that Varied Thrus

Phila Rogers <philajane6@...>

Dear Friends:

For as many times in the last three days, I have gone up to the lot opposite the Botanic Garden in search of the Varied Thrushes.  I'm beginning to feel like a stalker rather than a birdwatcher hoping to slip quietly into thrushs' domain for even the briefest look.

Today, instead of pacing slowly up and down the slope, I decided on the meditative "sit,"  not so easy to do with the busy park road feet away on one side of the glade and the smack of golf balls just over the cyclone fence behind me.  I tried to ignore the damp seeping through my thin pants as I breathed deep the fragrant' bay-scented air.  A cold breeze, blowing foggy fragments over the ridge, shifted the leafy pattern of sun and shade, making a soft rustling sound.  I heard chickadees and the chitter of Pygmy Nuthatches. 

I got up and moved upslope, standing this time, listening and trying to detect in the shade any signs of movement. Nothing.  My dim eyes were clearly not up to the task.  I could image the secretive bird lifting -- almost levitating -- on half-opened wings from the ground to a low perch -- a slender, silhouette poised motionless with a tilted head.

Defeated, I retreated down the slope when I heard a single, long drawn-out flute note which could have come from a few feet away or from a greater distance.  I knew they were there. 

Maybe that should be enough.

--Phila Rogers

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Found: Field Guide

I found a birding field guide this afternoon. PM with identifying info, and I will arranges to get it to the owner.

Tony Brake
Pt. Richmond

Varied Thrush and friends, Tilden Park

Bob Hislop

Yesterday, 2/6/12, I returned to Tilden Park and found the following species of note: Varied Thrush (pic) (thanks to Ken Berniker for the excellent directions), Hermit Thrush (pic), Spotted Towhee (male, pic), Dark-eyed Junco (pic), California Quail, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned- and Song Sparrows, American- and Lesser Goldfinches, Anna's Hummingbird, lots of Stellar's- and Scrub Jays, and Turkeys galore.

Bob Hislop

Re: Pacific Commons

Charlotte Allen <c.allen@...>

Here are some photos of the two geese - they both look like Ross's to

Dave also found a male and female Brown-headed Cowbird. Alas no
photos of them, or of the Yellow-headed Blackbird. My pictures of the
Eurasian Widgeons are too pathetic to share.

Charlotte Allen

On Feb 6, 2012, at 7:30 PM, D Weber wrote:

Hi Birders-

Made a late afternoon stop at Pacific Commons Linear Park in
Fremont. Two
Ross's Geese and an American Bittern were at the east pond. There
to be a slight size difference between the two geese. Two male
Widgeons were on the west pond and a/the Yellow-headed Blackbird
was in
reeds near the west observation area. I met Charlotte Allen and we
went back
for the Ross's Geese which were now way out in the field. Even at that
distance, one was very slightly larger but all other marks
suggested it was
Ross's. This place always seems to have something interesting.

Dave Weber

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Pacific Commons

Dave Weber

Hi Birders-

Made a late afternoon stop at Pacific Commons Linear Park in Fremont. Two Ross's Geese and an American Bittern were at the east pond. There appeared to be a slight size difference between the two geese. Two male Eurasian Widgeons were on the west pond and a/the Yellow-headed Blackbird was in reeds near the west observation area. I met Charlotte Allen and we went back for the Ross's Geese which were now way out in the field. Even at that distance, one was very slightly larger but all other marks suggested it was Ross's. This place always seems to have something interesting.

Dave Weber

Birds of Prey...........

Michael Marchiano

I can not explain why today but I had views of four different falcons/hawks
and a TV from my Backyard in Martinez just off Hiway was a first
ever for me at this location. This morning I had a pair of Red Tails
soaring around the neighborhood and an hour later I saw the turkey vulture.
Then around 12:30 a coppers hawk swooped through and scattered the birds at
my feeders....she hung around for about 10 minutes in a barren backyard
tree and then took off looking for new hunting grounds. I went out around
three and noticed three doves in my neighbors tree next to my fence and
then saw a little "hawk" sitting above them....this alone was a surprise. I
have never seen my yard doves hang out with Hawks. I thought it was the
coopers hawk at first but it appeared smaller...I grabbed my binoculars
thinking it might be a sharpie and was really surprised to have the first *
Merlin* I have ever seen in the neighborhood. That bird hung out for about
30 minutes. As I was checking it out I noticed a larger hawk at the top of
a tree one house away and I zoomed in on a beautiful Red Shouldered
hawk......What a day for the big birds of the neighborhood.
Michael Marchiano
*The Naturalist*

We will never be at peace until we are willing to understand, respect and
live in harmony with all other living things.

two streams, two habitats

Phila Rogers <philajane6@...>

Dear Friends:

Friday and Saturday, I participated in two field trips - Friday with Alan Kaplan's Golden Gate Audubon walk at Jewel Lake near Wildcat Creek, and Saturday at the UC Botanical Garden along Strawberry Creek.  Wildcat Creek rises near the highest point of the Berkeley Hills at the south end of Tilden Park and flows north for eight miles to San Pablo Bay, while Strawberry Creek, rising at the head of Strawberry Canyon, makes a shorter run west into SF Bay.

While many bird species overlap, the deciduous thickets and stands of willow along Wildcat Creek favor certain birds like the breeding Swainson's Thrush who will arrive in April and are so abundant that often their glorious songs overlap. Swainson's Thrushes are not common along Strawberry Creek.

Where Wildcat Creek is dammed to form Jewel Lake you can count on resident mallards and this time of year a variety of winter waterbirds including the regular Buffleheads and Friday, a pair of handsome Hooded Mergansers. Recently, a river otter paid a visit and made serious inroads into the local fish population

In early February, the area around Jewel Lake is open and sunny, with much of the vegetation leafless and the stands of creek dogwood revealing their glowing red stems. Narrower Strawberry Canyon is shaded year-round by its evergreen oaks and bays.  But in the upper reaches of Strawberry
Canyon where native chaparral species prevail, you are apt to hear
California Thrashers singing year round.

The two watersheds over the hill from one another are convenient to visit in a morning and provide an interesting comparison of their similarities and differences in habitat. 

Saturday at the UC Botanical Garden we saw 23 species including the resident leucistic Red-tailed Hawk, appearing bright white perched in a dark green conifer. Several soaring Turkey Vultures raised speculation as to whether there might be a recent deer kill (there have been two recent-but unconfirmed mountain lion sightings in the area).  The most abundant species may have been Lesser Goldfinches.  We also saw a small group of Fox Sparrows, who appear to be especially abundant this winter.  We had hoped for an early-arriving Allen's Hummingbird but saw only feeding and displaying Anna's Hummingbirds.

Alan Kaplan has posted his report and bird list from the Jewel Lake walk.

rising south
wind, dropping barometer, and thickening cloud cover this morning are promising indications that we may yet have some rain.

Phila Rogers

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Clay-colored Sparrow continues at Oyster Bay Sunday

Eugenia Larson

Late Sunday afternoon (around 4:45 p.m.) my husband and I saw one of the Clay-colored Sparrows with some White-crowned Sparrows in the weedy bushes behind the "trough/ditch" on the left side of the entrance to Oyster Bay Regional Park in San Leaandro. It was viewed about 50-75 yards down the wide trail marked with a sign reading "No Dogs, Wildlife Refuge" on the left side of the loop.

Eugenia Larson
San Ramon, CA

Richmond Marina Pacific and Red-throated Loons

Tom Grey

At Richmond Marina this morning, I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Ting,
whose photography I so much admire, and with him being able to photograph
both a PACIFIC and a RED-THROATED LOON. No luck on the Black Scoter.

Pictures at .

Tom Grey
Stanford, CA

Newhall Park Concord Cackling Goose etc,


At least one Cackling Goose is present at the upper (southeast) pond in Newhall Park, Concord among barely wild Canada Geese and Mallards. The lower (northwest) pond has at least 7 Hooded Mergansers and at least one male Common Merganser. A Green Heron was also present as usual at the upper pond.

Joel Herr

Hayward Shoreline (2/5)

Bob Richmond

I started at the mouth of San Lorenzo Creek. A BRANDT'S CORMORANT was off shore and a BLACK OYSTERCATCHER was on a piling just offshore of Ora Loma Sewage Treatment Plant. I then went to the San Leandro Marina. 1 or 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were just offshore. A BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was on the bay between El Torrito Restaurant and Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline. Many gulls were there, but nothing unusual. The small rocky island off the marina had 3 BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS. Nearby were 15 SURFBIRDS. In the Marina was a PELAGIC CORMORANT. Back at Mt. Trashmore 5 white geese flew by - 4 ROSS'S GEESE and 1 unidentifiable ROSS/SNOW. Also nearby were 120 (est) CACKLING GEESE, all appeared to be ALEUTIAN.

Good birding


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Black Scoter continues


Eugenia & Gary Larsen and I had good looks of the Black Scoter today in the Richmond Marina Bay. Looking north I found it first in front of the deli/restaurant steps. First accompanied by 2 female scaup, soon replaced by a male surf scoter who worked hard to keep up with this guy. A couple of times having to wing it to catch up. Later a 2nd male surf scoter joined up. Most of their time was spent close to the boats and a scope was helpful. Eugenia found a Pacific Loon in the outer harbor between Shimada and Vincent Parks. I saw what may have been an immature red-throated loon in the Marina Bay. (No distinct white on the neck). Also seen were eared, horned and western grebes.

Judi Sierra- Oakland

First Friday (Feb. 3, 2012) Birdwalk at Tilden Nature Area for GGAS

Alan Kaplan <lnkpln@...>

Hello, Friends!

A wonderful turnout of birders and birds occurred on Friday, February 3, 2012 at Tilden Nature Area (Contra Costa County, though the address is Berkeley, CA [Alameda County]. Over 30 birders, including visitors from Minnesota. Thanks to Denise Wight, Phila Rogers and Maury Stern. Nel Benningshof promoted the Great Backyard Bird Count two weekends from now; details at the Cornell birds site, I think. Thanks, too, to Bob Lewis for the training on January 21 !

Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Townsend's Warbler
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker ( for a woodpecker hat trick!)
Hutton's Vireo (scold call was heard)
Double-crested Cormorant
Red-tailed Hawk
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Yellow-rumped warbler
Turkey Vulture (makes the birdwalk official, according to Travis)
American Robin
Steller's Jay
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Varied Thrush
Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Hooded Merganser
Song Sparrow
Band-tailed Pigeon
Dark-eyed Juno
Red-shouldered Hawk (for a raptor hat trick!)
Brown Creeper
Spotted Towhee

Almost one species per participant! Next walk is March 2nd, and our theme will be migration. See you there! Same place (Tilden Nature Area/Little Farm) same time (8:30 am).

Best of Birds!

Alan Kaplan

Arrowhead Marsh


I spent a few hours at Arrowhead Marsh this morning, prior to and just after high tide. Did not see the Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Did manage to get a short video of a distant Clapper Rail-

Tim Kashuba
Walnut Creek

Varied Thrush remain at Tilden Park


Three Varied Thrush were still near the Tilden Park Botanical garden parking lot. It looked to be a male, female and a juvenile. They moved between the Parking area, the golf course and South Park drive.

Pic of the juvenile


White-throated Sparrows at Hidden Lakes and Black Diamond Mines

Denise Wight

Hi E.B. Birders,

This morning Kitty O'Neil and I scouted out Black Diamond Mines for an upcoming Golden Gate Audubon field trip we will be co-leading on Feb. 12th.  Highlights included:

Prairie Falcon - 1
Barn Owl - 1
Red-breasted Sapsucker - 1
Rock Wren - 1
Phainopepla -a silent female
White-throated Sparrow -1 seen in the ravine from the end of the last parking lot. The first I've seen at BD Mines.

White-throated Sparrow was also at Hidden Lake Park in Martinez yesterday, in the weedy area, just north of the soccer field.

All the Best Birding,
Denise Wight
Moraga, CA

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White-Tailed Kite at Cesar Chavez on western side.

William Dann <billydann@...>

All white, hovering, then diving into the grass.

"Pacific Golden Plover" at Crown Beach: follow-up

Bob Sikora

Thanks to Bob, Len, Dominik, John, Joseph, Noah and all who contributed to the Pacific Golden discussion of post #3109. Your willingness to contribute your years of experience really enriches an endeavor that is already a lot of fun.

I took the photo thinking I was looking at a Black-bellied Plover. You don't really see much through an EVF.

When I got to look at the picture I thought wait a minute, that is a huge eye. And a huge bill. And there is no black speckling on the back. A shadow (?) on the lore/forehead area may have also been misleading.

After wrestling with the bill shape until I began falling asleep it occurred to me that the bird might be a juvenile. Once I took that approach, I started digging for pictures and soon decided it must be a juvenile Golden.

Post it. Get some sleep. See what happens.

I find it quite remarkable that someone is able to put a few words into this web site and quickly be rewarded with such an informative response. I am changing the caption on the photo.

Bob S.

Eurasian Collared Dove at Orwood


Across from the Orwood Resort in east county are a flock of Eurasian Collard Doves. Here is a photo of one that I took.

Larry Cawthorn

A Cooper's Hawk isn't that unusual, but...

Bob Sikora

it was sure unusual to find one in our urban birdbath this afternoon.!i=16990&#92;
71062&k=ZD4pCcH He didn't bathe, he just had a drink and looked around
for a while. Within minutes after he left bird life was back to normal
in the backyard. Bob S., Alameda