Date   

Western Tanager - Creekside Park/Creeek Rd., Brentwood - 5/1

Paul Schorr
 

Today we birded with our son Robert who is visiting us from CO.  We started at 9:35 and birded for a couple of hours along Creek Rd. and Creekside Park.  A male Western Tanager was a highlight but other noteworthy sightings included a female Black-headed Grosbeak and at least two Warbling Vireos. 

Our complete list can be viewed at:  eBird.org/checklist/S86834453

Happy birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch






Sharing links



East County

fgsafier
 

Gitta and I visited two spots in East County this morning. The predicted strong winds were replaced by occasional refreshing breezes.
The Marsh Creek trail, which was open again after being closed last year when we tried, produced great views of a Swainson's Hawk and a male Blue Grosbeak, as well as other nice birds including Green Heron and Quail. https://ebird.org/checklist/S86817837
At Piper Slough we had a Black-chinned Hummingbird, Bullock's (but no Hooded) Oriole, Spotted Towhee, more Quail, Common Yellowthroat, Western Kingbird and so on.
https://ebird.org/checklist/S86818439

Fred Safier


Heather Farm Park Walnut Creek Saturday morning

rosita94598
 

Rosalie and Barry Howarth were with me at the wooden railing when we saw a Spotted Sandpiper fly across the pond, landing on the broken rip-rap of the island.  It promptly did its tail-bobbing thing, and with our binoculars was quite obvious.  Otherwise, it looked like goose white-wash on the broken concrete.  Barry was able to photograph the bird before it flew off to our right, which is to the north end of the pond.

We also heard a Great-tailed Grackle, which was not being so obvious about its location.

An active Bushtit nest has been observed, more goslings are present at the pond near the private Seven Hills School, and a Wilson's Warbler was heard singing near the entrance to the city maintenance yard.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: Pileated Woodpeckers at Redwood Regional Park

Alan Howe
 

Hi, all.

The male PIWO showed up around noon today (Friday, 4/30), much to the delight of those who'd been waiting & waiting @ Trail's End. We heard him call loudly up the hill just before he landed in a couple nearby trees, then moved to the snag & got to work. He seemed little bothered by all the humans staring @ him & didn't even seem to react to a loud dog bark. Most of us left after good long looks & tons of photo attempts, so I don't know how long the bird stayed.

One person in the group thought he heard another PIWO call in the distance. All I heard @ that time seemed to be jays, but my hearing isn't always the greatest, even with hearing aids.)

It was a gorgeous morning & the hike would have been plenty rewarding even if the woodpecker hadn't shown up.

Peace,

Alan Howe
North Oakland

On Fri, Apr 30, 2021 at 10:29 PM Lee Friedman <lfried6@...> wrote:
If the stars align, this may be an unusual opportunity to quietly watch a pair nest and breed. The first report of a Pileated Woodpecker in the vicinity of the current nest building was April 8 by Tommy Hekl, and then on April 16 Elizabeth and Gabriel Olin reported a pair on the snag where the cavity nest is now being dug out (digging first observed by James Watts Jr. on April 19). It would be great for future observers to report any progress that that they see. For example, so far it has been the male doing most of the construction. Nest construction usually takes 3-6 weeks, with the female increasingly working on it as it nears completion. So it would be great to know if observers are seeing the male (red malar stripe) or female (no red malar stripe). Construction should be completed during May, followed by about three to four weeks to lay the eggs and incubate them, and then about one month as the hatchlings are raised to fledglings.
 
For those who may find this of interest, I have posted a series of 6 photos that show interesting moments by the male during his construction on April 28. These include views of the smooth inside of the hole, how the male expels the wood chips during his digging, and his concern for any nearby hawks. The photos with explanatory captions may be seen here (on most devices, click on the first and then click on the successive right arrows):
 
 
Good birding all,
Lee Friedman
 




Re: Pileated Woodpeckers at Redwood Regional Park

Lee Friedman
 

If the stars align, this may be an unusual opportunity to quietly watch a pair nest and breed. The first report of a Pileated Woodpecker in the vicinity of the current nest building was April 8 by Tommy Hekl, and then on April 16 Elizabeth and Gabriel Olin reported a pair on the snag where the cavity nest is now being dug out (digging first observed by James Watts Jr. on April 19). It would be great for future observers to report any progress that that they see. For example, so far it has been the male doing most of the construction. Nest construction usually takes 3-6 weeks, with the female increasingly working on it as it nears completion. So it would be great to know if observers are seeing the male (red malar stripe) or female (no red malar stripe). Construction should be completed during May, followed by about three to four weeks to lay the eggs and incubate them, and then about one month as the hatchlings are raised to fledglings.
 
For those who may find this of interest, I have posted a series of 6 photos that show interesting moments by the male during his construction on April 28. These include views of the smooth inside of the hole, how the male expels the wood chips during his digging, and his concern for any nearby hawks. The photos with explanatory captions may be seen here (on most devices, click on the first and then click on the successive right arrows):
 
 
Good birding all,
Lee Friedman
 


Trikes! Sunol area!

Jim Chiropolos
 

Work took me to San Jose today and I made a quick stop at Calveres Road (the Sunol park exit).At the freshwater marsh on the south side of the road (maybe 1/2 mile from 680 on the way to Sunol park) I saw colonial blackbird action streaming out from the marsh - at least 150 birds. The flock was a mixed group of blackbirds with trikes (tri-colored) and red-shouldered blackbirds. One if the trikes may have had nesting material in its bill. More blackbirds were in the cattails.

The trike habitat here is OK- cattail marsh - adjacent grasslands but no cattle. I believe they bred here in 1992 but if they are breeding here now - that would be really exciting. It isSF Water District land, so maybe someone should contact them to make sure they do not cut the grass here Assuming this is a nesting colony.

There is one pullout to watch the colony.

I was quite surprised to see trikes here!

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda


Re: Pileated Woodpecker in/and Redwood Park Counties

Joe Morlan
 

Thanks for the tip. Several of us waited about two hours this morning (30
April 2021) before the Pileated Woodpecker finally appeared around 11:40am.
Photos:

https://ebird.org/checklist/S86746391?view=photos

Dropped pin here:

https://goo.gl/maps/avojtvr5xaYXDsDr5

On Tue, 27 Apr 2021 10:29:36 -0700, "Doug Mosher" <dtmosher@gmail.com>
wrote:

Yesterday, 4/26, Carla Din and I had great views of the
previously-reported PIWO in Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, along with
others. He (red cheek stripe) continued excavating his cavity in the
snag for nearly 30 minutes, at times more than half-way in as he removed
the wood chips. Then, for no reason apparent to us, he gave a short but
loud "wuk wuk wuk" and flew off upstream to the northwest.

Some photos at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougmosher/51142329345

Want to note, in case one isn't aware, that Reinhardt Redwood Regional
Park is in 2 counties; Alameda and Contra Costa. The county line nearly
bisects the Park. I had initially selected an eBird hotspot in Contra
Costa County by mistake (just up the Stream Trail), and corrected that
as the PIWO snag is in Alameda Co.

Here's a map of Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park/Roberts Recreation Area
(outlined in red) noting unincorporated Alameda County in darker green
and Contra Costa County in lighter green. Hope this helps with future
eBird reporting: https://bit.ly/2R1cpIn

-Doug Mosher
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA


Phainopeplas on east side of Mt Diablo; Perkins Canyon

Alan Bade
 

Today we went to the east side of Mt Diablo. It doesn't seem to get a lot of birding visits, at least as evidenced on eBird. We went to Perkins Canyon up the utility access road past the high voltage towers, then along the stream in Perkins Cyn. We were hoping to see the Lawrence's Goldfinch that Sarah Lynch and Ethan Monk reported on their 4/25 list, but no luck. (I may have heard it, but I am not very familiar with their song.)

We saw at least 4 Phainopeplas here (37.899084, -121.875834), males and females seemed to be gathering nest materials. This has been a consistent place to see Phainopeplas, at least for us. Cliff swallows were in abundance closer to Morgan territory road. Here's our list; https://ebird.org/checklist/S86678200

The east face of Mt Diablo generates a lot of heat, so I'd go earlier than we did. We stayed longer than we thought we would, and it got hot. The turkey vultures were out in force using the thermals.

Despite lots of blooming monkey flowers, Yerba Santa, and waning sage, we didn't see any Calliope hummers, just Annas. (This area burned a few years ago.) The utility access road winds its' way up fairly steeply. There were blooming Mariposa lilies (Calochortus venustus) pretty high up. There's an even steeper single track trail that departs from the road and climbs further. But there's lots of great birding in the oak woodland below for anyone that wants off the beaten path birding. Single track trails can be followed up the riparian corridor to an archery range that is private land. (This trail can be a little brushy.)

The eBird hotspot is called Mt Diablo SP-Perkins Canyon, but the marker seems to be placed in the residential area outside of the state park. https://ebird.org/hotspot/L11551971. I thought I'd post this primarily to let other birders know of this area. There's a small parking area and gate about here; 37.899647, -121.873470

Afterwards, we stopped by Clayton Community Park to try for the Yellow breasted chat, to no avail. But it was nice to run into Paul and Nancy Schorr and their son. I imagine if they found it after we left, we'd know by now....

Good birding, Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill


Swainson's Hawk - Antioch Yard - 4/29

Paul Schorr
 

This afternoon while sitting in our patio, a FOS dark morph Swainson’s Hawk made at least two passes at a distance of approximately 100 feet, offering superb views.

This morning, much to our chagrin, a pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds appeared at our seed feeder.

Happy birding.

Paul Schorr
Antioch


Re: Can't Identify these birds from Pt Isabel

judisierra
 

From what I've read they don't survive very long.


On Thursday, April 29, 2021, 05:53:49 PM PDT, Aaron Maizlish <amm.birdlists@...> wrote:


Hi Claude,

These birds are released Feral Pigeons, aka “White Doves” that are bred for their appearance. You probably couldn’t find them in your book, because they do not resemble anything that occurs in the wild. There has been a flock of them for years in Richmond. I used to see them frequently around the water treatment facility there. Think of weddings, where people like to release white doves as a romantic gesture. 

Sorry that it’s nothing more exciting than a pigeon. 

Aaron Maizlish 
San Francisco


On Apr 29, 2021, at 5:43 PM, Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...> wrote:


Aprilt 29 north of the 51st entrance to the Pt Isabel area, there were three birds in the marsh being chased around by the crows.  Except for their bills they were all white and their bills seem gull like.  I know that I have never seen them before and I couldn’t find a match in iBird or on iNaturalist.  I looked at Gulls, Doves and Pigeons without success.  There are three photos on Flickr labeled White Bird, White Bird 2 and White Bird 3. I suppose there is some trivial explanation.

Here is the link to Flickr.  https://flic.kr/p/2kVHiW1








Re: Can't Identify these birds from Pt Isabel

Aaron Maizlish
 

Hi Claude,

These birds are released Feral Pigeons, aka “White Doves” that are bred for their appearance. You probably couldn’t find them in your book, because they do not resemble anything that occurs in the wild. There has been a flock of them for years in Richmond. I used to see them frequently around the water treatment facility there. Think of weddings, where people like to release white doves as a romantic gesture. 

Sorry that it’s nothing more exciting than a pigeon. 

Aaron Maizlish 
San Francisco


On Apr 29, 2021, at 5:43 PM, Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...> wrote:

Aprilt 29 north of the 51st entrance to the Pt Isabel area, there were three birds in the marsh being chased around by the crows.  Except for their bills they were all white and their bills seem gull like.  I know that I have never seen them before and I couldn’t find a match in iBird or on iNaturalist.  I looked at Gulls, Doves and Pigeons without success.  There are three photos on Flickr labeled White Bird, White Bird 2 and White Bird 3. I suppose there is some trivial explanation.

Here is the link to Flickr.  https://flic.kr/p/2kVHiW1





Re: Can't Identify these birds from Pt Isabel

Randy Prunty
 

looking online i see: White Thoroughbred Pigeon. Also I notice the birds in your posts are banded.


On Thu, Apr 29, 2021 at 5:43 PM Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...> wrote:
Aprilt 29 north of the 51st entrance to the Pt Isabel area, there were three birds in the marsh being chased around by the crows.  Except for their bills they were all white and their bills seem gull like.  I know that I have never seen them before and I couldn’t find a match in iBird or on iNaturalist.  I looked at Gulls, Doves and Pigeons without success.  There are three photos on Flickr labeled White Bird, White Bird 2 and White Bird 3. I suppose there is some trivial explanation.

Here is the link to Flickr.  https://flic.kr/p/2kVHiW1





Can't Identify these birds from Pt Isabel

Claude Lyneis
 

Aprilt 29 north of the 51st entrance to the Pt Isabel area, there were three birds in the marsh being chased around by the crows.  Except for their bills they were all white and their bills seem gull like.  I know that I have never seen them before and I couldn’t find a match in iBird or on iNaturalist.  I looked at Gulls, Doves and Pigeons without success.  There are three photos on Flickr labeled White Bird, White Bird 2 and White Bird 3. I suppose there is some trivial explanation.

Here is the link to Flickr.  https://flic.kr/p/2kVHiW1


Clayton Community Park and Heather Farm Wednesday morning

rosita94598
 

After reading on eBird of the continuing Yellow-breasted Chat in Clayton Community Park, I decided to give it a try.  Knowing it was probably a day late, I arrived just about 8 AM.  What I did not realize is that the ball field where the Chat has been seen and heard is also a popular morning location for the off-leash dog walkers and a few out for a morning walk.  These folks don't seem to understand the concept of inside and outside voices.

And no, I did not find the Chat, which was pretty much what I expected, but had some nice birds nevertheless.  A Bullock's Oriole was singing when I first arrived, Western Kingbirds chattered and landed on a hillside fence, Ash-throated Flycatchers were in the oaks on the surrounding hills, Acorn Woodeckers, both Towhee species, maybe half-a-dozen Golden-crowned and one White-crowned Sparrow.  A Wilson's Warbler and a Warbling Vireo singing helped me find them fairly easily, too.  I circled the upper ball field and playground area twice over about 40 minutes. 

As I came back toward the bathroom from the playground area the second time, a Lesser Goldfinch landed nearby, reminding me how cute they are.  Then another grayish-brown bird landed on the sidewalk and this one had yellow wings.  It hid behind the curve of the lawn, and as I edged around for a better view, her mate came out into the open--a pair of Lawrence's Goldfinches.  Well, sorry for the Lesser I just saw, but this guy is really a stunning looker.  I enjoyed watching him until some of the human morning visitors came to take advantage of the facilities and these two headed for a nearby tree.

From home I jumped on my bike and made a quick trip to Heather Farm Park.  As I stopped short of the gnarly oak on the west side of the big pond, I saw a friend looking up at the Great-tailed Grackle making all kinds of weird bubbling and popping noises.  Ann told me she had never heard that kind of sound from them.  The Grackle dropped into the reeds and stopped making noise.

Having been told about it, I looked at the now wide-open space above the pond edge to the right of the gravel boat ramp.  Someone has denuded the coyote brush and pretty much whatever else was there.  I noticed a similar activity south of the equestrian area later this past winter.  The sparrow habitat is being removed and some of us wonder why.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Calliope Hummingbirds

Teale Fristoe
 

Hello,

Today I took another pre-work hike and managed to find more Calliope Hummingbirds. Location details can be found in my ebird checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S86502855

But I thought folks might be interested in more general advice on how to find these amazing and beautiful spring migrants. I've been very lucky with them this year, and I hope these thoughts help others enjoy them, too.

1. Learn and listen for the display sound. Hummingbirds all sound pretty similar to me, but the sound at the low point of their display dives are very distinctive. Male Calliope Hummingbirds create a high pitched buzz that almost sounds like a cartoon slide whistle sound effect. Always keep an ear out when there are hummingbirds around for this sound. It's often easier to hear them than see them, and it's how I found the birds today and how my group found the males on Saturday. You can hear a recording here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Calliope_Hummingbird/sounds

2. Don't stay in gardens. I've seen at least seven Calliope Hummingbirds in the east bay this year, and only one was at a Pride of Madeira garden. These birds have been migrating through our area for much longer than humans have been here, let alone humans have been irrigating non-native decorative plants. Most of the Calliope Hummingbirds I've seen, including the 2+ I saw today, have been in healthy patches of chaparral that have multiple species of flowers blooming right now.

3. Don't wait to look for them! Our spring migration season is short, just a few weeks centered around the second half of April. Calliope Hummingbirds (along with Hammond's Flycatchers and, to a lesser extent, Rufous Hummingbirds) don't seem to return south along the coast, so spring is your chance to see them in the Bay Area. If you want to see these birds, make an effort in the next week or two.

Happy spring,
Teale Fristoe
Berkeley


Castle Rock/Pine Canyon, Walnut Creek

tracy_farrington
 

Castle Rock Park and Pine Canyon are but a few minutes from my house in Walnut Creek,
and before Spring petered out, I wanted to get together with a few good birders for a field trip there.
This morning, a clear and Spring Beautiful morning, I gathered with good friends beginning 
shortly after 7am. I lead through familiar territory (properly masked and distanced) joined by Paul and Nancy Shorr, Ray Whitbeck,
Dal Leit, Walt Duncan, Rosalie Howerth, Donna Kramer, Steve Bufi, Isaac Aranow, and Nat Weber.

The birding began rather slowly with little song, and fewer sightings. But things picked up as we progressed up the
canyon. We did finally see the Peregrine from the second meadow. Whether or not eggs have hatched is still an open 
question. 

Our efforts took us to the State Park boundary where we listened and looked for several species. 

Species count for the day, through all territory, was a respectable 52, as follows:

California Quail
Wild Turkey
Band-tailed Pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove
Mourning Dove
White-throated Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Peregrine Falcon
Black Phoebe]
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Hutton's Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Steller's Jay
California Scrub Jay
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Violet-green Swallow
Bushtit
Wrentit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Rock Wren
House Wren
Bewick's Wren
European Starling
Western Bluebird
American Robin
Lesser Goldfinch
House Finch
Lark Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Bullock's Oriole (at least four nesting pair through the canyon)
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler 
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Hermit Warbler (striking male, first spotted by Donna Kramer)
Wilson's Warbler
Western Tanager
Black-headed Grosbeak

Good birding to all,
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek




Pileated Woodpecker in/and Redwood Park Counties

Doug Mosher
 

Yesterday, 4/26, Carla Din and I had great views of the previously-reported PIWO in Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, along with others. He (red cheek stripe) continued excavating his cavity in the snag for nearly 30 minutes, at times more than half-way in as he removed the wood chips. Then, for no reason apparent to us, he gave a short but loud "wuk wuk wuk" and flew off upstream to the northwest.

Some photos at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougmosher/51142329345

Want to note, in case one isn't aware, that Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park is in 2 counties; Alameda and Contra Costa. The county line nearly bisects the Park. I had initially selected an eBird hotspot in Contra Costa County by mistake (just up the Stream Trail), and corrected that as the PIWO snag is in Alameda Co.

Here's a map of Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park/Roberts Recreation Area (outlined in red) noting unincorporated Alameda County in darker green and Contra Costa County in lighter green. Hope this helps with future eBird reporting: https://bit.ly/2R1cpIn

-Doug Mosher



Re: Question on Hummingbird's molting

Teale Fristoe
 

Birds generally do molt symmetrically, and they usually do it in a way where only a small number of feathers are missing at once to minimize the impact on flying ability. It would be unusual to see a big chunk of feathers missing from a molting bird. I'd say it's likely that something attacked your hummingbird, maybe a domestic cat?

Teale Fristoe
Berkeley


On Mon, Apr 26, 2021 at 1:35 PM ireddy via groups.io <ireddy=mac.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hello everyone,
On 04/07/2021, so about 3 weeks ago, I had this Anna's Hummingbird (I believe) stop at my feeder for a drink, in Pleasanton. I noticed that it was missing some of its tail and maybe rump feathers. (see photos on ebird listing) What struck me though was that it was only on the right side of its body and I read that molting was symmetrical to allow the bird to keep its balance in flight. So maybe this bird was not molting and lost its feathers for another reason. any input would be much appreciated.
Thank you
Isabelle
https://ebird.org/checklist/S85063832





Question on Hummingbird's molting

ireddy@...
 

Hello everyone,
On 04/07/2021, so about 3 weeks ago, I had this Anna's Hummingbird (I believe) stop at my feeder for a drink, in Pleasanton. I noticed that it was missing some of its tail and maybe rump feathers. (see photos on ebird listing) What struck me though was that it was only on the right side of its body and I read that molting was symmetrical to allow the bird to keep its balance in flight. So maybe this bird was not molting and lost its feathers for another reason. any input would be much appreciated.
Thank you
Isabelle
https://ebird.org/checklist/S85063832


Re: Sunday misc. (Ruddy Turnstone, Chat)

Claude Lyneis
 

Ethan:
I was interested that you saw the Short-billed Dowitchers at Pt. Isabel recently.  Last week, I saw a group of them near the 51st Street Bridge at a somewhat low tide  and I was surprised at how colorful they were.  

Here is a link to a Flickr photo.    https://flic.kr/p/2kUG4Uv

Claude Lyneis

On Apr 26, 2021, at 9:18 AM, Ethan Monk <z.querula@...> wrote:

Yesterday, Sunday 4/25, I birded some sites around Contra Costa County from maybe 10-630, with the late start due to the forecast predicting heavy rain throughout the day (which obviously didn’t quite pan out). The Chat found by Cheryl Reynolds at Clayton Community Park was quite cooperative at about 1030am—and vocal—in the valley oaks around the baseball field, immediately adjacent the upper parking lot. Off Morgan Territory Rd. (Perkins Canyon) there was a singing Lawrence’s Goldfinch immediately after where the Perkins Canyon Trail crosses the creek acting like it was holding down a territory, and could be breeding here. And over Clifton Court Forebay, where I did not walk more than a mile and thus missed Srikant Char's Snowy Plover, the light rain was kind enough to down a White-throated Swift—the only White-throated Swift I’ve seen in the Contra Costa section of the delta. After Clifton, I made the 45-minute drive to Richmond to look for the 4th county record, storm-blown Kittiwake found earlier by Yvonne McHugh, but I did not refind it. Great find, Yvonne. There were some small consolations, including a Ruddy Turnstone—quite rare in Contra Costa, averaging perhaps 2-3 occurrences each year?--along the Western outer jetty at Meeker Slough (access from the small beach between Shimada Park and Bayside Dr. bay trail access pts). At Pt. Isabel, I ran into 5 Bonaparte’s Gulls, two of which were still totally in basic plumage, and a late Mew Gull which was unfortunately not the kittiwake. And at about 545, a lone Elegant Tern flew in to Brooks Island--possibly one of the five present about a week ago. Finally, a reminder to err on the side of caution when reporting large, monotypic dowitcher flocks along the bay shore; yesterday I had both dowitcher species at Meeker Slough and Pt. Isabel. The "slash" option in eBird is your friend.

Best of Spring,
Ethan Monk





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