Re: Early for Flickers? & Odd Scrub-Jay Behavior

Phila Rogers <philajane6@...>

Hi Steve:

Based on my observations over the years, Northern Flickers are year-round residents in Northern California with maybe a few more here in the winter.  With nesting session over, some of the birds may now be dispersing which is why you're seeing them

About that jay -- was it on or near an ant hill?  I have read that some birds 'invite' ants into their feathers as the formic acid helps eliminate certain parasites.

Phila Rogers

--- On Tue, 7/27/10, Steve Hutchcraft <> wrote:

From: Steve Hutchcraft <>
Subject: [EBB_Sightings] Early for Flickers? & Odd Scrub-Jay Behavior
To: "EBB_Sightings"
Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2010, 6:49 PM


Hi all,

I've noticed a couple of Northern Flickers for the last couple of

weeks in Alamo. I don't keep track of comings and goings, but it

seems awfully early for them to return.

Also, I saw what I thought was a dead Western Scrub-Jay this afternoon

in Danville. It was face down in the dirt, with both wings spread out

on the ground. I walked towards it and it stood up, completely fine.

I've seen egrets and herons spread their wings to the sun; same with

vultures. But never a Scrub-Jay or other little bird. A first for

everything, I guess.

Anyway, Happy Birding!



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Black Skimmer, Common Murres in Richmond

Patricia Bacchetti

I went to Miller Knox Regional Shoreline for a previously posted Brant this afternoon between 4:30 and 6:30. Didn't find the Brant, but there were 2 hatch-year California Gulls in the gull flock at the lagoon.

Then, because I'd never been there before, I drove around the point and out to the end of Canal Dr. In the parking lot next to the Red Oak Victory Ship, there's a nice view of the shipping channel and the NW end of Brooks Island. Scoping the channel, there was an adult COMMON MURRE with a chick following it, who was begging and vocalizing. They remained in the channel for 1/2 hour, until they disappeared out into the bay. Scoping across to Brooks Island, a single BLACK SKIMMER was among the large flock of CASPIAN TERNS, WESTERN GULLS with begging young, and CALIFORNIA GULLS. Try as I might, I didn't find any Elegant Terns in the group. There were also a few LONG-BILLED CURLEWS, WILLETS, MARBLED GODWITS, and peeps too far away to identify.

Finally, looking back toward the restored Ford Plant, a beautiful COMMON LOON was swimming near the shore. This is an interesting spot to get a good look out to the island, and the victory ship and old warehouse are picturesque.

Directions: From I 80 east, take I 580 toward Richmond; take the Canal St. exit and go left; continue along Canal until the end of the paved road (there are hand-lettered signs to the victory ship) and park behind the old Neral Warehouse next to the victory ship. From that spot, Brooks Island is right in front of you.

Good birding,

Pat Bacchetti

Early for Flickers? & Odd Scrub-Jay Behavior


Hi all,

I've noticed a couple of Northern Flickers for the last couple of weeks in Alamo. I don't keep track of comings and goings, but it seems awfully early for them to return.

Also, I saw what I thought was a dead Western Scrub-Jay this afternoon in Danville. It was face down in the dirt, with both wings spread out on the ground. I walked towards it and it stood up, completely fine. I've seen egrets and herons spread their wings to the sun; same with vultures. But never a Scrub-Jay or other little bird. A first for everything, I guess.

Anyway, Happy Birding!


Hayward Shoreline (7/26)

Bob Richmond

Seen at the shoreline today -

Shorebirds at Frank's Dump West include

   Pacific Golden-Plover - 1 in non-breeding plumage. All of the plovers were
here and not in Ora Loma Marsh.

   Ruddy Turnstone - 10.

   Black Turnstone - 1.

   Surfbird - 1, with about 20 more seen at San Leandro Marina.

   Red Knot - 80-100.

   Sanderling - 6, but several dozen were seen on the mudflat at the mouth of
San Lorenzo Creek.

Other unusual shorebirds were

   Wandering Tattler - 2 seen at the San Leandro Marina.

   Lesser Yellowlegs - 1 seen on the east side of Ora Loma Marsh.

Other birds

   Black Skimmer - 3 seen south of the Least Tern sign. The young one will
fledge shortly.

   Pelagic Cormorant - 1 seen flying off shore from Frank's Dump West.

   White-tailed Kite - 7, 2 adults and 5 fledglings on the eastside of Ora Loma


Richmond Bayside and Berkeley Pier 7/26/10

Dominik Mosur

Birded the tidal marshes and mudflats between Shimada Park and Pt. Isabel between 10 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. today. Good numbers of 13 species of shorebirds present though no rarities. I did add LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (calling) and WHIMBREL for my Contra Costa County list and saw my first juvenile WESTERN SANDPIPER and juvenile WILLET of the year.

Later I walked out to the end of Berkeley Pier and strained my eyes for 15 minutes looking through the "fenced off" end toward the broken pier before getting distant looks at a pair of PIGEON GUILLEMOTS flying low over the water and disappearing in the swells as they landed. (thanks to Zach Baer for the tip on finding these)

Ironically, as I walked back to my car, I saw a PIGEON GUILLEMOT no more than 40 yards north off the pier, parallel with the 7th lightpost (about 120-140 yards out) The guillemot dove, came up with a fish in its bill, then flew back out toward the end of the pier, presumably to feed a chick (?)

There were also (4) HEERMANN'S GULLS loafing in the parking lot of the HS Lordship restaurant south of the pier parking area.

Good birding,
Dominik Mosur
San Francisco

Semi Sandpiper @ Hayward Shoreline on Friday

Lori Arthur <loriarthur61@...>

Hi everybody; sorry for the late post. Anyway, on Friday I briefly visited
Hayward Shoreline and found the SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER hanging with the flock of
WESTERN SANDPIPERS at Frank's Dump. It occasionally wandered away from the
(mainly sleeping) flock, usually with one or more Westerns that were not as
sleepy as the rest. It appears to be a worn breeding adult, to me, but I'm not
sure, like a Least with dark legs and large, untidy scalloped markings on the
scapular area. I mainly made the ID by shape, because the heat-haze interfered
with seeing much plumage pattern. Other shorebirds included WILLET, SANDERLING,
AMERICAN AVOCET, and others, but I didn't have much time and mainly focused on
the peep flock. Also FORSTER'S TERN and CLIFF SWALLOW on the walk from the
parking lot.

Albany Mudflats -- Sunday morning

Amy McDonald <amymcd@...>

Hi all,

Albany Mudflats had a nice variety and good numbers of shorebirds this morning
during the incoming tide, including a single RED KNOT. Details are below.

DOWITCHER sp. - 125 est.

Amy McDonald
San Jose

Western Tanager yardbird, San Ramon

SteveLombardi <hot-rock@...>

Yesterday we had our first ever Western Tanager in our backyard in San Ramon. The bird stayed around for a few minutes, and seems to have moved on.

Hayward Shoreline Golden Plover


I visited the Hayward Shoreline today at 10am to catch the high tide. I first headed to the landing where I found a few shorebirds hanging out on the remaining shoreline. I also noticed thousands of shorebirds flying past and soon located the Peregrine that was responsible.

In one of the airborne plover flocks was a Golden Plover which I identified by the lack of black armpits, longer and narrower wings then the nearby black-bellieds and a thinner-longer bill. The birds was in non-breeding plumage. Even though I got an extended look at this bird in flight I don't believe there is any way that I can fully ID this bird past Golden Plover sp. though it was most likely a Pacific. Any additional opinions on Golden Plover ID in flight would be great!!!

Shortly afterwards I met Dominik Mosur and we birded Frank's Dump, which is apparently where the Peregrine just came from leaving few peeps to sort through. We did however find a nice assortment of shorebirds:

Several Short-billed Dows
2 Red-necked Phalaropes
3 Sanderlings
3 Ruddy Turnstones
15 Red Knots
1 Snowy Plover

We then headed over to the Hayward Ponds which held at least 7 Boneparte's Gulls.

Finally we visited the tern colony towards the Hayward Interpretive Center and found 1 Black Skimmer and Several Least terns feeding young. We actually were able to hear the young least terns beg to the parents which is actually a quite a distinctive call and one I had never heard before.

Good Birding,

Zach Baer

White Pelicans

johnh.maurer <johnh.maurer@...>

This afternoon on the Bay Trail north of Point Isabel we saw a flight of 8 or 10 white pelicans flying south.

White pelican
Song sparrow
California brown towhee
Long billed curlew
One lonely lost looking avocet
One lonely lost looking scaup (greater?)
Double crested cormorant
Western gull
Brewer's blackbird

Hayward shoreline 7/22


I took a brisk walk from the Interpretive Center to the spit/point just south of
the long bridge south of Cogswell Marsh. (sorry, I'm not familiar w/ all the
names for the landings, etc.) Two Least Terns were flying back & forth from the
bay to the large pond where Forster's Terns were nesting. I never saw them w/
any food. Have they nested there this year? Off that point just south of the
long bridge were 12 Scaup. I didn't have my scope, but I'm pretty sure they were
Greaters. Is this a bit early for them?

Joe Devine
Modesto, Ca

More Peregrines


At Cesar Chavez Park today, we saw a a pair of Peregrine Falcons fly by
heading toward the race track, possibly to take more pigeons as in our
encounter last week. Also present was our first Spotted Sandpiper of the season.

Brian Fitch & Crew

Hayward Shoreline - Wednesday morning

bdisme51 <bdisme51@...>

Sorry about posting late but had problems getting to this site.

The following were seen Wednesday morning 7/21/2010:

Pacific Golden-Plover...seen just as the incoming tide was coving the mudflat just north of the mouth of Blockman Channel. I was able to watch it a few minutes before it flew off to the south with about eight Black-bellied Plovers. I could not relocate it at Frank's Dump West later on.

The Semipalmated Sandpiper was present about 9:30am at Frank's Dump West but I could not relocate it an hour later. Also present were 4 Wilson's Phalaropes, 2 Red-necked Phalropes, Snowy and Semipalmated Plovers and a single Ruddy Turnstone. No luck on finding any Red Knots or the Whimbrel. Also had three Least Terns fly by that were pointed out by Bob Richmond.

Three Ruddy Turnstones and two Black Turnstones were at Hayward Landing.

A single Bonaparte's Gull was in the Hayward City Pond just east of Mt. Trashmore.

At the San Leandro marina there were about a dozen each of Black Turnstones and Surfbirds.

No Oystercatchers seen by me today.

Bob Dunn
San Leandro

Fall Migration


The reports of the shorebirds at Frank's Dump in Hayward is an indication of the fall migration now underway. Birders in Central Chile have reported Whimbrel, Hudsonian Godwit, Greater Yellowlegs and Willet already. That's a big jump.

For myself, while failing to find any Lesser Nighthawks at the end of Diablo Vista in Byron last night, Paul Schorr and I did have three Long-billed Dowitchers and one Least Sandpiper. One of the dowitchers was in brilliant plumage.

Unfortunately, it will be a week before I can make it to Frank's Dump.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Hayward Shore line Tuesday evening

richard s. cimino

Last night at 7:30 PM Bob Richmond and I were able to locate the
Semipalmated Sandpiper he reported earlier on Tuesday, - 1 seen on the
north side of Franks dump at high tide.
There are many Western Sandpipers to sort through, good luck.
All the shorebird's reported earlier on Tuesday were present with the
addition of a single Whimbrel being found..
Have a good day,
Rich Cimino

Hayward Shoreline (07/20)

Bob Richmond

Seen at the shoreline today -

Shorebirds at Frank's Dump West during the AM high tide -

   Semipalmated Sandpiper - 1, seen on the north side. Since the low tide that
followed was not very low, I called Zach Baer and he was able to
      find it.

   Black-necked Stilt
   American Avocet
   Black Oystercatcher - 3 flying just offshore.
   Black-bellied Plover
   Semipalmated Plover - 2
   Short-billed Dowitcher - 3
   Dowitcher sp. - 100 (estimate)
   Marbled Godwit
   Long-billed Curlew
   Ruddy Turnstone - 4
   Red Knot - 35 to 40
   Sanderling - 7
   Western Sandpiper
   Least Sandpiper
   Red-necked Phalarope - 1
   Wilson's Phalarope - 1


Albany Bulb & Tilden


Today on the Albany Mudflats, a drake American Wigeon joined the small
summering flock of Greater Scaup and their attendant Canvasback. Out on the
bulb, a flock of 20 Black Turnstones and a single Ruddy flew in and landed
near us.

Yesterday in Tilden, a female Belted Kingfisher was working Jewel Lake,
while a group of woodpeckers occupied the pines just north of the Nature
Center. 3 Nuttall's, at least 2 Hairys, and a Downy were all visible in short
succession or simultaneously.

And last Thursday, a juv/female Hooded Oriole flew over us at the Berkeley
Marina, heading from the direction of the soccer fields out toward the
Brian Fitch & Crew

Marsh Wren

Deborah Hecht <hechtlich@...>

I was w/friends at Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District ponds last week,
around 10:30 a.m. After watching all the Cliff Swallows who are too quick
and numerous to count, and whose nests are under the bridge, the first bird
I saw was what looked like a Marsh Wren. It was standing just outside the
reeds on a mudbank. I called one of my friends over so she could see, too.
Her husband, who had the spotting scope, wasn't with us at that point.
Another wren-like bird ran up in a wren-like way to this bird and they both
ran forward into the reeds in front of them. We were too far away to really
note anything more than that it had the shape of a wren, the upright tail of
a wren, and was tiny. Has anyone out there seen a Marsh Wren? I ask
because later on, we encountered another birder who lived in the area, and
when I said we may have seen a Marsh Wren, she said we couldn't have, they
are never seen out on the mud flats where we were, only where she lives.
She said it was probably a song sparrow. I thought that was a kind of
proprietary statement - they either are or aren't seen out on mudflats, even
if only occasionally.

We also saw:
3 Black-crowned Night Herons
Numerous White Pelicans
3 Cinnamon Teals
Numerous Mallards, male and female, and Mallard ducklings
1 Green Heron (in flight)
1 Northern Harrier (in flight)
Several Mockingbirds
Black-necked Stilts (numerous)
1 Amorphous Grebe
Great Egrets (numerous)
Snowy Egrets (numerous)
Canada Geese (numersous - be careful where you step if you go out there)

-Debbie Hecht

Re: Collared Dove



I'll reply to my own message.

According to Tilden Nature Area naturalist Bethany Facendini, a collared dove was seen in the Tilden area this spring.

So there goes my claim to fame (again).

John Poole

Carquinez Strait RS

Laura Look <chamaea@...>

The GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS which were first reported at the beginning of June continue along the Carquinez Overlook Loop Trail at Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline near Crockett. The most reliable location is in the grasses downhill from the bench overlooking the strait about 0.2 miles from Bull Valley Staging Area. The sparrows are no longer singing. Today (Sun. July 18), the one we saw was carrying some sort of white insect around in his bill. I'm hoping this is evidence of a nest nearby.

Also seen were an Osprey with a fish and 2 juvenile Lark Sparrows. Western Bluebirds are frequently around the hill by the parking lot.

We also had a EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE flyby. Unfortunately, we are seeing these with increasing regularity at San Pablo Bay RS (end of Pinole Shores Dr in Pinole) and Martinez RS.

Good birding,
Laura Look
Pinole, CA

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