Date   

Nice migrant pulse in the Berkeley Hills this morning

Jim Chiropolos
 

A good migrant push in the east bay hills this morning. Walked out the door, and heard a warbler chip despite the foggy overcast conditions usually being poor for migrants.

3 pac-slopes (none seen for over two weeks) willow, black-throated grey, and tanager fun! The previous week was quiet on the migrant front.

Happy birding!
Just a patch birder,
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda below Vollmer


Pt. Pinole Warbler and flycatchers

Sheila Dickie
 

Yesterday afternoon a Yellow Warbler and two flycatchers were seen at pt Pinole Regional Shoreline Park. The birds were seen on Coyote Brush in a gully that runs from the dry pond off Owl Alley to the paved road behind the oaks that border the path. Pacific slope Flycatcher was seen both on the way out to the pier and on way back. Willow Flycatcher just once.

Sheila Dickie
Richmond


Shore birds a Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary

Claude Lyneis
 

This was the first time I visited Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary and it compares favorably with Pt Isabel where I normally walk.

I finally got photos of Semipalmated Plovers, Black Skimmers and a Peregrine Falcone (I think).  

Photos of the Plover and Falcon links



Re: Black-headed Grosbeak and Band-tailed Pigeons

Rosemary Nishikawa
 

I have had a female Grosbeak feeding at my feeder off and on for over a month. I live above Heather Farms park in Walnut Creek.

On Aug 18, 2021, at 9:24 AM, David Robinson <dvdrobinson@...> wrote:

For what it's worth, I think a trio of Black-headed Grosbeaks flew over my apartment building in Oakland (just west of Highland Hospital, east of Lake Merritt) this past Monday in the early evening sunlight. The calls were what attracted my attention (closest recorded match I've found are the Black-headed Grosbeak "Chink Calls" in the Sibley app). And the size and color would fit. But I didn't get a good enough look and listen to be sure.

David Robinson

On Tue, Aug 17, 2021 at 10:26 PM Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...> wrote:
Around 5:30 tonight I was walking a quarter mile east of Grizzly Peak on Wildcat Canyon Road and on a roadside tree that has bunches on small blue berries, a Black-head Grosbeak and several Band-tailed pigeons were foraging on the berries.  Unfortunately my camera was sitting at home.  Just one year ago, we had a Black-headed Grosbeak visiting out bird feeder for about two weeks, so I guess this is their time to be in Berkeley.






Walnut Creek birds Wednesday morning

rosita94598
 

I have noticed a drop in the numbers of Mallards on the large, mostly natural pond in Heather Farm Park.  Aside from the fact that the water is really low, the question of where the Mallards are going has been in my mind.  

Today I rode west along the CC Canal trail and when I crossed the concrete channel of Walnut Creek, my question was answered.  At least 40 Mallards were walking in the shallow water in the channel, joined by one Great and one Snowy Egret.  They were all on the north side toward Treat Blvd. 

There are still some Mallards in Heather Farm, just not the 80-90 birds we had several weeks ago.  I am putting it down to the end of eclipse plumage and the birds are again capable of flight.

A Common Gallinule was seen at the north end of the pond, at least two Green Herons and one Black-crowned Night-Heron.  The Kingfisher flew from one tree to another and a family of Bushtits was busy on the west side of the pond.  At least twelve Lesser Goldfinches were on some pink flowers in the community garden, while House Finches were in other parts.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: Black-headed Grosbeak and Band-tailed Pigeons

David Robinson <dvdrobinson@...>
 

For what it's worth, I think a trio of Black-headed Grosbeaks flew over my apartment building in Oakland (just west of Highland Hospital, east of Lake Merritt) this past Monday in the early evening sunlight. The calls were what attracted my attention (closest recorded match I've found are the Black-headed Grosbeak "Chink Calls" in the Sibley app). And the size and color would fit. But I didn't get a good enough look and listen to be sure.

David Robinson

On Tue, Aug 17, 2021 at 10:26 PM Claude Lyneis <cmlyneis@...> wrote:
Around 5:30 tonight I was walking a quarter mile east of Grizzly Peak on Wildcat Canyon Road and on a roadside tree that has bunches on small blue berries, a Black-head Grosbeak and several Band-tailed pigeons were foraging on the berries.  Unfortunately my camera was sitting at home.  Just one year ago, we had a Black-headed Grosbeak visiting out bird feeder for about two weeks, so I guess this is their time to be in Berkeley.




Black-headed Grosbeak and Band-tailed Pigeons

Claude Lyneis
 

Around 5:30 tonight I was walking a quarter mile east of Grizzly Peak on Wildcat Canyon Road and on a roadside tree that has bunches on small blue berries, a Black-head Grosbeak and several Band-tailed pigeons were foraging on the berries.  Unfortunately my camera was sitting at home.  Just one year ago, we had a Black-headed Grosbeak visiting out bird feeder for about two weeks, so I guess this is their time to be in Berkeley.


Spotted Sandpiper with full spots

Maureen Lahiff
 

On Sunday Aug 15 Golden Gate Audubon to Elsie Roemer and Crab Cove in Alameda,
Brandi Russell spotted a Spotted Sandpiper on the rocks at the end of the spit looking out towards Ballena Bay.

In full spots.

Maureen Lahiff
Oaklanld, CA


Southern East Bay Shorebird Report

Alexander Henry
 

Hi,

Today I birded several spots in the southern East Bay with an emphasis on shorebirds.

My first stop was Coyote Hills, I arrived around 9 AM and spent 4.5-5 hours there, covering a little over 12 miles.

There are essentially 3 main shorebird hotspots within Coyote Hills that I am aware of. (There may also be a secret Yellowlegs hotspot somewhere but I haven’t found it yet).

The first I checked today was North Marsh Pond. This is a large freshwater pond north and slightly east of the visitor center, best accessed by the paved Alameda Creek Trail. Today there were a couple hundred Avocets and over a hundred Stilts in North Marsh Pond, as well as a flock of 80 Dowitchers (all I was able to identify in this flock were Long-billed). There were also 35 or so Yellowlegs, of which 3 were Lesser Yellowlegs. There was also over a hundred American White Pelicans and a few California Gulls.

After that, I followed Alameda Creek Trail all the way out to the creek mouth. This is a distance of several miles so a bike is helpful. It can be done on foot but takes most of the day. I scoped out the mudflats on the south bank of the creek mouth, where there were huge flocks of foraging shorebirds. This included at least 5 Ruddy Turnstones, 2 Sanderlings, 1 Dunlin, a couple hundred Black-bellied Plovers, several hundred Willets, between one and two hundred Marbled Godwits, 20 or so Short-billed Dowitchers, 25 or so Semipalmated Plovers, a couple hundred Least Sandpipers, several thousand Western Sandpipers, a handful of Greater Yellowlegs, 25 Long-billed Curlews, one Whimbrel, and 2 Black Oystercatchers. But most shocking of all was that I was only able to find 2 Red Knots, based on the numbers of other shorebirds I would have expected at least a couple dozen, which is more typical at this location. I did briefly see the back side of a flock of shorebirds flying north towards Eden Landing which had some Black-bellied Plovers and some other smaller ones, there could have been more Knots in that flock but I missed it. Anyway I thought it was strange to see so few Red Knots here, especially since there haven’t been very many Red Knots at Franks Dump lately either. Maybe that’s normal for this time of year though and the numbers will increase later on when juveniles arrive. Also maybe all the Red Knots are hiding somewhere at Eden Landing.

Finally, I continued south along Shoreline Trail then east along No Name Trail. I checked the peep flocks that congregate on the algae flats on the north side of No Name Trail, between the pumphouse and the first levee. It was mostly Leasts - over a hundred - with a few Westerns scattered in. I believe this where some or most of the Semipalmated Sandpipers reported at Coyote Hills have been, including one fairly recently, but I was not able to find any Semiplmated or Baird’s in the area. Also a few Semipalmated Plovers. The pond on the south side of the trail across from the pumphouse was quite full of water, so no Yellowlegs or Stilts were there as there often are.

Some non-shore-bird highlights at Coyote Hills included good looks at Green Heron, Common Gallinule, and Peregrine Falcon way back in the Willow Trail/DUST Marsh area. 1 Red-shouldered Hawk, 4 Chestnut-backed Chickadees, 2 Downy Woodpeckers back in that willowy area. Some aerial insectivore flocks mostly Barn Swallows with a few Cliffs and a couple White-throated Swifts. About 20 Least Terns out at Alameda Creek Mouth, and 5 or so Forster’s. Should be keeping an eye out for Commons now too! But I only saw Forster’s. Didn’t check Visitor Center or Quarry Staging Area at all though I imagine some songbird migrants might be starting to move through, they certainly are up in the hills!

After that I checked LaRiviere Marsh at Don Edwards really quickly. Just those ponds next to the main road. Just a couple minutes. Derek H had mentioned a Yellowlegs flock there so I went to check it out. In the big open pond there were 2 dowitchers, 37 Black-necked Stilts, and 6 Yellowlegs - 1 Greater and 5 Lessers, an unusual ratio in the East Bay, but maybe more usual in the South Bay. In the farther off pond with more vegetation, there was a flock of 21 more Yellowlegs. I think they were mostly Greaters but they were farther off and I didn’t pay much attention to them.

After this, I checked a secret shorebird spot in Old Alameda Creek east of Eden Landing. This was another quick stop, about 10 minutes. Today, this spot had about 175 Black-necked Stilts, and about 500 Dowitchers - all that I was able to identify were Long-billed. Tragically, the massive Yellowlegs flock that was here a couple weeks ago has dwindled from over a hundred to less than 15, with only one Lesser, the rest Greaters. Not sure why there are so many fewer Yellowlegs there now. There is another Yellowlegs roost along the Bay Trail inside Eden Landing a mile or two south of the parking lot, but I didn’t take the time to visit that today.

Finally, I finished the day by parking at Winton Ave and visiting Hayward Regional Shoreline for a couple hours. When I got to Franks Dump I realized there was a Peregrine Falcon roosting in the southeastern part of Franks Dump. The result was that I didn’t see any shorebirds in the southern and eastern parts of Franks Dump. So, no Snowy Plovers, and no Semipalmated Sandpiper. (I did not walk to the northeast corner to check for Snowy Plovers up there, there could have been some or many, but I didn’t see any). The other bad thing about the falcon was that all the Willets and Godwits were not there. And they definitely took some of the dowitchers with them. But the good thing about the falcon was that it pushed the remaining shorebirds fairly close to the northwestern corner of Franks Dump, allowing me to study the flock more closely than I have on recent visits. Also, there were just so many Black-bellied Plovers today, rather than 300-400 as I have been seeing recently, I counted 575 today. The continuing Pacific Golden-Plover was there, and was much closer to the trail today, allowing a fairly close study in the scope. There was over a thousand Western Sandpipers, at least 17 Sanderlings, 22 Surfbirds, 8 Ruddy Turnstones, and at least 11 Red Knots. Again this Red Knot count seems kinda low to me. Especially given how many Black-bellied Plovers were present. There was also a three dozen or so dowitchers in Franks Dump, all of them that I was able to identify were Short-billed, easy to hear with a Peregrine Falcon causing havoc flushing stuff, also juvenile Short-bills are showing up now so that always helps.

There was a large flock of gulls in Franks Dump as well which was mostly 200+ California Gulls with at least one Western and a couple dozen Ring-billed. There was also a flock of about 75 or 80 gulls in the sand flats west of the Least Tern colony area. This flock was mostly Ring-billed with a few Californias and a Caspian Tern mixed in. I didn’t go to Oro Loma Marsh or San Lorenzo Creek Mouth, though I assume that the Marbled Godwits and Willets and the rest of the Dowitchers were at one of those two places.

Overall I’d say we aren’t currently at the level of the late August/September peak shorebird migration season, at least in terms of diversity, as it is still a bit early for Baird’s, Pectoral Sandpipers, Dunlins, etc… though they are certainly starting to show up they should be easier to find in another couple weeks or so. But definitely lots of shorebirds out there right now waiting to be seen, and it’s only gonna get better!

Alex Henry
Berkeley


Heather Farm Wood Ducks still around

rosita94598
 

It turns out the young Wood Ducks have not disappeared, though they have made themselves scarce the last couple of weeks.  Two were seen a couple of days ago by another observer, and one was seen by Rosita and me late yesterday.  This morning at least five of us saw a single Wood Duck, either in the gap in the willows on the west side or in front of the green bench. 

The other notable observation I made was four Cliff Swallows perched on some wires along the edge of the equestrian parking lot.  They were chattering and I was busy looking in some small trees for the source of the sound.  Then I looked higher and there they were on the wires.  A couple of their Barn Swallow cousins were over the big pond.

Mostly it has been very quiet in the park.  We are still waiting for the end of the summer birding doldrums.  It is not far off, as we already have acorns falling on some of the walkways.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


TWO Kingfishers at Lake Merritt

Hilary Powers
 

Not so quiet in the quietest month of the year at Lake Merritt: two Belted Kingfishers chasing each other from island to island and up and down the lake with that extra-loud metallic rattling cry they seem to reserve for couples interested in each other. At any rate, we had a male (rarely seen here) and a female, mostly with the male in front and the female close behind.

Plus lots and lots of pelicans (both brown and white), a Great Blue Heron, and a young Cooper's Hawk in addition to the usual birds of the season....

-- 
--
~            Hilary Powers - Hilary@... - Oakland CA          ~
~  www.salamanderfeltworks.com; www.Etsy.com/shop/SalamanderFeltworks ~
~     Now a member of the the Oakland Cottage Industry Collective!    ~
~         Needle Felted Sculpture - Real and Fantasy Creatures        ~


White-tailed Kites -Kensington

Graham Chisholm
 

Of local interest, it seems that perhaps White-tailed Kites nested at the Summit Reservoir site by the corner of Grizzly Peak and Spruce along the Berkeley/Kensington line. This evening 1-2 you g were begging from an adult and flying around the open space.

Graham Chisholm
Berkeley


[non-avian] Bradford Island Fire Damage

Ethan Monk
 

I made a quick loop of Bradford Island today just to assess how much damage the fire that started August 2nd had done, birding only incidentally. The South side of the island remains almost completely intact. The sand dunes, cow pastures, ferry dock etc. were not touched and I imagine winter waterfowl will not be impacted. Driving North from the ferry, the damage only starts about halfway up the east side, just after where the road pulls away from the levee to go around the Eucalyptus surrounded house. About half or more of the island's woodland was burned, although wetter bits survived in small pockets. The eastern half of the row of houses on the island's North side were burned, the West half were saved. The area referred to as "Central Road"--the island's stronghold for Chats and the location of breeding Bell's Vireos in 2019 and 2020--was completely burned with smoking embers still smoldering across from the Bell's Vireo site today, eleven (?) days after the fire's start. I expect a serious reduction in chat numbers next summer. In good news, the grove where Bell's bred in 2018 and where a Yellow Warbler held down a territory this summer is totally intact. Both traditional Bank Swallow roosts on wires on the island's East side are ok (although swallows were only using the wires by the ferry today) and the private, generally inaccessible, "old-growth" cottonwood grove on the island's West side survived. They are pumping water onto the island to extinguish any last flames, but the water is being directed into the (formerly) wooded parts of the island so shorebird and waterfowl habitat have not increased.

It will be interesting to track the island's changes over the next couple of years. Hopefully recovery is fast: Green grass is already sprouting from the ashes next to a melted trailer home on the island's NE corner.

Ethan Monk


Snowy Plovers and Baird's Sandpipers

Matthew Dodder
 

Sixteen Audubon members met this morning outside a restricted area of the Eden Landing Preserve for a guided walk with SFBBO biologist, Ben Pearl. He led us on a fabulous tour of the closed area. Among the highlights were a large flock of SNOWY PLOVERS (171), a distant PEREGRINE FALCON, WHITE-TAILED KITE and hundreds of AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS. Ben described SFBBO’s work with the species including banding and monitoring and the threats to this population from predators. We also had great looks at two juvenile BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS for an added treat.

Matthew Dodder
Executive Director
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society


Northern Fulmar, Berkeley (not chaseable)

Oliver James
 

Hi East Bay Birders,

Emma Cox sent me pictures yesterday (August 10) of a sickly Northern Fulmar floating offshore of Albany Beach in Alameda County. While she was observing it, the bird was repeatedly harassed by dogs in the nearshore water, and she decided to ferry it off to a rehab center. This bird is not chaseable but I figured birders would be interested to know! Emma has posted photos to eBird.

Good birding,
Oliver James


Early Townsend's warbler, fire roads above Claremont Canyon Preserve

Alan Bade
 

This morning along the ridge trail above the Claremont Regional Preserve we saw an early Townsend's warbler. We hoped to find the Hermit warbler(s) and Nashville warbler reported by Teale Fristoe on Friday Aug 6th, but no luck this morning. We also had Pygmy and Red-breasted nuthatches on the upper fire road and White-throated swifts along the ridge trail.
https://ebird.org/checklist/S93050363

My cousins and their daughters did get to see an immature or female Hermit this afternoon a little further down Panoramic. They're visiting from New Hampshire, so it was great they got to see two western warblers in August.

Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill


Semipalmated Sandpiper & Golden Plover continue @ Franky D's

Max Laubstein
 

Hi all,
Today (August 10th), the juvenile semipalmated sandpiper and pacific golden-plover continued at Frank's dump. The plover revealed itself quite quickly amongst one of the large roosts of black-bellieds. After 15 minutes of viewing, it flushed and disappeared amongst the pluvialis pack. I encountered the semi sand at its seemingly regular location along the south end of the dump, making this it's fifth day here, what seems to me to be a remarkably long stop over for a migratory shorebird. Is this long stopover an irregularity influenced by this bird's vagrancy, or have I just underestimated the duration of peeps' migration stopovers?
Max Laubstein


8-7-21 good birds at Frank's Dump plus one that got away

Bruce Mast
 

Hello East Bay Birders,
Yesterday (Saturday), we took our Master Birding class out to Frank's Dump at Hayward Regional Shoreline to study shorebirds. We timed our visit for afternoon high tide when the birds come into the salt flats and sand spits to roost. The action did not disappoint.

Best identified bird was a/the immature Semipalmated Sandpiper, first found by Rachel L. in the southwest corner, feeding with a loose group of Western Sandpipers. The adult Westerns kept harassing it. Only a few of us got decent looks (and no photos before it flew off but Sharon J later later alerted us that she had refound the bird. On the second go, a number of us got good looks and diagnostic photos.(see https://ebird.org/checklist/S92943022)

Other goodies included a/the Pacific Golden-Plover hanging out with the large Black-Bellied Plover flock, a handful of Ruddy Turnstones, continuing Red Knots, a handful of Red-necked and Wilson's Phalaropes, a couple Sanderlings, a good number of Snowy and Semipalmated Plovers, plus several thousand peeps, Godwits, and Willets. Immature birds are starting to show up so we were able to compare with adult birds.

The bird that got away is one that I tried to pass off as a Sanderling, mindful of Noah Arthur's recent admonishment. A few of us got unsatisfying looks before it flew off. Size-wise, it looked too small, more like a peep than a sanderling. Bill was short and fairly thin. It showed a buffy unmarked wash over the face, throat and upper breast and the buff was demarcated from the white lower breast and belly by short dark streaks and spots. So if you're going out to the Dump any time soon, keep an eye out for a possible Stint. High tide today at Robert's Landing is 2:21 pm.

Bird on,

Bruce Mast
Oakland


Heather Farm Friday morning

rosita94598
 

Following an early Olympic soccer final, I was just arriving to the park as Ted was leaving.  He and I spoke briefly and he told me he had a Spotted Sandpiper on the island, maybe 20 minutes before our meeting.  I rode around the pond and looked from multiple places but could not re-find it.  I later walked with another friend, Ann-Charlott, to the private Seven Hills School.  While we did find a Great Blue Heron there, we could not find the Spotted Sandpiper in that pond, either.

On my way home I rode west along the Contra Costa Canal trail, viewed the pond from that side and also looked in the concrete channel of Walnut Creek.  No luck in either place.

Ted's eBird list is here:  https://ebird.org/checklist/S92840997

I did have a family of three White-breasted Nuthatches near the gravel boat ramp, but missed Ted's Bluebirds, Wren and Robin.  The Red-shouldered Hawk was in an oak behind the owl box.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


American White Pelicans at Lafayette Reservoir

wespey
 

August 4 at 10:30 am nine white pelicans were flying in Vee formation over the Lafayette Reservoir. They may have been on the water earlier but did not land when I saw them. These are not FOS pelicans at this location. A few days prior I saw at least one on the water. Seems very early in the year?

Bill Espey
Lafayette

621 - 640 of 15234