Lafayette Resrvoir 11-4-15

Bernt Pettersson

It has been established that the shorebird we saw at the Res. was a Spotted Sandpiper and not a Wondering Tattler. Daliel L's picture, (when I finally got to see it) made that clear. It is still a fairly unusual sighting for Lafayette Reservoir.
Please accept my apology for the miss-identification.
For Lamorinda Seniors,


The back fence at Mitigation Marsh, Arrowhead- MLK Shoreline RP, Oakland


The eastern (back) fence of mitigation marsh at Arrowhead offers good views of many seasonal visitors.  Grassland birds actively forage both in the protected area and along the path offering easy, clean views of the birds when they perch on the somewhat unaesthetic fence..  I have found it one of the most active paths. Yesterday there where many non-rarites including Crowned Sparrows, Black Phoebes, a Mockingbird, Pipits, a Say's Phoebe, and Meadowlarks.

It's best to park in the first parking lot and trek down a few "blocks" to the path entrance.  If you have a disabled sign, there are four parking spots right at the path entrance (the first right when driving in).  There are also two bench areas to rest for awhile.

Here are some photos of the fence perchers:  

Say's Phoebe (showing its "big" head)

Meadowlark (showing yellow chin and belly, but also its patterned back)

American Pipit (preening and perching)

Pine Siskins in Lafayette

Lynn Lakso <lakso_lynn@...>

Small group of Pine Siskins in our Lafayette feeders this week.

Red Crossbills, White-Throated Sparrow, Tilden


Sharon Jue, Vicki Robinson and I visited Tilden early this afternoon and found two Red Crossbills at the top of a redwood tree near the corp yard at the nature center.  Down the road towards Jewel Lake we found a tan-striped White-Throated Sparrow, and at the lake a Belted Kingfisher was rattling around.

At Tilden Botanic Garden we dipped on Swamp Sparrow but saw ten Red Crossbills.  Initially the birds were at the top of Santa Lucia firs.  They then flew to perch on another conifer, back and forth twice, before flying away.

Vicki got a few photos to share.

Stephanie Floyd


Reported Wandering Tattler

Bernt Pettersson

Someone from our group dropped a photo of the bird in to the Merlin and came up with a Spotted Sandpiper (juvenile, noon breading). For now I will withhold my judgment on positive identification and wait until I see pictures taken by Ying. It is indeed positive that I have erred on this, (rookie mistake?) if so, except my apology, please.

Nov.4, 2015 at Lafayette Reservoir

Bernt Pettersson

Lamorinda Seniors had a fun day birding at "the res" today. The Wondering Tattler was a big surprise, only the second time seen by me (my first was down at Cesar Chavez, last year). For a long time we were looking at 3 Bufflehead out in a distance, when I finally got my scope on them one turned out to be a Hooded Merganser, nice! and the Brown Creeper always gives me a thrill. Another treat was to see the Cormorants  grabbing whole, full grown trout's right out of the pipe as the tanker truck was unloading and re-stocking with fish. 
I will present the list horizontally to save some space.
1. Bufflehead 2. Hooded Merganser 3. Ruddy Duck 4. Pied-billed Grebe 5. Horned Grebe 6. Clark's Grebe 7. Double Crested Cormorant 8. Great Blue Heron 9. Turkey Vulture 10. Osprey 11. Red-tailed Hawk 12. American Coot 13. Killdeer 14. Wondering  Tattler 15. California Gull 16. Rock Pigeon 17. Anna's Hummingbird 18. Acorn Woodpecker 19. Nuttall's Woodpecker 20. Black Phoebe 21. Steller's Jay 22. Western Scrub Jay 23. American Crow 24.Chesnut-backed Chickadee 25. Oak Titmouse 26. Bushtit 27. White-breasted Nuthatch 28. Brown Creeper 29. Ruby-crowned Kinglet 30. Yellow-rumped Warbler 31.Spotted Towhee 32. California Towhee 33. Song Sparrow 34. White-crowned Sparrow 35. Golden-crowned Sparrow.

Thank You Elizabeth L. for keeping the score and for the list. Thank you everybody else, for your kind help and enthusiasm. 
For Lamorinda Seniors Nature and Bird Watch Walks,


Bufflehead, Oak Hill Park, Danville


Howdy Birders,

Not that it's a big deal, but finally the first migrant duck of the season has showed up at Oak Hill Park in Danville. He's a beautiful male Bufflehead. Still lots of farm ducks and Canada Geese, the occasional Belted Kingfisher, a very cooperative Red-tailed Hawk, and a persistent juvenile Great Blue Heron round out the birds of interest.

Happy birding!

Steve Hutchcraft
Alamo, CA

Lake's Up! :-)

David Kent

The natural lake at Heather Farm is up! Somehow 1/2" of rain translated into a 6-8" increase in the water level and, in my humble and subjective estimation, a noticeable increase in avian activity!

>Tropical Kingbird hawking around the north (dog park) end of the lake at 8:20 AM.

>A lone Common Merganser hob-nobbing with the Mallards and Coots on the north side of the island

>Double-crested Cormorant and Pied-billed Grebe on the south side of the island

>Too many Bush Tits, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Crowned Sparrows to count

>A Green Heron and a Black-crowned Night Heron, but neither of the usual egrets

>A Cooper's Hawk posing nicely in a cottonwood

>The usual Anna's Hummingbirds, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Black Phoebes, Belted Kingfisher and more...

Good birding!

Dave Kent
Walnut Creek

Tropical Kingbird continues

Susan Greef

Seen repeatedly this morning in and around the Arrowhead Marsh parking lot. Mostly on the fence dividing the slough from the road/parking lot.

Susan Greef

Sent from my iThingy

Tropical Kingbird pix

Mark Rauzon

Late morning, the Tropical Kingbird was in the trees on the mound perimeter of the field south of Arowhead Marsh, ranging out to the fence line bordering the road and the new marsh.  Here is a flight shot of the tropical kingbird.

A merlin and harrier were also in the area. I did not see the grasshopper sparrow tho did not look too hard.
Mark  Rauzon

Re: Crossbill Type Question

Michael Park


I took a low-quality recording of a Red Crossbill calling from the vicinity of the Environmental Education Center in TIlden Park.

The spectrogram and sound are very similar to those of Type 3 -- Western Hemlock Crossbill.

I am preparing the documentation for eBird now. The comp;eted checklist will have the embedded sound file and spectrogram.

Michael Park

Arrowhead Marsh

Bob Richmond

The tropical kingbird was an the fence along the road to arrowhead. A northern harrier flushed 5 blue-winged teal from cover at the edge of the marsh. A eurasian wigeon was with other ducks out in the bay. I was there in the early afternoon.


pine siskin & red crossbill images from Tilden Park


From the weekend - they're so high up and the angle of viewing requires being quite far back, so getting "close" images is nearly impossible, but a couple of these show both, and one each shows just a siskin and then a crossbill:

Tilden Park pine siskins & red crossbills

Allen Hirsch


Red Crossbills - Tilden

The Red Crossbill flock continued today.  I was there around 230.  They were in a pine near the employee parking lot next to the nature center, and best viewed from the trail to Jewel Lake.  There were Pine Siskins, Townsend's Warblers, Yellow-rumped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees all in the same tree with the crossbills.  

Bird is the Word,

John Blakelock  

Tropical Kingbird -- Arrowhead Marsh -- Continuing

Graham Chisholm

Thanks to a positive report from Aaron Maizlish from earlier morning I went down to Arrowhead Marsh Regional Park at noon and fairly quickly found the continuing Tropical Kingbird.  It was foraging in the row of trees on the west side of the entrance road just south of the final parking lot.  

Graham Chisholm

Graham Chisholm
c. 510-409-6603

Mt Trashmore in Hayward

Cuyler Stapelmann

Stopped by at 130 pm. I found a mixed flock of American pipit (50), western meadowlark (20), and horned lark (at least 2). A sharp-shinned hawk watched them from a distant perch.


Crossbill Type Question

Jim Chiropolos

Many of us have seen the crossbills.

Has anyone gotten a call recording so we can determine what type of crossbill of crossbill is in Tilden?

Jim Chiropolos, Orinda

Red Crossbills Tilden Park Nature Center

richard s. cimino

Several Red Crossbills and many Pine Siskins continue to be seen and heard up to 3:00 PM today.
Directions to the location have been posted in previous reports.

Rich Cimino


Lewis's Woodpecker continues at Ardenwood Farm

Matt Bango

The cooperative Lewis's Woodpecker continued today at Ardenwood Farm. I saw it between 2:15pm - 3:00pm with two other birders. Below is the complete checklist from the ~50 minutes I spent at Ardenwood, including a video and a photo of the woodpecker.

Good birding!


Matt Bango

Tropical kingbird at Hoffman Marsh

Bruce Mast

Serving as the messenger.

Bruce Mast

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Sam Zuckerman" <samz@...>
Date: Nov 1, 2015 11:47 AM
Subject: Tropical kingbird at Hoffman Marsh
To: <observe@...>
Cc: "Ilana DeBare" <debare@...>

Hi Bruce,


I’d like to report a tropical kingbird I observed at Hoffman Marsh in Richmond at approximately 10:45 am Thurs. Oct. 29. It was perched for about 5 minutes on top of a bush across the slough along the path that leads from the Bayview Ave. entrance to the Bay Trail about 50 yards east of the bridge across the slough. At first I identified it as a western kingbird because of the bright yellow breast extending almost to the neck. However on studying videos and reading field reports, I changed the identification to tropical, in part because I saw no white edge along the tail and also because tropicals are occasionally seen along the California coast from Sept. to Nov. Unfortunately, when I made the observation, I didn’t record the bill size, which is an important diagnostic of tropical vs. western. I reported the observation to ebird and was queried about how I eliminated Cassin’s. I noted that the yellow extended to far up the breast for Cassin’s. I’d be thrilled if other birders confirmed the observation.





Sam Zuckerman





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