2020 and it returned on the 7th of November, 2020. We'll miss it when it leaves, which I'm expecting will happen soon. We've also had a Fox sparrow recently, which has been nice. https://ebird.org/checklist/S84637921

I thought I might have heard a white-throated along the EBMUD right-of-way along Grayson creek near Oak Park blvd in Pleasant Hill early this week. I recorded it and put it into BirdNet, and it suggested white-throated sparrow as well, but I wasn't confident enough to list it. It didn't have enough of the song, so I didn't trust it. I don't have much experience with white-throated sparrow song, as ours here hasn't sung for us.

While we are on sparrows; I've checked on the Chipping sparrows down near Astrid Lane along the EBMUD trail occasionally but haven't seen them since 2/20/21. https://ebird.org/checklist/S82047837

Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill

On Sat, Apr 3, 2021 at 5:15 PM fgsafier <fgsafier@...> wrote:
Since these birds have been mentioned in other posts, I suppose I should report that in our Walnut Creek neighborhood I had a White-throated Sparrow feeding on the ground with a few Golden-crowns on Thursday, and a Black-throated Gray Warbler high in an oak with several Yellow-rumps this morning.

Fred Safier




Finally a Wilson's Warbler

Claude Lyneis
 

About 3 pm today about a mile north of Lake Anza in Wildcat Canyon Gorge there was a opening in the trees with some Wilson’s Warblers feeding.  Only of note because I have been watching for them and finally can add them to my photo list.

Link to the photo on Flickr. https://flic.kr/p/2kQWG9e


Bird activity at Tilden and a PSA

Melani King
 

Today I spent quite a bit of time at Tilden around Jewel Lake and the nature area. Wilson's Warblers were abundant and vocal. Orange-crowned Warblers were heard more than seen but the bonus was that one was showing its orange crown!

And here is a public service announcement/reminder to stay on the trails and paths during nesting season. I was reminded of this while watching a Dark-eyed Junco collecting nesting material and disappearing repeatedly into a low vegetation area less than a foot off the trail. I would never have known that a nest was there!

eBird report here:
https://ebird.org/checklist/S84706711

Melani King
Pt. Richmond


Brionnes Drought

Jim Chiropolos
 

I biked Brionnes today and was shocked by the drought. Its early April and Sindrich lagoon, the best area to bird there, is a mudflat (only a 10 foot diameter puddle) - no birds there. Its early April, and portions of the hills are already getting brown. The drought was best shown by a desiccated dead newt found on the trail, probably looking to mate and a puddle in the spring - but no rain. Last year in a drought year, Sindrich had more water in September! In over 10 years of birding Brionnes, this is the least of amount if water - ever - on April 3!!! (Sindrich did completely dry last year around October- and I thought that was extreme).

Rain = bugs = birds
Rain = seeds = rodents = raptors

This year on all my bike transects, I am seeing 1/3 the raptors of most years. As Josiah Clark in SF says, the drought will have major adverse implications on bird populations. It is a very dynamic time of change, and we get to see it. We might get to see some rare birds as a result, but they will be wandering to find food and mate.

I also wonder if this will have effects on private bay area open space ranchers. Cattle need spring rains to raise their calfs, and cows will raise calfs in these drought conditions but Likely will be unable to bear calfs again. This will stress local ranchers as their herds are not self sustaining and their herds become mostly older cows. Will this increase the conversion of open space ranches to housing tracts?

Its tough conditions out there. It will be interesting to document the changes in bird populations.

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda


Walnut Creek sightings

fgsafier
 

Since these birds have been mentioned in other posts, I suppose I should report that in our Walnut Creek neighborhood I had a White-throated Sparrow feeding on the ground with a few Golden-crowns on Thursday, and a Black-throated Gray Warbler high in an oak with several Yellow-rumps this morning.

Fred Safier


Sunol Trip report

Philip Georgakakos
 

Hi East Bay Birders,

Derek Heins, Alex Henry and I thoroughly enjoyed birding Sunol on this fine early spring day. Migrant numbers were strong with clear skies, warm temperatures, and little wind.

We started the day with some nocturnal birding at Welch Creek Rd. at 6am and were rewarded with at least 4 pygmy owls, a couple of Great Horned Owls, a Western-screech Owl, and a Common Poorwil. All were heard vocalizing. We parked around (37.532049, -121.830474), and walked the road for a while, where we heard all these birds as dawn broke. You can park on Welch Creek rd on weekdays without a permit, and it's accessible before 8am, when the main gate to the park opens. On the weekends you need a permit to park there, which I think you obtain from the main entrance. You can definitely get ticketed without this. Also, please don't use playback on these sensitive species. It seems like a real owl hotspot, let's keep it that way. This time of year they were vocalizing vigorously.

Welch Creek Rd. pre-dawn
Welch Creek Rd. post-dawn

After our Welch Creek start we hopped in cars and drove to the visitors center. From there we walked up Alameda Creek, past little Yosemite to McKorkle trail, which we followed back to the parking area.

Highlights included: Lawrence's Goldfinch, Prairie Falcon, Western Kingbirds, Bullock's Orioles, Phainopepla Bald Eagle, Golden Eagles, 4 swallow species, and an almost certainly migratory Common Yellowthroat.

Sunol Valley and McCorkle Trail

I parted ways with Derek and Alex at this point and decided to try and add just a few more species to our list for the day. The park had filled up by this point, so I drove back to Welch Creek Rd in an effort to escape the crowds. From our same parking spot in the morning (37.532049, -121.830474) I walked out to Flag Hill. I'd never approached Flag Hill from this direction before, and the walk is way easier than from the visitors center side. The deciduous oaks in the grasslands were really birdy, with plenty of Western Kingbirds and Bullock's Orioles. I added Brewer's Blackbird, Red-winged Blackbird and Lark Sparrow to our day list. 

Welch Creek Rd. to Flag Hill

In addition to the biggest bird list I've recorded in a day at Sunol, 72 species, there were good diversity and abundance of both wildflowers and butterflies. Here's a few links to iNaturalist observations of the non-birds, if you're into that stuff. Any ID help is always appreciated.

Woodland Star
California Golden Violet
Blue Dicks and colorful Skipper
Purple Owl's Clover
Indian Paintbrush
Larkspur
California Poppy
Bird's Eye Gilia

Hope yall can get out and enjoy spring, my favorite season in the East Bay.
Phil Georgakakos,
Oakland


FOS Hooded Oriole in Martinez

Jackie Bobrosky
 

Usually by mid-March a male Hooded Oriole will show up at my hummingbird feeders, finally today April 2 I heard, then saw! Blinked and poof he was gone.  I hear him this evening nearby so I expect regular visits for a few months.  Wonderful!   Also a male Rufous hummingbird has been fighting off the resident Anna's........great birding in my backyard.
 
Jackie Bobrosky
Downtown Martinez. 


Re: Mass Bird Die-Off Linked to Wildfires and Toxic Gases

Elegans@...
 

Thanks for this. In my area, El Cerrito, after both last summer's dreadful fire and smoke and the one two amers before that, the mlm population of Anna's hummingbirds plummeted. In winters before that I'd be feeding dozens if not maybe a hundred al winter long. The winters after the fires, a mere handful.
George McRae




On Friday, April 2, 2021 Edward Vine <elvine@...> wrote:

Using observations from crowdsourced science and weather location data, researchers concluded that wildfires caused a mass die-off of birds in the western and central United States in 2020.

Click here

Ed

--
Ed Vine




Mass Bird Die-Off Linked to Wildfires and Toxic Gases

Edward Vine
 

Using observations from crowdsourced science and weather location data, researchers concluded that wildfires caused a mass die-off of birds in the western and central United States in 2020.

Click here

Ed

--
Ed Vine


Pine Siskins today, Snowy Plovers yesterday

Jerry Britten
 

This morning there are seemingly hundreds of Pine Siskins in the newly-leafed oaks around my house.  The noise they are making is quite impressive.  Also, red-tailed hawks are nesting on our property this year, for the first time I know about.  This means the red-shouldered hawks that usually nest are probably not going to be tolerated. 

Yesterday 3/31 I saw 2 snowy plovers at Clifton Court Forebay.  As originally reported to eBird by Srikant Char, who saw 1 on 3/30, they were near the 7.5 mile marker not too far from the parking lot.  Ebird checklist with some photos here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S84492171

Jerry Britten 
Morgan Territory


Re: FOS Hooded Oriole

Elegans@...
 

How wonderful!
George McRae




On Wednesday, March 31, 2021 Jane Chinn via groups.io <janechinn@...> wrote:

FOS Hooded Oriole, male spotted in backyard swinging from hummingbird feeder.  Heard in trees.  Usually arrive first week of April.  Earliest sighting I have in my backyard journal is March 26, 2015.

Jane Chinn 
Hayward Hills






FOS Hooded Oriole

Jane Chinn
 

FOS Hooded Oriole, male spotted in backyard swinging from hummingbird feeder.  Heard in trees.  Usually arrive first week of April.  Earliest sighting I have in my backyard journal is March 26, 2015.

Jane Chinn 
Hayward Hills



Large number of Avocets, Marbled Godwits and some Long-billed Curlew at Pt. Isabel

Claude Lyneis
 

About two hours after high tide this afternoon just south of Stege Marsh there was a large group of American Avocets and Marbled Godwits, at least 50 of each.  A smaller number of Long-billed Curlew were mixed in with the Godwits.

Link to the photos https://flic.kr/p/2kQffQm

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