Garretson Point and Arrowhead Marsh

Phila Rogers

Dear Friends:

My birding buddy and I were part of the throng coming to witness the second
day of the extreme tide which was being widely photographed elsewhere by
others as an example of that time in the not-to-distant future when global
warming will raise sea levels. We arrived at Garretson Point between
sightings of the Tropical Kingbird, but my reason for being there was to
see if recent rains have created large ponds in the fields to the east of
the point which each winter brings in one of the best collections of
dappling ducks in the Bay Area. We were not disappointed.
Paintbox-colored birds like Northern Shovelers, Green-winged and Cinnamon
Teal, American Widgeons (with their rubber-ducky voices), were there in
abundance along with Northern Pintails. and Gadwalls. Black and white
avocets were packed in together on the far side of the pond and stilts
minced along the edges.

On the west side of the point, diving ducks occupied the open water --
scaups, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, Surf Scoters. A Spotted Sandpiper pocked
among the stones, and a Black Phoebe, with recently-reported piscine
interests, was sharing the same wet margin.

Though the extreme high tide was interesting, I welcome the reemergence of
the marsh and its population of Clapper Rails. The pier was crowded with
mostly noisy willets.

-- Phila Rogers

Spots for red-throated loons?

James Woidat

I'm hoping to go out and see my first red-throated loon tomorrow. There were some sightings last week. Any recommendations on where to go?

Thank you for your thoughts.


Arrowhead Marsh and Garretson Point, today


Right at high tide, about noon, I joined many fellow birders along Arrowhead Marsh and obtained terriffic views of several CLAPPER RAILS and SORAS. The tide was so high that many of the Clappers and a couple of Sora were literally swimming from one point to another, something I had not witnessed before.

Additionally, there were a few of us who watched as a PEREGRINE dive- bombed a small and very agile flock of fleeing BLACK-NECKED STILTS. The Peregrine did not score a meal but did give us quite a show for two or three minutes, all at close range.

Later, I drove to Garretson Point and, along with Bob Dunn and a few others, saw the TROPICAL KINGBIRD. It was in the small trees along the east side of the roadway to the parking lot. In the pond on that same side, one pair of BLUE-WINGED TEAL was spotted among several PINTAILS and a few CINNAMON TEAL pairs.

Very interesting, that extreme tide.
Good birding,
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek

Arrowhead Marsh today

We joined the throngs of birders today for this year's highest high
tide.Numerous Clapper, and Virginia Rails and Sora were visible,
as the tide receded. A Peregrine Falcon made an appearance and flushed
the Willets and Marbeled Godwits from the pier into the water.

Here is a photo of a Sora flying away from the shore:\;

Tony Brake
Point Richmond

Richmond shoreline

Laura Look <chamaea@...>

I hit Meeker Slough this morning (Thurs., Dec. 13) for the high tide. I was rewarded with 2 CLAPPER RAILS and at least 2 SORA. This was a real relief to me since, despite a few other reports of Clappers from this area, I have not been able to find any since 2007.

Other treats in that area were about 10 Wilson's Snipe, an American Pipit, and a Say's Phoebe.

I was unable to locate the Black Scoter in Richmond Marina, but there are plenty of places he could have been hiding. Consolation prizes were a Common Loon, a Pacific Loon, and a Red-breasted Merganser resting on the breakwater at Vincent Park with the shorebirds.

On arriving at Marina Park (Rosie the Riveter Memorial), I was greeted by 4 Western Bluebirds, my first for this location. Bluebirds continue their determined conquest of the greater Richmond area. I suppose the Meeker Slough area is next on their agenda.

Also at Marina Park, at least 5 Black-crowned Night-herons were in their usual spot in the trees above the locked restrooms.

At Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline, the male EURASIAN WIGEON was in the duck pond, along with 4 Red-breasted Mergansers. An American Pipit was at Ferry Point.

Good birding,
Laura Look
Pinole, CA

Tropical Kingbird at Garretson Point

John Kenny

Around 3:15 this afternoon, a Tropical Kingbird was in the wetland at Garretson Point. It was in the small leafless tree just inside the fence across from the entrance to the parking lot. I watched for 5-10 minutes from 10 yards away, and got good looks at the yellow breast all the way up to the neck, the large bill, and the deeply notched tail when perched.

It disappeared when I looked away briefly; I hung around for another 15 minutes but didn't find it again.

Spotted Sandpiper- MLK Shoreline- picture


Yesterday after the high tide at Arrowhead I birded Doolittle Pond along the MLK Shoreline. There was a Spotted Sandpiper, solitary as usual, working a rocky area of the shoreline for food.

They have several intriguing habits including nearly constant tail teetering and an unusual flight pattern of rigid sharp beats with short glides.

They are also handsome, even in winter plumage:

Coyote Hills (not the Hayward Shoreline)

Bob Richmond

Today I was with Eileen at Coyote Hills and we saw the following -

Ross Goose - 2, on the hill across the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel from where the Red Hill Trail meets the trail along the flood control channel.

Red Crossbill - 2 or 3, heard only and only possible.

Peregrine Falcon - 1, on a transmission tower near the entrance kiosk.

Bob and Eileen

12/12/12 -- Inspriration Point -- Red Crossbill

Michael Park

I took a break today to look for Evening Grosbeak. I didn't expect it
and didn't find it.

But while strolling the Nimitz Way trail during a break in the rain
showers, I found a good flock of birds in the heart of the introduted
Monterey Pines (assumed -- I didn't pick up cones to look).

others, I head some clear sweet jip-jip jip-jip-jip-jip calls of RED
CROSSBILL. At least one landed high in the pines among dead clusters of
needles and I lost sight of it there. The call closely matched that of
Type 2 recordings published on eBird.

It was cold, blustery and showery. And bird activity was very sporadic.

The complete list is here: <http://>

Michael Park

Hooded Merganers


There were 4 Hooded Mergansers near the Harbor Bay Landing Shopping
Center, Bay Farm Island, Alameda today. (Harbor Bay Landing Shopping
Center works in Google Maps). These were in the canal west (not north)
of the shopping center. An adult pair about 120 meters, two female-type
plumaged birds another 75 or so meters along. One of these had an all
black bill so I'm thinking juvenile male. That canal is full of C.
Goldeneye as well, and a few Canvasback. The tidal pond across from
Peet's Coffee headquarters, Harbor Bay Pkwy & N Loop Rd had 83
Canvasback along with an assortment of other diving ducks.

The commercial/industrial areas along Harbor Bay Pkwy are planted with
scores of Callery Pear/(//Pyrus calleryana//) /whose tiny pear fruit are
relished by Robins and Waxwing above the also abundant Cotoniaster. Both
pear and cotoniaster are full of fruit. Yet, not one Robin, not one
Waxwing. In past years both birds have teemed here. I wonder if the
hordes are late arriving.

Rusty Scalf

Pinole Creek snipe

Laura Look <chamaea@...>

This morning (Wed., Dec. 12), about 10:40, a Wilson's Snipe was in the short vegetation in the middle of Pinole Creek in the shadow of the railroad trestle near Fernandez Park. This is the 3rd winter running that I have seen snipe somewhere in the creek.

When I returned to this location about an hour later, I could not relocate the bird.

Close parking is in the public lot on Tennent Ave just north of San Pablo Ave. Walk through Fernandez Park to Pinole Creek and follow the paved trail downstream. In the past, I've seen them both upstream and downstream of San Pablo Ave.

Good birding,
Laura Look
Pinole, CA


John H. Maurer

For Sure!

Can we get this off the listserve?

John H Maurer
John Henry, the (steeldrv)

Judy Sierra wrote:

Don't Look

--- On Tue, 12/11/12, <>
< <>

Bufflehead flight -animated GIF- repost


(The link didn't work for some people, here is another method that might

Duck-rockets, I call them. They are one of the smallest (and cutest) of
and can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour.

The other day on San Leandro Bay the camera actually held its focus and
managed to catch five distant flight shots in sequence of a male
covering a two-second period. It looked like one wing flap but was
really just
a set of fortunate wing positions.

Looking around the web, the best I could calculate is that their actual
wingbeats per second is 8-10. So, I strung the shots together in an
sequence that I estimate presents it flying in slow motion at about 1/3

Follow this link to Flickr and when there, click on the link shown in
the first Comment
below the static picture that shows:

Eurasian Wigeon female; candidate photo

Bob Power <rcpower@...>

Hi all,

Caroline Lambert joined us Sunday for our duck hunt, and came away with a good
comparison photo of

the female wigeon that was closely associating with the Eurasian Wigeon at
Miller-Knox Reg. Park in Pt. Richmond.

The bird on the left is the candidate Eurasian Wigeon. The bird on the right is
the comparison American Wigeon.
Points in favor of Eurasian are:
a much lighter brown look to the head,
consistent light brown look through head, neck,
and body (i.e. not much contrast),
relatively unmarked throat,
steeper forehead structurally than the American Wigeon, and,
lack of a black border along the gape. This seems to be a good fieldmark
for eliminating Eurasian if it's there, but not diagnostic if it's not there ---
as the American
Wigeon appears to be missing this mark as well.

Here's a nice write-up on i.d. challenges for female Eurasian Wigeon which puts
some of the diagnostic weight

on field marks only shown by the spread wing.

Comments welcome,

Bob Power
Oakland, CA

Re: Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus) in Contra Costa Co. photos.

George A Suennen


I was at Jewel Lake in Tilden yesterday and saw about 70 Band-tailed
Pigeons. Three large flocks
that seemed to scatter every time a Turkey Vulture passed over head,
which was often since there
were 5 flying around the area. Here are a few shots:

Seems you had a busy day yesterday.

Thanks for the updates,

On 2012-12-10 11:49 PM, albertlinkowski wrote:

Today, 10/12/2012 at Inspiration Point (Tilden Regional Park), Contra
Costa County, have watched The Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes
vespertinus). I noticed him sitting high atop a pine tree about 30
meters before the first bench on the main trail (ignore the first
bench at the beginning), where it bend sharply to the right. Also in
the area many Pygmy and RB Nuttchaches, Siskins, four Townsend's
Warblers, three RB Sapsuckers, three Varied Thrushes, no less than 120
A.Robins, at least 22 Band-tailed Pigeons (flock of 8,8, 22)

Good birding,

Albert W. Linkowski

poor quality photos


singing Fox Sparrow

Phila Rogers

Dear Friends:

The last two warm days have cast their spell. Late yesterday afternoon,
Golden-Crowned Sparrows were singing their full three-note song out near
Lawrence Hall of Science. and under the oaks a Fox Sparrow, scratching
among the dry leaves, paused long enough to spill forth a liquid melody.
In the mild evenings, tree crickets soft stridulations may be a final call
for mates before the predicted cold rain arrives tonight. Great-horned
Owls continue to duet in the tall eucalyptus.

- Phila Rogers

Count week - report rare birds

Jeff Miller <jmiller@...>

A reminder that the count week for the Eastern Alameda CBC starts today and
runs through Monday, December 17. Please report any rare or unusual birds in
eastern Alameda County to Rich Cimino,

Count week for the Hayward-Fremont CBC begins this Thursday, the 13th and
runs through Wednesday, December 19. Please report any rare or unusual birds
in western Alameda County to Phil and Pat Gordon,

Jeff Miller

Eastern Alameda CBC this Friday

Jeff Miller <jmiller@...>

We still need a few more birders for the 4th annual Eastern Alameda County
Christmas Bird Count this Friday, December 14.

Help us find golden eagles, bald eagles, yellow-billed magpies, Lewis'
woodpeckers, ferruginous hawks, burrowing owls, horned larks, California
thrashers, and more! The Eastern Alameda count circle is in the vicinity of
the towns of Sunol, Pleasanton and Livermore, and includes five East Bay
Regional Parks, SFPUC watershed lands, and many exciting East Bay birding
hotspots such as lower Mines Road, Sunol Wilderness, Calaveras Reservoir and
Springtown Preserve.

Birders and volunteers with any level of experience can participate in the
Christmas Bird Count. Please contact Rich Cimino (
<> More
information about the count at

Jeff Miller

Re: Just look= SPAM


Don't Look

--- On Tue, 12/11/12, <

Just look


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