Date   

Re: Snow Goose still at Miller/Knox

Claude Lyneis
 

Opps.  Wrong photo.  Here it is https://flic.kr/p/2neoHir. Snow Goose

Thanks for the correction

Claude

On Apr 13, 2022, at 10:18 PM, Joseph Morlan <jmorlan@...> wrote:

On Wed, 13 Apr 2022 21:37:53 -0700, "Claude Lyneis" <cmlyneis@...>
wrote:

Snow Goose at Flickr. https://flic.kr/p/2nepPDM

Looks more like a Yellow-rumped Warbler to me.
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA



Snow Goose still at Miller/Knox

Claude Lyneis
 

I was out at Miller/Knox around 9 AM and was surprised to see a Snow Goose, perhaps the same one that was there a couple of months ago.  Some Yellow-rumped Warblers, but not so many other birds there.

Snow Goose at Flickr. https://flic.kr/p/2nepPDM


Re: Morning flight (visible migration) around Mount Diablo and Morgan Territory (long)

M
 

Thanks Ethan! That’s interesting to hear about the flyovers around the Volvon Trail at Morgan Territory. I want to get back out there, but who knows how far of a hike would be needed to get to a better spot. It certainly seems really tricky to find sites that have good topography, wind, and accessibility. I’ll post whatever I’m able to find!

Michael

On Apr 13, 2022, at 6:21 PM, Ethan Monk <z.querula@...> wrote:

Thanks, Michael, this is great stuff!! I applaud you for doing this,
and being so systematic about it.

Over the past couple of years I have made a (much less concerted)
effort to find flight spots in Contra Costa's interior coast range and
have not been very successful.

I am most intrigued by your first location--"Highland ridge--gate
saddle" for a couple of reasons, one is that you seemed to have a
fairly noticeable flight here of birds moving exclusively north, and
secondly is that it shares similar topography to a site that I have
been eyeballing for a while now but have never actually checked myself
at the intersection of Sycamore Creek Rd. and Meridian Ridge Rd.
(37.848424, -121.914870). Both places are lower saddles in the higher
elevation, southern sort of ridgeline that marks the southern end of
Contra Costa's bit of the Diablo Range. I would have checked the spot
I shared above in previous years if it weren't about 3 miles from the
closest public parking that is accessible pre-dawn. Unless, of course,
you know someone that lives behind the gates in Blackhawk (I don't) in
which case it is only about a mile's hike to this site.

I have also had minor flights along Blackhawk Ridge accessed from
Finley Road, but this is a grueling hike and doesn't seem
exceptionally productive. I have also had some movement by where Green
Ranch Rd. meets Summit Rd. well within the park. The only downside to
this site is that it is difficult to get to pre-sunrise, because the
park gates open only around 7am or up to an hour later, and it is a
half an hour drive from the park gates to that spot. So I have never
pursued that further. I also remember one morning standing around at
Morgan Territory in that big meadow where the Volvon Trail starts and
having some birds pass north very high overhead. This has led me to
wonder whether on the south end of the park, east of Morgan Territory
Rd. there might be some spots where those birds pass relatively low to
the ground as they gain elevation.

And that is all that I have to say. Good luck, Michael, and please
keep us updated on what you discover during this process!! This is
awesome!


Ethan Monk

On Tue, Apr 12, 2022 at 9:50 AM M via groups.io
<masam321@...> wrote:

Inspired by reports of spring morning flight, also known as visible migration, elsewhere in the state, in which 10s, 100s, or in a few cases 1000s of birds can be seen flying by low to the ground in just a few hours after sunrise, I decided to try to find good local sites to observe this. Ridges seem to be the most common location for observing these flights in the state, so the challenge is finding publicly accessible ridges that don’t require a long hike to reach given that the flights typically last for only a few hours after sunrise. In addition to a ridge location, it seems that good sites often experience headwinds that force the birds to fly close to the ground as they clear the ridge.

The only sizable morning flights that I could find reported in the Mount Diablo area were from Mitchell Canyon/White Canyon in April 2020 (Logan Kahle, John Toldi, Eli Gross, Ted Robertson). I don't believe any large flights were seen here in spring 2021 despite extensive coverage as usual each spring (let me know if you did!), so perhaps it was an atypical weather pattern in 2020.

In reviewing Google Earth, wind patterns of nearby weather stations (see mesowest.utah.edu for many weather stations), and the regional trail map (see Save Mount Diablo website for this), I decided to explore the following locations (lat/long coordinates included). Note that I've only visited these sites once or twice so far and for only an hour or so at a time, so I'm not sure what these sites will be like as migration progresses and with different weather conditions.
_________________________

Highland Ridge--gate saddle (Morgan Territory) (37.839896, -121.841630)
Morgan Territory interested me as it borders extensive grasslands to the south that wouldn't be suitable stopover habitat for many passerine migrants, so perhaps there would be a morning flight of migrants searching for habitat within Morgan Territory. This site is a slight saddle near a gate toward the northwest end of Highland Ridge at 1700 ft elevation. Spring winds show a mix of directions but often from the N/NW or S/SW.

On 4/7 7:40-8:40 am with a north wind, 131 birds passed northward over the ridge including 15 adult male Rufous Hummers, 29 hummer sp., 8 Western Kingbirds, 32 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1 Black-throated Gray Warbler, 1 Phainopepla, 2 Lawrence's Goldfinches, and others. Highland Ridge is above 1700 ft for over 5 miles to the southeast of here, and it looked like some birds were being funneled along its western slopes as they looked for a low spot to cross. Birds were also flying up the Tassajara Creek tributary canyon from directly below the saddle to cross. There are oaks just below the ridge on its south face, and it was interesting to watch birds fly up from the canyon bottom until they encountered the north wind, drop down into these oaks, and wait for a pause in the wind to try to cross.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S106867593
https://ebird.org/checklist/S106866819

Park off the road at 37.851503, -121.847249 and don't block any of the gates. Hike up Morgan Ridge Road for just over a mile and 800 ft elevation gain to reach the site.
_________________________

Highland Ridge--Black Hills saddle (37.840497, -121.848570)
This site is just west of the gate saddle and about 1500 ft elevation. The Black Hills Trail runs parallel to the site here but downslope. I have not yet had a chance to observe from this site, but while watching from the gate saddle, I noticed some birds deciding not to try crossing at the gate and heading west presumably to cross at this lower saddle. Access is the same as the above but go west upon reaching Highland Ridge instead of east.
_________________________

Highland Ridge--Old Finley Road saddle (37.847259, -121.860733)
This saddle is also on Highland Ridge at 1500 ft elevation and further west from the above two sites, and I thought birds flying up Riggs Canyon may cross here instead of flying over Windy Point at 2100 ft. On 4/8 7:35-8:25 am with a southwest wind, 115 birds passed over this site including 62 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 11 Pine Siskins, 4 Lawrence's Goldfinches, and others. To my surprise many birds were flying south or southwest here into Riggs Canyon instead of flying out of the canyon. Not sure how weather dependent this is or whether flight directions are consistently mixed at this site. Park at the same spot as the above but hike for just over a mile on Morgan Creek Road and the Jeremiah Trail with about 600 ft elevation gain.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S106868349
_________________________

Mallory Creek canyon (Morgan Territory) (37.819473, -121.791187 and 37.818778, -121.780086)
On March 26 two locations were checked for birds flying up this canyon with the first spot at the top of the canyon and the second on the eastern slope to look down into the canyon. No birds were seen flying through, though this was probably due in part to the early date. Winds are often from the west here in spring. Park at the staging area and hike out on the Volvon and Whipsnake Trails.
_________________________

Prospector’s Gap (Mount Diablo) (37.887314, -121.908712)
This is the saddle between the main summit and north peak and seemed like a logical location for birds to fly through (2900 ft elevation) if they're trying to clear the mountain while avoiding flying over the two peaks (3800 and 3500 ft elevation). Winds are often from the north or northwest here in spring, so presumably birds would be more inclined to fly low to the ground given this headwind but also because they may still have to climb elevation to clear the gap. On 4/10 with a strong >20 mph northwest wind, there were 2 hummer sp. and 2 passerine sp. that flew over here. Perhaps winds were too strong for birds to bother flying all the way up here? Park at 37.879717, -121.914010 and hike east around the main summit and down to the gap. The north gate park entrance is often open at 7 am.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S106868855
_________________________

Perkins Canyon (Mount Diablo) (37.897104, -121.880313)
This spot is on the northeastern flank of north peak and seemed like a possible location to concentrate birds trying to get around the mountain that don't want to fly up and over Prospector's Gap or the two peaks. This area also often experiences north or northwest winds in spring. Birds could also get around the mountain via its west side, but winds here in spring are often from the southwest or south and therefore more of a tailwind that might not push birds down close to the ground. I did not check out any sites on the west side of Mount Diablo to test this. Unfortunately no birds were seen flying by this site on 4/6 with a north wind. Park at 37.903940, -121.874308 and walk south along the trail that follows the road then west up the mountain for about 500 ft elevation gain in just under a mile.
_________________________

Three Springs staging area (Mount Diablo) (37.911478, -121.884171)
I had the same idea as with Perkins Canyon to see if birds would fly around Mount Diablo past this site, but no movement was observed this morning 4/12 with a north wind. Park off the road at 37.912500, -121.885464 and don't block the driveway.
_________________________

Morning flights typically continue through at least the middle of May elsewhere in the state, so I'd be interested in hearing your experience if you go to the above sites or anywhere else in the Bay Area to witness this spectacle.


Michael Strom
Concord




Re: Morning flight (visible migration) around Mount Diablo and Morgan Territory (long)

Ethan Monk
 

Thanks, Michael, this is great stuff!! I applaud you for doing this,
and being so systematic about it.

Over the past couple of years I have made a (much less concerted)
effort to find flight spots in Contra Costa's interior coast range and
have not been very successful.

I am most intrigued by your first location--"Highland ridge--gate
saddle" for a couple of reasons, one is that you seemed to have a
fairly noticeable flight here of birds moving exclusively north, and
secondly is that it shares similar topography to a site that I have
been eyeballing for a while now but have never actually checked myself
at the intersection of Sycamore Creek Rd. and Meridian Ridge Rd.
(37.848424, -121.914870). Both places are lower saddles in the higher
elevation, southern sort of ridgeline that marks the southern end of
Contra Costa's bit of the Diablo Range. I would have checked the spot
I shared above in previous years if it weren't about 3 miles from the
closest public parking that is accessible pre-dawn. Unless, of course,
you know someone that lives behind the gates in Blackhawk (I don't) in
which case it is only about a mile's hike to this site.

I have also had minor flights along Blackhawk Ridge accessed from
Finley Road, but this is a grueling hike and doesn't seem
exceptionally productive. I have also had some movement by where Green
Ranch Rd. meets Summit Rd. well within the park. The only downside to
this site is that it is difficult to get to pre-sunrise, because the
park gates open only around 7am or up to an hour later, and it is a
half an hour drive from the park gates to that spot. So I have never
pursued that further. I also remember one morning standing around at
Morgan Territory in that big meadow where the Volvon Trail starts and
having some birds pass north very high overhead. This has led me to
wonder whether on the south end of the park, east of Morgan Territory
Rd. there might be some spots where those birds pass relatively low to
the ground as they gain elevation.

And that is all that I have to say. Good luck, Michael, and please
keep us updated on what you discover during this process!! This is
awesome!


Ethan Monk

On Tue, Apr 12, 2022 at 9:50 AM M via groups.io
<masam321@...> wrote:

Inspired by reports of spring morning flight, also known as visible migration, elsewhere in the state, in which 10s, 100s, or in a few cases 1000s of birds can be seen flying by low to the ground in just a few hours after sunrise, I decided to try to find good local sites to observe this. Ridges seem to be the most common location for observing these flights in the state, so the challenge is finding publicly accessible ridges that don’t require a long hike to reach given that the flights typically last for only a few hours after sunrise. In addition to a ridge location, it seems that good sites often experience headwinds that force the birds to fly close to the ground as they clear the ridge.

The only sizable morning flights that I could find reported in the Mount Diablo area were from Mitchell Canyon/White Canyon in April 2020 (Logan Kahle, John Toldi, Eli Gross, Ted Robertson). I don't believe any large flights were seen here in spring 2021 despite extensive coverage as usual each spring (let me know if you did!), so perhaps it was an atypical weather pattern in 2020.

In reviewing Google Earth, wind patterns of nearby weather stations (see mesowest.utah.edu for many weather stations), and the regional trail map (see Save Mount Diablo website for this), I decided to explore the following locations (lat/long coordinates included). Note that I've only visited these sites once or twice so far and for only an hour or so at a time, so I'm not sure what these sites will be like as migration progresses and with different weather conditions.
_________________________

Highland Ridge--gate saddle (Morgan Territory) (37.839896, -121.841630)
Morgan Territory interested me as it borders extensive grasslands to the south that wouldn't be suitable stopover habitat for many passerine migrants, so perhaps there would be a morning flight of migrants searching for habitat within Morgan Territory. This site is a slight saddle near a gate toward the northwest end of Highland Ridge at 1700 ft elevation. Spring winds show a mix of directions but often from the N/NW or S/SW.

On 4/7 7:40-8:40 am with a north wind, 131 birds passed northward over the ridge including 15 adult male Rufous Hummers, 29 hummer sp., 8 Western Kingbirds, 32 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1 Black-throated Gray Warbler, 1 Phainopepla, 2 Lawrence's Goldfinches, and others. Highland Ridge is above 1700 ft for over 5 miles to the southeast of here, and it looked like some birds were being funneled along its western slopes as they looked for a low spot to cross. Birds were also flying up the Tassajara Creek tributary canyon from directly below the saddle to cross. There are oaks just below the ridge on its south face, and it was interesting to watch birds fly up from the canyon bottom until they encountered the north wind, drop down into these oaks, and wait for a pause in the wind to try to cross.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S106867593
https://ebird.org/checklist/S106866819

Park off the road at 37.851503, -121.847249 and don't block any of the gates. Hike up Morgan Ridge Road for just over a mile and 800 ft elevation gain to reach the site.
_________________________

Highland Ridge--Black Hills saddle (37.840497, -121.848570)
This site is just west of the gate saddle and about 1500 ft elevation. The Black Hills Trail runs parallel to the site here but downslope. I have not yet had a chance to observe from this site, but while watching from the gate saddle, I noticed some birds deciding not to try crossing at the gate and heading west presumably to cross at this lower saddle. Access is the same as the above but go west upon reaching Highland Ridge instead of east.
_________________________

Highland Ridge--Old Finley Road saddle (37.847259, -121.860733)
This saddle is also on Highland Ridge at 1500 ft elevation and further west from the above two sites, and I thought birds flying up Riggs Canyon may cross here instead of flying over Windy Point at 2100 ft. On 4/8 7:35-8:25 am with a southwest wind, 115 birds passed over this site including 62 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 11 Pine Siskins, 4 Lawrence's Goldfinches, and others. To my surprise many birds were flying south or southwest here into Riggs Canyon instead of flying out of the canyon. Not sure how weather dependent this is or whether flight directions are consistently mixed at this site. Park at the same spot as the above but hike for just over a mile on Morgan Creek Road and the Jeremiah Trail with about 600 ft elevation gain.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S106868349
_________________________

Mallory Creek canyon (Morgan Territory) (37.819473, -121.791187 and 37.818778, -121.780086)
On March 26 two locations were checked for birds flying up this canyon with the first spot at the top of the canyon and the second on the eastern slope to look down into the canyon. No birds were seen flying through, though this was probably due in part to the early date. Winds are often from the west here in spring. Park at the staging area and hike out on the Volvon and Whipsnake Trails.
_________________________

Prospector’s Gap (Mount Diablo) (37.887314, -121.908712)
This is the saddle between the main summit and north peak and seemed like a logical location for birds to fly through (2900 ft elevation) if they're trying to clear the mountain while avoiding flying over the two peaks (3800 and 3500 ft elevation). Winds are often from the north or northwest here in spring, so presumably birds would be more inclined to fly low to the ground given this headwind but also because they may still have to climb elevation to clear the gap. On 4/10 with a strong >20 mph northwest wind, there were 2 hummer sp. and 2 passerine sp. that flew over here. Perhaps winds were too strong for birds to bother flying all the way up here? Park at 37.879717, -121.914010 and hike east around the main summit and down to the gap. The north gate park entrance is often open at 7 am.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S106868855
_________________________

Perkins Canyon (Mount Diablo) (37.897104, -121.880313)
This spot is on the northeastern flank of north peak and seemed like a possible location to concentrate birds trying to get around the mountain that don't want to fly up and over Prospector's Gap or the two peaks. This area also often experiences north or northwest winds in spring. Birds could also get around the mountain via its west side, but winds here in spring are often from the southwest or south and therefore more of a tailwind that might not push birds down close to the ground. I did not check out any sites on the west side of Mount Diablo to test this. Unfortunately no birds were seen flying by this site on 4/6 with a north wind. Park at 37.903940, -121.874308 and walk south along the trail that follows the road then west up the mountain for about 500 ft elevation gain in just under a mile.
_________________________

Three Springs staging area (Mount Diablo) (37.911478, -121.884171)
I had the same idea as with Perkins Canyon to see if birds would fly around Mount Diablo past this site, but no movement was observed this morning 4/12 with a north wind. Park off the road at 37.912500, -121.885464 and don't block the driveway.
_________________________

Morning flights typically continue through at least the middle of May elsewhere in the state, so I'd be interested in hearing your experience if you go to the above sites or anywhere else in the Bay Area to witness this spectacle.


Michael Strom
Concord



Upcoming tricolored blackbird survey

David Yeamans
 

The first statewide triennial tricolored blackbird (TRBL) survey in five years will be done April 15-17, 2022. I've been pressed into service for that and have continued my scouting of a colony at mile marker 1.68 Patterson Pass Road in Livermore. As expected, at least by this amateur, there is almost no visible activity at the site now whereas two weeks ago it was a hoot and holler of hormonally stoked breeders. The birds have settled into their brooding activities which by their nature are benefited by zero singing and very little visible congregating. If a person didn't know the colony were there, they might easily overlook it.

The secluded behavior right now underscores the need for careful observation over extended times starting pre-dawn. The birds are most active very early but not so much later on when they take small shifts moving about to forage or water.

I noticed a few male red-winged blackbirds acting territorial in the very spot where TRBL were presumed to be nesting (photos support the idea of TRBL in addition to the known RWBL). I think maybe the two species are sharing habitat to a small degree. It looks like the RWBL are the ones hectoring the ravens which are nesting nearby and overflying the colony, probably casing it for nest depredation later. The common raven (CORA) coursed back and forth over a densely nested portion of mustard/thistle/anise habitat and almost seemed to deliberately draw out attackers before flying a few tens of meters away to distractedly peck mock innocently in the tall grasses.My brothers the ravens are always up to no good.

Zero male TRBL were present but as many as 10 females perched briefly in the open. Most of the RWBL seen were male.

If you come to enjoy this site, consider staying in your car as you watch. It would stress the birds less and gives you a much better chance of getting a closeup photo and to hear the gentle clucks and whistles of the contact calls. within 5 feet. There is one part of the colony very near the road, on both sides of it actually, and a much larger part 200 yards disjunct to the west.

Checklist and more tedious ideas at https://ebird.org/checklist/S106955241
*************************
Dave Yeamans

If you see bad, do good.


Red-whiskered Bulbul in the Fruitvale area of Oakland

Elizabeth Winstead
 

Hello,

I don't know if this is the same bird that was spotted in Piedmont recently, but my friends have had a Red-whiskered Bulbul in their backyard on Saturday and Sunday mornings. It wasn't there yesterday (probably due to rain/wind), but I visited this morning and it made 2 visits.

Here's a link to my eBird checklist report with some photos:
https://ebird.org/checklist/S106870859

Here's the short video I took of it singing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeQMS5eH2jM

Elizabeth


Morning flight (visible migration) around Mount Diablo and Morgan Territory (long)

M
 

Inspired by reports of spring morning flight, also known as visible migration, elsewhere in the state, in which 10s, 100s, or in a few cases 1000s of birds can be seen flying by low to the ground in just a few hours after sunrise, I decided to try to find good local sites to observe this. Ridges seem to be the most common location for observing these flights in the state, so the challenge is finding publicly accessible ridges that don’t require a long hike to reach given that the flights typically last for only a few hours after sunrise. In addition to a ridge location, it seems that good sites often experience headwinds that force the birds to fly close to the ground as they clear the ridge.

The only sizable morning flights that I could find reported in the Mount Diablo area were from Mitchell Canyon/White Canyon in April 2020 (Logan Kahle, John Toldi, Eli Gross, Ted Robertson). I don't believe any large flights were seen here in spring 2021 despite extensive coverage as usual each spring (let me know if you did!), so perhaps it was an atypical weather pattern in 2020.

In reviewing Google Earth, wind patterns of nearby weather stations (see mesowest.utah.edu for many weather stations), and the regional trail map (see Save Mount Diablo website for this), I decided to explore the following locations (lat/long coordinates included). Note that I've only visited these sites once or twice so far and for only an hour or so at a time, so I'm not sure what these sites will be like as migration progresses and with different weather conditions.
_________________________

Highland Ridge--gate saddle (Morgan Territory) (37.839896, -121.841630)
Morgan Territory interested me as it borders extensive grasslands to the south that wouldn't be suitable stopover habitat for many passerine migrants, so perhaps there would be a morning flight of migrants searching for habitat within Morgan Territory. This site is a slight saddle near a gate toward the northwest end of Highland Ridge at 1700 ft elevation. Spring winds show a mix of directions but often from the N/NW or S/SW.

On 4/7 7:40-8:40 am with a north wind, 131 birds passed northward over the ridge including 15 adult male Rufous Hummers, 29 hummer sp., 8 Western Kingbirds, 32 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1 Black-throated Gray Warbler, 1 Phainopepla, 2 Lawrence's Goldfinches, and others. Highland Ridge is above 1700 ft for over 5 miles to the southeast of here, and it looked like some birds were being funneled along its western slopes as they looked for a low spot to cross. Birds were also flying up the Tassajara Creek tributary canyon from directly below the saddle to cross. There are oaks just below the ridge on its south face, and it was interesting to watch birds fly up from the canyon bottom until they encountered the north wind, drop down into these oaks, and wait for a pause in the wind to try to cross.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S106867593
https://ebird.org/checklist/S106866819

Park off the road at 37.851503, -121.847249 and don't block any of the gates. Hike up Morgan Ridge Road for just over a mile and 800 ft elevation gain to reach the site.
_________________________

Highland Ridge--Black Hills saddle (37.840497, -121.848570)
This site is just west of the gate saddle and about 1500 ft elevation. The Black Hills Trail runs parallel to the site here but downslope. I have not yet had a chance to observe from this site, but while watching from the gate saddle, I noticed some birds deciding not to try crossing at the gate and heading west presumably to cross at this lower saddle. Access is the same as the above but go west upon reaching Highland Ridge instead of east.
_________________________

Highland Ridge--Old Finley Road saddle (37.847259, -121.860733)
This saddle is also on Highland Ridge at 1500 ft elevation and further west from the above two sites, and I thought birds flying up Riggs Canyon may cross here instead of flying over Windy Point at 2100 ft. On 4/8 7:35-8:25 am with a southwest wind, 115 birds passed over this site including 62 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 11 Pine Siskins, 4 Lawrence's Goldfinches, and others. To my surprise many birds were flying south or southwest here into Riggs Canyon instead of flying out of the canyon. Not sure how weather dependent this is or whether flight directions are consistently mixed at this site. Park at the same spot as the above but hike for just over a mile on Morgan Creek Road and the Jeremiah Trail with about 600 ft elevation gain.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S106868349
_________________________

Mallory Creek canyon (Morgan Territory) (37.819473, -121.791187 and 37.818778, -121.780086)
On March 26 two locations were checked for birds flying up this canyon with the first spot at the top of the canyon and the second on the eastern slope to look down into the canyon. No birds were seen flying through, though this was probably due in part to the early date. Winds are often from the west here in spring. Park at the staging area and hike out on the Volvon and Whipsnake Trails.
_________________________

Prospector’s Gap (Mount Diablo) (37.887314, -121.908712)
This is the saddle between the main summit and north peak and seemed like a logical location for birds to fly through (2900 ft elevation) if they're trying to clear the mountain while avoiding flying over the two peaks (3800 and 3500 ft elevation). Winds are often from the north or northwest here in spring, so presumably birds would be more inclined to fly low to the ground given this headwind but also because they may still have to climb elevation to clear the gap. On 4/10 with a strong >20 mph northwest wind, there were 2 hummer sp. and 2 passerine sp. that flew over here. Perhaps winds were too strong for birds to bother flying all the way up here? Park at 37.879717, -121.914010 and hike east around the main summit and down to the gap. The north gate park entrance is often open at 7 am.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S106868855
_________________________

Perkins Canyon (Mount Diablo) (37.897104, -121.880313)
This spot is on the northeastern flank of north peak and seemed like a possible location to concentrate birds trying to get around the mountain that don't want to fly up and over Prospector's Gap or the two peaks. This area also often experiences north or northwest winds in spring. Birds could also get around the mountain via its west side, but winds here in spring are often from the southwest or south and therefore more of a tailwind that might not push birds down close to the ground. I did not check out any sites on the west side of Mount Diablo to test this. Unfortunately no birds were seen flying by this site on 4/6 with a north wind. Park at 37.903940, -121.874308 and walk south along the trail that follows the road then west up the mountain for about 500 ft elevation gain in just under a mile.
_________________________

Three Springs staging area (Mount Diablo) (37.911478, -121.884171)
I had the same idea as with Perkins Canyon to see if birds would fly around Mount Diablo past this site, but no movement was observed this morning 4/12 with a north wind. Park off the road at 37.912500, -121.885464 and don't block the driveway.
_________________________

Morning flights typically continue through at least the middle of May elsewhere in the state, so I'd be interested in hearing your experience if you go to the above sites or anywhere else in the Bay Area to witness this spectacle.


Michael Strom
Concord


Heather Farm in Walnut Creek

rosita94598
 

A year ago on Palm Sunday, I first saw the Muscovy Duck in the park.  Though there are some days I do not see it, this bird, which was apparently "dumped," is doing well.  It has been hanging out mostly with Canada Geese, especially now during the breeding season.  It flies, but seems to prefer walking.

A year ago, it was more than happy to visit with human families, especially if they had children.  Aside from their not being native here, this is my other thought about the dumping likelihood.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Peregrine and Merlins, Richmond

Alan Krakauer
 

I was gardening this afternoon and heard a prolonged kikikikiki call. While I was trying to decide what it might be, two merlins appeared flying overhead to the northwest along the El Cerrito/Richmond hills, escorting a peregrine. The Peregrine was exciting for me since I hardly ever see those up here away from the Bay. I see Merlins here not too infrequently but I've never seen more than one at a time. The CoCo BBA does not list Merlin as a potential breeder so I'm assuming these are maybe paired up before they migrate out.

Otherwise, it seems like the spring birds are trickling in and yesterday we still had Fox, Golden-crowned, and White-crowned sparrows in the yard.

Good birding,
Alan Krakauer
Richmond, CA


Bald Eagle Valle Vista

don_quixote72
 

Walking along the path next to reservoir, near the stables, saw a majestic adult bald eagle make 2 or 3 low passes over the reservoir before flying down to the section of reservoir further down the Kings Canyon trail. About 10 am Sunday April 10


Lawrence's Goldfinches at Valle Vista

Carla
 

Delighted to see a pair of Lawrence's Goldfinches at Valle Vista Thursday afternoon (EBMUD property in Moraga). The beauties landed on a wire near the bridge. Blurry ID photo:

Enjoy the migrants!
Carla Din
Oakland


Heather Farm in April

rosita94598
 

Walnut Creek's Heather Farm Park has very low water in the large, mostly natural pond.  So far we have seen only one Mallard family of 8 ducklings, and that was one morning only.  They disappeared after that.

We are still waiting for the Canada Geese to start protecting their goslings on the lawn south of the concrete pond.

We have been seeing swallow for quite a while, first the Rough-winged Swallow with Violet-greens.  Then we had some Barn Swallows arrive, and finally the Cliff Swallows are at their traditional nesting site over the channel of Walnut Creek.

There are still a few White-crowned Sparrows present, but way more Golden-crowned Sparrows.  They are all looking pretty sharp.  Also looking good are the male Audubon's and Myrtle Warblers.  They have really striking colors.

Some of us have been watching some Nuttall's Woodpecker holes trying to learn which one they are using.  The top hole is just a dimple, he was excavating pretty far in on the middle hole, and she was excavating pretty far in on the bottom hole.  Does the "she who must be obeyed" principle apply to woodpeckers?  I watch every morning, but have not seen a nest exchange.

The Bushtits are tending a nest, but she is the one who brings food and removes fecal sacs.  He comes with her, but does not seem to do any of the work.  I need to check The Birder's Handbook on this one.

We have also had a male Great-tailed Grackle since last weekend.  He will tire soon of Heather Farm and head back to McNabney Marsh in Martinez.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Snowy + Black-Bellied Plovers at Clifton Court Forebay

Jerry Britten
 

Today single Snowy and Black-Bellied Plovers were at the Forebay.  About 1/2 mile from the parking area, out by the big willow tree to the left.  These are rare but seemingly annual visitors here at this time of year.  

Jerry Britten
Morgan Territory


Tricolored blackbird silence

David Yeamans
 

The colony I described last week as a mosh pit and party has heard that it's closing time at the bar and the pairs (or promiscuous triads) have gone nearly silent and invisible as nest construction, egg laying and such have kicked in. If you missed the show this year, please hope that their habitat is not further reduced by next year. And we think large scale solar and wind farms have no effect on wildlife!

All is not lost for those who want to be among tens of thousands of birds, though. In a few weeks the young will be fledged but not very mobile and the nest habitats will have active parents and begging young. It wouldn't be much to their advantage to be showy and noisy at that time but I don't know. I'm a rookie at this TRBL business. I've only been studying birds for 70 years and have just a few things left to find out.

I posted a few notes and photos at

*************************
Dave Yeamans

If you see bad, do good.


Black Skimmers at Potrero Reach

Michael Carnall
 

Four black skimmers on Brooks Island along Potrero Reach.  Also a group of about 40 Caspian terns at the breach just west of the fence. 

Mike Carnall


Rufous Hummingbird - Antioch yard - 4/2

Paul Schorr
 

On March 22, I reported a male Rufous Hummingbird had appeared in our yard, and today another male made frequent appearances at our feeders. In addition, a female Selasphorus hummingbird also appeared. I assume that it was a female Rufous.

Good birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch


FOS Black-headed Grosbeak

Kay Loughman
 

Early this morning there was a male Black-headed Grosbeak singing exuberantly atop the neighbor's conifer for about 20 minutes.  At first I assumed it was the bachelor grosbeak that has overwintered with us for about seven years - just glad it's spring and hoping maybe this year he gets a mate.  But, surprisingly, this bird didn't come to the feeder.  So now I think the singer was a newly-arrived migrant, likely an individual who has been here in previous years, and who is confirming the presence of a remembered, reliable cafeteria.   Always a treat to have these birds around.

Kay Loughman
in the hills on the Berkeley/Oakland border
www.nhwildlife.net

Virus-free. www.avast.com


Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley: Eared and Horned Grebes in alternate plumage

Maureen Lahiff
 

Golden Gate Audubon Field Trip to Cesar Chavez Park on March 31, led by Rachel Katz, Eleni Sotos and Barbara Saunders,
saw both Eared and Horned Grebes in alternate plumage.

Around 6:30 pm, from the circluar observation area off the Perimeter Trail, near the point.

Resting on the water, heads mostly tucked, along with several dozen Aechmophorus grebes (some Clark's among the Western).

Maureen Lahiff, Oakland


Sad News about falcons

rosita94598
 

A friend sent me this link this evening about the male Peregrine, Grinnell, who was found dead on a Berkeley street today.  It is suspected he was hit by a car.  Sorry to be the messenger.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek





Re: Male Hooded Merganser in eclipse plumage?

Teale Fristoe
 

Hi Isabelle,

Very cool looking Hooded Merganser! I've been enjoying trying to tell female from first year male Hooded Mergansers this winter, and I've been surprised with how many young males I've seen. Though none of them have been as flashy as this bird.

Both Sibley and Birds of the World say that Hooded Mergansers molt from May to October, so this would be exceptionally early for a molting bird. My guess is that this is a first year male with unusually adult (but definitely not fully adult) head plumage.

Happy birding,
Teale Fristoe
Berkeley


On Tue, Mar 29, 2022 at 6:56 PM ireddy via groups.io <ireddy=mac.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hello everyone,
I saw this unusual looking Hooded Merganser in the lake at Shadow Cliffs Regional park in Pleasanton today. I think it is a male (yellow eye and black beak) molting to its eclipse plumage, am I correct?  It is the first time I notice this so I would love to know more about when and where this transition happen in males - I read something about molt migration of males in the North.
Here is my ebird listing with photos (sorry they are quite small, it was quite far).
https://ebird.org/checklist/S105857176

Thank you!
Isabelle Reddy



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