also under 580 at Grand Ave, Oakland Re: WT Swifts nesting under 580

David Couch

Quite a few white-throated swifts can also be found these days about any time of day under 580 at the Grand Ave exit in Oakland (where the theater is), but the swifts tend to be on the other (south) side of the freeway.

I guess they like 580!

While you're at it, go back to the north side of the freeway and watch all the black-crowned night herons lurking spookily above the Kentucky Fried Chicken right next to the Grand Lake Theater.

David Herzstein Couch

Lawrence's Goldfinches at Las Trampas

Emily Serkin

Dear Birding Friends,
Today at the top of the Rocky Ridge Trail at Las Trampas I had a pair of
Lawrence's Goldfinches.  A singing Lazuli Bunting was in the same area and, two
weeks ago, a Rufous-crowned Sparrow.
I didn't see Grasshopper Sparrow on either visit but Lark Sparrows were around
both times.
Good birding,
Emily Serkin
Castro Valley

Carquinez Strait RS: return of the Grasshopper Sparrow

Laura Look <chamaea@...>

Today (Sat, May 21) around 1:00 pm, at least one GRASSHOPPER SPARROW had returned to Carquinez Strait RS, hopefully to stay for the summer like last year. We heard him first, then waited for a while until we twice saw him fly along the top of the grasses and dive back under cover.

Park at Bull Valley Staging Area. We saw him a short distance up the Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail, after the first major left turn and just before the right turn over the strait. He was downhill from the trail in the tall grass.

Best of the rest: White-throated Swift, Lark Sparrow, Hooded Oriole, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Wilson's Warbler, nesting House Wrens.


Good birding,
Laura Look
Pinole, CA

Western Tanager in Antioch backyard

Paul Schorr

Early this morning a male Western Tanager made a brief visit to our backyard.

In addition, yesterday a pair of American Robins had begun building a nest under our patio cover and were making good progress this morning. But despite the staunchest efforts of the robins and much to our disappointment, a Western Scrub-Jay flew in and destroyed the nest. We understand the dynamics of nature, but it still ticked us off. If only the jay were as aggressive with the European Starlings that enter the yard!

Good birding,

Paul Schorr

Re: Least Terns at San Leandro Marina

richard s. cimino

We arrived at the San Leandro Marina near 4:30 PM for high tide of 6.5
ft. at 4:37PM.
We observed three Least tern groups for a total of 50 Least Terns.
1st group was off shore diving due south as the walk path under the
flight path for Oakland Airport.
2nd group was on the small stone island along resting with two Black
3rd group was at the very tip of the point were the bay enters into the
Rich Cimino

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve - 5/20

Paul Schorr

In addition to the usual suspects, we saw the following species today at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. Total number of species observed was 43.

Lawrence's Goldfinch
Western Tanager
Lazuli Bunting
Black-headed Grosbeak
Bullock's Oriole
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Say's Phoebe
Western Kingbird
Hutton's Vireo
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Wilson's Warbler

Note: a Red-winged Blackbird that was mobbing a Common Raven actually appeared to have secured itself to the back of the raven and hitched a ride for several seconds.

Good birding,

Paul and Nancy Schorr

Least Terns at San Leandro Marina


Today in the early afternoon (about 12:45 to 1:15), there were two Least Terns diving into the Bay between the par course breakwater and the breakwater to the east which abuts the wide grassy park. They were diving into the water very close to the path and could be seen well.

The Forster's Terns were also there in large numbers but on the island rocks and diving in to the Bay west of the par course breakwater. The Least Terns seemed to keeping to themselves in shallower more sheltered water area.

Happy Birding. Mary Krentz

WT Swifts nesting under 580

Eddie Bartley

May 19, 2011: Joined up with some friends for a jam session at these funky
cool art and music studios in Point Richmond at Bridge Storage on Maine
Street. Soon as I was at the gated entrance I heard White-throated Swifts
all about. Once at my friend's rented studio I followed my ears to find the
swifts nesting in weep holes underbeneath busy Highway 580. Only spent a
minute checking it out but estimate there were about 20 swifts flying in and
out. Guess the road noise doesn't bother them. Only viewing access is
probably through the secured entrance at Bridge Storage but it was a neat

Happy Trails!

Eddie Bartley
San Francisco

New Possible Tenents in Walnut Creek Patio


The Chickadee family fledged Monday and Rosita has forgotten to turn around the sign so it reads "Vacant", but today at 10 AM, a Bewick's Wren entered our patio, started singing and went into the bird house. He came back twice more before 11 AM. He showed up again at 5:17 PM. Don't know if he was here in-between, but the on the last visit, he had a measuring tape. a carpet sample book and some of those color sample cards from the paint store. Though we have only had a Bewick's Wren in our patio once or twice in the last 20 years, we're expecting to sign a lease in a couple of days.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

American Bittern @ Coyote Hills 5/19/11

George Chrisman

I had lunch in the picnic area at Coyote Hills Regional Park today. There were busloads of school kids and lots of activity that cut down the birding. On my drive from the visitor center to the quarry parking lot, an AMERICAN BITTERN jumped up from the tules and flew low across the pond before landing back into the tules. There are also at least 4 pairs of CINNAMON TEAL in the ponds and along the creek between the entry and the quarry parking area.

George Chrisman
Burlingame, CA

Location of Bay Farm Egret Rookery viewing spot


My previous message had a wrong link to the rookery-
Look for Egret Rookery- alternate viewpoint in the pin-map list.

Egret Rookery nest with chicks- Bay Farm Island, Alameda


The Egret colony on Bay Farm is moving with the season. It appears that
all of the Great Egrets are either on their nests or in the process of
feeding chicks. Many of the Snowys however are still bringing in twigs
for nest-building. Most of the Great Egret nests seem farther out on
limbs of the pine tree and several are totally viewable from across the
lagoon. Here is a picture of the beautiful ritual welcome the mates
exchange when one returns with food for the chicks.
I watched the one guarding the chicks preen patiently for over an hour
waiting for its mate. When the mate returns, it flies in giving a low
croak repeatedly. The sound is uniquely recognized by its partner.
The good vantage point to see all the activity is labelled "Egret
Rookery- alternate viewing point" on this Google pin-map.

Upper San Leandro Reservoir, Wednesday

SteveLombardi <hot-rock@...>

Our GGAS field trip had a cool, cloudy but pleasant day at Upper San Leandro Reservoir, entering at the Valle Vista staging area outside Moraga.

We had no rarities, but it was quite birdy and we had good looks and listens to many of the usual species. About 60 species total.

If you go, you'll need an EBMUD trail permit, which you can buy and print from their website.

I've included a Google Maps link to Valle Vista at the bottom.

- Steve and Carol
San Ramon


Canada Goose

Wood Duck



Wild Turkey

California Quail

Pied-billed Grebe

American White Pelican

Double-crested Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

American Coot


Band-tailed Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Anna's Hummingbird

Selasphorus Hummingbird

Acorn Woodpecker

Nuttall's Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Western Wood-Pewee

"Western" Flycatcher

Black Phoebe

Western Kingbird

Hutton's Vireo

Steller's Jay

Western Scrub-Jay

American Crow

Common Raven

Tree Swallow

Violet-green Swallow

Barn Swallow

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Oak Titmouse


White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

Bewick's Wren

House Wren

Western Bluebird

American Robin


California Thrasher

European Starling

Orange-crowned Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Spotted Towhee

California Towhee

Song Sparrow

Black-headed Grosbeak

Red-winged Blackbird

Brewer's Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Bullock's Oriole

Purple Finch (?; glimpse)

House Finch

Lesser Goldfinch,+ca&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

Use of recorded bird calls


An article from Time magazine.

Bird Watchers, Beware: Electronic Bird Calls May Harm the Creatures

(No subject)


Hayward Shoreline (5/17)

Bob Richmond

I was only here from 1pm and later. Seen at the shoreline today -

The only migrants seen were the very common ones (Orange-crowned and Wilson's Warbler).

Pacific Loon - 1 in breeding plumage flying over Winton Ave. I have seen less than a dozen at the shoreline. The latest record in winter was 2/14. Until today, I had no spring records.

Common Merganser - 2, a pair was in Sulfur Creek and flew up a channel in Ora Loma Marsh. This is the latest May record I have for the shoreline. The only other May record was 5/1.

Good birding


Alameda Creek in Fremont

John Cant 793-5216

This morning between 7:30 and 8:00 there were 4 WOOD DUCK readily
observable. An adult male was feeding on some small things on the surface
just below the parking lot of the staging area off Old Canyon Road, and two
adult males and one female were between the Old Canyon Road bridge and the
Mission Blvd. bridge. In the swallow foraging frenzy over the creek there
were at least 2 NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW along with cliff, barn and
tree. Does anyone know where rough-wings might be breeding in this area (I
would like to try for photos)?

John Cant


Chickadees have fledged--Walnut Creek


It seems I have lost track of time, having thought that the Chestnut-backed Chickadee family would be fledged by the time we returned from our travels last Tuesday. In fact, the adults did not start feeding the chicks until April 24. At least one adult was still taking food into the bird house yesterday morning.

By midday, when I brought Betty Gallagher to visit and watch, the Chickadee adults were taking mealworms out of the patio and no longer visiting the bird house. Betty and her late husband, Bob, were long-time members of Mt. Diablo Audubon. For many years they hosted and managed the crew who assembled and mailed the Chapter newsletter, The Quail.

This means that the chicks fledged on about day 22 or 23.

Today, I did see one of the chicks on the roof which overlooks our patio, but the adults spent their time taking mealworms toward the street. with a little luck, we may see the family return to the patio in 3-4 days, as they have in past years.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

ALA CO - Breeding Tricolored Blackbirds

Kathy Robertson

Hi birders,

On Sunday, 5/15, I briefly birded at Brushy Peak Regional Park in Livermore

Directly adjacent to the parking lot, in a large field of yellow, flowering
plants (wild mustard?), there was a mixed breeding colony of Tricolored
Blackbirds and Red-winged Blackbirds. Before the sudden wind/rainstorm
drove me back into my car, I was able to observe adults carrying both nesting
material and food into the plants.

In previous years, I have located breeding Tricolored in E. Alameda Co.
(Altamont Pass Rd. x Dyer Rd. and Dalton x Ames), but this is a new location.
Tricolored regularly winter in this area as well.

Good birding,
Kathy Robertson
Hayward, CA

Walnut Creek--Heather Farm Park on Monday


It is a given that the Mallard ducklings don't stand much of a chance in Heather Farm Park in the Ygnacio Valley of Walnut Creek. A mother will be seen with 6-9 ducklings one day, then maybe 3-4 a day or so later, then none at all. It has been documented that Black-crowned Night-Herons have predated them and River Otters are around, too, not to mention that Racoons are always around somewhere.

But today I learned something new. Just as I arrived on my bike at the wooden railing on the east side of the mostly natural pond, I saw something submerge about half-way across the pond. Looking with my binoculars, I saw something swimming very fast under water. I thought it was one of the otters, but it surfaced and was a Pied-billed Grebe. As it surfaced, a Mallard mother and at least one duckling were scattering, but from my vantage I was looking through some tree leaves.

Moving to my left for a clearer view, I could no longer find the mother or the duckling. The grebe just sort of floated around. Then a Scrub Jay landed on the far bank. I was not sure what attracted it, except for possibly the commotion caused by the grebe. After a few moments, the Scrub Jay reached down over the edge of the bank and grabbed a small, fluffy yellowish ball. It started pecking and beating it in some grass, then took it into some bushes where I could no longer see.

I cannot say with 100% certainty, but I am pretty sure it was a duckling that the jay grabbed. Imagine, escaping the U-boat attack of the Pied-billed Grebe, only to be caught and attacked by the air force.

I also found two Nuttall's Woodpecker nests; one in a Eucalyptus tree near the north ball field parking lot, the other in the riparian area at the bottom of the big hill.

Oh, and I'm holding on to my bird seed until next fall when the sparrows return.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek