Date   

Re: Albany Waterfront Birds and NEW PARKING ENFORCEMENT

Bev
 

I just have to add that the parking restrictions is one more way that the Bay Area is segregating the poor, disabled, etc.  Our parks and museums were also once free.  It's so cruel.  Thank you for letting us know.

Bev


-----Original Message-----
From: Fred Werner <sustainablefred@...>
Cc: EBB-Sightings@groups.io Group Moderators <EBB-Sightings@groups.io>
Sent: Fri, Oct 1, 2021 3:23 pm
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Albany Waterfront Birds and NEW PARKING ENFORCEMENT

Other parking options for Albany include:

1) Parking on the other side of the underpass under the freeways, on Buchanan or one of the side streets (yes, this adds to the walking distance).

2) On some days (not sure how to predict), you can park in the Golden Gate Fields lot, sometimes for a fee.  In the past, this would be as low as $1, more recently it's been more.  If you head all the way left after going through the entrance to the lot from Buchanan, you can park quite close to the mudflats + observation platforms for as long as they're open.

- Fred

On Fri, Oct 1, 2021 at 2:33 PM Sharon Jue <sljue1@...> wrote:
I was ticketed in July for overstaying my welcome by the mudflat observation decks. I'm pretty sure the lot at the very end with all the EBRPD signs is untimed when the gate is open, though you'll have stiff competition for a spot on sunny weekends. There was a request on another list for more info on birding the bulb; obviously going on a bird walk with Alex or Fred is a great way to learn the area, but I've also written an overview. It got a bit long for an email, so I posted it here: https://medium.com/@sljue1/how-to-bird-the-bulb-ace5ce21315
I keep striking out on fall migrants, but just so Aaron doesn't kick me off the list, I'll mention that I finally had my first-of-fall Fox Sparrow at the Berkeley Botanical gardens on Tuesday. Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows returned to the garden this week as well, and bluebirds are going nuts over the chinese pistache street trees in my neighborhood, though I don't think they've fully ripened yet.

On Fri, Oct 1, 2021 at 11:48 AM Alexander Henry <awhenry@...> wrote:
Hi east bay birders,

Today I spent the morning down at the Albany Waterfront exploring the mudflats, plateau, and Bulb. Beautiful weather today, warm and clear with little to no wind.

Highlights included a personal patch high count of 8 Red Knots mixed with the Black-bellied Plover flock on the mudflats, a Heerman’s Gull flew north past the tip into Contra Costa county, a Brandt’s Cormorant sitting on the water south of Brooks Island, and a Peregrine Falcon flying around at the tip.

Fall migration continues and I saw/heard my “first of fall” birds of several species, 1 American Pipit, 1 Fox Sparrow, and several Golden-crowned Sparrows. Other songbirds of note today included a migrant Pacific-slope Flycatcher, 2 House Wrens which are likely to overwinter, 2 Say’s Phoebes, a Yellow-rumped Warbler in the fennel patch, and a growing flock of Western Meadowlarks.

The beginning of waterfowl migration is underway as well, mostly dabblers at this point. Large numbers of Green-winged Teal and smaller numbers of Wigeon, Shoveler, and Pintail are present at the mudflats. Mixed in with the numerous Avocets, Marbled Godwits and other shorebirds, there were a few Black-necked Stilt, Whimbrel, Curlews, Killdeers, etc.

Today there were also a bunch of foraging Elegant Terns over the Bay and Golden Gate Channel. When I first arrived at the tip there seemed to be a concerted northward push of ELTEs, which soon petered out. No Jaegers today despite a significant search effort for them.


One new thing at the Albany Waterfront is that, within the past month or so, they have started enforcing the 2 hour parking time limit. This is very annoying to me as it typically takes me 3-4 hours to cover the area as thoroughly as I like to. Someone from the Albany Police station just up the road comes down every 2 hours and marks tires with chalk, and you WILL get a ticket if you park for significantly more than two hours.

Luckily, they do not do the first round of tire-chalking until 8:30-8:45 or so. So, if you want to bird the area for more than two hours, I recommend that you arrive early in the morning, like 6:30 or 7 AM, and then you can probably stay until about 10:30 AM.

I am just very disappointed because they have never enforced the 2 hour time limit on parking in the past and it’s really a pain in the tuchus. I guess I just need to wake up earlier and quit whining.


Hope everyone is having a good fall migration!




--
-Sharon Jue
~Berkeley






Re: Albany Waterfront Birds and NEW PARKING ENFORCEMENT

Fred Werner
 

Other parking options for Albany include:

1) Parking on the other side of the underpass under the freeways, on Buchanan or one of the side streets (yes, this adds to the walking distance).

2) On some days (not sure how to predict), you can park in the Golden Gate Fields lot, sometimes for a fee.  In the past, this would be as low as $1, more recently it's been more.  If you head all the way left after going through the entrance to the lot from Buchanan, you can park quite close to the mudflats + observation platforms for as long as they're open.

- Fred


On Fri, Oct 1, 2021 at 2:33 PM Sharon Jue <sljue1@...> wrote:
I was ticketed in July for overstaying my welcome by the mudflat observation decks. I'm pretty sure the lot at the very end with all the EBRPD signs is untimed when the gate is open, though you'll have stiff competition for a spot on sunny weekends. There was a request on another list for more info on birding the bulb; obviously going on a bird walk with Alex or Fred is a great way to learn the area, but I've also written an overview. It got a bit long for an email, so I posted it here: https://medium.com/@sljue1/how-to-bird-the-bulb-ace5ce21315
I keep striking out on fall migrants, but just so Aaron doesn't kick me off the list, I'll mention that I finally had my first-of-fall Fox Sparrow at the Berkeley Botanical gardens on Tuesday. Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows returned to the garden this week as well, and bluebirds are going nuts over the chinese pistache street trees in my neighborhood, though I don't think they've fully ripened yet.

On Fri, Oct 1, 2021 at 11:48 AM Alexander Henry <awhenry@...> wrote:
Hi east bay birders,

Today I spent the morning down at the Albany Waterfront exploring the mudflats, plateau, and Bulb. Beautiful weather today, warm and clear with little to no wind.

Highlights included a personal patch high count of 8 Red Knots mixed with the Black-bellied Plover flock on the mudflats, a Heerman’s Gull flew north past the tip into Contra Costa county, a Brandt’s Cormorant sitting on the water south of Brooks Island, and a Peregrine Falcon flying around at the tip.

Fall migration continues and I saw/heard my “first of fall” birds of several species, 1 American Pipit, 1 Fox Sparrow, and several Golden-crowned Sparrows. Other songbirds of note today included a migrant Pacific-slope Flycatcher, 2 House Wrens which are likely to overwinter, 2 Say’s Phoebes, a Yellow-rumped Warbler in the fennel patch, and a growing flock of Western Meadowlarks.

The beginning of waterfowl migration is underway as well, mostly dabblers at this point. Large numbers of Green-winged Teal and smaller numbers of Wigeon, Shoveler, and Pintail are present at the mudflats. Mixed in with the numerous Avocets, Marbled Godwits and other shorebirds, there were a few Black-necked Stilt, Whimbrel, Curlews, Killdeers, etc.

Today there were also a bunch of foraging Elegant Terns over the Bay and Golden Gate Channel. When I first arrived at the tip there seemed to be a concerted northward push of ELTEs, which soon petered out. No Jaegers today despite a significant search effort for them.


One new thing at the Albany Waterfront is that, within the past month or so, they have started enforcing the 2 hour parking time limit. This is very annoying to me as it typically takes me 3-4 hours to cover the area as thoroughly as I like to. Someone from the Albany Police station just up the road comes down every 2 hours and marks tires with chalk, and you WILL get a ticket if you park for significantly more than two hours.

Luckily, they do not do the first round of tire-chalking until 8:30-8:45 or so. So, if you want to bird the area for more than two hours, I recommend that you arrive early in the morning, like 6:30 or 7 AM, and then you can probably stay until about 10:30 AM.

I am just very disappointed because they have never enforced the 2 hour time limit on parking in the past and it’s really a pain in the tuchus. I guess I just need to wake up earlier and quit whining.


Hope everyone is having a good fall migration!




--
-Sharon Jue
~Berkeley



Re: Dabbling Duck Identification in Early Fall

Joe Morlan
 

On Fri, 01 Oct 2021 14:58:41 -0700, "Alexander Henry" <awhenry@...>
wrote:

American Wigeon males molting out of eclipse plumage. I have seen even very experienced, well-respected birders try to identify molting male Americans as hybrid wigeons or Eurasian Wigeons. If the forehead stripe is creamy or yellowish, but everything else looks normal for an American Wigeon, then its an American Wigeon. Some of them look a bit weird right now but give it a couple weeks and they will look more normal. You can even check in on the flock on a regular basis to watch how the molt progresses!
Same thing occurs with Eurasian Wigeon males which molt out of eclipse
quite late in winter. So a bird with the head of a Eurasian Wigeon and a
body of an American Wigeon is far more likely to be a Eurasian Wigeon that
has not completed body molt, than a hybrid. Many times so-called hybrid
wigeon stick around and molt into pure Eurasian males.

Also beware of female Eurasian Wigeons in early fall. They may be eclipse
males.

This last one is definitely less important but its a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Identifying Green-winged Teals to subspecies. I do not know how to identify the females to subspecies, and no matter who you are, I don't think you do either.
Female Common Teal have the wing-bar on the Greater coverts, broader and
whiter than on Green-winged Teal, but there is considerable overlap. There
are some claims of female Common Teal identified in California by a very
broad all white greater covert tips. As for whether these identifications
are correct, I'll quote a former member of the records committee, "What is
truth"?
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA


Dabbling Duck Identification in Early Fall

Alexander Henry
 

Hello again,

As mentioned previously, waterfowl migration is picking up with many dabbling ducks beginning to arrive. Actually Green-winged Teal can start to arrive at the Albany Mudflats in early August, but peak numbers of dabblers are not reached until early December, so it is pretty protracted.

One issue with identifying dabbling ducks in fall migration when they are first arriving is that many of the males are in eclipse plumage. So most of the dabbling ducks you will see early on are pretty plain and female-like, which can make things more difficult. It is important to rely on features that are not plumage-dependent, such as size, shape, bill shape and color, leg color, speculum pattern, etc.

I will briefly go over a few of the identifications I think trip people up most often.

GADWALLS. If you see a dabbling duck that looks similar to a female Mallard but has a bright white speculum - its a Gadwall. I think many people overlook Gadwalls and pass them off as female Mallards. There are also subtle differences in head and bill shape. With practice, these differences can become fairly obvious. Gadwalls are generally uncommon at Albany Mudflats in winter - maybe less common than Eurasian Wigeons. But one Gadwall family may have successfully bred in the area this past summer, so you should certainly keep your eye out for them. However at other places like Coyote Hills they can be pretty common.

American Wigeon males molting out of eclipse plumage. I have seen even very experienced, well-respected birders try to identify molting male Americans as hybrid wigeons or Eurasian Wigeons. If the forehead stripe is creamy or yellowish, but everything else looks normal for an American Wigeon, then its an American Wigeon. Some of them look a bit weird right now but give it a couple weeks and they will look more normal. You can even check in on the flock on a regular basis to watch how the molt progresses!

This last one is definitely less important but its a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Identifying Green-winged Teals to subspecies. I do not know how to identify the females to subspecies, and no matter who you are, I don't think you do either. The same goes for the eclipse plumage males - I simply don't think there are any field marks that allow them to be identifiable to subspecies. While it is true that a vast majority of the Green-winged Teal anywhere in the East Bay are always going to be the American subspecies, Albany Mudflats hosted 1 Eurasian Green-winged Teal and 2 intergrades last winter. And that's only the males! So, maybe just leave like 5-10% of them unidentified to subspecies or something like that? Or just wait until the males complete their molt to identify them to subspecies.


Re: Albany Waterfront Birds and NEW PARKING ENFORCEMENT

Sharon Jue
 

I was ticketed in July for overstaying my welcome by the mudflat observation decks. I'm pretty sure the lot at the very end with all the EBRPD signs is untimed when the gate is open, though you'll have stiff competition for a spot on sunny weekends. There was a request on another list for more info on birding the bulb; obviously going on a bird walk with Alex or Fred is a great way to learn the area, but I've also written an overview. It got a bit long for an email, so I posted it here: https://medium.com/@sljue1/how-to-bird-the-bulb-ace5ce21315
I keep striking out on fall migrants, but just so Aaron doesn't kick me off the list, I'll mention that I finally had my first-of-fall Fox Sparrow at the Berkeley Botanical gardens on Tuesday. Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows returned to the garden this week as well, and bluebirds are going nuts over the chinese pistache street trees in my neighborhood, though I don't think they've fully ripened yet.

On Fri, Oct 1, 2021 at 11:48 AM Alexander Henry <awhenry@...> wrote:
Hi east bay birders,

Today I spent the morning down at the Albany Waterfront exploring the mudflats, plateau, and Bulb. Beautiful weather today, warm and clear with little to no wind.

Highlights included a personal patch high count of 8 Red Knots mixed with the Black-bellied Plover flock on the mudflats, a Heerman’s Gull flew north past the tip into Contra Costa county, a Brandt’s Cormorant sitting on the water south of Brooks Island, and a Peregrine Falcon flying around at the tip.

Fall migration continues and I saw/heard my “first of fall” birds of several species, 1 American Pipit, 1 Fox Sparrow, and several Golden-crowned Sparrows. Other songbirds of note today included a migrant Pacific-slope Flycatcher, 2 House Wrens which are likely to overwinter, 2 Say’s Phoebes, a Yellow-rumped Warbler in the fennel patch, and a growing flock of Western Meadowlarks.

The beginning of waterfowl migration is underway as well, mostly dabblers at this point. Large numbers of Green-winged Teal and smaller numbers of Wigeon, Shoveler, and Pintail are present at the mudflats. Mixed in with the numerous Avocets, Marbled Godwits and other shorebirds, there were a few Black-necked Stilt, Whimbrel, Curlews, Killdeers, etc.

Today there were also a bunch of foraging Elegant Terns over the Bay and Golden Gate Channel. When I first arrived at the tip there seemed to be a concerted northward push of ELTEs, which soon petered out. No Jaegers today despite a significant search effort for them.


One new thing at the Albany Waterfront is that, within the past month or so, they have started enforcing the 2 hour parking time limit. This is very annoying to me as it typically takes me 3-4 hours to cover the area as thoroughly as I like to. Someone from the Albany Police station just up the road comes down every 2 hours and marks tires with chalk, and you WILL get a ticket if you park for significantly more than two hours.

Luckily, they do not do the first round of tire-chalking until 8:30-8:45 or so. So, if you want to bird the area for more than two hours, I recommend that you arrive early in the morning, like 6:30 or 7 AM, and then you can probably stay until about 10:30 AM.

I am just very disappointed because they have never enforced the 2 hour time limit on parking in the past and it’s really a pain in the tuchus. I guess I just need to wake up earlier and quit whining.


Hope everyone is having a good fall migration!




--
-Sharon Jue
~Berkeley


Albany Waterfront Birds and NEW PARKING ENFORCEMENT

Alexander Henry
 

Hi east bay birders,

Today I spent the morning down at the Albany Waterfront exploring the mudflats, plateau, and Bulb. Beautiful weather today, warm and clear with little to no wind.

Highlights included a personal patch high count of 8 Red Knots mixed with the Black-bellied Plover flock on the mudflats, a Heerman’s Gull flew north past the tip into Contra Costa county, a Brandt’s Cormorant sitting on the water south of Brooks Island, and a Peregrine Falcon flying around at the tip.

Fall migration continues and I saw/heard my “first of fall” birds of several species, 1 American Pipit, 1 Fox Sparrow, and several Golden-crowned Sparrows. Other songbirds of note today included a migrant Pacific-slope Flycatcher, 2 House Wrens which are likely to overwinter, 2 Say’s Phoebes, a Yellow-rumped Warbler in the fennel patch, and a growing flock of Western Meadowlarks.

The beginning of waterfowl migration is underway as well, mostly dabblers at this point. Large numbers of Green-winged Teal and smaller numbers of Wigeon, Shoveler, and Pintail are present at the mudflats. Mixed in with the numerous Avocets, Marbled Godwits and other shorebirds, there were a few Black-necked Stilt, Whimbrel, Curlews, Killdeers, etc.

Today there were also a bunch of foraging Elegant Terns over the Bay and Golden Gate Channel. When I first arrived at the tip there seemed to be a concerted northward push of ELTEs, which soon petered out. No Jaegers today despite a significant search effort for them.


One new thing at the Albany Waterfront is that, within the past month or so, they have started enforcing the 2 hour parking time limit. This is very annoying to me as it typically takes me 3-4 hours to cover the area as thoroughly as I like to. Someone from the Albany Police station just up the road comes down every 2 hours and marks tires with chalk, and you WILL get a ticket if you park for significantly more than two hours.

Luckily, they do not do the first round of tire-chalking until 8:30-8:45 or so. So, if you want to bird the area for more than two hours, I recommend that you arrive early in the morning, like 6:30 or 7 AM, and then you can probably stay until about 10:30 AM.

I am just very disappointed because they have never enforced the 2 hour time limit on parking in the past and it’s really a pain in the tuchus. I guess I just need to wake up earlier and quit whining.


Hope everyone is having a good fall migration!


Re: East Bay Hawk Watching at Vollmer Peak

Jim Chiropolos
 

One more comment to Hawk Watching Vollmer. It is completely weather dependent. If fog is present, no raptors will be moving. You want days with the wind from the north in the fall to push the birds south. The hawk watch is from the summit.

The hike is probably one mile and 250 feet up to the summit. The last section is steep - around a 20 percent or more grade.

Its a great view up there!

Jim


East Bay Hawk Watching at Vollmer Peak

Jim Chiropolos
 

Every year, I like to hawk watch, but Hawk Hill in Marin is a long way away. I never thought the east bay had a great area, as I have a great view east from my house below Vollmer, and have never seen any significant hawk movement.

Inspired by Mike Park’s Broad-winged hawk sighting in Tilden, Ethan Monk decided to Hawk watch Vollmer Peak. Ethan is a creative birder - and that is the highest praise I can give to a birder. Ethans hawk watch yield a Swainsons hawk - game on. Inspired by Ethan, with the sunny skies and winds from the north - I decided to hawk watch at lunch. Between us Ethan and I have now seen 11 raptor species from Vollmer Peak summit in three days. I am seeing around 20 to 25 raptors moving an hour at lunch. The big migration corridor is by Grizzley peak looking west towards Mt. Tam - no wonder why my east looking house panorama did not reveal a raptor movement. My watches best birds were a golden eagle close overhead and a broad- winged hawk reasonably close!

Compared to Hawk Hill, I have the following comments about the Vollmer hawk watch:
1. Bring a scope - most raptors are not that close.
2. Its maybe 20 percent of what hawk hill gets.
3. There are more resident red tailed hawks and Turkey vultures that can inflate migrant totals. Try to estimate resident birds and note possible resident birds on your ebird list. You can see a large Area of the east bay from the summit of Vollmer - I estimated today 4 resident red tails and 8 or so turkey vultures, and maybe two red shouldered hawks. Anything else is likely a non-resident.
4. With trees close by Vollmer had a better chance for passerine migrants during your hawk watch . I had cedar waxwings and a white throated sparrow today.

For Marin hawk hill counters -I’m pretty sure the raptors passing by Vollmer do not go by Hawk Hill - this is a different migration route.

The walk up to the summit can be very good for migrants or fox sparrows. I counted 15 fox sparrows -all sooty - in what I call fox sparrow alley - the shaded fern lined road /trail just before the trail cuts back to the steep grade to the summit.

Its cool to find more out about bird behavior in the east bay and probably my favorite patch 1 mile from home!

Good birding!

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda


Re: Two Vaux's Swifts at Briones Reservoir

Alan Krakauer
 

Hi Rusty,

I had a small flock of maybe 8 Vaux's yesterday morning at approximately 10:30AM from the Alvarado Staging Area parking lot to Wildcat Canyon. It was tough to tell but I think they were heading southeast. Maybe your birds, or just part of a larger flight yesterday?  This was only maybe my 3rd time seeing them in Wildcat Canyon and definitely the largest number I've seen together here.

I also had my FOS Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the parking lot, and FOS Hermit Thrushes at the "canada warbler spot". 


Good birding,
Alan Krakauer
Richmond, CA


Two Vaux's Swifts at Briones Reservoir

rfs_berkeley
 

My East Bay jinx with Vaux's Swift was finally broken this morning with two at the north end of Briones Reservoir, the 'Oursan' trail.  A Rufous-crowned Sparrow was also present at the last sharp turn in the trail prior to the reservoir overlook. Three Wood Ducks landed on the water then instantly scurried into the reeds. 

--
Rusty Scalf


Vollmer Peak Hawkwatch

Ethan Monk
 

Yesterday, I hawk watched from 9am-1pm from the top of Vollmer Peak by the radio tower. The wind was moderate from the North, and it was a beautiful clear day.

Highlights included: 
One Swainsons Hawk originally appeared at 1230 headed East, but flipped West once over the radio tower.
2 adult Bald Eagles southbound together.
181 Greater White-fronted Geese, and 27 Cackling Geese all headed East.
My first of fall Varied Thrush, Northbound.
One male Lawrence’s Goldfinch.
~20 distant White Pelicans, working their way South over the Bayside/Bernal Hill area in SF.

Ethan Monk


Ethan


Correction from earlier report…below

Daniel Edelstein
 

Sorry: My earlier report made no sense because it should have correctly stated:

1 juvenile LEAST TERN at Elsie Rohmer Shoreline Park for Sept. 26, 2021

Apologies….Daniel Edelstein

Novato, CA


Booker T Park - MacGillivray's Warbler

hoggsville
 

A getting-late-in-the-season MacGillivray's Warbler was seen at Booker T Washington Park in Contra Costa County. Not sure if this is the same bird Ethan Monk and Noah Arthur reported in early September? A handful of birders tried to relocate the Blackpoll Warbler without success.

My MacGillivray's report can be found here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S95309537

Jack Hayden
Albany


Elsie Rohmer Shoreline Seasonal Sightings, including Western Snowy Plover & First-Year Least Tern...& Etc

Daniel Edelstein
 

Good morning birders:

1. Yesterday, 9/26/21, for my Merritt College "Fundamentals of Ornithology":

1a. Leona Canyon Open Space District (adjacent to Merritt College, Oakland):

- 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, .5 mile from trailhead access at Parking Lot #E
next to campus

1b. At Elsie Rohmer in Alameda:

- 1 WESTERN SNOWY PLOVER

- 1 first-year, immature LEAST SANDPIPER

Other "best of the rest" notes here:

- 200+ Elegant Tern
- 50+ Western Sandpiper
- 25+ Least Sandpiper
- 20 Semipalmated Plover
- 1 Common Yellowthroat call note at the platform with benches

Regards, Daniel Edelstein

Novato, CA

WarblerWatch.com

DanielsMerrittClasses.blogspot.com


Alcid, Hammond's Flycatcher, etc.

Ethan Monk
 

Hi All,

A couple sightings of interest from the past week or so:

Sept. 20 at Miller/Knox was the previously mentioned Dusky Flycatcher on Nicholl Knob, perhaps only the second fall record of this species from Contra Costa, and an uncommon/rare in Richmond Pacific Wren calling from the West slope of Nicholl Knob. Earlier in the day on a very low tide, two Red Knot were visible from Pt. Isabel in what I’m guessing is Contra Costa? These are presumably continuing birds that have been seen from Albany Bulb (and the same birds up to Meeker Slough?) for a while now.

Sept 23. most of the bay was fogged in, but Vollmer Peak was clear. I spent three hours in the vicinity of Vollmer Peak itself watching migrants turn over and the occasional flyover. It was still active when I had to leave at about 10am. Highlights included a Slate-colored/Thick-billed Fox Sparrow (presumably the former which seems somewhat expected here); a Western Wood-Pewee repeatedly giving its upslurred, Eastern-like winter call which I rarely ever hear; a getting-late and continuing Olive-sided Flycatcher; and a rare-in-fall Hammond’s Flycatcher in baccharis around the radio tower. Documentation to follow in eBird. The most notable flyovers included 5 Southbound Acorn Woodpeckers, 101 Vaux’s Swifts which were still passing South as I left, my first of fall Sapsucker, and 3 Meadowlarks.

Today, Sept. 26, while birding West county, I spent a little over an hour baywatching from Pt. Isabel. Elegant Tern numbers were drastically down compared to my Sept. 20th Baywatch (1 today compared to 30+ then) and I had no jaegers. The highlight is perhaps only the second exciting thing I have ever found during a dedicated baywatch: While watching a feeding frenzy around a small fishing boat floating just S of Brooks Island, a small, black shape flew through my scope. I scanned left and was able to get back on the bird and I followed it as it shot towards the Golden Gate. It eventually sat down on the bay, somewhere in San Francisco County waters, and I only saw it again twice in the next ~3 minutes of watching the spot where it landed, each time only when it reared up in the water and flapped its wings. After those two times rearing up, it was not seen again. When the bird initially passed through my scope, I thought the bird was a Bufflehead. Catching up with the bird, it was clear this was not a Bufflehead or even a Ruddy Duck, but a small, and apparently entirely dark alcid that flew with rapid, powerful wingbeats and appeared rather compact and fairly neckless. While in flight it was seen headed away from me, although not directly so as I could poorly see its left flank. It then landed so that both times it stretched above the waves to flap it was in profile to me, perpendicular to my scope. The bird appeared entirely dark when it reared up in the water, although I could not see the bottom half of its body behind the waves. The bill was relatively nondescript, and tapered in line with the angles of the head, and I only knew it was there because the head ended in a point. When flapping, both in flight and sitting on the water, the wings were also all dark and perhaps the same length as a Ruddy Duck’s, or a bit shorter than a Buffleheads? But no direct comparison could be made. This bird was presumably a Rhinoceros Auklet, although my observation time was just a couple seconds too short and the bird just a little too far for me to call it with certainty. I believe this would have been the second record for Contra Costa.

Best of Fall,
Ethan Monk


Greater White-fronted Geese, Richmond

Sheila Dickie
 

This afternoon, September 26, at about 3:30 p.m. there were two Greater White-fronted Geese in with a large flock of Canada Geese on the lawn near the Rosie the Riveter memorial in the Richmond Marina.

Unfortunately they were disturbed by an off leash dog and flew south.

Sheila Dickie
Richmond


Lincoln's Sparrow - Contra Loma R. P., Antioch - 9/25

Paul Schorr
 

This morning Nancy and I birded at Contra Loma R. P., focusing our time at Loma Island and surrounding areas and had the following FOS species:
Lincoln’s Sparrow
House Wren
Golden-crowned Sparrow

In addition, we saw three Acorn Woodpeckers which was a new species for our Contra Loma list, making our total 151.

eBird checklist below:

Yesterday, we also birded at Contra Loma and I was remiss in not posting our sightings to EBB.  My apologies.

Highlight was a FOS Pacific-slope Flycatcher.
  
Our eBird checklist can be viewed at:  https://ebird.org/checklist/S95116087

Good birding.

Paul Schorr
Antioch
  
 


Brewer's Sparrow at Miller Knox Park

Derek
 

This morning I spotted a spizella-type sparrow, quickly lost contact but refound it two hours later in exactly the same spot that turned out to be a Brewer’s Sparrow.  This is the first one seen in Contra Costa County since October 2019 at the Richmond WTP that quite a few people saw.

 

This bird was feeding on thistle in the scrub area south of the pond at 37.9122730, -122.3868793. This area of the park has been a good one for fall rarities in recent years though this year the fennel has to a large degree been whacked. 

 

Jack Hayden and Noah Arthur joined me for great looks at the Brewer’s and then we ended up spotting a Chipping Sparrow at the north end of the pond too.

 

eBird checklist with photos below:

https://ebird.org/checklist/S95112313

 

Derek Heins


Mountain Birds Vollmer Peak

Jim Chiropolos
 

I do most of my birding these days in my yard and on Vollmer Peak which has great views, a great hike and some good mountain birds.

Today walking the peak I had a very cooperative Thick-billed Fox Sparrow - big honking bill!!!! - 75 yards from the summit right where the trail gets steep.Vollmer is the best place in the bay area to enjoy fox sparrows in their bewildering complexity and intergrade birds (like gulls Noah!). For some reason Vollmer gets all 4 species and I have now seen all 4 species on the peak. This is the time to enjoy them as maybe 2/3’s are classic sooty fox sparrows and the rest are intergrades with some mountain west birds. (All other east bay areas are seemingly 95% sooty fox sparrows). This bird was very cooperative foraging for 5 minutes five feet from my feet!

Vollmer has has some good mountain birds this year with the Clarks, green towhee and Ethan M had a Hammonds flycatcher yesterday!

Good birding!
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda


Re: Greater White-fronted Geese and Vaux's Swift's

Martin Lycan
 

I recorded 2 large flocks totaling over 300 GWFG flying SW to NE over Valle Vista staging in Moraga yesterday. Also a good number of Vaux's swifts.

Marty Lycan
San Ramon

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