MacGillivray's Warbler- Nimitz Way Saturday


On April 13, the MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER continued just past
the 0.25 mile trail marker on the Nimitz Way trail, Inspiration Point, in Tilden Park. Having missed the morning show (1015- as told by several observers), I waited until about 1230pm before the warbler put on another show. It was seen on the right side on the road about 50 yards past the trail marker. It perched in some nearby bushes for about a minute or two. PYGMY NUTHATCHES and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES were
seen as well in the area.

Calvin D Lou
San Francisco

Chipping and Rufous-Crowned Sparrows

Jeff Acuff

This morning just past the intersection of the Briones-Mt Diablo trail and the Borges Ranch Trail (south of Borges Ranch, Walnut Creek) I found 2-4 chipping sparrows, 4-6 rufous-crowned sparrows and a lark sparrow all active at the same location.  One rufous-crowned sparrow was gathering nest material and one chipping sparrow was singing.

Elsewhere on the trails south of Borges Ranch, western kingbirds and Bullock's orioles were fairly abundant (although not quite as abundant as bicyclists), and I stumbled upon a pair of rock wrens.

Good Birding,
Jeff Acuff


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Donner Canyon added to Birding Hotspots map

VN <verne_nelson@...>

I added the two parking locations for Donner Canyon to the SF East Bay
Birding Hotspots map as: Donner Canyon 1 and Donner Canyon 2:
You can get complete driving directions to either location by clicking
on the Pin list item, and when it pops up select "Directions" and enter
your starting location.
Not having been there, I studied the Google Map (and think this is
correct). After parking and walking to the trail you go south. There
are at least two trails to take. On the map one is Donner Creek Fire
Trail - to Donner Canyon, and the other is Back Creek Trail - to Back
Canyon...which also looks like an interesting birding area.
BTW, the parking is free (as opposed to Mitchell Canyon).

GGAS Bird-a-Thon April 12, 2013 Inspiration Pointers Team

Alan Kaplan <lnkpln@...>


Great weather today (April 12, 2013, Friday) at Tilden Regional Park for our Golden Gate Audubon Society Bird-a-Thon effort for The Inspiration Pointers !
We met at 8:30am, finished about 4 hours later, walked from Inspiration Point on the Nimitz Way about 3 miles (out and back), and had 55 species.

MacGillivray's Warbler, one of our target birds today, was where it has been seen these past weeks, just past the .25 m marker and on the westside of the road. It moved between the oak tree where it spends most of its time, and the pine forest a bit before.
It sang several times.

Our other target bird was the California Thrasher, which we heard in several places around the 1 mile marker but did not see.

The other special and unexpected bird was an Acorn Woodpecker, always uncommon anytime of the year in Tilden. We had a flyover, then it landed for a good period to observe, and then took off for parts unknown.

Thanks to Pat, Stan, Sue, Susan, Marilyn, Maury, Marsha, Jim and Linda, Doug, Mimi, Connie, Suzanne, and Linda for a great effort for the birds!

Here is the list:

Canada Goose
California Quail
Wild Turkey
Double-crested Cormorant
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Caspian Tern
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (for a Picidae Grand Slam)
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Cassin's Vireo
Hutton's Vireo
Steller's Jay
Western-scrub Jay
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch (for a Nuthatch Hat-trick)
Bewick's Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
California Thrasher
Orange-crowned Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Purple Finch
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch

Best of Boids!

Alan Kaplan

Berkeley: Northern Rough-Winged Swallows


At 6 this evening there were at least four northern rough-winged swallows flying and calling around the heaps of dirt and rock just off the west end of the Aquatic Park Bridge. One individual perched for long periods on an isolated rock on the edge of the eastern-most heap for excellent viewing.

Good birding!
Marilyn Kinch

(I searched the archive and did not find this location mentioned for rough-wings; please let me know if they are commonly to be found there. Thank you.)

Rufous Hummingbird today --Friday Apr 12th in San Ramon

Eugenia Larson

East Bay Birders:

Late this afternoon I had a beautiful male Rufous Hummingbird visit my
hummingbird feeder briefly in San Ramon. This is the earliest that we have
ever had a Rufous in the yard that we know of; usually we only see them on
their return from the mountains in August.

Eugenia Larson

Canyon Lakes South

San Ramon

Point Reyes Birding and Nature Festival

Dan Singer <dsg2@...>

Hi birders,

Only 2 weeks until the Point Reyes Birding & Nature Festival, April 26th through 28th! Visit: to purchase tickets today! The Festival offers over 70 field outings with many of the Bay Area's best guides, as well as wildflower and dragonfly walks and a nature photography workshop. All proceeds support the habitat conservation work of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin.

Hope you can make it!


Dan Singer
San Rafael

This morning along the Nimitz

Phila Rogers

Dear Friends:

Sylvia Hawley and I, mindful of the directions to where the Macgillvary's
Warbler is nesting, were heartened by a woman coming our way who was elated
about seeing the bird (a lifer for her). Photographers George Suennen and
Allen Hirsh were standing in the roadway, cameras on the ready, but as yet
had not seen the birds. We continued on to my favorite bench overlooking
misty Contra Costa County and drank our tea. It was in this spot last year
where we heard a Lazuli Bunting singing in the coyote bush. From far below
we could hear California Quail calling, and in the high pines, Pygmy
Nuthatches chittering.

Returning to the now-famous site, I heard the characteristic sharp chip of
the Macvillary's Warbler and the quick movement of a brownish bird in the
underbrush, and then the bright male flew west across the road to the small

Returning to our car, we paused at the west-facing bench listening to the
bouyant, bubbling song of a House Wren coming from near the lower trail.
Swallows swerved back and forth in front of the eucalyptus (too far away to
tell if they were Violet-green or Tree Swallows).

We stopped to talk to Maury Stern and two friends (my, that lad does get

A perfect, mild and windless morning in this ripest month, when purple
Italian thistles compete for space with the wild oats which have grown as
tall as they will for this dry spring, the oats bedecked with pennants
holding next year's seed. Was it the flowering mustard which scented the

Looking across at the eucalyptus grove, I wondered if the Olive-sided
Flycatcher will appear soon to fling out its cheerful, celebratory song, or
if this welcome bird will fail to return like so many of its kin, earning
it the title of a "bird of special concern."

-- Phila Rogers

Nimitz Way, Tilden Park - MacGillivray's Warbler, Violet-green Swallow, Osprey

George A Suennen

Hello all,

Allen and I stopped by the Nimitz Way location to look for the MacGillvray's Warbler.
While there we spotted a pair of Violet-green Swallows, lots of Wilson's Warblers, and
2 pair of Western Bluebirds. While talking to Phila Rogers, who happened to walk by,
I saw a couple of Red-tailed Hawks (plus a small group of Ravens) circle over head. After
they past, I saw what I thought was another one come fly over, but it turned out to be
an Osprey. It circled twice then proceeded east.

After waiting around for about half an hour, we decided to leave, but as we walk
back I spotted the MacGillivray's singing in a pine tree on the west side of the trail.
It kept it's back to us while it sang, so didn't get the best shot possible:

(Phila I did whistle, but I don't think you heard me)

Also had a mystery bird, which looks like a warbler, but I couldn't id:

Maybe someone might have an idea.

Full set of photos at:

Best Regards,

Mitchell Canyon April 12, 2013

William Chilson

A few spring arrivals and migrants were present today. Highlights include:

house wren

blue-gray gnatcatcher (1)

Allen's hummingbird (1)

Hammond's flycatcher (1)

warbling vireo - many

Cassin's vireo - several

Wilson's warbler - many

blackheaded grosbeak - many

black-throated gray warbler - several

Nashville warbler (1)

Donner Canyon


Donner Canyon is on the north side of Mt. Diablo State Park. It's parallel to Mitchell Canyon with Back Canyon between them. You can get to Donner Canyon through Clayton, California on Clayton Road past Mitchell Canyon and into Clayton downtown. Turn right on Marsh Creek Road and go through town a short way to Mountaire Parkway--turn right and go to the end of the road. Below you will be Donner Canyon entrance.  If you go farther on Marsh Creek Road you can turn right on Regency Drive. Go to the end and you will be on the opposite side of Donner Canyon just above the entrance.

Maury Stern

Donner Canyon 4/11


I was at Donner Canyon today for 3 hours. I took Donner Cyn to Heatherington Loop Trail back to Donner Canyon and then down.

Highlights included 2 sightings of Hammond's Flycatcher in the beautiful Blue Oaks next to the trail and a Hooded Oriole male and Bullock's Oriole male near the gate at the start of the walk. There were at least 40 male Audubon Warblers and 10 Myrtle Warblers in almost full breeding plumage. A Hermit Thrush sang a section of its song. 

Wildflowers were just appearing on Heatherington Loop with Ithuriel's Spear, Blue Dicks, Jack Clover,Alium, California Poppies, and best of all Fairy Lanterns.

Maury Stern

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Donner Canyon on 4/9

Noah Arthur

On Tuesday, Albert Linkowski and I birded Donner Canyon, searching for flycatchers which we never found (sorry for the late posting -- I've been having trouble finding exactly where in Donner Canyon we were). There were few birds along most of our walk, until we got to the Cardinet Oaks picnic ground (does anybody know exactly where on a map this picnic area is? I can't find it on Google Maps). On a hilltop above the picnic ground we heard and then saw a male MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (calling, not singing). When Albert played the song on his ipod, the warbler disappeared instead of coming closer! Down the hill at Cardinet Oaks there was a NASHVILLE WARBLER and an apparent 'CASSIAR' JUNCO: a male junco with very dull gray-brown replacing the warm brown areas of Oregon Junco, but still with a distinct black hood, unlike Slate-colored. On our walk back, we saw several mixed flocks of finches and bluebirds in the oak savannah, one of which contained a CASSIN'S
Butterflies were even better than birds. PALE SWALLOWTAILS were common, as well as a few WESTERN TIGER SWALLOWTAILS and one that might be a PALE/TWO-TAILED SWALLOWTAIL HYBRID (but no pure Two-tailed...) Many smaller butterfly species included my first THICKET HAIRSTREAK.
Altogether a great day in a beautiful place I never knew about before!
Noah Arthur, Oakland

Re: Greater Roadrunner continues in Brentwood

Hilary Powers <hilary@...>

On 4/11/2013 3:45 PM, Denise Wight wrote:
A photo from Pacific Grove Court:
Wonderful pic! The ones in Sibley don't begin to make it so clear that roadrunners have feet like parrots - two toes forward and two aft.

- Hilary Powers - - Oakland CA -
- Freelance copyediting and developmental editing -
- "Making Word Work for You" - -
- The edit you want - online, on time, and on target -
- Needle Felting: or -

Greater Roadrunner continues in Brentwood

Denise Wight

Hi E.B.Birders,

I finally saw the Greater Roadrunner at Deer Ridge in Brentwood.  I got there at 8:30am, eventually locating it about 10:30am. The bird was sunning on the roof of a yellow house, fifth from the corner of St. Andrews and Spanish Bay Drive, as viewed from below, near the golf course at the corner of Pacific Grove Court and Saint Andrews Drive. (Thanks to everyone who contributed detailed directions). 

Kathy Parker drove up, and we watched the bird move west along the fence line in the field above the golf course.  It appeared near us on St. Andrews Drive, then headed downhill on Pacific Grove Court.  We watched it until it disappeared behind a house near the bottom of the hill near the opening to the golf green on the east.

The roadrunner repeatedly made single coos while on the roof, and later while on the road.  It also made a low growl, which I caught on video (dogs were barking at the time).

A photo from Pacific Grove Court:

Also of interest were Say's Phoebes "singing" their full song and fighting with other birds in at least four locations around the golf course. The pond further to the east along St. Andrews Drive had two Great-tailed Grackles and a Common Gallinule.

All the Best Birding,
Denise Wight
Moraga, CA

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Castle Rock Regional Park, this morning


Three first of the season birds were found between 8am and 9am, this morning, in Castle Rock Regional Park (Pine Canyon), Walnut Creek: CASSIN'S VIREO, PACIFIC SLOPE FLYCATCHER and BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. These were located along a stretch of Stage Rd.(the main trail out of the park proper) between the cattle gate and the first stream crossing. A particularly birdy morning, it was. The relatively short walk was nothing less than a bird song field lab. If you haven't heard the outsized voice of the Cassin's Vireo, you should treat yourself. And the remaining YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS are in particularly fine feather.

A great spring to all,
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek

MacGillivray's Warbler, Nimitz trail, from Inspiration Point

Donald Lewis

The MacGillivray's Warbler continued Wednesday just past the 0.25 mile trail marker on the Nimitz Way trail, Inspiration Point, Tilden Park. Bob Dunn and I easily found it just before noon, about 100 ft to the right of the trail, in a thick, low oak tree. This was after going on the nearby MDAS Orinda connector field trip (54 species).

Don Lewis
Lafayette, CA

Yellow-headed Blackbird at Lake Elizabeth, Fremont

Charlotte Allen <c.allen@...>

Yesterday at 5:00pm I found a bright male Yellow-headed Blackbird with a group of Brewer's Blackbirds on the lawn at Lake Elizabeth. I didn't have a camera with me, so no pictures, alas.

Charlotte Allen

GGAS Birdathon (4/10) - Team EBBA 135 species (120 photographed)

Jerry Ting

Today (4/10) Davor Desancic and I started our tour at 6:40AM and ended at 7:40PM with total 135 species seen/heard and we were able to photograph 120 of them. During the 13-hour period we visited:

Pacific Commons Linear Park, Fremont
Lake Elizabeth, Fremont
Stivers Lagoon Nature Center, Fremont
Vargas Plateau, Fremont
Niles Canyon Head/Alameda Creek trail, Fremont
Union City Library Pond, Union City
San Leandro Marina, San Leandro
Arrowhead Marsh, Oakland
Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary, Alameda
Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
Garin Regional Park, Fremont

Highlights include:
Pacific Commons Linear Park:
-Swamp Sparrow (1)
-Great-tailed Grackle (2) - male and female
-Whimbrel (5)
-Greater White-fronted Goose (1)

Lake Elizabeth:
-Cattle Egret (1)
-Rufous Hummingbird (1)
-Red-breasted Nuthatch (1)

Vagars Plateau:
-Loggerhead Shrike (1)
-Band-tailed Pigeon (8)
-Western Kingbird (1)

Niles Canyon:
-Spotted Sandpiper (2)
-Ring-necked Duck (2) male and female

Arrowhead Marsh:
-Caspian Tern (6)
-California Clapper Rail (1)

Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary:
-Sanderling (10+)
-Black Oystercatcher (1)

Coyote Hills Regional Park:
-Eurasian Wigeon (1)
-Rock Wren (2)
-Great Horned Owl (1) in nest with at least 1 owlet
-American Bittern (1)
-Ring-necked Pheasant (3)
-Wilson's Snipe (1)

Garin Regional Park:
-Pacific-slope Flycatcher (1)
-Grasshopper Sparrow (1)
-Hooded Oriole (1)

Photos will be posted later.

Happy Birding,

Jerry Ting

Black-throated Gray Warbler - Black Diamond Mines R. P. - 4/10

Paul Schorr

This morning we located a Black-throated Gray Warbler in the willows just northwest of the entrance kiosk.

Other notable sightings included;

Lawrence's Goldfinch - pair at the drinking fountain in the upper picnic area
Phainopepla - in the same area as described in previous postings
Bullock's Oriole
California Quail
Rock Wren

In addition, Dan Sandri, whom we met on the trail, shared that he discovered a Nashville Warbler at the upper picnic area drinking fountain.

Good birding,

Paul and Nancy Schorr

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