Photo Workshop this Saturday & Photo Contest Reminder


Birders and Photographers,

A quick reminder:

As part of the Our Wild Lands photo contest, the Muir Heritage Land Trust is hosting a photography expedition at Fernandez Ranch this Saturday, May 12th featuring world-renowned nature photographer Wendy Shattil. Wendy will be sharing insights on how best to approach Fernandez Ranch's photographic bounty as well as providing tips on creating award-winning imagery. RSVP asap!

Also, the Our Wild Lands photo contest is now open and images may be submitted through July 15th. Donít wait; the spring migration is in full force and the blooms are starting to blossom!

For more information, please click the links below:

Photo Expedition

Photo Contest

Muir Heritage Land Trust

Thanks again to the Mt. Diablo Audubon Society for sponsoring the Our Wild Lands nature photography contest and approving the posting of this reminder to the EBB_Sightings group.

Happy birding and shooting!

Steve Hutchcraft
Alamo, CA

Muir Heritage Land Trust
Martinez, CA

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Black Tern at Big Break


This morning around 9am, I was able to tease out a single Black Tern flying amidst 30, or so, Bonaparte's Gulls above the large containment pond adjacent to the Big Break Regional trail in Oakley. The plumage appeared near breeding peak. After scouring the area for about 20 minutes, I could find no others. Nice morning, though...this bird was a first for me.

Bird well,
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek

Western Tanagers, Wildcat (Richmond)

Sheila Dickie

Yesterday afternoon, May 7, I birded the Wildcat/Alvarado Park (off of McBryde Avenue in Richmond) end of the Wildcat trail, 3-5 p.m. and saw a pair of Western Tanagers, one Olive-sided Flycatcher, singing Bewick's Wren and first sighting for me of two California Quail at that location.  Specific locations: the tanagers and the flycatcher were in the eucalyptus trees a few hundred yards up the trail from the parking lot.  As you walk up the paved hill just past the Monte Cresta/Bonita trail sign there is an open grassy meadow on your right; just past that on your left you will see  the trees on the uphill slope.  The Bewick's Wren was singing atop a snag, again on the left hand side of the trail, at the junction of the Begum Trail.  The two quail crossed at that point also.  There were lots of birds singing, and someone with a better ear than I possess, would be able to get quite a few species.  When I left, the flycatcher was singing atop a dead
tree on the uphill slope at the parking lot.
Sheila Dickie

Heather Farms Park today


In Hugh Harvey's (temporary) absence I thought I should report on Heather Farms this morning.
I arrived before 8AM and from the W side of the large pond observed the Green Heron on the nest that Hugh found on the E side, very low in the last willow to the N.
There were several Violet-green Swallows at and around the nest hole in the snag W of the canal. Barn Swallows also on the wooden bridge N of the pond, over the pond, and on the reeds.
On the boat-launching ramp the Spotted Sandpiper that Hugh found was teetering away. Briefly, in a flowering tree just W of the ramp, a Warbling Vireo appeared.
A (second?) Green Heron was on the island.
S of the concrete pond the Canada Geese had collected 12 goslings. There was a male Western Bluebird on the green fencing to the W of the concrete pond.
On the E side, in the same willow I mentioned above, a surprisingly late Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler.
Finally, as I was leaving at 8:30, an Osprey appeared! It surveyed the pond carefully, found nothing to interest it, and went off to the northeast.

Good birding,
Fred Safier

2012 Alameda County year list

Bob Richmond

I forgot to add that we have found -
40 code-3
5 code-6

At least 2 new ones have been seen in April.


2012 Alameda County year list

Bob Richmond

The year list for 2012, through the end of April, now stands at 265. We found the last of the code-1 birds (probably should be a code-2 one instead). The code-4 birds found were Calliope Hummingbird, Cattle Egret, and Ashy Storm-Petrel. The Storm-Petrel may be a code-4 in fall, but in spring it would be a code-6. The 1 code-5 bird was a Franklin's Gull and the code-6 was a White-winged Dove, both near Enterprise in Hayward.

 We have yet to find 2 code-2 species but they are most common in Fall as are the 4 code-3 species not yet found. Besides these we have not yet found 14 code-4 species. These are all normal but the code-5 and code-6 are not. Many of them are yet to be found.


Harry Adamson 1916-2012

Steve Glover

Hi all,

My mom just called to say that Harry Adamson has passed away. Younger generations of birders may not remember this gentle man but Harry was a founding member of Mt. Diablo Audubon Society in the 1950 and he was a prominent Bay Area birder at that time. He is more famously remembered as a world-renowned wildlife artist.

To view some of his work, click on this link:

To view his obituary, click here:

Steven Glover
Fort Worth, TX

Yellow-Breasted Chat at Sunol


A lifer! I observed a Yellow-Breasted Chat at Sunol Regional Wilderness near the bridge at Indian Joe Nature Trail. It was seen foraging in an oak close to the creek behind the picnic area.

double-crested cormorant nesting activity on Lake Merritt island


The cormorants were busy in nesting activity last week on the island at Lake Merritt (nesting squabbles, and carrying huge branches for nest material):

Allen Hirsch

Re: GGAS Romance FT - Hayward Shoreline

Eddie Bartley

Doh! .....err CLIFF SWALLOW not Cave. Guess my mind was still in Texas. Of
course its the Cave's first cousin CLIFF SWALLOW that we observed many of at
Hayward Regional Shoreline.

Thanx to Anne Hoff for catching that.

Eddie Bartley

Black Terns continue at Big Break

Jeff Hoppes

Two of the Black Terns reported yesterday by Albert Linkowski continued
today (Sunday 5/6) at 1 pm along the Big Break Regional Trail. The birds
were flying over the second (larger) pond, the one visible after the trail
bends around to the right. The trailhead for this site is at the
intersection of Fetzer Lane and Jordan Lane in Oakley.

Good birding,
Jeff Hoppes
El Cerrito

Re: GGAS Romance FT - Hayward Shoreline

Eddie Bartley

Romance was still very much in the Air at Hayward Regional Shoreline for
Field Trip II: Same species, similar numbers as Saturday, but Sunday's trip
included a bonus: 23 BLACK TERNS providing wonderful looks while feeding in
the west marsh near and south of the Least Tern Colony. Also 2 pairs of Red
head, one of Pintail. List below with some numbers.

Happy Trails!

Eddie Bartley

SPECIES SEEN From 5/6/2012 to 5/6/2012 ~ in Hayward Regional Shoreline ~ 46

Canada Goose - many goslings
Cinnamon Teal 4 - 3 males, one female
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail - 2 (one pair)
Redhead - 2 apparent bonded pair
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck

Eared Grebe - 4

Double-crested Cormorant

Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron

Turkey Vulture

Red-tailed Hawk - 1 juvenile

American Coot

Semipalmated Plover - 10
Killdeer - 4

Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet

Marbled Godwit - 10
Western Sandpiper - 12
Least Sandpiper - 8
Dunlin - 3
Short-billed Dowitcher - 8
Long-billed Dowitcher - 6
Red-necked Phalarope ~300

Western Gull
California Gull
Least Tern - 6
Black Tern - 23
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer - 4

Rock Pigeon

American Crow

Barn Swallow
Cave Swallow

Marsh Wren

European Starling

Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird
Yellow-headed Blackbird - 5 all female
Great-tailed Grackle - 1 male
Brown-headed Cowbird

House Finch

Big Break Trail - Black Terns, A.Bittern correction


I heard not one but 14! singing A.Bitterns

Albert Linkowski

Rump spots of the Bewick Wren.


This singing individual Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) I encountered on 05/03/2012 at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, Contra Costa County. This bird display large white spots on the rump feathers. I do not remember whether I had ever seen before, so prominent pattern. Is it connected with the subspecies?, peak of the breeding period?. or rather, this phenomenon has something to do with the excitement? Does anybody have opinions on this topic? I look forward to your feedback.
Also, in this area on 04/05/2012 I managed to photograph MacGillivray's Warbler (very poor quality photo) most of time, the bird stayed in the bushes between the earth and up to a height of 5ft

Good Day,

Albert W. Linkowski

Big Break Trail - Black Terns, A.Bittern (photo)


On May 5, 2012 ( very windy) I made observations along the Iron House Sanitary District near Oakely (Contra Costa County), among the birds observed, two species deserve special attention.
American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) I know it may sound hard to believe, quite bizzare, but I counted 1 singing birds (the section from Big Break to end of trail), 8 of these birds I saw and phothographed. At one time four birds were in the air, plus one call on the ground. These four birds in flight for a time formed a pairs and made probably courtship flight (a type of dance in the air). Photo number 5- three birds in the air, photo number 4 - two birds in the air. It should however be mentioned that no bird call before 5pm (during my walking in the direction of IHSD), and the first birds I heard there about 5:15 pm, and during the return toward the Big Break until about 8pm
Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) Behind a picnic area (with restroom) trail suddenly turns abruptly at an angle of 90 degree this is what I observed in this area at least 5 A.Bittern (by the way). After another about 100 meters further trail turn to the right, and there is where the trail is closest to the Big Break, and where I stopped watching about 20 Forster's Terns, and few Caspians I was pleased however,when I saw among them three dark (Black Terns), birds are well known to me, (for many years lived in the area with a large breeding colony). For the next two hours I observed them (scope) and hang on for opportunity to make pictures, unfortunately, the birds did not come close enough to a convenient distance for capturing an image. These birds are easily distinguished from Sterna, there are slightly smaller with a black body and head and dark gray wings. Also, among terns, there were swallows, distinctly smaller and with different type of flight (I suggest to take scope in order to id)
Other birds worth mentioning .. 25 Caspian Terns (17 seated on the edge of the reservoir IHSD, and the rest on the Big Break ), 9 Bonaparte Gulls, 7 Avocets, 2 Stilts, 14 White Pelicans (Big Break), sparrows were represented by Songs and one Grasshopper , warblers by Yellowthroats, also saw four Kingbirds
Attach photos of A.Bittern, as well as Bonaparte Gull.

Good day,

Albert Linkowski

Del Puerto Canyon, San Antonio Valley, Mines Roads

Matthew Dodder


I led my Palo Alto Adult School birding class on the Del Puerto
Canyon / San Antonio Valley / Mines Road tour today. Several cars
explored Hwy 132 toward Modesto in search of SWAINSON'S HAWKS of
which we found several prior to meeting the group at 7:30. WESTERN
TANAGER was found in the orchards along Hwy 132

The morning was exceedingly windy, making it difficult to find birds
the first few miles of Del Puerto Canyon Road, but by late morning it
calmed down and most targets were located. Chipping Sparrow and Sage
Sparrow were exceptions, not located in the usual spots, but not for
lack of trying... We saw several PHAINOPEPLA, RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS
and many LARK SPARROWS over the course of the day. A number of other
BLACKBIRDS were seen in a number of places. Other highlights were the

Stanislaus County:
BLUE GROSBEAK at Graffiti Rock (lifer for several members)
COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD at Graffiti Rock (lifer for several members)
OSPREY high over head at Graffiti Rock
SAY'S PHOEBE nesting at Owl Rock
GREATER ROADRUNNER three times along road after Graffiti Rock
ROCK WREN and CANYON WREN at the usual spot where the creek crosses
the road
GREEN HERON here as well
NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL about 20 yards up-slope form restrooms at Frank
Raines picnic area
(lifer for several members)

Santa Clara Couny:
LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCH a small group of 4 birds at the "Junction"
WESTERN WOOD PEWEE just south of "Junction" (First of season for me)
LEWIS'S WOODPECKER 6 birds beginning at pond on south end of San
Antonio Valley Road (lifer for several members)
WOOD DUCK: 6 birds beginning at pond on south end of San Antonio
Valley Road

Alameda County:
LAZULI BUNTING at creek bridge prior to reaching junction with Del Valle
HOODED ORIOLE here as well
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE here as well
CEDAR WAXWING here as well
WILSON'S WARBLER here as well
GOLDEN EAGLE here as well

. . .

Matthew Dodder
Mountain View, CA

Hayward Shoreline

Mike Shannon

From the parking lot at the end of Winton we walked out along the channel
which was mostly devoid of birds, except, oddly for a solitary Solitary
Sandpiper. There was a Whimbrel along there as well. We ended up at Frank's
Dump West. There were several flocks of Black Necked Stilt mixed in with
American Avocet. A few Shovelers and some Western Sandpiper. In the
corner were a number of Dunlin and Red-Necked Phalarope. A couple of
Caspian Terms sat on one of the sand spits. There were also Willets. Saw
quite a few Barn Swallows and Snowy and Great White egrets. In the bay were
Semi-Palmated Plover.

Of course we saw plenty of Red-Winged Blackbirds and Song Sparrows and a few
Mallards. We also found a pair of Gadwal.

A few Geese and a Black Vulture rounded out the trip.

Mike Shannon

Mt Diablo-Lazuli Buntings

Bob Hislop

This morning there were several Lazuli Buntings on Mt Diablo staking out nesting sites (and 1 pair gathering nesting materials). As in previous visits I observed them all close to the road (see attached picture).

Bob Hislop

Forster's Terns courtship flight?

VN <verne_nelson@...>

Yesterday in the Airport Channel area of Martin Luther King Shoreline, I
witnessed at least five occasions of Forster's Tern pairs engaged in
courtship feeding: the male offers a small fish to the female which she
(usually) accepts. The feedings were all done at a distance and during
water landings.
Although not reported in any internet search I found, I also think I
witnessed courtship flight behavior. The (presumed) male Forster would
hover in one spot (without a fish) while the (presumed) female circled
him. It seemed like a dance. Not sure if this was what was actually
happening, but it was quite beautiful to watch. After about a half a
minute of this, they flew their separate ways. Here is a picture during
the encounter:

GGAS Romance FT - Hayward Shoreline

Bob Lewis

The first field trip for the new GGAS "Romance is in the Air" class on bird reproduction was to Hayward Shoreline, where we had permission to explore the Hayward Marsh trail. Sightings included 4f YELLOW_HEADED BLACKBIRDS, 4 LEAST TERNS, 3 SNOWY PLOVER, 4 BLACK SKIMMERS and about 350 RED_NECKED PHALAROPE. Behaviors included nesting and nest building, copulation, courtship displays and spectacular breeding plumages. A great start for this new class.

Bob Lewis

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