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Lawrence's Goldfinches, San Ramon

SteveLombardi
 

Saw 2 Lawrence's Goldfinches (an apparent pair) in the south parcel of Sycamore Valley Regional Open Space Preserve, between San Ramon and Danville this afternoon.
This is the first time I've seen this species in San Ramon and there are no eBird records for San Ramon either.
In light of the fact that a lot of their habitat must have been destroyed in the 350,000 acre SCU Lightning Complex Fire last summer, it will be interesting to see if Lawrence's show up in unusual places this season, like San Ramon and the ones Jim C. posted at Black Diamond Mines yesterday.

Steve Lombardi
San Ramon


Early Blue Grosbeak, Marsh Creek Rd.

Ethan Monk
 

This morning on private property near where Marsh Creek Rd. intersects Camino Diablo, I had one male Blue Grosbeak which I watched for a short time while it called from atop a dying cottonwood at about 50 feet distance. Despite this being an unusual location for Blue Grosbeak (my first in this area, although only a mile or two from where they breed) this is one of the earliest dates for this species in Contra Costa and perhaps all of Northern California. Perhaps record early for Contra Costa. The bird was never photographed--shortly after I tracked down the calling bird it was flushed by the rancher, and after my conversation with him I left the area at his request, as they were about to bring cattle through.

Some on-time sightings I've had recently included my first of season Hammond's Flycatcher and Calliope Hummingbird on Red Rd. in Mitchell Canyon, Friday the 9th, as well as a notable Golden-crowned Kinglet. Despite the dry winter, Jersey and Bethel Islands are unusually wet, with several flooded pastures on both islands. Last week at least Sunday-Thursday, Bethel Island held a pair of male Eurasian Wigeon, and Sunday ~350 ibis flew over. That same morning I found 80 ibis on Jersey Island, and later in the week other birders reported several hundred ibis there (Emmett Iverson & Logan Kahle, Derek Heins). It seems ibis are growing more common in the delta each year. Thursday on Jersey Island, I missed ibis despite counts of several hundred just two days before, but ~60 dowitchers and 2 lesser yellowlegs were a rare sight in a section of valley floor/delta that has sorely missed shorebird habitat the past couple of Springs.

good birding,
Ethan Monk


Red-breasted Nuthatch - Antioch yard - 4/10

Paul Schorr
 

This morning, while Nancy and I were having our coffee on the patio and watching the small flock of about twenty-five American Goldfinches at our feeders, we heard the very distinctive call of a Red-breasted Nuthatch. The bird was very likely in our neighbor’s redwood trees, but to our disappointment, it never made an appearance. In addition to the American Goldfinches, we also had Lesser Goldfinches, House Finches and a few Pine Siskins at the feeders. The American Goldfinches are absolutely stunning in their alternate plumage. They look like they jumped off of a painted wall calendar.

Happy Birding.

Paul Schorr

Antioch


Lawrence’s Goldfinches and other Birds, Black Diamond Mines

Jim Chiropolos
 

I biked the west half of Black Diamond Mines today.

The highlight was watching a scrub jay catch and subdue a 10 inch long ring-necked snake longer than the jay. (These snakes have a beautiful red belly). Wow! Jays are tough!

Other highlights were at least 20 Lawrence’s Goldfinches at the Black Diamond Trail where it turns to blacktop by the Cumberland trail intersection. Three male Phainopepla and Chipping sparrows were also in this area. This is one of the better birder areas in the park, but its three miles in from the closest and different trailheads.

Multiple Lawrence’s goldfinch sightings today in the bay, I think this may be an “invasion” year for them. I wonder if more Lawrence’s are in the northern part if their range due to the drought. It will be interesting to compare sightings of them through the state this year compared to previous years. Wings are a great tool to adapt to changing conditions!

Not many warblers in Black Diamond, nine birds of five different species. Amazed by how dry it it in early April - the hills are already turning brown and the trails have the soil shrinkage resulting in ground “splits” already that want to suck in and eat bicycle tires, making biking and birding harder because I have to watch the trail - its like late June already - scary. Bird numbers low except for the three finch species.


FOS Pacific-slope flycatcher

judisierra
 

I heard my first this year in Strawberry Canyon this morning. It was on the other side of the fence in the UC Botanical Garden.

A FOS for my yard Wilson's warbler has been gleaning insects all afternoon (still out there) mainly from an old type very dense rose bush. The Titmice have been busy going in and out of the nest box beginning today so there must be chicks. I was a little distracted by some squirrel behavior I hadn't seen. A female, possibly a pup kept jumping and clinging on the back of an adult. Then they.d tumble around together and repeat.

Judi Sierra
Oakalnd


Heather Farm Park Friday April 9

rosita94598
 

The Wood Ducks were making the photographers happy this morning, first walking under the big oak across from the wooden railing and the parking area, then swimming out in front of the island.

The large Muscovy Duck which I first saw the morning of Palm Sunday, seems to like haning with the Canada Geese--they are about the same size.  Sometimes, though it is by itself, as it was yesterday on the lawn near the parking area.  Today it was on the sidewalk at the concrete pond in front of the rose garden, about four feet from a Canada Goose.

Barn and Rough-winged Swallows flew over the pond.  

The Downy Woodpeckers may finally have entered the housekeeping phase.  Yesterday he arrived at the hole, looked in, then went higher in the tree.  She looked out after a bit, then backed down and out of sight.  Guess we'll know in 2-1/2 to 3 weeks.

And for those of you who have not watched online, the Peregrine Falcons at the PG&E building in San Francisco have three chicks as of yesterday.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Duckling at Lake Anza

Claude Lyneis
 

No rare species to be found either in Wildcat Canyon Gorge or at Lake Anza today, but I did see an Mallard with a single duckling.  It looked very young to me, but was able to swim in tight formation with his mom.



Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek

rosita94598
 

It seemed fairly quiet for me today, as the Canada Geese were not making all of their noise chasing each other.  In fact, there did not seem to be many of them around the ponds.  There were also only a few Mallards, but the wood Ducks were on the island when looking from the wooden railing.

The Downy Woodpecker pair may have finished construction, as he came to take a look and she was inside.  He moved away and she went back in.

There were still plenty of White- and Golden-crowned Sparrows today, but no Lincoln's or Fox.

Barn, Rough-winged and a Cliff Swallow were seen flying over the big pond.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Castle Rock/Diablo Foothills/Pine Canyon

tracy_farrington
 

The morning offered up some fine birding, and I was happy to 
take advantage of it. A few yards beyond the entry gate to Castle Rock
park, right where the creek passes beneath the paved road, I found 
a Rock Wren standing atop a wooden fence post to my left. After a brief
display, it flew off well into the hilly field. Shortly thereafter, in that same field,
there were four splendid Lark Sparrows, two of which were gathering
nesting materials. 

While searching for Bullock's Orioles (which I never did find), I was able to
spot a single male Brown-headed Cowbird high in a Locust Tree near the
basketball court adjacent the pool area.

Shortly after passing through the first cattle gate, I found a Rufous-crowned
Sparrow singing in a shrub on the right side of the road. This bird has, of late,
been quite regular along this stretch. In addition, there were several singing
Orange-crowned Warblers. I heard many more during the morning, double, I 
would say, from my walk of four days ago.

When I made it to the Castle Rocks, I was able to find a single Peregrine Falcon
roosting in one of the smaller grottos. I heard, and then saw, a pair of Hairy
Woodpeckers moving rather hastily through an oak on the west side of the road.

I continued to the State Park boundary at the second cattle gate, and decided to
sit awhile at one of the wooden tables. I've done this "sit" many times before, as
the nearby stand of tall oaks tends to host a decent variety of species during
the spring. Again I found another pair of Hairy Woodpeckers, a pair of Nuttall's
Woodpeckers, a Cassin's Vireo, Hutton's Vireo, and at least three Warbling
Vireos. Also found, a Pacific Slope Flycatcher, confirmed by its vocalization.
And before I left, a bright Wilson's Warbler

Generally speaking, the numbers of White-crown and Golden-crown Sparrows
have noticeably declined over the last week. Likewise with Yellow-rumped Warblers.

'Tis the season.

Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek


Phainopepla - Black Diamond Mines R. P., Antioch - 4/7

Paul Schorr
 

After I did some cleaning in the garage, Nancy and I decided to go to BDMRP for a picnic lunch. Along the entry road near the ranch buildings of the old Moeller Ranch , we spotted a Western Kingbird hawking insects. We continued on to the upper parking lot at the end of the road and the adjacent picnic area where we had our lunch. While eating there we had the following species: Acorn Woodpecker, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse, Lesser Goldfinch, Western Bluebird, Turkey Vulture, Mourning Dove, White-breasted Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Junco, and Common Raven. After lunch we walked to the upper picnic area near the amphitheater. Along the way, we had a single Bushtit which was unusual, Lincoln Sparrow and Black Phoebe. At the picnic area we picked up a European Starling, more Turkey Vultures and a flock of about 15 Rock Pigeons.

On our return trip down to our vehicle, I spotted a male Phainopepla perched at the top of a Coast Live Oak near the bathrooms. It then moved to the top of a nearby Locust tree and Nancy also had good views at that point. We were hoping for a possible Lazuli Bunting at that location also, but I don’t think that they have arrived yet.

Happy Birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch


Re: Western Kingbird eating an insect

Alexander Henry
 

Presumably the same individual reported there on April 2 by Denise Wight?


On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...> wrote:
EBB and Kingbird

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on whether the photos show a Western Kingbird or a Tropical Kingbird at Arrowhead March about a hundred yards south of the north walkway.  Since there is no clear consensus I looked at iBird and Wikipedia and I favor the Tropical Kingbird identification.
The amount of yellow on the breast seems inconclusive.  However, the tail is dark brown and not black and it appears to be forked not square.  Both of these characteristics favor the Tropical Kingbird identification.
Perhaps the bird will remain at Arrowhead long enough for someone to make a definitive ID.

37°44'24.804" N 122°12'38.784" W


Claude Lyneis

On Apr 6, 2021, at 8:51 PM, Joseph Morlan <jmorlan@...> wrote:

This is a Tropical Kingbird.

On Tue, 6 Apr 2021 17:25:26 -0700, "Claude Lyneis" <cmlyneis@...>
wrote:

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.

Link. https://flic.kr/p/2kRvWL9 <https://flic.kr/p/2kRvWL9>


Claude Lyneis
cmlyneis@...
https://www.youtube.com/bhsvideodad <https://www.youtube.com/bhsvideodad>
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/lyneisfilm








--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA




--
Alex Henry


Re: Western Kingbird eating an insect

Claude Lyneis
 

EBB and Kingbird

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on whether the photos show a Western Kingbird or a Tropical Kingbird at Arrowhead March about a hundred yards south of the north walkway.  Since there is no clear consensus I looked at iBird and Wikipedia and I favor the Tropical Kingbird identification.
The amount of yellow on the breast seems inconclusive.  However, the tail is dark brown and not black and it appears to be forked not square.  Both of these characteristics favor the Tropical Kingbird identification.
Perhaps the bird will remain at Arrowhead long enough for someone to make a definitive ID.

37°44'24.804" N 122°12'38.784" W


Claude Lyneis

On Apr 6, 2021, at 8:51 PM, Joseph Morlan <jmorlan@...> wrote:

This is a Tropical Kingbird.

On Tue, 6 Apr 2021 17:25:26 -0700, "Claude Lyneis" <cmlyneis@...>
wrote:

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.

Link. https://flic.kr/p/2kRvWL9 <https://flic.kr/p/2kRvWL9>


Claude Lyneis
cmlyneis@...
https://www.youtube.com/bhsvideodad <https://www.youtube.com/bhsvideodad>
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/lyneisfilm








--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA



Re: Western Kingbird eating an insect

Douglas Vaughan
 

My reaction to the first photo was, Wow, large bill for a Western. And no obvious white on the outer tail feathers. Tropical Kingbird would be a great find. Not sure I’m qualified to vote, however, on the basis of these photos.

Doug Vaughan

On Apr 6, 2021, at 5:50 PM, Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...> wrote:

Teale :   Tropical Kingbird or Western Kingbird?  Here are two photos showing the breast and tail feathers.  I look forward to hearing the outcome.



I learn a photo at a time and it is fun to find out even when wrong on the first go around.

Claude


On Apr 6, 2021, at 5:32 PM, Teale Fristoe <fristoe@gmail.com> wrote:

Claude,

I think you have a Tropical Kingbird there. If you have any other photos, especially if they show the breast (which is pale gray on a Western and yellowish on a Tropical) or the undertail (which is uniform brown on Tropical and black with white outer feathers on Western), I encourage you to post them.

Cheers,
Teale

On Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 5:25 PM Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...> wrote:
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.












Re: Western Kingbird eating an insect

Claude Lyneis
 

Teale :   Tropical Kingbird or Western Kingbird?  Here are two photos showing the breast and tail feathers.  I look forward to hearing the outcome.



I learn a photo at a time and it is fun to find out even when wrong on the first go around.

Claude


On Apr 6, 2021, at 5:32 PM, Teale Fristoe <fristoe@gmail.com> wrote:

Claude,

I think you have a Tropical Kingbird there. If you have any other photos, especially if they show the breast (which is pale gray on a Western and yellowish on a Tropical) or the undertail (which is uniform brown on Tropical and black with white outer feathers on Western), I encourage you to post them.

Cheers,
Teale

On Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 5:25 PM Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...> wrote:
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.








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

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