Cormorant Question


Visited Lake Temescal in Oakland today and watched three DC Cormorants dive in the shallows, each time quickly popping back up to gobble something down. Though I did have my binocs, I wasn't able to see what they were eating--they swallowed it way too fast. Any ideas? Crawfish perhaps? They were right along the beach area in relatively shallow water and made at least 20 or so successful dives in about 4 or 5 minutes. Quite the feeding frenzy.

No other interesting sightings, though a BC Night-heron was around for a little bit in the early morning.


Steve Hutchcraft
Alamo, CA

Hermit Warbler in Oakland

Kathy Robertson

Hey birders,

I saw a male Hermit Warbler in Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland around 5:00
this evening. It was just off Skyline Blvd., in trees along the road to
the Sequoia Arena parking lot. This is a new species for Bob Richmond's 2012
Alameda County Year List, and considered uncommon in the county.

Good birding,
Kathy Robertson
Hayward, CA

Sunol Regional Wilderness for Kevin Hintsa

Bob Richmond

Kevin doesn't have internet access at this time so he called me to have me post it to EBB. Today in Sunol Regional Wilderness, Kevin and a friend saw an immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. To look for it, take the road from the picnic area to Little Yosemite. Once there, find the junction with Canyon View Trail on the left (hill side and not creek side of road). Go uphill, cross a very small creek, and go uphill some more. On the right is an unnamed trail with a fence along side of it (the fence is perpendicular to the Canyon View Trail). The bird was seen somewhere near the junction with this unnamed trail. They did get some pictures and will try to get them posted later.

Good birding


osprey over Montclair <owlycat@...>

Today while eating lunch and enjoying our summer-like weather on our back deck, I saw a large bird in the distance that I was sure was not a hawk. Luckily it was headed my direction and as it approached I discovered it was an osprey! Fortunately I had remembered to take my binocs with me "just in case". It circled several times in the vicinity of my house and then continued on heading west. It came from the direction of Moraga and I wonder if it had left Lafayette Reservoir. Definitely a new "yard" bird for me. I have been here for 40 years and not seen an osprey in these parts. Had I not been having lunch outside, I wouldn't have seen this one, either. Birdwatching involves timing, too.

Susan Russell
Montclair, just below Skyline near Snake Rd.

Contra Costa County 2012 Year List

Denise Wight

Hi East Bay Birders,

The total number of bird species for Contra Costa County includes 360 native species, as per John Sterling's California County Birder's list, plus Dusky Warbler, with an additional 6 established introduced species (Ring-necked Pheasant, Wild Turkey, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, European Starling, and House Sparrow), making the current total 367.

Here are the 2012 year totals for species reported in Contra Costa County through January. These totals include species found in Contra Costa County by anyone who reported sightings to EBB Sightings or eBird.  I am not including two separate reports of Swainson's Thrush from EBB, as this bird is rare anywhere in California in January.

Abundance Code Key as per Bob Richmond:

CODE 1 - Common to Abundant

CODE 2 - Fairly Common

CODE 3 - Uncommon

CODE 4 - Rare

CODE 5 - Casual (6-25 county records in the last 30 years)

CODE 6 - Casual or Accidental (1-5 county records in the last 30 years)
(I have assigned codes to species based on comparisons with other bay-bordering counties, and made adjustments for Contra Costa County, especially species that can be found in the Delta region.)

Birds seen by end of January

CODE 1 - 70

CODE 2 - 54

CODE 3 - 43

CODE 4 - 19
CODE 5 -   5

CODE 6 -   0

Total       191

CODE 5 birds seen - Tufted Duck, Black Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Mountain Bluebird, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Great job to all of those who contributed to this list! Keep posting your unusual here on EBB Sighting. The February totals will be up soon!!  You may also want to check out eBird for a list of birds that have been posted there.

All the Best Birding,
Denise Wight
Moraga, CA

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Lake Merritt 2/25 -- Glaucous Gull

Lori Arthur <loriarthur61@...>

Lake Merritt had large numbers of gulls this morning, the best of which was a first-cycle GLAUCOUS GULL on the water between the islands and the nature center. He came to bread thrown in the water and even perched up on the concrete briefly, allowing nice size comparison with one of the many WESTERN GULLS. Other gulls were MEW, RING-BILLED, CALIFORNIA, GLAUCOUS-WINGED, THAYER'S, and AMERICAN HERRING, for a total of eight gull species, plus some hybrids. A very good day!
No rare ducks on the lake, but there were three COMMON MERGANSERS near the islands. The best mammal sighting was Joe Morlan leading a large group of birders around the lake, but they arrived just too late to see the Glaucous Gull. The worst mammal sighting was a HOUSE CAT in the bird paddock.
Noah Arthur, Oakland

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Re: Point Richmond Herring Run, part 2

I also saw that the number of gulls has increased since Wednesday, but they are more dispersed. It was pretty calm in the hours around high tide, which was at about 1 PM. I left a little before 4 PM just as there was a great number of birds in the air as the tide was going out. I did see a single Heerman's Gull feeding along the shore north of Ferry Point. A also saw a Double-crested Cormorant with an extremely pale head and neck. It seemed well outside the range of a first year bird. I've posted a photo here:

--- In EBB_Sightings@..., "EastBayBotanist" <dpbot@...> wrote:

I forgot to complete the last post. Gull numbers were not spectacular near high tide today (02/14), and the gulls were scattered across.

However, gull numbers greatly increased as low tide approached. By 430, gulls were lining the rocky shores north of Ferry Point. Herring roe was very apparent at this time on exposed sea algae.

Michael Park

Hayward Shoreline (2/24)

Bob Richmond

Today at the shoreline, a Brandt's Cormorant flew past Johnson's Landing. 2 Surfbirds were at Hayward's Landing. 1 male Allen's Hummingbird was at Winton Ave. The Radio Tower Hills had many geese - 4 Ross's, 3 Snow. 1 probable Ross x Snow, 145 Aleutian, and 2 Ridgway's.  Frank's Dump West had thousands of shorebirds, mostly peeps. But I did see a Ruff, probably what was reported as a possible Ruff yesterday. Also only 1 Red Knot was seen there. A Peregrine Falcon that was chasing the shorebirds, caught a peep. Another 12 (est) Surfbirds were a the San Leandro Marina. No scoters were seen offshore from the shoreline. Only a few we seen from the San Leandro Marina.

Good birding


Fremont/Newark Eurasian Collared-Dove

Colin Jensen

Within the last month, I've visited Niles Staging Area three times in the morning. All three times I've seen Eurasian Collared-Doves near the bridge downstream of the Staging Area. The most I've seen is six; the least was one.

This afternoon I went by the Industrial Ponds in Newark across from Cargill Salt. These are ponds which in the past have hosted great-tailed grackles. I saw none today, but did see two Eurasian Collared-Doves there.

I guess the invasion is here.

LOCATION INFO: Niles Staging Area is the easternmost access point to the Alameda Creek Trail, which is part of the East Bay Regional Parks system. See their website at

Point Richmond Herring Run, part 2

Michael Park

I forgot to complete the last post. Gull numbers were not spectacular near high tide today (02/14), and the gulls were scattered across.

However, gull numbers greatly increased as low tide approached. By 430, gulls were lining the rocky shores north of Ferry Point. Herring roe was very apparent at this time on exposed sea algae.

Michael Park

Point Richmond Herring Run

Michael Park

At 530pm, I saw this apparently 1st cycle gull:

Originally, I thought it might be a Glaucous Gull -- bicolored bill, +/-
uniformly pale. But the primaries struck me as a little dark.

It's bill is slightly open, so it's difficult to see if it's
structurally like that of Glaucous-winged Gull.

The light was at a low angle.

Comments will be greatly appreciated.

Michael Park

Very early Western Tanager(s) or overwintering--Walnut Creek


Last Friday, Teri Wills reported a Western Tanager in Walnut Creek, which was flagged by the Great Backyard Bird Count folks. I checked a little yesterday, my first opportunity, then looked again today.

What I saw was: A tanager, most likely female, yellow-greenish-gray, pale underneath, very bright lemony yellow undertail coverts. It had a pale, large tanager bill, distinct wing bars, though somewhat smudgy.

A second bird was high in a red-flowering eucalyptus tree and flew past an opening. It was bright yellow and appeared to have a fair amount of black. This made me think it was a male Western Tanager.

Upon returning home and writing my description, I looked in Sibley and found a picture on page 463 which shows a pale female, matching pretty much what I saw.

Unfortunately, this is a place which is a bit awkward for birding.

The red-flowering eucalyptus tree is on the grounds of the Diablo Keys apartment/condo complex, over some tennis courts. This is near the intersection of Civic Drive and Pine Street, north of Ygnacio Valley Road. The tree is on the east side of the complex, toward the Iron Horse Trail.

Best viewing is from the trail, but this is adjacent to the large playground/P.E. area of Walnut Creek Intermediate School. I stood inside some trees near a private, locked and appropriately marked gate, which the Keys residents can use to reach the Iron Horse Trail.

It might be a bit complicated to explain why you are standing inside some trees, looking with binoculars toward apartments on one side and having junior high school kids in P.E. clothes behind you, while you stand in some trees.

But the weekend is here, and there is no school!

If you really need these birds, park on Civic Drive, look for the hole in the fence used by the students when their parents drop or meet them. Walk down to the bike trail and proceed north until you see the tennis courts beyond a cyclone fence. Look for a trail into the trees and a locked access gate beyond. The red-flowering eucalyptus is quite obvious.

But honestly, more, and more easily seen, Western Tanagers will be arriving shortly.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Miller-Knox/Richmond today

Mark Rauzon

The tropical kingbird was at the 49th st.access area. I saw it chasing a crow near the dead tree to the north where the hawks hang out. David Moore got great photos of it closer in this am.
At Miller Knox, at no rare gulls seen that I heard saw or of; the gulls were dispersed and loafing on the pier. But the harbor seals were still feeding on cavier for breakfast.

good birding,

Mark Rauzon

White-Throated Sparrow and Varied Thrushes, Sunol RW


Following up on Eugenia Larson's post of February 17, this morning I went up to Sunol Regional Wilderness to look for White-Throated Sparrows. I found a tan-striped White-Throated Sparrow in a small group of Golden-Crowned Sparrows in the bushes on the hillside behind the green barn near the owl box. Nearby was a Varied Thrush, and I also saw a Varied Thrush on the other side of Alameda Creek just down from the owl box. Later, I saw two more Varied Thrushes with robins in one of the picnic areas by the creek not far from the "Y" where the road becomes a one-way loop. Varied Thrush has now officially lost its place as my nemesis bird, at least for this year.

Two Red-Shouldered Hawks were calling and flying around over the foot bridge, and later I found a Red-Shouldered Hawk standing on the nest in the sycamore across from the parking lot at the end of the road (from the drinking fountain, look southeast). Red-Shouldereds have nested here in the past. I again encountered a Red-Shouldered Hawk calling and perching in a tree near the corrals. I think there are only two Red-Shouldered Hawks at the park; they're doing a good job of covering their territory.

Stephanie Floyd

Great-tailed Grackles at Shadow Cliffs Livermore

Art Edwards <xenopsbird@...>

My daughter, Lisa, and I saw eight Great-tailed Grackles at Shadow Cliffs this morning at 10:30. They were at the fishing pier, south of the boat rental building, to the left of the tall reeds next to the pier. They appear to be nesting in the reeds. They were also foraging along the shoreline.

Art Edwards

Yellow-shafted Flicker at Coyote Hills (pics)

Steve Zamek

I saw and photographed what I believe to be a pure YELLOW-SHAFTED NORTHERN FLICKER at Coyote Hills this morning. It was foraging in the grass in front of the visitor center. Sever photos of the bird can be found here:

In all the photos, the black malar and red crescent on the nape are easily seen. And on the last photo, you can see a bit of yellow in the underwing.

Also seen was a juvenile PEREGRINE FALCON perched up the hill from the Quarry Staging Area.

Steve Zamek
Palo Alto

Posts 3259 and 3262 should read "Eared Grebe"

Bob Sikora

I was afraid the URL snafu would drive me crazy. I guess it did. I apologize.

As long as I am here again, I will post some new, shortened URLs to see whether they now work.

Eared Grebe, breeding plumage, at Garretson Pt:


Thanks Juli for Bushtit id confirmation.

Next logical step is to drop the camera.

Bob Sikora, Alameda

Here goes, fingers crossed...

Raptors Mountain House Rd. - eastern Alameda County

richard s. cimino

*_This posting has been approved by the EBB Sightings Moderator._*

If you're a birder who has used the eastern Alameda County Mountain
House Road

corridor for raptor watching this alert should concern you.

This area is under consideration for massive industrial solar energy

The Alameda County Planning Department has been directed by the Board of

Supervisors to study the region to determine if large scale solar

is feasible for this area.

At stake is 2600 acres of grazing and irrigated agriculture fields used
for foraging

by Kites, Eagles, Hawks, Owls, Egrets, Herons and Tri-Color Black Birds.

There have been a number of public meetings attended by conservationist,

State and federal wildlife agencies and the solar energy industry

The Greens have raised many questions and offered site alternatives to
such a massive

conversion of land in such a significant raptor foraging area directly
east and at the

base of the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area.

This Tuesday February 28 Alameda County Planning Department is holding a

meeting to make public their decision to recommend these lands for

or for the area to remain in agriculture -- ensuring for now foraging
habitat for Kites, Eagles,

Hawks, Owls, Egrets, Herons and Tri-Color Black Birds.

If you're interested you can attend this meeting to represent your
birding interest.

The meeting is being held on Tuesday Feb 28th at The Alameda County
Public Works

Building, 4825 Gleason Drive, Dublin.

More information can be found on the *
<>* site by clicking on the Conservation button
and the *_www.alamedacreek.org_* site by clicking on the
Upcoming-Events button.
The Sierra Club and California Native Plants Society are also involved.

_*Note:_Our advocacy is one of wise land use in such an important and
sensitive avianhabitat.
We are not advocating an anti-solar agenda.


Rich Cimino

Ohlone Audubon

Alameda Creek Alliance

Re: Gullapalooza: The Video

John Sterling

The link below didn't work. Try this one.

John Sterling

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695
530 908-3836
jsterling@... (photos, classes, tours, county birding)

On Feb 23, 2012, at 8:52 PM, Todd Easterla wrote:

Shirley, All,

while watching your video you can clearly see what looks like a 1st or or
2nd cycle Glaucous Gull in your video at about 1:20 minutes. Looks like my
daughter Tayla and I will be going to come see the gulls tomorrow, should be

Also John Sterling and I are giving another gull class and hopefully there
will be some of these late Herring Runs still happening. To view Johns
website for the information about the gull class go to the link below.

This has been a good winter for Slaty-backed gulls so far and I don't think
it's over yet!

Todd Easterla

-----Original Message-----
From: EBB_Sightings@... [mailto:EBB_Sightings@...]
On Behalf Of Shirley
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 5:34 PM
To: EBB_Sightings@...
Subject: [EBB_Sightings] Gullapalooza: The Video

Love that word!!!! It's not yet the magnitude of last years' event, but
still worth a visit.

Video taken on S side of Ferry Point, Miller Knox Shoreline Park, Richmond.

-Shirely Doell


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Shadow Cliffs correction

richard s. cimino

In keeping with a good sense of humor, ~ I have a correction to an
earlier posting regarding Shadow Cliff EBRP, Pleasanton.
It is a Merlin (the falcon) which has been active in Shadow Cliffs EBRP.
I must have been considering my dinner plans when I typed Marlin (a fish) .
Rich Cimino