Date   

western tanager

owlycat@pacbell.net <owlycat@...>
 

Most of the birds seemed to be seeking shade in the trees but there were still visits to my tube feeders and birdbaths by the black headed grosbeaks, chickadees, goldfinches and house finches. The one unusual bird that nearly flew into my living room window was a female western tanager. She looked for bugs on the deck then hopped around in my tomato plant. I saw her twice and my hoped for sighting of her mate did not happen. I live in Montclair near Snake and Colton a block below Skyline Blvd.

Susan Russell


June coming to a close

Phila Rogers
 

Dear Birding Friends:

With this first month of summer coming to an end, bird song is decreasing.
The robins, which sang me awake at dawn, now offer the briefest oratorio.
Though I saw a robin carrying nesting material at the Botanical Garden, I
think my neighborhood robins have wrapped in up for the year. The Spotted
Towhees who nested under the bushes up the street are mostly silent now,
and I no longer hear the cheery three-notes from the Olive-sided
Flycatcher. I hope this means they nested successfully and have moved on.

This has been a most unusual week which began with three days of dense
overcast and a .25 inch of rain -- real rain that turned the dirt path at
the end of the street into mud. Then as soon as the low and its clouds
moved on, this heat began which has had a depressive effect on both the
birds and the bird watcher. Today the thermometer reached the mid-nineties
and except for brief visits from the Scrub Jay looking for a bread crust
and occasional forays to the sunflower chip feeder by Lesser Goldfinches
and the titmice, all's quiet on the home front.

Once this high pressure responsible for the heat dissipates, we will no
doubt return to the familiar pattern of morning fog and sunny afternoons,
more active birds, and the pleasure of sleeping again under a blanket.

-- Phila Rogers


Coyote Hills Northern Harrier Chicks

Arvind Agrawal
 

I had been following and photographing the Northern Harriers in Coyote Hills Regional Park and as of mid last week all four of the harrier chicks have fledged and flying to delight of lot of birders.
It's fun to watch them fly and witness the occasional food exchanges.
Parents hunt and bring in the food and juniors quickly approach the parents to grab the food in mid air.

A missed food exchange shots from yesterday..
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arvind_agrawal/9164780266/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/arvind_agrawal/9168985964/

And if interested you can take a look at pictures of juvi harriers and parents bringing in food here...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/arvind_agrawal/

enjoy..

Arvind Agrawal
Sunnyvale


Richmond shoreline--Black Oystercatcher

Bob Hislop
 

Yesterday afternoon I did a bike ride together with a local bike club, along the Bay Trail from Emeryville to Pt Richmond and back. Another rider (Peter) snapped this nice shot of a Black Oystercatcher along the Richmond shoreline. I observed 2 additional Oystercatchers.

http://twitpic.com/czvusu

Bob Hislop
Concord


Miscellaneous sightings 6/22-23 (long)

Logan Kahle
 

Hi all,
I had the great privilege of having two events going on in the East Bay on both days in the weekend, so I was simply able to stay over for the entire period. I wandered to various parts of the region, but stayed mostly in Contra Costa county.

6/22

I was scheduled to lead the Mount Diablo Audubon Society's Junior Birders Walk at 9:00am, but had the was too anxious to wait until then to start the day. Because of communication errors, I was unable to get out until 6:00 (instead of the scheduled 5:00), but none the less I left for Mount Diablo at about 6:00am. While still in Martinez, though, I heard a Hooded Oriole singing away in a palm. I then met up with Tracy Farrington at Pine Canyon at 7:20am. We birded the region a little before the group arrived, as a scouting venture. I was happy to see and hear the diversity of birds present, and we quickly found several Western Kingbirds along with the common species of the region. A little bit farther along the trail, we encountered a flyover Great Blue Heron. When the trail went through a gate (the second one), and the oaks grew denser, we heard a Brown Creeper singing. We then had great looks at the Castle Rocks themselves. Then I saw one of my personal highlights of the trip, many Cliff Swallows going to nesting sites on the rocks! This was the first time I had ever seen Cliff Swallows nesting in natural habitat, as all of my previous experiences of them nesting were under bridges or other man-made objects. Additionally, it was great to hear the rapid chatter of White-throated Swifts darting by overhead. We then started to walk back, and heard a couple Pacific-slope Flycatchers on the way. Near the gate closest to the parking lot, we found a gorgeous Lark Sparrow, which I would soon find were fairly common here. On the watered lawn, we had fabulous views of three juvenile Lawrence's Goldfinches foraging on the ground. We then met the group, which included three young birders, and we headed back down the trail. After the first gate, we took a right turn into some chaparral, which turned out to be very birdy. Our first California Quail called in the distance. All of the sudden I saw a sparrow fly onto the top of one of the bushes. I was stunned to see it was a Sage Sparrow, a long-time Contra Costa nemesis of mine. I called Tracy over and the rest of the group, but the bird never gave a satisfying view again. Farther along the trail, we heard the whiny call of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and a Wrentit called in the distance. While we were walking back by the chaparral, I heard an odd but familiar call. After a short while, I noticed it was individual "deer" notes of a Rufous-crowned Sparrow. I was used to having several of those notes in sequence, so it through me off to hear individual calls. With that, we finished our walk, and set off in our different directions. Tracy and I, however, set off for the hills.

We arrived at Valle Vista shortly before 1:00PM, and started searching for the previously reported vagrant. We went up the trail to the right, then to the left. Alas, we failed to find the bird, and we walked back using the loop. However, we did get splendid views of California Thrashers on the way back. Then, I noticed many of the reports mentioned the parking lot. So we decided to look near there for a while. Sure enough, a little after 1:20 I found the bird perched on a distant snag. It preceded to fly within about 15 feet of us into the oaks, and then flew off, buzzing. However, the female was nowhere to be seen. As a friend advised, she was probably busy incubating Induli Bunting eggs. After that, Tracy graciously dropped me off at Sequoia Arena. I birded there for a short while, and was able to find, among other regular species, Pacific Wren, Pygmy Nuthatch, and Purple Finch. I then went down to Lake Merritt go north.

After arriving in North Berkeley, I decided to head over to Point Isabel. I arrived at Point Isabel at relatively low tide, and started scanning the mudflats for shorebirds. Over the duration of my visit, which lasted a little over an hour and a half, I noted the following numbers of shorebirds on the Contra Costa side (foolishly, I did not keep track of how many were in worn alternate vs basic, but I do remember that at least a fair percentage of them were in alternate; additionally, I know that there weren't all that many shorebirds summering in the area--at least not as many as I found):
Black-bellied Plover-7 (I remember only one being in alternate)
Willit-7
Whimberel-14
Long-billed Curlew-3
The Alameda side held:
Willit-23
Whimbrel-2
Long-billed Curlew-1
Marbled Godwit-7
Additionally, I found the three resident shorebirds (Stilt, Oystercatcher, Avocet) relatively nearby, along with 9 Snowy Egrets. A little farther down the trail, I was stunned to see a Canvasback sitting in the pickleweed on the Alameda side of the creek. It then swam over to the Contra Costa side. I got a few documentation photos if anyone is interested. Though my resoursed are not totally complete (Steve Glover's annotated online checklist to Contra Costa county is a little outdated as far as records go, though definitely still relevant, and eBird is incomplete,) I found no summer records in the county of Canvasback in either of them (does anyone have a definitive answer?) I then wandered up to Meeker Slough where a few brief claps set a Clapper Rail calling loudly for several repetitions.
I then returned to the mudflats, where all the shorebirds were congregated on the south side (in Alameda county,) including:
Willit-105
Whimbrel-2
Marbled Godwit-42

6/23

The next morning, I went out to Point Isabel in hopes of a Seawatch. I arrived at 6:00, but a half hour of seawatching was rewarded with nothing more than a few Black Oystercatchers offshore. On the mudflats, I refound the Canvasback, and, due to the very low tide, shorebird numbers were nice (though they were not restricted to the south part of the point):
Black-bellied Plover-1
Willit-56
Whimbrel-2
Long-billed Curlew-8
At Meeker Slough, I got good views at two different Clapper Rails, and heard a singing Savannah Sparrow. Because the seawatching was so dismal, I turned the morning into a full-on southern Contra Costa shorebird/waterbird survey. Working my way up along the bay trail, I counted many more shorebirds working the exposed muddy beaches:
Willit-41
Whimbrel-9
Long-billed Curlew-1
Marbled Godwit-30
I then arrived at Vincent Park, the end of the road. I scoped the beaches of Brooks Island and found:
Willit-18
Whimbrel-4
Long-billed Curlew-7
The Brooks Island Caspian Tern colony seemed to be doing well, and I saw roughly 200 birds present. Additionally, I found several Black Oystercatchers, a couple Snowy Egrets, a Black-crowned Night-Heron and a Great Blue Heron.

Though the major birding was done for the weekend, I listened as I rode through UC Berkeley to a non-birding event. My listening paid off, as I heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch and a Pacific-slope Flycatcher singing from a dense grove of conifers.

Anyway, a fantastic way to spend a weekend in this diverse part of the bay area.

Good birding
Logan Kahle
San Francisco


Re: Coyote Hills ^/25/13

janet ellis
 

Sorry forgot my own name
Janet Ellis (jellis)
San Leandro


Coyote Hills 6/25/13

janet ellis
 

Was hoping for the European Goldfinch but no luck. Did run into to some birders who were searching for the Great Horned Owls. So I tagged along. As we were approaching the Hoot Hollow I spotted a Gray Fox. It didn't run but sat down. We walked to about 30 and it came to us. We photographed it and then continued to look for the owls. The eagle eye of the group spotted the Adult on a lower branch of the home tree, and we went up to photograph it. Then we noticed the fox had followed us. Not long after one of the owlets was spotted in a smaller pine tree not far off. I went off to still look for the European Goldfinch. I approached the large Eucalyptus behind the VC and up the hill, to hear lots of birds. But it was mostly House Finch, immature Bullock's Orioles, immature Scrub Jays and lots of Hummingbirds. Many bees too and what I call ankle biter poison oak.
After I returned to the trail I ran into the owl finders. And what would happen? They spotted the other owlet just above where I was standing.
In the marsh I spotted a pair of Cinnamon Teal. I continued down to the Muskrat trail since I've never been before. Spotted the adult N. Harrier and it spotted me. As I went about 200ft up the trail the Harrier was starting to make low passes over me, warning me not to go any further. I healed the warning and left. Two rangers believe that is where the immature ones were hiding.
Owls we found and others
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jellis50/9139366843/in/set-72157634335531062


Re: European Goldfinch

bilal al-shahwany
 

After few hours of searching found the European Goldfinch today also behind the nectar garden on a tree close to the bee hive, the bird is shy and will disappear quickly..

Photos in this link: http://www.bilalphotos.com/Photos/GetBird.php?name=European%20Goldfinch

Thanks
Bilal

--- In EBB_Sightings@..., "jtnikon" <jtnikon@...> wrote:

I refound the male European Goldfinch behind the nectar garden carrying nesting material around 5:30PM this (6/24) afternoon. Here is the shot:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerryting/9133331574/

I did see a female type goldfinch on the same tree but was not able to confirm whether it's a female EUGO or not.

There were lots of fledgling Bullock's and Hooded Orioles around the Hoot Hollow area.

The Northern Harrier continue their food exchange behavior in the Main Marsh between Chochenyo and Muskrat trails. Here are a couple of shots from Saturday (6/22):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerryting/9112355025/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerryting/9133501634/

I saw 4 juveniles up in the air at the same time trying to catch the food from the male.

Happy Birding,

Jerry Ting
Fremont

--- In EBB_Sightings@..., "James" <photogjim2@> wrote:

There was a European Goldfinch present around the Hoot Hollow area at Coyote Hills between 1:30 and 3:00 pm. There were also House Finches, Bullock's Orioles, Anna's and Allen's Hummers, Bushtits, Bewick's Wrens, and the hooting of the Great Horned Owl. With the influx of crayfish in the main marsh, there were numerous Great Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, Great Tailed Grackles, Forster's Terns, Western Gulls and Black Crowned Night Herons.

James Watts


BDMRP Prairie Falcons

Jeff Acuff
 

On Sunday I hiked the ridge trail at Black Diamond Mines and was treated to prairie falcons engaging each other in aerial training exercises.  There were at least 3 and perhaps as many as 5 birds.  It was tough to keep track of them as they would disappear and reappear from behind cliff faces and trees with the speed one would expect from prairies.  They put on quite a show.

I saw three together once.  At least two were juveniles, and at least one of those was banded.  I wonder if anyone is doing nest banding up there.


Good birding,
Jeff Acuff


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


Re: European Goldfinch

Jerry Ting
 

I refound the male European Goldfinch behind the nectar garden carrying nesting material around 5:30PM this (6/24) afternoon. Here is the shot:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerryting/9133331574/

I did see a female type goldfinch on the same tree but was not able to confirm whether it's a female EUGO or not.

There were lots of fledgling Bullock's and Hooded Orioles around the Hoot Hollow area.

The Northern Harrier continue their food exchange behavior in the Main Marsh between Chochenyo and Muskrat trails. Here are a couple of shots from Saturday (6/22):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerryting/9112355025/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerryting/9133501634/

I saw 4 juveniles up in the air at the same time trying to catch the food from the male.

Happy Birding,

Jerry Ting
Fremont

--- In EBB_Sightings@..., "James" <photogjim2@...> wrote:

There was a European Goldfinch present around the Hoot Hollow area at Coyote Hills between 1:30 and 3:00 pm. There were also House Finches, Bullock's Orioles, Anna's and Allen's Hummers, Bushtits, Bewick's Wrens, and the hooting of the Great Horned Owl. With the influx of crayfish in the main marsh, there were numerous Great Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, Great Tailed Grackles, Forster's Terns, Western Gulls and Black Crowned Night Herons.

James Watts


European Goldfinch

James
 

There was a European Goldfinch present around the Hoot Hollow area at Coyote Hills between 1:30 and 3:00 pm. There were also House Finches, Bullock's Orioles, Anna's and Allen's Hummers, Bushtits, Bewick's Wrens, and the hooting of the Great Horned Owl. With the influx of crayfish in the main marsh, there were numerous Great Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, Great Tailed Grackles, Forster's Terns, Western Gulls and Black Crowned Night Herons.

James Watts


Re: Pacheco Marsh - Help with ID

Jeff Acuff
 

Thank you to all who offered suggestions and insight.  Ultimately, I believe the correct answer is juvenile red-winged blackbird.  This just goes to show how difficult short-lived juvenile plumage can be.  Suggestions received included all of the following: American robin, Townsend's solitaire, savannah sparrow and sage thrasher.

Good birding,
Jeff Acuff



________________________________
From: Jeff Acuff <jkaccip@...>
To: EBB Sightings <EBB_Sightings@...>
Sent: Saturday, June 22, 2013 6:40 PM
Subject: Pacheco Marsh - Help with ID



The album (rather than just one photo):
https://picasaweb.google.com/jkaccip/MaybeWEME?authuser=0&feat=directlink



________________________________
From: Jeff Acuff <jkaccip@...>
To: EBB Sightings <EBB_Sightings@...>
Sent: Saturday, June 22, 2013 3:57 PM
Subject: Pacheco Marsh - Help with ID



Today I took a walk through Pacheco Marsh in Martinez which turned out to be mostly quiet.  Highlights were northern harrier, white-tailed kites and a pair of cinnamon teal along Waterfront Road.

Additionally I found and photographed a bird that I cannot ID.  My best guess is juvenile western meadowlark, but the plain back and contrasting malar stripe don't look right.  I've had even less success turning the bird into a horned lark, dickcissel, pipit or Ammodramus sparrow.  If anyone would like to take a look at the photos, I've posted them at the link below, and I welcome comments.

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/lLFwD4F28gGNOBBdel1yWNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

Good Birding,
Jeff Acuff

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


Native plant destruction at Point Pinole Regional Park

stevepowellbio
 

At Point Pinole Regional Shoreline they are continuing with the very misguided policy of killing coyote brush and poison oak. They plan to remove most of the coyote brush and poison oak growing in the grasslands of the park in an attempt to restore native grasses. Much of the brush has already been cleared over the past 10-15 years and the numbers of scrub dependent wildlife, such as quail and brush rabbits, has dropped to zero. Remaining wildlife species which depend on shrub cover will continue to be negatively impacted by this work.

The fact is that coyote brush and poison oak are not the reasons for the native grass disappearing in the first place; rather it is the introduction of non-native grasses and weeds from Europe.
Destroying the poison oak and coyote brush will merely destroy more valuable wildlife habitat and do nothing to improve the situation for native grasses. Most likely the land cleared of these native plants will be invaded by more non-native grasses and weeds.

The money spent on killing native plants would be much better spent on combatting the real threat to native grasses, the non-native grasses and weeds.

In addition, the pond at this park which at one time had a huge population of treefrogs and toads has been completely overrun with carp which were introduced a few years ago. The numbers of the amphibians has dropped so low as a result of the introduced fish that some amphibian species may have been eliminated entirely.

Surely these introduced fish and weeds are more deserving of control efforts than native plants which have lived in this area for millennia.

Anyone who is concerned for the persistence of the native plant, bird, and frog populations at Point Pinole Regional Park please contact John Hitchen (Point Pinole park supervisor) and Doug Bell (Wildlife program manager for East Bay Regional Park District).

jhitchen@...

dbell@...

Thank you, Steve Powell


Willets -status correction

rfs_berkeley
 

In a post about a GGAS trip to Hayward Shoreline I surmised that ~150 Willets, in alternate or partial alternate plumage, were summering birds. Well, Bob Richmond tactfully corrected my misconception. Seems only a few Willets summered along Hayward shoreline and all remained in basic plumage.

So, these birds must be early 'fall' arrivals... on June 22nd.

Rusty Scalf


Mountain Bluebird of happiness.

Marcus
 

Near 680 and 6500 block of Sunol Blvd  around 1:30PM  My partner was eating lunch outside at work feeling a bit low (well it is a Sunday and she was working) when a Mountain Bluebird flew to a nearby branch.   Are they year-round here? I thought they headed out more towards the Sierra Foothills and beyond for breeding. . Whatever the reason, it made her day. 

 
Marcus Pun
Video Editor/Producer/Editor
cell 510-384-8085,  home 510-530-2507


Re: White-crowned Sparrows in Upper Rockridge, Oakland

Martha Morrow
 

Nuttall's white-crowned sparrows have nested in the Highland Ave. area of Piedmont for many years. They are year-round residents there.

Marty Morrow


Pacheco Marsh - Help with ID

Jeff Acuff
 

The album (rather than just one photo):

https://picasaweb.google.com/jkaccip/MaybeWEME?authuser=0&feat=directlink



________________________________
From: Jeff Acuff <jkaccip@...>
To: EBB Sightings <EBB_Sightings@...>
Sent: Saturday, June 22, 2013 3:57 PM
Subject: Pacheco Marsh - Help with ID



Today I took a walk through Pacheco Marsh in Martinez which turned out to be mostly quiet.  Highlights were northern harrier, white-tailed kites and a pair of cinnamon teal along Waterfront Road.

Additionally I found and photographed a bird that I cannot ID.  My best guess is juvenile western meadowlark, but the plain back and contrasting malar stripe don't look right.  I've had even less success turning the bird into a horned lark, dickcissel, pipit or Ammodramus sparrow.  If anyone would like to take a look at the photos, I've posted them at the link below, and I welcome comments.

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/lLFwD4F28gGNOBBdel1yWNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

Good Birding,
Jeff Acuff


Hayward shoreline

rfs_berkeley
 

Today's GGAS trip to Hayward Shoreline (with a second stop at the end of Grant Ave) was quite interesting, with some surprises.

* At least two Snowy Plovers in the salt flat just west of the visitor's center (thank you Bob Dunn)

* The large tertiary pond whose islands have hosted nesting birds is now completely dry; apparently since winter. In the farther pond was quite an active tern colony that seems to consist only of Least Terns and far more than I have ever seen before. I am accustomed to Forster's being (far and away) the primary species. There were 2 or 3 score Least Terns swarming around the colony and we saw but a few Forster passers by which must be nesting somewhere else. Likewise Caspian Terns seemed to be nesting somewhere else.

* Quite a few Avocets about but we searched for chicks in vain. That the large pond is drained didn't help.

* Perhaps 150 Willets mostly in alternate or partially alternate plumage. Apparent summering birds. This seemed like a very large number for the date. 40 of these were observed at close range, the rest quite far away at a roost beyond the Least Tern colony (barely resolvable with a scope)

At the end of Grant Ave

* We did see baby Stilts, two very different size classes and an apparent incubating female Stilt. These were both in the pond and out in the salt marsh.

* A very large number of Plovers. We estimated 130 Black-bellied (in various plumages) and at least 30 Semi-palmated. This really surprised me.

* LB Curlews were seen at both stops, and a Whimbrel at the end of Grant.

Rusty Scalf


Re: White-crowned Sparrows in Upper Rockridge, Oakland

rfs_berkeley
 

The late Howard Cogswell did some banding while teaching at Mills
College, many years ago. Nuttali White-crowns don't breed anywhere close
to that campus yet he told me that he would net and band a few post
breeding wanders every year at that location.

Rusty Scalf

Driving along with the windows open on this beautiful day, I was
roused out of my reverie by the sound of singing White-crowned
Sparrows. This was at the corner of Monroe and Broadway Terrace, along
the edges of the Claremont County Club, a good 3 miles removed from
Emeryville where the nuttali subspecies lives year-round. Quickly
executing a U-turn, I went back to the spot and found 2 male
White-crowns in the hedge along Broadway Terrace. One was rather worn
and had a yellow bill; the other male was brighter, with a bill that I
would call more yellow-orange. They were singing the same song.


Does nuttali breed this far inland? Or are these early returnees who
were unsuccessful breeders? eBird shows a slight increase in incidence
in late June-early July, but the big push doesn't show up until late
Sept. In either case, it was a nice surprise.

Pat Bacchetti
Oakland


White-crowned Sparrows in Upper Rockridge, Oakland

Patricia Bacchetti
 

Driving along with the windows open on this beautiful day, I was roused out of my reverie by the sound of singing White-crowned Sparrows. This was at the corner of Monroe and Broadway Terrace, along the edges of the Claremont County Club, a good 3 miles removed from Emeryville where the nuttali subspecies lives year-round. Quickly executing a U-turn, I went back to the spot and found 2 male White-crowns in the hedge along Broadway Terrace. One was rather worn and had a yellow bill; the other male was brighter, with a bill that I would call more yellow-orange. They were singing the same song.

Does nuttali breed this far inland? Or are these early returnees who were unsuccessful breeders? eBird shows a slight increase in incidence in late June-early July, but the big push doesn't show up until late Sept. In either case, it was a nice surprise.

Pat Bacchetti
Oakland

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