Grosbeaks Galore


Danville, Crow Canyon Country Club

Today, at about 5PM we had 3 adult male and 1 female Black-headed Grosbeaks in our backyard at the same time. A record! All were hanging onto seed feeders. Earlier an adult male Western Tanager was on some bushes, and a yellow warbler was near our bird bath. What a great Spring.


Swamp Sparrow at Winton Ave - Hayward

bdisme51 <bdisme51@...>

This morning after Kathryn Parker had left, I found a Swamp Sparrow inside the fenced-in area on the west side of the little house at the Hayward Shoreline at the end of Winton Ave. Also in this area was a White-crowned Sparrow. Besides the birds mentioned by Kathryn Parker in her post there were also single Yellow Warbler, Western Tanager and a Pacific-sloped Flycatcher present.

Bob Dunn
San Leandro

Female Black-headed Grosbeak and Swainson's Thrush, Antioch

Paul Schorr

Although the breeding and non-breeding male Black-headed Grosbeaks that we reported on May 12 have not returned since May 14, we have had a female in the yard frequently coming to the feeder since May 15. In addition, the(a) Swainson's Thrush that we also first reported on May 12, has returned repeatedly to our yard.

Good birding,

Paul and Nancy Schorr

Yellow-breasted Chat at Winton Ave. - Alameda Co.

Joe Parker

This morning I was able to catch a good look at the singing YELLOW- BREASTED CHAT being seen at the end of Winton Ave. in Hayward. Also in the vicinity were a CASSIN'S VIREO, a WARBLING VIREO, 2 SWAINSON'S THRUSHES, a WILSON'S WARBLER and about 75 CEDAR WAXWINGS. Most of the action was at the end by the old house and the large blooming eucalyptus tree.

Kathy Parker
Los Gatos

Warbling Vireo in Heather Farm Park, Walnut Creek


Just when I thought the spring migration was winding down, I heard and finally saw a Warbling Vireo in Walnut Creek's Heather Farm Park this morning. It was high in the south pine tree between the two equestrian rings at the north end of the park.

Western Bluebirds are still feeding young in their birdhouse. A young Red-shouldered Hawk was cruising around, being chased by blackbirds and others. A Killdeer still sits on her eggs.

I forgot to mention that one day last week I watched 3 River Otters at the south end of the large, mostly natural pond. They were eating something, possibly crayfish.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Hayward Shoreline-Winton Ave. 5/16


This morning from 8-11:15 I birded the shrubs, trees and pathways at the end of Winton Avenue. Highlights among the 41 species seen were the Yellow-breasted Chat(heard only), a number of Swainson's Thrushes, one Cassin's Vireo, two Warbling Vireos, several Wilson's Warblers, a couple of Western Kingbirds and a flyover of eight American White Pelicans.

During my visit I had the great pleasure of meeting and birding with Derek Heins, Judith Dunham and Bob Richmond. Thank you all for making the morning a memorable experience. Thank you Bob for hearing the Cassin's Vireo that I finally found and had a very nice look at.

Jim Ross

Yellow-breasted Chat

Jim Roethe

The Chat was also present between 4:45 and 5:30 yesterday (Saturday-5/15)
in the same shrubs as previously reported. It sang enthusiastically for
about 10 minutes on one occasion and 2 minutes on another. It stayed
concealed the entire time.



Jim Roethe
(925) 254-2190

Mines, San Antonio V, Del Puerto Cyn, Patterson Pass

Matthew Dodder


I led my Palo Alto Adult School birding class through Mines Road and
Del Puerto Canyon today.

We began at Murietta's Well where we found two GREAT HORNED OWLS in
the eucalyptus above the farmhouse. Also present here were several
EURASIAN COLLARED DOVES along the creek and a tree full of BAND-
TAILED PIGEONS on the far side of the vineyard.

The bridge just beyond the junction with Del Valle was unproductive
for the most part. We continued up hill toward the summit, where we
found a particularly productive monkey-flower and oak hillside that
provided us with at least 6 PHAINOPEPLAS, all males. RUFOUS-CROWNED
SPAROW and LAZULI BUNTING were also present as well as ASH-THROATED

The summit brought us face to face wth two brilliant male LAZULI
CALIFORNIA THRASHER were heard but not seen. Best bird at the cattle
guard near the new firehouse was a CHIPPING SPARROW and three WESTERN
TANAGERS in a large tree beside the new fire station. We were also
successful at finding 2-3 LEWIS'S WOODPECKERS south of the junction
along San Antonio Valley Road.

Heading down Del Puerto Canyon Road, we stopped at the left hand pond
to see the colony of TRICOLORED BLACKBIRDS, but also got RED-WINGED
and juvenile AMERICAN COOTS. It was getting quite hot by early
afternoon, and we made very few additional stops.

Frank Raines campground was thrilling because as we walked the road
and explored the willows we heard a NORTHERN PYGMY OWL somewhere near
the restrooms. After some crisscrossing of the parking area and
playing field we heard the bird change locations, and finally located
the calling bird in the trees beside the field along the stone wall
along the road. We watched it call for 10 minutes or so, and many
photos were taken. We also had a second Pygmy Owl calling further up
the road, but it was not seen. WILD TURKEY strolled across the
parking area.

but now Owls. A little ways down the road at Graffiti Rock we found
our target COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD, as well as another pair of ROCK WREN.
throughout the day.

After most folks split off to head home, our car made a tour of West
Patterson Pass (from Hwy 580). We found a total of 4 BLUE GROSBEAK,
beginning with one immature male in the deep gully where others had
reported Western Tanager. Then two birds standing on the road and
flying to the fence. BURROWING OWL was standing on a post as well.
Four LOGGERHEAD SHRIKES were found along the road in various places.
At exactly 6.3 miles up from the gas station on Hwy 580 we had a
brilliant adult male BLUE GROSBEAK and a surprise MACGILLIVRAY'S
WARBLER in the underbrush beside the road. As we made our way toward
Livermore, we spotted an additional PHAINOPEPLA.

. . .

Matthew Dodder
Mountain View, CA

New feeder bird

Johan Langewis

For the first time I have Wild Turkeys at my feeder. A mom with a little chick, tiny with few feathers yet, showed up in the yard, on the roof, and finally found the seed feeders in the back yard. I'm not too worried about the pets, the mom already chased off our cat. She's afraid to go out now. Probably a good thing.

Johan Langewis

Yellow-Breasted Chat - Winton Ave

Bill Clark

The Yellow-Breasted Chat at Winton Ave sang enthusiastically from 9am to 11am on 5/15/10.  It stayed very well concealed the whole time, but it was also spotted briefly two times - ruling out a tape player on auto-play.
To find it:
Go to Hayward Regional Shoreline, at the end of West Winton Ave.
Park near the residence house.
The Chat stayed in a row of tall shrubs, approximately 100 ft long.  This row of shrubs is to the north of the road (and the row of trees), and just south of the flood control channel.  There is a trail that runs east-west just to the south of the shrubs.  The Chat was seen from this trail, near the fenceline of the residence, and again from across the flood control channel, while I stood on the bike path, looking south.
Please remember your birding etiquette and stay out of the shrubs.  The Chat finally stopped singing, when someone tramped into the shrubs looking for him.
Good birding,
Bill Clark
Livermore, CA

Killdeer in Heather Farm Park--Walnut Creek


It is mostly quiet in Heather Farm Park these days, though the Western Bluebirds are still feeding young in a bird house near the Garden Center parking lot. This morning I found a total of 5 Killdeers in the park. One is sitting on 4 eggs near a softball field parking lot, two were just west of the dog park and next to the Ygnacio Canal inside the fenced area for washing city trucks and two more were on the large flat gravel area behind the the maintenance yard. I'll be watching these last two, there was a nest here last year.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

YB Chat continues

Dave Weber

Hi Birders-

Early this morning at the end of Winton Ave at Hayward RS the Yellow-breasted Chat showed itself, though briefly and unsatisfyingly, to a few birders. It was fairly vocal and moving around. It was seen in all three rows of trees (two N side of the road, one S). Swainson's Thrushes were easily seen and heard.

Dave Weber,

Hayward Shoreline (5/14)

Bob Richmond

I didn't get here until 3 PM, mainly to look for the chat. The following was seen and/or heard -

Pacific-slope Flycatcher - 1 at Winton Ave.

Bank Swallow - 1 flying over Winton Ave., probably the one found by Rich.

Warbling Vireo - 1 at Winton Ave.

Swainson's Thrush - 3. 2 were at Winton Ave.

Yellow Warbler - 1 at Winton Ave.

Yellow-breasted Chat - 1 at Winton Ave. It was heard from when I got there and until I left at 5:15 PM.  This is my 10th shoreline record.Thanks Bob.

Wilson's Warbler - 1 al Winton Ave., usually there are more.


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Winton Ave - early morning

bdisme51 <bdisme51@...>

I found the Yellow-breasted Chat at 7:45 this morning singing at the location mentioned by Rich Cimino. It is the second Chat I have found at the shoreline this spring. I also had the following birds:

2 Yellow Warblers

1 Wilson's Warbler

1 Warbling Vireo

1 Western Tanager

1 Swainson's Thrush

1 Black-headed Grosbeak

I also had a single fly-by White-throated Swift.

Bob Dunn
San Leandro

Winton Ave - late morning

richard s. cimino

At 11 AM John Poole directed me to the Yellow-breasted Chat location.
The Chat called once, but reminded hidden in the second row of trees north of the parking lot west of the residence.
So I played a brief 5 second clip of a Yellow-breasted Chat.
The Chat responded twice but never showed itself.
Also a single Bank Swallows was seen fly above the parking lot area.
Other migrants seen:
Swainson's Thrush
Orange crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Wilson Warbler
Are you enjoying the sun ?
Rich Cimino

Hayward Shoreline


I met Bob Dunn at the Winton Ave. parking lot this morning around 9:30.

He drew my attention to a singing yellow breasted chat. I relocated it again around 11:00 but on both occasions it remained out of sight in the shrubbery.

From the Least Tern sign I finally got a look at two Black Skimmers forced into the air by a marauding Peregrine.

Thanks, Bob.

John Poole

Patterson Pass hoppin'

Dave Weber

Hi Birders-

I decided to check out Patterson Pass Rd today. I got there via Corral Hollow Rd and Tracy. For those interested, just outside the county line at the main entrance to the Carnegie Rec Area there was a Cassin' Kingbird. A couple of Swainson's Hawks were over Tracy. On Patterson Pass Rd I parked at the mile 6.21 turnout and spent about an hour walking a half mile up the road and back. The whole ravine was swarming with Western Tanagers, there must have been dozens. Also a lot of Wilson's Warblers and Black-headed Grosbeaks. I had two Blue Grosbeaks near where I turned around and saw another back down by the turnout, which may have been one of the first two. Two Lazuli Buntings and several Lark Sparrows were also around. On the drive out, across the road from wind farm access at 14680 Patterson Pass Rd, I saw one Horned Lark and a Burrowing Owl.

Dave Weber,

Walnut Creek Patio birds


Rosita said that she watched a lot on Wednesday and yesterday and that we have two families of CA Towhees coming to our patio. She saw both sets of parents, each feeding a fledgling yesterday. I saw one of the young early this morning.

We have been having up to 4 fledgling Chestnut-backed Chickadees coming. At times we see both parents feeding them. Somee of the young go into the cage around the tube feeder, but have not quite figured out how to grab their own seeds. They have used the bird bath, perched on the peg of the peanut feeder and searched under leaves of the various plants. They are becoming quite adept as fliers.

I haven't seen the Juncos too much. There have been as many as three fledglings and we have seen two adults at once, one with virtually no tail, the other seemingly normal.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

imm. Swainson's thrush and baby titmouse: SW Berkeley, Alameda Co.

This morning's back yard birds in SW Berkeley (very urban spot) include an immature Swainson's thrush (anyone have any ideas on what it would be doing in my back yard, almost on San Pablo Ave. ????), a baby titmouse being fed by a parent, a baby chickadee being fed, and several fledgling house finches with their brightly colored dad. I suspect my oak tree is acting as a nursery for some of these guys. A few weeks ago, an (empty) hummingbird nest fell out of it as well, and it has supported bushtits and goldfinch nests in past years.


ringside seat for birdie action at Huck

debbie viess

On Wednesday I took a late afternoon walk at Huckleberry Preserve.
As I finished up the loop trail and approached the entrance, I was companionably surrounded by a veritable mob of interesting birds: a California Quail walked along the top of a mightly oak branch. A creeper crept up the bark of another oak, feet splayed out as it climbed. A Swainson's thrush(the second one that I saw that day) foraged on the ground under the oaks. An Oak Titmouse (natch) foraged above me. A Pacific Slope Flycatcher flycaught. A Pygmy Nuthatch crept into a cavity. Dark eyed Juncos fanned their tails and foraged, Stellars Jays displayed their gorgeous, fresh breeding plumage, electric blue exclamation points above their eyes and exquisite black laddering on their wings. Bandtailed pigeons soared overhead and the song of a Black Headed Grosbeak poured down upon us all. I perched in an oak myself, absorbing the sights and sounds around me. Sweet.

Earlier on my walk I also observed a Hairy Woodpecker working a row of downed Bay Laurel. Busy busy busy, everyone. And pure pleasure for a birder.

Debbie Viess
Oakland, CA