Guillemots continue in Berkeley

Dave Weber

Hi Birders-

At the Berkeley Fishing Pier this morning there were two Pigeon Guillemots about three quarters of the way out, one on each side and a third on the north side beyond the end.

Dave Weber,

Breeding White-crowned Sparrows in Oakland

Amy McDonald <amymcd@...>

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday there were two adults and one juvenile WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW at Port View Park in Oakland (at the end of 7th St.) The juvenile was being fed worms/grubs foraged from the lawn by one adult, while the other sang from a nearby tree. The birds were of the nuttalli ssp. which maintain a small breeding population along the coast in northern Alameda Co.

I also heard a White-Crowned at the adjacent Middle Harbor Shoreline Park,
and heard another at the corner of Midway Ave. and Saratoga Ave. on Alameda (near Alameda Pt.) yesterday. On May 23, a WCSP was just south of the College of Alameda on Webster St.

In searching back through old EBB records, I found a 6/27/2007 post from Kathy Robertson who reported two fledglings being fed by adults at Port View Park and another singing at Middle Harbor Shorline Park.

Amy McDonald
San Jose, CA

Pigeon Guillemots in the bay/PRBO annual cormorant count results

Patricia Bacchetti

Hi all-

Mark Rauzon asked me to pass along this interesting information about the guillemots, as well as the results of the PRBO annual cormorant count in the bay:

Pigeon Guillemots have colonized the far end of the pier a few years ago, with about 5 pairs. See link below. They also have been reported from under the east side of the bay bridge. At the Berkeley Pier distal end, there were about a dozen Brandt's Cormorants, about 5 Pigeon Guillemots, and a few nesting Western Gulls. Only one Forster's Tern was sighted and overall few birds were using the pier.

We surveyed these areas on the PRBO annual cormorant count which was undertaken by Eric Lichtwardt (LSA), Jason Minton (GANDA), and Meredith Elliott (PRBO Conservation Science) and myself. This group may be interested in our results: We counted 250 nests, approximately three-times the 83 nests observed in 2009, which was a terrible year for cormorants along the central coast!

The Richmond San Raphael Bridge was surveyed next. There was an estimated 70% increase in nest numbers here since last year (287 v. 169)

We set off to survey the Brother Islands, and just north of the RSRB in the Point Molate area was an Osprey nest in Contra Costa County. At the Brothers, there were noticeably fewer roosting DCCO compared to 2009, but about 8 Pelagic Cormorants were visible. At the Sisters Islands, we noted about 30 Caspian Terns roosting (with possibly 4-5 nesting birds, this is a new colony as of 2009).

On the way back, we saw two Ashy Storm-petrels in Contra Costa County waters off Point Richmond and Red Rock Island. We pursued one into Marin Co. ( Three county lines converge in this area. If these positions are verifiable, these constitute the first record of Ashy Storm-petrel for Contra Costa County.

Finally we are proposing to restore portions of the pier for shorebird roosting habitat and seabird nesting habitat using damage settlement fund from the Cosco Busan spill. In the future Pigeon Guillemots should be a common sighting.

Mark Rauzon
PRBO Research Associate/Marine Endeavours

Birds and deer--behavior question.


In reference to your post:

"My neighbor stopped me today and said he watched a small bird land on
the back of a deer, eat a few unseen things, then hop to a second deer
to do the same. He asked me if that behavior is typical here (of
course he's seen it on the TV with African birds he said. . . .). I
told him, I have no idea--I've not seen it. Have any of you?!?"

I have also am fascinated by this behavior. I have not personally seen this
behavior, but I have seen photos of it occurring in US and South America.
Also there are references to it on Cornell's Birds of North America website.
I've gathered some examples below:

South America

Yellow headed caracaras eat ticks and other parasites off capybara (& other
mammals such as cattle and horses). In fact, the capybaras often
solicitation these caracaras to clean them by exposing their flanks and


Green Jay - I have seen a photo of one observed gleaning on javelinas (in
South Texas)

Red-breasted Nuthatch From Cornell's Birds of N. America: "Tate (1969)
observed a nuthatch foraging on back of white-tailed deer but the regularity
of this type of foraging is unknown."

Great tailed Grackle From Cornell's Birds of N. America website:
."removes parasites from livestock (Skutch 1954)."

Western Scrub Jay I have seen a photo of one gleaning on the back of a
deer in Los Ossos, CA

From Cornell's Birds of N. America website: Western Scrub Jay "Food habits"

"Hops over body of deer, including head, antlers, neck, back, and tail
regions, while capturing ecto-parasites; can involve standing or bedded
deer. Behavior noted most frequently on mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus
californicus) in and near Sequoia National Park, Tuolumne Co., CA (Dixon
1944, Riney 1951); also reported on black-tailed deer (O. h. columbianus) in
Marin Co., CA (Schulz and Budwiser 1970, Isenhart and DeSante 1985). Deer
facilitate activity by standing still and erect, with ears raised."

Cattle Egrets will eat flies & some ticks off the grazing animals they
associate with, although their primary focus seems to be gleaning insects
from the ground that were dislodged by the grazing animals.

From Cornell's Birds of N. America website: Cattle Egret "Food habits"

"Readily eat flies, usually taken from underside of cattle (
b340> Singh et al. 1988). Studies world-wide have shown that ticks are only
occasionally found in stomach contents. a relatively high number of birds
(12.9%) may ingest ticks, but there are low numbers of ticks (1.1) per bird
b313> and Kok 1993). Bill not structured to easily remove attached ticks.

peregrine falcons in downtown Oakland

I just saw a pair fly over the state building at 14th & Clay. Does anyone know anything about these birds/if they are breeding and where?


Indigo Bunting?


I took this photo early this morning (around 7:30am) at the Bayleaf tree
(thanks to all for the great directions). It was very foggy and windy but
the little fellow was quite cooperative, showing itself for several minutes
before departing. Question: I'm not quite sure it's the Bunting. Could it
be a Blue Grossbeak because of the brown wing bar? The beak says Bunting.

Here's the link:


Re: pigeon guillmots at the Berkeley pier this morning

richard s. cimino

During the noon hour Dave Bowden and I observed three Pigeon Guillmots
half way out on the north side of the Berkeley pier.

Rich Cimino

On 6/17/2010 9:00 AM, zachary.baer2 wrote:

I just spent 20 mins at the Berkeley pier this morning counting pigeon
guillmots. My highest count was 11 with 8 of them being seen from the
end of the pier. I have also posted a picture of the Indigo Bunting
from earlier in the week.

Good Birding,

Zach Baer
Berkeley, CA

pigeon guillmots at the Berkeley pier this morning


I just spent 20 mins at the Berkeley pier this morning counting pigeon guillmots. My highest count was 11 with 8 of them being seen from the end of the pier. I have also posted a picture of the Indigo Bunting from earlier in the week.

Good Birding,

Zach Baer
Berkeley, CA

baby birds <owlycat@...>

Has anyone else notice the increase in fledgling activity this year? We always have some baby birds but this year it seems there is a bumper crop. Up to this point I have counted nine species of fledglings at our house. Two different families were raised on premises, a chestnut backed chickadee family used the nest box hanging from the beam on our garage and just yesterday the Steller jays left their nest from under our upper living room deck. Of all the fledglings, my two favorites are the downy woodpeckers and Bewick's wrens. The parents of all these new babies seem to be using our no-melt suet as "pablum" for their kids. They go through an entire cake in about 4 days. The seed tubes are also getting lots of diners. We live in Montclair just below Skyline near the intersection of Colton and Snake. Maybe the extra rain and cooler weather has something to do with the increase in families. Whatever it is, we're having fun watching all the activity.


Indigo continues

Jeff Hoppes <jthoppes@...>

The singing male Indigo Bunting continued off of Panoramic Way in
Berkeley at noon today. As Stephanie just reported, there was a Wrentit in
the succulent garden, as well as a pair of flyover Red-shouldered Hawks.

Good birding,

Jeff Hoppes

El Cerrito

Re: Pigeon Guillemot at Berkeley Pier


At 11:00 this morning, at least one pigeon guillemot continued at the Berkeley Pier. I met Jim Lomax on the pier with the bird in sight about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way up the pier on the north side. We walked to the end of the pier and saw a pigeon guillemot near there as well. We never had two pigeon guillemots in sight at a time but were surprised that the one we'd seen near the beginning could have gotten so far in so short a time without us seeing it fly. A few Caspian terns were flying around and a single male surf scoter was near the rocky shoreline way down on the south side of the pier.

In other news, if you go to see the indigo bunting off Panoramic Way in Berkeley - a great bird, easy to see - look for wrentits in the succulent garden as you walk along the driveway of the big house at the top of the hill. On Friday morning, Hugh Harvey and I had two singing wrentits in the spiky yellow flowers. We also had a singing California thrasher in a tree up there. On our way down a red-shouldered hawk swooped in front of us to land on a snag next to the road near the Panoramic Way/Panoramic Place junction.

Stephanie Floyd

Yard birds--Bewick's Wrens

Debbi Brusco <dgb_birding@...>

I sometimes hear Bewick's Wrens in the neighborhood, and once in a while
they visit the back yard. Yesterday I heard one singing back there, and
today the same. I was out standing near the back door when one landed 3'
away from me on the deck bench and gave me the eye. Then I noticed there
was more than one, and actually it was a family with a young one!

Debbi Brusco

Re: Indigo Bunting

richard s. cimino

Jim Ross and I arrived 12:15 PM to observe the male Indigo Bunting.
It was 45 minutes before it appeared in the Bay tree as previously noted.
We also had Red-breasted Nuthatch's and a Copper's Hawk.
Rich Cimino

On 6/15/2010 1:36 PM, Taite Darlington wrote:

The male was out and singing this morning at 9:30. Same location as
previously noted. No sign of the female but I didn't have much time.
On the main path, Bewick's Wrens were taking a dust bath.

Taite Darlington

Indigo Bunting Still There

Edward Tanovitz

I followed the directions, around 2:30 this afternoon, to the spot given by several members and there it was (a lifer). I saw the lone bay tree, but didn't see anything, but I heard some singing just beyond, and there on the top of the oak, was the Indigo Bunting singing his little heart out. He stayed for about a minute and then flew off down the hill into the grass, where I could no longer see him. My timing was was pure luck. No sight of the female. Although I am a native East Bayer, I had never been to the end of Panoramic Way, which was an experience in it self. Thanks to all for the previous sighting reports.
Ed Tanovitz

Re: Pigeon Guillemot at Berkeley Pier


I visited the Berkeley Pier at 2pm today and saw one of pigeon guillmots. The bird was about 100 yards down the pier on the south side. I also had a pelagic cormorant.

Good Birding,

Zach Baer
Berkeley, CA

--- In, Nel Benningshof <nel@...> wrote:

My husband and I spotted at least one, may be more, Pigeon Guillemots from the Berkeley Pier. This was between 9:30 and 10:00 am this morning.

Nel Benningshof

Indigo Bunting

Taite Darlington <taitergator@...>

The male was out and singing this morning at 9:30. Same location as previously noted. No sign of the female but I didn't have much time.
On the main path, Bewick's Wrens were taking a dust bath.

Taite Darlington

Pigeon Guillemot at Berkeley Pier

Nel Benningshof

My husband and I spotted at least one, may be more, Pigeon Guillemots from the Berkeley Pier. This was between 9:30 and 10:00 am this morning.

Nel Benningshof

Indigo and Lazuli Bunting at Claremont Canyon this morning


Hi everyone, I finally made it over to the Indigo Bunting at Claremont
Canyon this morning with Eric Pilotte. We initially had some difficulty
finding the right area to look for the bird but eventually made our way
down the fire trail to the correct spot. The first bunting that we
actually had at the spot was a female Lazuli Bunting (pale face,
stronger wing-bars then female indigo, no streaking on the breast). She
was foraging in the grass near the trail. After about 15 minutes the
male Indigo Bunting appeared in the grass and started foraging with the
female. The male then flew back to one of the far trees and sang a few
times before flying back out of sight. The male Indigo Bunting appears
to be an ASY with no signs of gray in the body or buff/brown edges to
the coverts. I have one decent photo that I will upload later tonight
of the male, sadly I could not get any photos of the female.
Good Birding,
Zach BaerBerkeley, CA

Hayward Shoreline Sat Jun 12

kathy jarrett

GGAS bicycle trip, Sat June 12. 28 species was pretty good for an exceptionally windy warm day. We battled the wind almost all the way, both bicycling out to the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center from San Leandro's Marina Park and back. Species normally seen on this trip were absent, some of which would be attributed to the time of the year. We were surprised to find a large group of Black-bellied plovers and some Willets just north of Johnson's Landing (near the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center) and pleased to see a large rookery of Forster's Terns on an island in the marsh nearby. Avocets and stilts were actively feeding in the bay at low tide and moving into the marshes later. The male Ruddy duck was brilliantly ruddy with a blue bill and accompanied by two females. We saw at least one juvenile stilt and a family of Canada Geese. It was the first time we had seen crabs in the pond off the deck of the Interpretive Center, which might explain a
lot of the Forster's Terns nearby.
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Canada Goose
Greater Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Ring-billed Gull
Western Gull
Forster's Tern
Rock Pigeon (I)
Mourning Dove
Black Phoebe
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
American Crow
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling (I)
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch
House Sparrow (I)

Indigo Bunting

Travis Hails

Today, Sunday, @2PM I located the male Indigo Bunting at location #2, the single live oak.  He was not singing at all in the hour I was there.
The female bunting was not seen
Travis Hails

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