Joe Morlan


Golden Gate Audubon hosts a digital version of "Birds of Northern
California" which has useful bar-graphs showing expected arrival and
departure dates.

The graph on page 58 shows Swainson's Thrush to be common through early
September becoming uncommon through the end of the month and rare through

This chart....

indicates the species departs Marin County in mid-October.

On Thu, 1 Sep 2016 19:30:52 -0700, "Sylvia Sykora slsykora@...
[EBB_Sightings]" <EBB_Sightings-noreply@...> wrote:

How late do Swainson's Thrush remain here in autumn? I've had one coming to the water, morning and evening, all week, latest today, Thursday, September 1.

Sylvia Sykora
nr. Skyline and Castle
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA


Bob Power <rcpower@...>


This may or may not be helpful, from PRBO's species account (yes, I know -- Pt. Blue).

Departure date from breeding grounds: According to McCaskie (1988), departs Coast and Mountain regions late August through October. PRBO banding data for Marin County (1996 and 1997) -- latest capture dates October 16, 1996 and October 4, 1997.
Spring and Fall migration period: While SWTH is rare in Interior and Basin regions during the summer months, abundance peaks in Spring (April through May) and Fall (August through September) in these regions (McCaskie 1988) -- possibly indicating peak of Spring and Fall migration period in California.

And at the same time, we're on the front end of Hermit Thrush arrival dates.

Best regards,

Bob Power
Oakland, CA


Sylvia Sykora

How late do Swainson's Thrush remain here in autumn? I've had one coming to the water, morning and evening, all week, latest today, Thursday, September 1.

Sylvia Sykora
nr. Skyline and Castle

Baird's Sandpipers at Waterbird Park, Martinez

Judith Dunham

I plead guilty to putting sightings on eBird and not posting. So I'm going to engage in some behavior modification going forward.

Six East Bay birders stopped at the park when returning from Napa. We birded from the main parking lot, then went to the west side of the park via Arthur Avenue off I-680. We parked at the first pullout on the service road leading north, then walked to where we could see the south end of the water. Scoping the shoreline and inlets, we found four BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS, then discovered a fifth when scoping from the wood overlook near the tunnel to the plant. The birds were there around 11:45 and remained when we left about an hour later.

eBird report:

Judith Dunham
Berkeley, CA

Wilson's Warbler - Antioch yard - 3/31

Paul Schorr

Yesterday (8/31/2016), we had good looks at a male Wilson’s Warbler that was drinking from the dripper at our bird bath. We also had a Wilson’s Warbler in the yard a week ago.

Good birding

Paul and Nancy Schorr

Baird's Sandpipers, McNabney Marsh, Martinez


Hugh Harvey and I, after a bit of searching, were able to get a decent look at four BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS on the east edge of the south end of McNabney Marsh (Waterbird Regional Preserve), Martinez. This viewing location is accessed from the service road to the Mt. View Sanitary District offices.
After you pass through the gate at the end of Arthur Rd., park along the narrow asphalt pull-out on the right. Do not park on the grass shoulder. Walk north a hundred yards until you have a clear view of the water. For those  unfamiliar with this marsh, here's a Google Maps link:

The four birds were scattered among just a few Western Sandpipers allowing for an ideal contrast in size, bill shape and overall color tone.

Good birding,
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek

Possible Calidris ferruginea in CoCo County


I've just got hopeful respond opinion from Pete Dunten, Contra Costa eBird reviewer about interesting Calidris, whose I observed recently in Waterbird Preserve in Martinez (see eBird checklist with description of the individual) and Pete's comment)
I would like to add a few more details, which can be helpful in identifying the Calidris but not well seen in my poor quality photos ..... breast is washed with warm orange/peach; rest of ventral white without any markings on belly or flanks, legs definitely black and relatively long.

Is this indeed Curlew Sandpiper?, or something else?. All comments and opinions welcome

Albert W. Linkowski

California Quail chicks - very late brood?


Yesterday, August 28, we had two adult California Quail and six very tiny chicks in our backyard in northeastern Lafayette. It was impressive to see the two adults acting as lookout and guardian. It seemed that one would take a high point and watch the perimeter while the other adult coached. When first observed about 5 pm we could see that one of the chicks was lagging behind and not alert and responsive as the others were. About 6 pm we saw a chick flopping on the ground and clearly in great distress. By 6:30 it was dead. The dead chick's torso was only 5 cm long.

Today the two adults and the remaining five are back, working the same ground.

Is this late in the season for such a hatch?

Bill Espey

Pectoral Sandpiper - Coyote Hills Aug 28

Victoria Robinson

Yesterday evening while walking around the Main Marsh at Coyote Hills RP, I saw my first Pectoral Sandpiper of the year.
It was foraging with Yellowlegs near the edges of the Marsh.

Vicki Robinson
Fremont CA

Contra Costa birds Sunday August 28


Rosita took a walk to Heather Farm after 5 PM and then called me.  She had a small duck and a sandpiper at the large, mostly natural pond.  It was a Spotted Sandpiper on the rocks along the island edge when seen from the large oak on the west side.  The duck was mixed with some Canada Geese by that time.  I studied it quite a bit, and it appears to be a juvenile Green-winged Teal.  It is mostly colored like the average female duck, but is small, has a black bill and a bit of a buffy streak under the tail.  It never opened its wings.

Earlier, I met Stephanie Woods and her husband, Ken, along the bike/walking trial west of the Olympic/Reliez Station Road intersection.  They were too far west for the normal location of the Western Screech-Owl which has been reported since February.  I told them to meet me farther east along the wooden railing, and sure enough, the owl was in its typical spot about 15 feet up in an oak tree.  Chick wrote me after I was home and admitted he was not a botanist/arborist.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Re: Screech Owl in Lafayette

Peter Davis

We live near there and my wife has seen the same owl two times.  The last was with my sister, and they were watching the tree right at dusk, when suddenly, the owl left the tree and flew very close to them.  They were awe struck.

Prairie Falcons


Today's GGAS Hayward Shoreline walk was lucky enough to see two cavorting Prairie Falcons just south of Frank's Dump. The two were rough 'n tumble playing over the bay as they flew SW.  Both birds seemed streaked and I'm thinking they were juveniles. Siblings?

    Rusty Scalf

Screech Owl in Lafayette

Ethan Chickering

About 1/4 mile up from the Lafayette end of the Lafayette-Moraga Trail is a large conifer on the right.

In a large cavity about 15 feet up and plainly visible is a Screech Owl.

Chick Cchickering

Point Reyes 100 Birds Challenge for 100 Years of the National Park Service

Carlo Arreglo <auntiestrophe@...>

The goal of the event was to find 100 bird species on the Centennial Anniversary date of the creation of the National Park Service --also called Founder's Day--and this was no gimme as the date occurred before peak migration. However, birders from Vallejo, Napa, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Marin County made it out to Point Reyes National Seashore and met at the Bear Valley Visitor Center for the 8:00am start time. Some were familiar faces to me, most new but all made it out there to see if we could grind out 100.  Park staff joined in as well. We broke up into squads and covered the locations below.
And I am happy to report that we not only met the goal of 100 but reached 133! 
What a wonderful way for this park--well known as a birding hotspot--to celebrate the 100th birthday of the NPS! And this would not have been possible without the sacrifice of time and effort made by the folks below.  If there were a prize for most sightings by squad (squad goals?), it would certainly go to Dominik Mosur and Michael Park (joined in part by Noah Arthur). The duo-ish nearly got 100 on themselves at 97 species. The Hamiltons were close at 88 species.

I hope the participants had a fun time! Full list below. Please email me directly if you have any questions. Reporters may have photos of some of the more "highlight" birds. Please also check eBird.
Hope to see you in the seashore soon, thanks, and  we'll do this again at the next NPS centennial!Carlo Arreglo
Park RangerPoint Reyes National Seashore--
NPS Centennial Anniversary Event: Point Reyes 100 BirdsChallenge for 100 Years of the National Park Service

August 25, 2016

Participants: Carlo Arreglo, Bob Atwood, Cynthia Boyer, Sarah Codde, John Dell’Osso, Ken Ealy, Daniel George, Denise and David Hamilton, Matt Lau, Dominik Mosur, KathleenMugele,  Joey Negranne, Michael Park, PeterSeubert, Sarah Wakamiya, and David Wimpfheimer
Locations:Bear Valley Visitor Center and Earthquake TrailTomales Point Trail
Pierce Point RanchMuddy Hollow Trail Limantour Beach and SpitDrake's BeachRCA BuildingPoint Reyes Lighthouse Fish DocksFive BrooksNorth BeachAbbott's LagoonMt. Vision RoadWhite House poolPierce Point Road, Teal pond and other ponds.

| Red-throated Loon |
| Pacific Loon |
| Common Loon |
| Pied-billed Grebe |
| Red-necked Grebe |
| Sooty Shearwater |
| American White Pelican |
| Brown Pelican |
| Double-crested Cormorant |
| Brandt's Cormorant |
| Pelagic Cormorant |
| Great Blue Heron |
| Green Heron |
| Black-crowned Night-Heron |
| Snowy Egret |
| Great Egret |
| Wood Duck |
| Mallard |
| Gadwall |
| Surf Scoter |
| Ruddy Duck |
| Turkey Vulture |
| Osprey |
| White-tailed Kite |
| Bald Eagle |
| Northern Harrier |
| Cooper's Hawk |
| Red-tailed Hawk |
| American Kestrel |
| Peregrine Falcon |
| California Quail |
| Virginia Rail |
| Sora |
| American Coot |
| Snowy Plover |
| Semipalmated Plover |
| Killdeer |
| Black Oystercatcher |
| Greater Yellowlegs |
| Lesser Yellowlegs |
| Wandering Tattler |
| Long-billed Curlew |
| Sanderling |
| Western Sandpiper |
| Least Sandpiper |
| Baird's Sandpiper |
| Dowitcher sp. |
| Red-necked Phalarope |
| Heermann's Gull |
| Ring-billed Gull |
| California Gull |
| Herring Gull |
| Western Gull |
| Caspian Tern |
| Common Murre |
| Pigeon Guillemot |
| Marbled Murrelet |
| Mourning Dove |
| Band-tailed Pigeon |
| Barn Owl |
| Great Horned Owl |
| Anna's Hummingbird |
| Selasphorus sp. |
| Belted Kingfisher |
| Acorn Woodpecker |
| Nuttall's Woodpecker |
| Downy Woodpecker |
| Hairy Woodpecker |
| Pileated Woodpecker |
| Northern Flicker |
| Red-breasted Sapsucker |
| Western Wood Pewee |
| Dusky Flycatcher |
| Pacific slope Flycatcher |
| Black Phoebe |
| Tree Swallow |
| Violet-green Swallow |
| Cliff Swallow |
| Barn Swallow |
| Hutton's Vireo |
| Warbling Vireo |
| Steller's Jay |
| California Scrub-Jay |
| American Crow |
| Common Raven |
| Chestnut-backed Chickadee |
| Oak Titmouse |
| Bushtit |
| Red-breasted Nuthatch |
| Pygmy Nuthatch |
| Brown Creeper |
| Rock Wren |
| Bewick's Wren |
| House Wren |
| Pacific Wren |
| Marsh Wren |
| Golden-crowned Kinglet |
| Blue-gray Gnatcatcher |
| Western Bluebird |
| Swainson's Thrush |
| American Robin |
| Wrentit |
| Cedar Waxwing |
| Orange-crowned Warbler |
| Yellow Warbler |
| Black-throated Gray Warbler |
| Townsend's Warbler |
| Hermit Warbler |
| American Redstart |
| MacGillivary's Warbler |
| Wilson's Warbler |
| Common Yellowthroat |
| Western Tanager |
| Spotted Towhee |
| California Towhee |
| Chipping Sparrow |
| Savannah Sparrow |
| Song Sparrow |
| Lincoln's Sparrow |
| White-crowned Sparrow |
| Dark-eyed Junco |
| Red-winged Blackbird |
| Tricolored Blackbird |
| Brewer's Blackbird |
| Brown-headed Cowbird |
| Purple Finch |
| House Finch |
| Pine Siskin |
| Lesser Goldfinch |
| American Goldfinch |
| Wild Turkey |
| Eurasian Collared Dove |
| European Starling |

Contra Costa county 8/18 Baird's Sandpipers

Logan Kahle

Hi All,

Sorry for the belated report.

Had a fun final day birding Contra Costa county last Thursday, 8/18. The encroaching mid-fall migrant push offered a diversity of passerines at a number of destinations.

I started off the morning waking up late, and not getting out to East County until past 9. Still there were quite a few nice birds scattered around. I started at Bethel Island, mostly looking for migrants at Piper Slough, Willowest Marina and the Frank's Tract overlook. The migrant diversity was quite nice around the island, with highlights including:

Northern Harrier-1
Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird-11 including many recently returned migrants (my first for of season for East county) on the "Magic Bottlebrush" by Willowest Marina
Northern Flicker-1 migrant
Willow Flycatcher-2
Pacific-slope Flycatcher-5 including a singing bird
Warbling Vireo-1 at Willowest
Bank Swallow-2 birds still lingering, foraging low over Piper. My lack of a scope meant I could not (effectively) sort through the swallow swarms at the Frank's Tract overlook, so there may have been more buried in there. Still, Steve Glover's and others' intense coverage of this spot mid-August through winter and Spring for many years where they did not see this species regularly makes me believe these seemingly staging birds leave around this time of year
House Wren-2
Orange-crowned Warbler-2
Yellow Warbler-14 was a good sign that Fall migration is progressing. These guys will only get more common as the season continues.
Hermit Warbler-1 by willowest
Wilson's Warbler-10
Yellow-breasted Chat-3 different calling birds at Piper seemed odd: late breeders that evaded detection for nearly a month, or migrants?
Western Tanager-2
Black-headed Grosbeak-2
Hooded Oriole-6
Bullock's Oriole-2

Full eBird checklists here:

From there I proceeded onto the Holland Tract. While my visit was somewhat late in the day (curses) there was still an incredible wealth of birds. However, I visited some sites that were legally dubious, and asked some farmers to get tentative permission. For these reasons, I will not disclose where on the tract these birds were, but needless to say, if we can get an arrangement between the local landowners and birders this would allow us to view possibly the best shorebird and migrant passerine habitat in all of east county. Highlights, from just a small bit of walking around, were:

Wood Duck-28 in stagnant ponds explained where flying birds of this species seen at this tract come from
Ring-necked Duck-3 were pretty exceptional in Contra Costa in summer, but perhaps even regular at this site??
American Bittern-1
Green Heron-1
Swainson's Hawk-80
Common Gallinule-3
Black-necked Stilt-5. Normally any shorebirds are hard at the Holland Tract
Least Sandpiper-15
Western Sandpiper-30
Long-billed Dowitcher-400
Greater Yellowlegs-10
Lesser Yellowlegs-3
Mourning Dove-110 was a good concentration for summer
Barn Owl-1
Northern Flicker-1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher-1
Ash-throated Flycatcher-1 was a good fall migrant for east county
Loggerhead Shike-3
Bewick's Wren-1 was a rarity for Holland Tract, and my first
Orange-crowned Warbler-1
Black-throated Gray Warbler-1 along main, public road in cottonwoods
Wilson's Warbler-1
California Towhee-1 was a rarity for Holland Tract, and my first
Blue Grosbeak-3
Lazuli Bunting-1

Full eBird list here:

From there I continued onto the east end of Orwood road to check on my staked-out flooded fields and was amazed to see they were GONE! While this was a sad sight for me this ultimately indicative of the ephemeral nature of water in East County: if you find water, its likely not there for long, and you'll have to start searching again! Even without water, though, I still managed to find:

Peregrine Falcon-1
Common Raven-2
Lesser Goldfinch-2 is an interesting species in East county. They seemed to have expanded, possibly through the "greenery belt" created by development through antioch and through to east county in the past 10 or so years. Other recent colonizers include California Towhee and Anna's Hummingbird. It will be interesting to see what comes next!

Full eBird checklist here:

Left Orwood Tract with a healthy sum of 90 species.

On to Iron House Sanitary District, which continues to depress me, though a flock of Gulls and shorebirds concentrating on the levee was exciting. Rare shorebirds and gulls have been seen roosting in with the expected species when they concentrate like that on the levee. Highlights here included:

Green Heron-1
Black-necked Stilt-18 was my highest count here in a while, concentrated on the levee
Greater Yellowlegs-8
Ring-billed Gull-4
California Gull-6
Caspian Tern-4
Rock Pigeon-1 out of place bird roosting under the oak right across from the deep pond. Odd there!
House Wren-1
Yellow Warbler-1
Wilson's Warbler-1
Blue Grosbeak-6 was the continuing family group by the entrance

Full eBird list here:

From there, since I lacked a scope, and hence could not bird the central waterbird spots, I blasted straight to the West County WTP. Highlights here were:
Black-necked Stilt-1
Semipalmated Plover-1
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER-1 continuing, but not present when I arrived (present when I checked 30 minutes later)
Least Sandpiper-7
Western Sandpiper-22
Lesser Yellowlegs-2 but surprisingly no Greaters!
Ring-billed Gull-6
Western Gull-250 at the tank south of the Solar Panels

Full eBird checklist here:

From there I headed on to my new-found birding destination in the county: Point San Pablo. Sure enough, it was productive, especially in the oaks on the leeward side of the peninsula. Highlights included:

Pelagic Cormorant-1
Black Oystercatcher-3
Black-bellied Plover-1
Long-billed Curlew-1
Black Turnstone-5
Least Sandpiper-13
Spotted Sandpiper-4
Greater Yellowlegs-2
Belted Kingfisher-1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher-1
Yellow Warbler-6
Wilson's Warbler-2

Full eBird checklist here:

From there, I continued on to Meeker Slough and the San Francisco Bay Trail. It was low tide, and mudflats extended past the breakwaters south of Meeker as well as at the slough itself. There were some nice shorebird concentrations, and highlights included:

Greater Scaup-2 continuing summering birds
Black-necked Stilt-1 calling from pond, implying shorebird habitat in there...
Black-bellied Plover-200 in a flock on the mudflats south of the breakwater. I deeply regretted not looking at them to realize they were BB Plovers (as this is my largest ever flock in the county, and this would be the place to have a Golden) when they were perched, and only noticed when they were flying away. So, any shot at a Golden Plover was crushed.
Semipalmated Plover-1
Long-billed Curlew-4
Marbled Godwit-34
Least Sandpiper-30
Western Sandpiper-15
Short-billed Dowitcher-12
Greater Yellowlegs-2

Full eBird list here:

After that, I decided to cut the day short at 7pm still with a couple hours of light. This was my final full day in Contra Costa county likely til winter, so it was nice to end up with a fine total of 110 species.

The following day, 8/19, I was dropping my car off in Richmond for storage and decided to make one final stop at Pt. San Pablo. Even though it was not as early as I would've liked, there were still some migrants, as well as turnover from the previous day:

Pelagic Cormorant-2
Cooper's Hawk-1
Black Oystercatcher-2
Long-billed Curlew-2
Least Sandpiper-8
Spotted Sandpiper-1
Greater Yellowlegs-8
Heermann's Gull-1
Willow Flycatcher-1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher-6
BROWN CREEPER-1 seemed like an untimely migrant, calling in the oaks
House Wren-3
Blue-gray Gnatcher-3 including 2 seen was a good count for West county
Orange-crowned Warbler-1
Yellow Warbler-9 notice the overnight change in the Yellow:Wilson's Warbler ratio
Townsend's Warbler-1
Wilson's Warbler-1
Western Tanager-2
Purple Finch-2 are apparently regular here?? (seems odd)

Full eBird checklist here:

Was nice to bird Contra Costa more extensively than ever this summer, and I learned all kinds of new and cool spots to visit. Hopefully there will be more interesting and exciting birds waiting in winter!

Good birding,

Re: Water for birds


Thanks for suggesting, Verne! For the same reason, I recently got a few
clear saucers from East Bay Nursery and nestled them into my camellia
bushes to provide water sources for feathered friends. The Juncos have
already discovered them!

Miller Knox Phalarope

Sheila Dickie

Yesterday, August 25, mid afternoon at Miller Knox Regional Shoreline Park, Pt. Richmond there was one Red-necked Phalarope on the lagoon. Also present along the lagoon edge, one Black-bellied Plover and three Killdeer. Quite quiet otherwise. A handful of W. Bluebirds and a fairly large flock of foraging House Finches. Heard Nuttall's, but did not see.

Sheila Dickie

Water for birds


Yesterday, for the first time, I saw "my" local Cooper's Hawk drinking from the water saucer I keep filled on the patio fence.

With the ongoing restrictions on irrigation and the conversion of lawns to drought-tolerant plants, fresh water supplies for local birds with limited ranges can be a challenge.  Please consider conserving a little amount of water in other places and putting out a small, clean, and dependable water saucer for them.

NPS Centennial, Point Reyes 100 Birds

Carlo Arreglo <auntiestrophe@...>


For anyone counting, we have reports from Five Brooks, Earthquake Trail, Bear Valley Visitor Center and have 53 species and counting. Waiting on reports from the beaches, lighthouse, Chimney Rock, and Abbott's Lagoon. Hope to get 100 to celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service.

Carlo Arreglo
Point Reyes National Seashore
San Francisco

Third Wednesday Golden Gate Audubon Bird Walk


Overcast but generally mild weather at Lake Merritt today. 

Golden Gate Audubon trip led by Hilary Powers & Ruth Tobey.

American Coot

American Crow

House Finch

American White Pelican

Anna’s Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Bewick’s Wren

Black Phoebe

Black-crowned Night Heron

Brown Pelican

California Towhee

Canada Geese

Red-Smoldered Hawk

Double-crested Cormorant

Pie-billed Grebe

Lesser Goldfinch

Red-tailed Hawk

Ringed-billed Gull

California Gull

Western Gull

Rock Pigeon

Snowy Egret

Great Egret

Great Blue Heron

Green Heron

Song Sparrow

Western Bluebird

Mallard Duck

House Sparrow

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