Richmond Great-tailed Grackle (local interest)

Laura Look <chamaea@...>

This morning (Mon., May 13) about 11:15 am, a male GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE flew past the Wildcat Marsh Trail in Richmond.

Although they are often seen around Waterbird Regional Preserve near Martinez, this is the first I've seen on this side of Contra Costa County. The bird flew past the Wildcat Marsh and Creek Trails and disappeared into trees south of Wildcat Creek.

The Wildcat Marsh Trail runs between the trailhead for the Landfill Loop Trail (at the end of Parr Blvd) and the tail of the Wildcat Creek Trail. The closest parking to the area where I saw the grackle would be the Wildcat Creek Trailhead, accessible along the west side of Richmond Parkway southbound between Pittsburg Ave and Gertrude Ave. Follow the Wildcat Creek Trail about 0.25 miles to the Wildcat Marsh Trail.

Wild Turkeys, including chicks, were among the solar panels near the Landfill Loop Trailhead. A fuzzy half-sized "teenage" Killdeer was with adults along the Wildcat Marsh Trail.

Good birding,
Laura Look
Pinole, CA

Clapper Rail at Arrowhead and the PRBO Proxy vote

Len Blumin

Greetings EBB'ers-

Some of us in the North Bay still leave our coastal cocoons on occasion,
and last week I enjoyed the hundreds of Red-necked Phalaropes and the
Black Skimmer pair at Don Edwards NWR in the south bay, followed by
fascinating views of a preening Clapper Rail at Arrowhead Marsh near the
Oakland Airport. For video see:

Additional note of interest to members and supporters of PRBO Conservation

If you are a member of PRBO you likely received a proxy ballot recently, as
well as an email today urging you to complete and return the proxy
statement (see below). If you were wondering what to do about your ballot,
read on.

Many of us are concerned that the PRBO membership has not had a voice
regarding the name change to "Point Blue Conservation Science". Four of us
met with Ellie Cohen and Ed Sarti and specifically requested that the
membership be allowed to vote on the name change at the Annual Meeting on
June 5th. Our request was summarily denied, with words like "this is not a
democracy". We did not feel their response was acceptable. Our meeting had
a distinct "corporate" atmosphere, and it wasn't fun, and we still feel
that members can and should be heard.

The current PRBO proxy ballot offers you an opportunity to at least
indirectly send a message to the PRBO leadership and to the PRBO Board that
you are *not happy* with the recent developments in the organization. A
vote on your proxy to "Withhold" approval on all nominees will tell them
that this is not business as usual, and that membership is speaking out.
Withholding your vote could mean that for the current election that a
qualified directors may have to wait a while for election to the Board,
which is unfortunate. Besides withholding your vote, you may also consider
the option of crossing out the names Ellie Cohen and Edward Sarti, and
inserting the names Leonard Blumin and Patricia Blumin. Whatever your
feelings, vote!

Please also consider writing to Ellie [ecohen@...] and Ed [
riverhiker@...] and others on the PRBO Board to express your support or
concern about recent events, if you haven't already done so. And hopefully
some of you will attend the "informational meeting" on May 19th (see
below). So far we have read a lot of about the name "Point Blue", and a
vision of how the change is going to help the organization move on to
bigger and better things. For some of us the words rang hollow, and or even
didn't seem to make sense. PRBO has achieved stunning success using the
name "PRBO Conservation Science". Why change now, and leave behind the rich
heritage and a connection to that magnificent natural landscape? Point
Blue? Seriously??

PRBO ("Point Reyes Bird Observatory" remains the legal name today, btw),
with its talented staff and leadership, has been a leader in conservation
science for decades, and its programs have enriched the lives of many
supporters and lovers of the natural environment. We who are members of the
"Yes or No on Point Blue" committee hope to the organization continue its
fine work in a manner that respects the beliefs and values of it staff and

From a recent PRBO email:

Your 2013 PRBO proxy statement was mailed to you this week. Your vote is
very important.

Thank you for completing and returning your proxy as soon possible in the
postage-paid envelope provided.

We hope you will also join us for an informational meeting on Sunday, May
19, 2013 from 10-11:30 AM at our Petaluma headquarters about our strategic
priorities and our transition to *Point Blue Conservation Science*. RSVP if
you plan to attend by emailing Nancy Gamble at

Hope we have not offended you with our advocacy views on this usually
neutral birding group page

Len Blumin and Patti Blumin, Mill Valley, California
Members of the "Yes or No on Point Blue" committee

Wildcat Canon, Berkeley and other locations

j.chiropolos <j.chiropolos@...>

On Sunday Ann Griffith and I went for a bike ride in Wildcat canyon and the birding was quite good.

On the inspiration point trail, past mile marker 2 or 3, and down the Conlan trail we probably heard 30? lazuli buntings birds singing on their territory. They were probably the most common bird on the ride. Grasshopper sparrows are also common, we probably heard between 10 and 15 singing birds. Also seen were two lark sparrows and a purple finch. On the Conlan trail about 100 yards off the intersection with the Inspiration point trail is a large pine tree, the biggest tree for over a mile in all directions. There was a warbler flock of at least 5 birds in the pine, with three hermit warblers and two Townsends. How many warblers slip through Tilde/Berkeley undetected because of the extent of vegatation that makes them hard to find? On the way home, we saw a olive-sided flycatcher in suburban Berkeley on the top of snag by Mendicino and Arlington, very close to the Marin traffic circle.

On Saturday, Derek Heins and I biked from Patterson to the junction up Del Puerto canyon. It got a little warm on the climb up the junction but the birding was GREAT! Some noteworthy birds:

A HOODED ORIOLE in the Patterson fast food area off the highway, nesting in the palms?
Two BLUE GROSBEAKS in the drainage after the turnoff to Del Puerto.
Four groups of LAWENCES GOLDFINCH, including at Owl Rock, Frank Raines Park and the junction. This is the easiest they have ever been to find. YELLOW BILLED MAGPIES were also more common than past years.
A singing CANYON WREN by the rock formations at mile marker 8. On past rides, we have also seen canyon wrens around mile marker 19.
PHAINOPEPLAS were everywhere. We saw at least 14. Amazingly, all the birds we saw were males! Not one female was seen. Anybody have an explanation for that?
Two SWAINSON"S HAWKS, including one right at the turn-off, probalby the juvinile seen by an earlier birding group.
Hot and tired at the junction, we were rewarded by three LEWIS WOODPECKETS doing a swallow imitation about 150 up. Fascinating bird towatch in flight with the very wide wings and the spikey tail. I was surprised to see them hawking insects up high and not returning to a perch between sallies. We were glad we didn't have to bike far down San Antinio valley road in the heat to find them!
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS and BEWICKS wrens may have neen the two most vocal birds, we biked to their songs during most of the ride.
A large bat flying in the daylight by the spring at the 19 mile mark. The bat had a very rufous body.
On the way back, we saw one HORNED LARK in the grasslands at mile marker one.
We tried to find a Costa's hummingbird in the tobacco plants by owl rock, but the best we could do was three anna's hummingbirds and one other hummer who couldn't get a good enough look at.
Some migrants were also seen in the canyon, including a WESTERN TANAGER, WESTERN PEEWEE, WILSONS WARBLER AND ORANGE CROWNED WARBLERS.
We concur that the TRI-COLORED BLACKBIRD colony seems smaller this year by the junction.
I think we found 65 species by the end of the day, buit no Costas hummingbirds......



Tanager @ Hummingbird Feeder?

Jim Roethe

Yesterday I saw what I thought was a female Western Tanager fly to the
hummingbird feeder just outside my home office window in North Orinda--for a
drink of water from the ant guard. The bird was not after the nectar.

I was confused when I thought a heard some chattering -- more like an
oriole. This bird was light greenish yellow on its head, breast and throat.
No orange. Two white wing bars and a short bill that I thought was more
rounded like a Tanager -- but the chattering threw me off. Could this have
been an Orchard Oriole? The bill was clearly not the long pointed bill of
a Hooded Oriole and there was no orange on the breast like I would expect
of a Bullock's Oriole.

I tried to get a picture, but the bird was gone before I could get my



Jim Roethe

Re: EBB Sightings


referral link

-------- -------- -------- -------- -------- -------- -------- -------- -------- --------
From: Judi Sierra 13/05/2013 14:55:03

Mitchell Canyon

Derek Heins <derek.heins@...>

I birded Mitchell Canyon from 7:30 to 1pm today. A Cooper's Hawk met me at the gate leading to the main trail as a single Band-tailed Pigeon watched from a nearby tree. A Western Wood Pewee was fly-catching at the junction of the White Canyon trail. Couldn't locate Calliope Hummingbirds or Sage Sparrows up White Canyon but had great views of a few Lazuli Buntings and a pair of Yellow Warblers. I then took the main trail up to Deer Flat, where a nice flock included a two Hermit Warblers and a wheezing Gnatcatchers. Overall, the main trail was very active with Black-headed Grosbeaks, Warbling Vireos, Orange-crowned Warblers and Lazuli Buntings singing at every turn. It seemed that Swainson's Thrushes were calling everywhere I went, but I only caught a glimpse of one. Lastly, I had three Western Tanagers.

Derek Heins

Bluebirds on Mother's Day at Albany/El Cerrito Border

Alan Kaplan <lnkpln@...>


Today, May 12, 2013, we saw activity at the bluebird box installed by Rusty Scalf last year on the big tree just north of Brighton and Key Route at the Albany/El Cerrito border. Feeding flights in and out by mother and father, and a little housekeeping (removal of fecal sac) by the dad! Another successful Rusty bluebird effort (to go with the Berkeley San Pablo Park successes).

This median strip is also active with House Finches and Black Phoebes. Between Brighton and Lynn (Brighton is in Albany, so the median is called Key Route there; Lynn is in El Cerrito so it changes name to Ashbury) there is always something to see. Oak Titmouse and Bewick's Wren serenade regularly, too.

Urban Birding at its best!

Best of Boids!

Alan Kaplan

Yellow-breeasted Chat

Steve Huckabone

This morning about 8:10am I had a Yellow-breasted Chat along the East Shore Trail at south Lake del Valle. I heard the chat before reaching the valley floor from the bridge. A short time later I had great looks at the chat in the brush along the East Shore Trail about 100 yards north of the bridge. Always a treat to see and hear.

Good birding.

Steve Huckabone
Livermore, CA
Alameda County

Golden Gate Audubon Society Second Friday Birdwalk, 10 May 2013 Briones Regional Park

Alan Kaplan <lnkpln@...>


Briones Regional Park--Bear Creek Staging Area, Contra Costa, US-CA

Golden Gate Audubon Society Second Friday Birdwalk, 10 May 2013, meeting at the Bear Creek staging area of Briones Regional Park, and walking to the scout camp/Archery Range/ acorn woodpecker trees. Sylvia Hawley joined us (and left to meet Phila Rogers, who is convalescing from a broken shoulder- we all wish her a speedy recovery!). Bob Brandrieff attended, again. Sue Morgan from Tuesday for the Birds came, too.

Butterflies were pipevine swallowtail, tiger swallowtail, Lorquin's admiral (many), buckeye, Edith's chalcedon checkerspot, Sara's orange tip, alfalfa, and cabbage white.

We started with a bang: Lazuli Buntings in copulo ! (twice !) FOS Ash-throated flycatcher for me and several others. eBird shows this was the week that Ash-throateds arrived (May 3 thru today May 10), but few Chipping Sparrows have been seen yet (and none today, by us).

Here is the list:

43 species

California Quail X
Wild Turkey X
American White Pelican 20 flyover, we were near the San Pablo Reservoir
Great Blue Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 3 makes it official !
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1 heard
Red-tailed Hawk X
Mourning Dove X
White-throated Swift X
Anna's Hummingbird X
Acorn Woodpecker 2
Nuttall's Woodpecker 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher X
Pacific-slope Flycatcher X
Ash-throated Flycatcher X FOS for many, lots of them and good looks at them, too. Lots of vocalization.
for a Flycatcher hat trick !
Hutton's Vireo X
Warbling Vireo X
Steller's Jay X
Western Scrub-Jay X
American Crow X
Common Raven X
for a Corvid grand slam !
Violet-green Swallow X
Barn Swallow X
Chestnut-backed Chickadee X
Oak Titmouse X
Bushtit X
Brown Creeper 2
Bewick's Wren X
Wrentit X
Western Bluebird X
European Starling X bringing food to nest
Orange-crowned Warbler X
Wilson's Warbler X
Spotted Towhee X
California Towhee X
Song Sparrow X
Dark-eyed Junco X
Black-headed Grosbeak X
Lazuli Bunting X in copulo
Red-winged Blackbird X
Purple Finch X
Lesser Goldfinch X

Upcoming events; Thursday, May 16, talk on Alaska as the breeding grounds for the Pacific Flyway shorebirds we love to see around the Bay. Program at 7:30pm at the Northbrae Community Church, just south of Solano Avenue, on The Alameda in Berkeley.
Next First Friday GGAS birdwalk at Tilden Nature Area, June 7, 2013 at 8:30 (meet in the Nature Area parking lot in front of the Little Farm/EEC). We'll continue our theme of the Neuroscience of Birdsong: how birds learn to sing.

Best of Boids!

Alan Kaplan

Belated report--Mount Diablo 5/4-5/5

Logan Kahle

Hi all,
Sorry for the very belated report. I hope some of this information is still relevant.

I birded various sites on Mount Diablo over the weekend, but since I was not on a birding trip, most of my forays were brief and many of my observations were done casually. However, I was able to get to Mitchell Canyon on both the days, but had to leave before some of the best hours of the morning. Still, I had a fine trip with a few highlights:

Golden Eagle-5; including 2 flying shortly after dawn!
Common Poorwill-7; I've grown to expect this species in spring on Mount Diablo. Despite relatively limited owling efforts, I found them in the chaparral just south of Juniper campground, twice in the grassland north of Juniper campground, and four times in Mitchell Canyon (including two visuals). Had I arrived at Mitchell canyon a half hour earlier on 5/5, I likely could've heard at least a few more.
Great Horned Owl-5; remarkably, this was my only owl seen despite camping in suitable Screech-Owl and walking by a large amount of grasslands at night
Rufous Hummingbird-1; at Mitchell Canyon on 5/5; female: outer rectrices studied; givin how many there were here just two weeks ago, it is striking that there migration has all but stopped
Calliope Hummingbird-9; on 5/4, I found 2 on Deer Flat road, 1 in upper Mitchell canyon, and two in the more traditional spot of White Canyon; on 5/5 I found at least 2 males and a female at White Canyon and saw a displaying male a few hundred yards farther up the main path from the white canyon entrance. Curiously, when I had 10 at white canyon earlier this spring, almost all of them were displaying. On this trip, though, only one was
Band-tailed Pigeon-2; Deer flat road 5/5
Hairy Woodpecker-1; Mitchell Canyon on 5/4
Western Wood-Pewee-1; Donner Canyon on 5/5
Hammond's Flycatcher-2; both at Mitchell Canyon (one a little ways up White Canyon) on 5/5
Pacific-slope Flycatcher-7; Mitchell Canyon on both days
Western Kingbird-1; Mitchell Canyon on 5/4
Cassin's Vireo-1; Mitchell Canyon on 5/5
Nashville Warbler-1; singing at Mitchell Canyon on 5/4
Black-throated Gray Warbler-1; Donner Canyon on 5/5
Hermit Warbler-1; Mitchell Canyon on 5/5
Townsend's Warbler-4
Western Tanager-7

All in all, a fine weekend to be out birding on Mount Diablo.

Good birding,
Logan Kahle
San Francisco

Evening Grosbeak

phil capitolo

Late this morning, an Evening Grosbeak was conspicuously calling while flying about. Took me about 5 minutes to track it down, but eventually got bins on it in a fir tree. Enough of a look to know it was not an adult male. Seemed to be tree-hopping widely and seemed gone from my vicinity within another 5 mins or so.

This was along Wildcat Canyon Rd. between Jewel and Anza lakes. Will enter in eBird.

phil capitolo

Heather Farm Friday May 10 Walnlut Creek


Just back late yesterday from business and birds in Chicago and Milwaukee. So he can be totally embarrassed, I will state here that Rich Cimino owes me a beer for finding him a Northern Waterthrush and an American Redstart at Lions Den Gorge near Grafton, Wisconsin yesterday.

In Heather Farm this morning, the Common Gallinule, which I first noticed but failed to report May 1, is still present. But my favorite sighting of the morning was the Spotted Sandpiper which flew across the large, mostly natural pond and landed on the bare dirt near the large oak. I was standing at the wooden railing on the east side of the pond.

Nothing like early birding in California, when you're used to early birding in the Central Time Zone!


Ash-throated Flycatcher at Castle Rock Recreational Area

Yesterday I saw an ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER at Castle Rock just beyond the cattle gate. This was the first time I spotted one at this location. Also present were LAZULI BUNTING, WESTERN KINGBIRDS and a SPOTTED TOWHEE.

Good birding,

John Blakelock

Re: Sunol Regional Park

janet ellis

Sorry for the reply instead of new message. I'm doing this from my phone.

Hayward Shoreline-Avocet & BN Stilt

janet ellis

7:00 5/7, I spotted newly hatched one brood each of the Avocet and the BN Stilt in the pond at the end of Grant st. really close on the west side along the trail. Avocet collected their brood and the BNStilt just squawked from a distance.
Janet Ellis
San Leandro

Sunol Regional Wilderness


Sorry, I forgot to sign my previous post.

I birded Sunol Regional Park today from 10:30 to 1:30. There were numerous Warbling Vireos, Orange-Crowned Warblers and Wilson's Warblers that were mostly heard. Complete list.

Dark-Eyed Junco
Chestnut-Backed Chickadee
Warbling Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Oak Titmouse
Wilson's Warbler
Orange-Crowned Warbler
American Robin
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Wild Turkey
Turkey Vulture
Red-Shouldered Hawk
House Wren
Swainson's Thrush
Western Bluebird
Lazuli Bunting
Tree Swallow
Lesser Goldfinch
American Crow
Black Phoebe
Western Wood Peewee
European Starling
Anna's Hummingbird

James Watts

Black Skimmers at Don Edwards NWR Fremont

Victoria Robinson

Today 5/6/13 I saw a pair of Black Skimmers on a small island about a mile and a half counter-clockwise on the Newark Slough Trail at Don Edwards NWR in Fremont. 

The entire loop of the Newark Slough Trail is about 5 miles and can be ridden with a trail bike. 

Also seen were several hundred Red-necked Phaloropes, Forester's Terns, Eared Grebes in breeding plumage, and many American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts. 

Vicki Robinson

Fw: Heather Farm Pond, Walnut Creek, Today

Teresa Echols

Local activity.  Picnic lunch?

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: fgsafier <fgsafier@...>
To: EBB_Sightings@...
Sent: Sunday, May 5, 2013 11:45 AM
Subject: [EBB_Sightings] Heather Farm Pond, Walnut Creek, Today

The Green Heron chicks have hatched. The adult is much higher on the nest, and there are feathered creatures moving under her; too early to say how many.
There was a Common Gallinule swimming and calling loudly at the south end of the main pond.
Otherwise, a flock of (late?) Cedar Waxwings, five Black Phoebes at the observation platform (a family group?), two Pied-billed Grebes, one calling, and one each of Coot, Double-crested Cormorant, and Western Bluebird.

Fred Safier

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

Sunol Regional Park


I birded Sunol Regional Park today from 10:30 to 1:30. There were numerous Warbling Vireos, Orange-Crowned Warblers and Wilson's Warblers that were mostly heard. Complete list.

Dark-Eyed Junco
Chestnut-Backed Chickadee
Warbling Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Oak Titmouse
Wilson's Warbler
Orange-Crowned Warbler
American Robin
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Wild Turkey
Turkey Vulture
Red-Shouldered Hawk
House Wren
Swainson's Thrush
Western Bluebird
Lazuli Bunting
Tree Swallow
Lesser Goldfinch
American Crow
Black Phoebe
Western Wood Peewee
European Starling
Anna's Hummingbird

Wrong dates

Dave Weber

I have recenty posted sightings to both groups with incorrect dates. Dates should be May 5 not April 5. Don't know what's wrong with me. No one does.

Dave Weber,
by phone