Date   

Re: Band-tailed Pigeons in Eastern Alameda

Lyn Dailey
 

I’m by no means an expert birder but pretty sure there were large flocks lurking in my neighborhood for about a month recently in the east Oakland hills. I was able to observe them in close trees for long periods and they appeared to be band tailed pigeons to me.
Lyn

On Mar 9, 2021, at 11:29 AM, Alexander Henry <awhenry@umich.edu> wrote:

Hi all,

Sorry to be nitpicky, but here goes.

There have been a lot of reports of Band-tailed Pigeons in Eastern Alameda county recently.

Please keep in mind that Band-tailed Pigeons are NOT common in east county. There is lots of suitable habitat at the upper elevations of Mines Road, and high counts of Band-tailed Pigeons there do not surprise me, however they are still not particularly common at Mines Road, and do in my opinion merit either written notes or photos if large numbers are observed.

Elsewhere in the eastern part of the Livermore Valley and the Altamont Hills (such as Cedar Mountain Winery), there is very little suitable habitat, and Band-tailed Pigeon sightings should definitely be documented with write-ups or photos. I’m not saying they don’t or can’t occur, just that they are uncommon enough in that area that care should be taken to separate them from other pigeon and dove species, and some form of written or photographic documentation would be greatly appreciated (at least by me personally).

In order to understand the status of Band-tailed Pigeon in this area, consider that they are flagged “rare” in eBird in both Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, I believe. There are only 2 previous records of Band-tailed Pigeon from Del Puerto Canyon (not far from upper Mines Road), and only a handful of records, mostly small numbers, from Kiln Canyon in the Corral Hollow Pass area (near Tesla Road and Cedar Mountain Winery). Given the rarity status of this species only a few miles away over the county line, I think we should all make a collective effort to properly document Band-tailed Pigeon sightings in eastern Alameda county.

Again, sorry if it seems like I’m nitpicking! (I am, admittedly). And for those who are interested in finding rarities, given the large numbers of Band-tailed Pigeons at Mines Road, a trip to Del Puerto Canyon could be a good idea! (It’s also getting into that Costa’s time of year, isn’t it?)

Thanks!
Alex Henry
Berkeley



Band-tailed Pigeons in Eastern Alameda

Alexander Henry
 

Hi all,

Sorry to be nitpicky, but here goes.

There have been a lot of reports of Band-tailed Pigeons in Eastern Alameda county recently.

Please keep in mind that Band-tailed Pigeons are NOT common in east county. There is lots of suitable habitat at the upper elevations of Mines Road, and high counts of Band-tailed Pigeons there do not surprise me, however they are still not particularly common at Mines Road, and do in my opinion merit either written notes or photos if large numbers are observed.

Elsewhere in the eastern part of the Livermore Valley and the Altamont Hills (such as Cedar Mountain Winery), there is very little suitable habitat, and Band-tailed Pigeon sightings should definitely be documented with write-ups or photos. I’m not saying they don’t or can’t occur, just that they are uncommon enough in that area that care should be taken to separate them from other pigeon and dove species, and some form of written or photographic documentation would be greatly appreciated (at least by me personally).

In order to understand the status of Band-tailed Pigeon in this area, consider that they are flagged “rare” in eBird in both Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, I believe. There are only 2 previous records of Band-tailed Pigeon from Del Puerto Canyon (not far from upper Mines Road), and only a handful of records, mostly small numbers, from Kiln Canyon in the Corral Hollow Pass area (near Tesla Road and Cedar Mountain Winery). Given the rarity status of this species only a few miles away over the county line, I think we should all make a collective effort to properly document Band-tailed Pigeon sightings in eastern Alameda county.

Again, sorry if it seems like I’m nitpicking! (I am, admittedly). And for those who are interested in finding rarities, given the large numbers of Band-tailed Pigeons at Mines Road, a trip to Del Puerto Canyon could be a good idea! (It’s also getting into that Costa’s time of year, isn’t it?)

Thanks!
Alex Henry
Berkeley


Re: White-throated Sparrow: White or Tan-Striped?

Stephen T Bird
 

On a limb, if I was forced: 1st winter white.

The supercilium is a poor differentiator in basic molt, particularly a late-winter well-sullied adult or 1st winter.
The darker lateral stripe & (apparent) lighter median stripe, sharply contrasting throat & gray cheeks, rufous upper wing suggest a 1st winter white morph to me (which also permits the light breast streaking); but thats all the caveats accepted that winter can be difficult.
Once I've accepted that, I spuriously delude myself into thinking "yeah, that supercilium is fairly light for a 1st winter."

Other's thoughts? Don't take my word for it.


There are not intermediates (to my knowledge). The morph is due to a a gene inversion following a chromosome duplication/introgression likely from Harris Sparrows.
The argument is made, it uniquely has "4 sexes: near-obligate disassortative mating (i.e. a white morph must breed with a tan morph, regardless of each's sex). Almost as interesting as Acorn Woodpecker mating strategies.

-Stephen


On Tue, Mar 9, 2021 at 6:59 AM Sam Zuckerman <samzuckerman@...> wrote:
I photographed a White-throated Sparrow on Rifle Range Trail in Wildcat Canyon Park Monday afternoon and have had a hard time identifying which morph it is. To my eye, the sparrow has features of both. Here's the checklist with photo: https://ebird.org/checklist/S83048389
 
Many thanks for any help on whether this bird is white-striped or tan-striped. I put tan-striped on the checklist, but will change if necessary. 
 
Sam Zuckerman





White-throated Sparrow: White or Tan-Striped?

Sam Zuckerman
 

I photographed a White-throated Sparrow on Rifle Range Trail in Wildcat Canyon Park Monday afternoon and have had a hard time identifying which morph it is. To my eye, the sparrow has features of both. Here's the checklist with photo: https://ebird.org/checklist/S83048389
 
Many thanks for any help on whether this bird is white-striped or tan-striped. I put tan-striped on the checklist, but will change if necessary. 
 
Sam Zuckerman


Rufous-crowned Sparrow - Black Diamond Mines R. P., Antioch - 3/8

Paul Schorr
 

Today Nancy and I spent the better part of the day hiking and birding at BDMRP. Finding a pair of Rufous-crowned Sparrows along the entry road was the highlight of the day. However, there were some other noteworthy sightings among the 36 species seen or heard:

Rock Wren: seen from the pullout near the fire trail gate which is approximately 1/4 mile south of the old Mueller Ranch buildings which are being restored. The wren was seen on the large boulders in a gully east of the road.
Female Slate-colored Junco among the 50+ Dark-eyed Juncos seen throughout the day.
Red-breasted Sapsucker
White-tailed Kite (pair)
American Kestrel
Cedar Waxwing: 25+ were seen foraging on toyon berries along the entry road.

Good birding.

Paul Schorr
Antioch


Dowitcher, peep, & teal highlights at Arrowhead Marsh

gabikirk@...
 

A few uncommon to me sightings at Arrowhead Marsh (MLK Regional Shoreline, Oakland) yesterday, at low tide in the afternoon:
-easily 125-150 dowitchers, assuming short-billed because of the setting. A very large gathering on multiple parts of the mud flats visible from the large wooden platform and path along the channel, with numerous willets & black bellied plovers mixed in and two lesser yellowlegs.
-a spotted sandpiper (lifer for me), very distinct with its cute "butt bob," by itself on the exposed mud of the channel
-five blue winged teals! Another lifer for me, and definitely not as common it seems in the East Bay. They were farther down the channel away from the open water.

Full Ebird list at https://ebird.org/checklist/S82974629

Take care,
Gabi Kirk
Oakland


Re: Albany Bulb Gull Activity

Alan Howe
 

Guess I should note, too, that on Friday the water between the Bulb & Pt Isabel--especially near the Codornices Creek outflow--was swarming with shorebirds & ducks. A large number of green-winged teals was scattered over the area & a good sized flock of American wigeons flew in as I was about to leave around 5:30 or so. There were a few pintails & canvasbacks, & a shoveler pair that I've seen every time I've been up that way over the last few weeks. Also seen (this isn't an exhaustive list): avocet, long-billed curlew, a couple of murmurations of peeps--probably western, marbled godwits, black-bellied plovers (verified by a guy with a scope), great & snowy egret, great blue heron, among others.


On Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 11:56 AM Alan Howe <adhowe@...> wrote:
I was between Pt Isabel & Meeker Slough around 5:10 PM & noticed the gulls, too--in the sky & on the surface--just before I left for home. The light & reflection from the low-in-the-sky sun made it difficult to see from my location, but there was definitely something exciting going on. I thought of a sardine run, but didn't think it was the right time of year & the location for that didn't seem right. (@ least I've never seen a run there.) 

Peace,
Alan Howe
North Oakland

On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 8:00 PM hoggsville <jellsworthhayden@...> wrote:
There was a significant gull feeding event from the tip of the bulb to Meeker Slough this evening. Gulls everywhere, landing on the water foraging and taking off, circulating, making noise. By the time I noticed, it was getting dark but it seemed to warrant a further look and I walked out to the mouth of the mudflats. To my surprise the sky was full of gulls all the way to the Meeker Slough shore. Hard to estimate numbers in the fading light. At least 1,000. It didn't seem like a herring run as I didn't see gulls lining the shoreline anywhere. Noah Arthur, who wasn't present, suggests it may be a sand eel run which usually only last a day.

Two Burrowing Owls were present in the plateau enclosure, and I heard a Great Horned Owl in the eucalyptus near the main beach as I was leaving around 6:40. I saw a Great Horned last weekend around sunset and got some photos (https://ebird.org/checklist/S82472772).The peep murmurations are happening and the best time is right around sunset over the mudflats.

Cheers,
Jack Hayden
Albany




Re: Albany Bulb Gull Activity

Alan Howe
 

I was between Pt Isabel & Meeker Slough around 5:10 PM & noticed the gulls, too--in the sky & on the surface--just before I left for home. The light & reflection from the low-in-the-sky sun made it difficult to see from my location, but there was definitely something exciting going on. I thought of a sardine run, but didn't think it was the right time of year & the location for that didn't seem right. (@ least I've never seen a run there.) 

Peace,
Alan Howe
North Oakland

On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 8:00 PM hoggsville <jellsworthhayden@...> wrote:
There was a significant gull feeding event from the tip of the bulb to Meeker Slough this evening. Gulls everywhere, landing on the water foraging and taking off, circulating, making noise. By the time I noticed, it was getting dark but it seemed to warrant a further look and I walked out to the mouth of the mudflats. To my surprise the sky was full of gulls all the way to the Meeker Slough shore. Hard to estimate numbers in the fading light. At least 1,000. It didn't seem like a herring run as I didn't see gulls lining the shoreline anywhere. Noah Arthur, who wasn't present, suggests it may be a sand eel run which usually only last a day.

Two Burrowing Owls were present in the plateau enclosure, and I heard a Great Horned Owl in the eucalyptus near the main beach as I was leaving around 6:40. I saw a Great Horned last weekend around sunset and got some photos (https://ebird.org/checklist/S82472772).The peep murmurations are happening and the best time is right around sunset over the mudflats.

Cheers,
Jack Hayden
Albany




Albany Bulb Gull Activity

hoggsville
 

There was a significant gull feeding event from the tip of the bulb to Meeker Slough this evening. Gulls everywhere, landing on the water foraging and taking off, circulating, making noise. By the time I noticed, it was getting dark but it seemed to warrant a further look and I walked out to the mouth of the mudflats. To my surprise the sky was full of gulls all the way to the Meeker Slough shore. Hard to estimate numbers in the fading light. At least 1,000. It didn't seem like a herring run as I didn't see gulls lining the shoreline anywhere. Noah Arthur, who wasn't present, suggests it may be a sand eel run which usually only last a day.

Two Burrowing Owls were present in the plateau enclosure, and I heard a Great Horned Owl in the eucalyptus near the main beach as I was leaving around 6:40. I saw a Great Horned last weekend around sunset and got some photos (https://ebird.org/checklist/S82472772).The peep murmurations are happening and the best time is right around sunset over the mudflats.

Cheers,
Jack Hayden
Albany


Black Scoters still in Richmond Mar. 7

rosita94598
 

After Zoom church this morning, Rosita and I drove to Richmond on the off chance we might find the continuing Black Scoters.  We stopped at the viewing platform on Canal Blvd and it actually worked.  They were very far away toward the east end of Brooks Island; scope required, no doubt about it.

We tried different angles from the ferry landing at the old Ford plant and Edwards Park, but they did not work.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Orange-crown Warbler & VG Swallows

rfs_berkeley
 

This morning at the north end of Briones Reservoir an Orange-crowned Warbler sang and 4 Violet-green Swallows foraged overhead.

And 4 River Otters frolicked in the reservoir; literally that, with a good deal of splashing.  I wonder if they were a sibling group. They did not seem full sized and were quite playful; even coming ashore and chasing each other on the beach.

--
Rusty Scalf


Purple finches

mbstern2
 

About 20 Purple Finches have joined dozens more House Finches at my Sunflower seed feeders in Lafayette.

Maury Stern


Mar. 7 Heather Farm in the crisp morning

rosita94598
 

It was a glorious day, despite the crispness of the morning.  Great birds today and some new faces walking, including Jim{?} and Julie from Danville.  Their son at school at Purdue told them to visit Heather Farm for the Wood Ducks.  We found them.

A Kingfisher was on the trees of the island, a Red-shouldered Hawk flew, called and maybe landed in the eucalyptus trees at the north parking lot.

Five sparrow species and a Sora came to some seeds just a bit north of the gap where the river otter crosses the sidewalk and leaves its mark.  A Marsh Wren was singing in the reeds at the same location.  The Lincoln's Sparrow here is one of three seen today.  Two Fox Sparrows were at the otter crossing, too.

Red-winged Blackbirds were singing in two or three locations.  Bushtits were active, as were the Yellow-rumped Warblers.  The most active birds were the Canada Geese, who were honking, flapping wings and pushing each other around.  Ring-necked Ducks, a couple Buffleheads, including a male, and Coots were also on the big pond.  Up to six Ring-billed Gulls were around, too.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek



Rufous Hummingbird

Johan Langewis
 

This morning a male Rufous Hummingbird visited my feeder. The back was completely orange, not a fleck of green to be seen. No Allen’s in my yard yet. Also, a Chestnut-backed Chickadee started nest building in my nest-cam box today. Sure signs of Spring. I’m waiting to see if the Brown Creepers will return to the same nest site they used the last three years. Also waiting to see nesting activity of Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Bewick’s Wren, and a few others. I minimize my observation of nests so I don’t alert the local predators, especially Corvids. I hope everyone keeps this in mind this Spring.

Johan Langewis
Oakland, near Shepherd Canyon & Skyline Blvd


Two morning visits to Heather Farm March 5

rosita94598
 

It was worth it to make two visits this morning, though the first was before 6 AM.  I walked over with a scope to see the conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter.  Couldn't see them, very few stars and worried about whether I was too late, the sky a little too bright and the half-Moon above.  But when I walked out onto the north ball field through the dugout, bang, there they were just over the right shoulder of Mount Diablo.  I was actually too early!  The hot chocolate back home at 6:10 was a nice picker-upper.

Before 7:30, I went again for the birds and on my bike.  Fifteen Cedar Waxwings were in a tree before I even made it down our street to the Contra Costa Canal.  A Marsh Wren was singing like crazy in the reeds just north of the gap where the otter poop is often visible on the west side of the large, mostly natural pond.  This morning some very fresh poop was there and the sidewalk was wet where the otter had crossed to the currently dry Ygnacio Canal.

The Wood Duck pair was visible near the island from the wooden railing below the parking lot.  A Common Gallinule was also there, standing close to a Snowy Egret.  The Ring-necked Ducks are sticking around, but there are only a handful of Coots and maybe two female Buffleheads.

I did not go to the entrance of the private Seven Hills School today, but yesterday two or three Rough-winged Swallows were still flying over that pond. Twelve to fifteen Ring-necked Ducks are also hanging out there.

A couple of Red-winged Blackbirds are also staying, now, singing their cheery songs from the reeds or trees around the large pond.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Red-tailed Hawk at Arrowhead

Claude Lyneis
 

This afternoon there were some interesting birds at Arrowhead.  I saw a Belted Kingfisher hovering and diving into the marsh area.
A presumed Red-tailed Hawk landed in the field, in a tree and flew around a couple of times.  It looks slightly different from others that I have photographed, but Red-tailed Hawks  seem to have a lot of  variety in their markings.

A couple of photos of the Red-tailed Hawk are at this link. https://flic.kr/p/2kH63WT


Re: Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

David Yeamans
 

Thank you for your expert help. I have changed the ID on my checklist to reflect the truth.

Dave Yeamans

*********************
That is best for us which is best for our souls. [Matthew Henry]
*********************


On Thu, Mar 4, 2021 at 7:04 PM Alvaro Jaramillo <chucao@...> wrote:

David

   That is a Swamp Sparrow, the really rusty wings, bold triangular post ocular, and lack of crisp streaking below seal the ID. The two species are very similar as juveniles, but that only lasts for a very short time after fledging. At this time of year they are readily separable. Nice find!

Alvaro

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 

From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of David Yeamans
Sent: Thursday, March 4, 2021 6:51 PM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

 

In this checklist    https://ebird.org/checklist/S82749997     I included two photos of a sparrow I have called Lincoln's sparrow. It could be mistaken for a swamp sparrow given that Sibley says the two as immatures are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The other option I considered and rejected was white-throated sparrow. I'm seeking opinions. Offline responses are welcome.

 

dy


Re: Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

David

   That is a Swamp Sparrow, the really rusty wings, bold triangular post ocular, and lack of crisp streaking below seal the ID. The two species are very similar as juveniles, but that only lasts for a very short time after fledging. At this time of year they are readily separable. Nice find!

Alvaro

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 

From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of David Yeamans
Sent: Thursday, March 4, 2021 6:51 PM
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

 

In this checklist    https://ebird.org/checklist/S82749997     I included two photos of a sparrow I have called Lincoln's sparrow. It could be mistaken for a swamp sparrow given that Sibley says the two as immatures are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The other option I considered and rejected was white-throated sparrow. I'm seeking opinions. Offline responses are welcome.

 

dy


Re: Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

Alexander Henry
 

That’s a Swamp Sparrow! Great bird! (Though maybe not quite as good as that Vesper you found at Mines Road?)

Great Common Gallinule shot too.


On Thursday, March 4, 2021, David Yeamans <davidralphyeamans@...> wrote:
In this checklist    https://ebird.org/checklist/S82749997     I included two photos of a sparrow I have called Lincoln's sparrow. It could be mistaken for a swamp sparrow given that Sibley says the two as immatures are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The other option I considered and rejected was white-throated sparrow. I'm seeking opinions. Offline responses are welcome.

dy


--
Alex Henry


Re: Problematic ID Lincoln's Sparrow at Pacific Commons 2021-03-04

Teale Fristoe
 

Dave,

This bird looks great for a Swamp Sparrow to me. Nice find!

Teale Fristoe
Berkeley


On Thu, Mar 4, 2021 at 6:50 PM David Yeamans <davidralphyeamans@...> wrote:
In this checklist    https://ebird.org/checklist/S82749997     I included two photos of a sparrow I have called Lincoln's sparrow. It could be mistaken for a swamp sparrow given that Sibley says the two as immatures are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The other option I considered and rejected was white-throated sparrow. I'm seeking opinions. Offline responses are welcome.

dy



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