Date   
Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, Lake Merritt

Glen Tepke
 

Yesterday (12/12) evening I took a walk around Lake Merritt in Oakland and saw five Common Mergansers - three males and two females - loafing on and around the barrier floats across the lake, presumably, I thought, the same birds that had been reported by Lyla Arum.  Then when I got home I saw Lyla's post correcting her ID to Red-breasted Merganser and started to second-guess myself - had I misidentified the mergansers just because I was expecting to see Common?  So this afternoon I returned for another look and saw six Red-breasted Mergansers - five females and one male.  Definitely not the same birds I saw yesterday, so it looks like both species are currently frequenting the lake.  Like Hilary said, in my experience Red-breasted is more frequently seen there, but both species are semi-regular in winter.

Re Rusty's comment that Common Merganser has a strong preference for fresh water, the Birds of North America species account says "winters on both fresh and salt water, but most frequently on fresh water, whereas Red-breasted Merganser winters more on salt water."  I think Common Mergansers wintering on the coast are typically found in brackish lagoons and river mouths rather than the open ocean, and Lake Merritt fits the bill as a highly modified brackish lagoon.

Good birding,

Glen Tepke
Oakland/Santa Cruz

Re: Bay Duck Behavior Questions in Emeryville

John H. Maurer
 

I've been reading that billions of birds have disappeared. I've gotten emails about this from several different organizations (asking for money, of course). I hope the scaup haven't been hit by whatever caused this.

John

----- Original Message -----
From: Jim Chiropolos <jnc@...>
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Sent: Fri, 13 Dec 2019 09:24:22 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Bay Duck Behavior Questions in Emeryville

I have worked in Emeryville for 25 years and every day I park my car by Chevys and start the work day by looking at the bay.

For the past 24 years, in the winter, a large group of Greater Scalp (maybe 100 to 250 plus) has always been in the bay here to greet me when I park. This year in this location, I think the high count of scalp so far has been 25 and usually less than 5. The scalp have been replaced by lots and lots of Buffleheads! This week I have been counting 300 to 500 Buffleheads actively feeding from where I park in the morning. I do not think I have ever seen this many for so long at this area. The bay bottom here is muddy and the water is probably 2 to 4 feet deep and this is an area that is not exposed by the tides.

I am always amazed by how little we know about common birds we see all the time. I have questions that include:
1. Why have the greater scalp abandoned this area so far this year? (It seems to be a year of low scalp numbers in Emeryville)
2. Why have Buffleheads moved in this year to actively feed in this area in big numbers?
3. What do Buffleheads feed on that is different than scalp? Do Buffleheads feed underwater using a different behavior feeding behavior or action? Since they are smaller is the food items they feed on smaller?
4. (I have noticed over the years that Lessor Scalp prefer areas to feed that are exposed by low tides unlike Greater Scalp that seem to prefer deeper water).
5. Is what I am seeing a sign than the "Chevys" bay mud bottom ecology of marine invertebrates or whatever the bay ducks are feeding on is different?

I know so little of bay duck behavior despite considering them a "common" bird.
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda and Emeryville

PS - No sign of tufted duck after the spotting on Tuesday and the Bar-tailed Godwit has also been missing))

[Admin] - Gentle reminder

EBB-Support
 

EBB-Sightings is intended for SIGHTINGS, only. Please post announcements and discussions on EBB-Discussion (https://groups.io/g/EBB-Discussion).

Re: Bay Duck Behavior Questions in Emeryville

 

I don't know what the trends are regarding populations of either Scaup (Scalp?) or Bufflehead but I would keep in mind that the recent heavy rain may have set off a herring spawning event (as heavy rains often do this time of year) and herring runs are known to /temporarily concentrate birds (including scaup and other bay ducks) from large areas. Also the influx of freshwater could be a catalyst for other changes in food availability thus prompting localized movement.

some potential ideas to look into as well

On Dec 13, 2019, at 10:25, Megan Jankowski <mindfuldocumentation@...> wrote:

I feel like there are way fewer scaup on the bay then just a few years ago,
but it would be prudent to get the Oakland Christmas Bird Count data to
really show what the decline is. There is a general decline in scaup, not
just in our area:

https://www.ducks.org/conservation/waterfowl-research-science/the-great-scaup-mystery

https://www.outdoornews.com/2018/07/02/in-illinois-clues-in-decline-of-scaup-on-rivers/


Megan Jankowski
Oakland



On Fri, Dec 13, 2019 at 9:24 AM Jim Chiropolos <jnc@...> wrote:

I have worked in Emeryville for 25 years and every day I park my car by
Chevys and start the work day by looking at the bay.

For the past 24 years, in the winter, a large group of Greater Scalp
(maybe 100 to 250 plus) has always been in the bay here to greet me when I
park. This year in this location, I think the high count of scalp so far
has been 25 and usually less than 5. The scalp have been replaced by lots
and lots of Buffleheads! This week I have been counting 300 to 500
Buffleheads actively feeding from where I park in the morning. I do not
think I have ever seen this many for so long at this area. The bay bottom
here is muddy and the water is probably 2 to 4 feet deep and this is an
area that is not exposed by the tides.

I am always amazed by how little we know about common birds we see all the
time. I have questions that include:
1. Why have the greater scalp abandoned this area so far this year? (It
seems to be a year of low scalp numbers in Emeryville)
2. Why have Buffleheads moved in this year to actively feed in this area
in big numbers?
3. What do Buffleheads feed on that is different than scalp? Do
Buffleheads feed underwater using a different behavior feeding behavior or
action? Since they are smaller is the food items they feed on smaller?
4. (I have noticed over the years that Lessor Scalp prefer areas to feed
that are exposed by low tides unlike Greater Scalp that seem to prefer
deeper water).
5. Is what I am seeing a sign than the "Chevys" bay mud bottom ecology of
marine invertebrates or whatever the bay ducks are feeding on is different?

I know so little of bay duck behavior despite considering them a "common"
bird.
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda and Emeryville

PS - No sign of tufted duck after the spotting on Tuesday and the
Bar-tailed Godwit has also been missing))




Re: Bay Duck Behavior Questions in Emeryville

Megan Jankowski
 

Sorry, I meant nationwide CBC data, since you have Emeryville locked down!
Is this available to the public?

Megan

On Fri, Dec 13, 2019 at 10:26 AM Megan Jankowski via Groups.Io
<mindfuldocumentation=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:

I feel like there are way fewer scaup on the bay then just a few years ago,
but it would be prudent to get the Oakland Christmas Bird Count data to
really show what the decline is. There is a general decline in scaup, not
just in our area:


https://www.ducks.org/conservation/waterfowl-research-science/the-great-scaup-mystery


https://www.outdoornews.com/2018/07/02/in-illinois-clues-in-decline-of-scaup-on-rivers/


Megan Jankowski
Oakland



On Fri, Dec 13, 2019 at 9:24 AM Jim Chiropolos <jnc@...> wrote:

I have worked in Emeryville for 25 years and every day I park my car by
Chevys and start the work day by looking at the bay.

For the past 24 years, in the winter, a large group of Greater Scalp
(maybe 100 to 250 plus) has always been in the bay here to greet me when
I
park. This year in this location, I think the high count of scalp so far
has been 25 and usually less than 5. The scalp have been replaced by lots
and lots of Buffleheads! This week I have been counting 300 to 500
Buffleheads actively feeding from where I park in the morning. I do not
think I have ever seen this many for so long at this area. The bay bottom
here is muddy and the water is probably 2 to 4 feet deep and this is an
area that is not exposed by the tides.

I am always amazed by how little we know about common birds we see all
the
time. I have questions that include:
1. Why have the greater scalp abandoned this area so far this year? (It
seems to be a year of low scalp numbers in Emeryville)
2. Why have Buffleheads moved in this year to actively feed in this area
in big numbers?
3. What do Buffleheads feed on that is different than scalp? Do
Buffleheads feed underwater using a different behavior feeding behavior
or
action? Since they are smaller is the food items they feed on smaller?
4. (I have noticed over the years that Lessor Scalp prefer areas to feed
that are exposed by low tides unlike Greater Scalp that seem to prefer
deeper water).
5. Is what I am seeing a sign than the "Chevys" bay mud bottom ecology of
marine invertebrates or whatever the bay ducks are feeding on is
different?

I know so little of bay duck behavior despite considering them a "common"
bird.
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda and Emeryville

PS - No sign of tufted duck after the spotting on Tuesday and the
Bar-tailed Godwit has also been missing))





Re: Bay Duck Behavior Questions in Emeryville

Megan Jankowski
 

I feel like there are way fewer scaup on the bay then just a few years ago,
but it would be prudent to get the Oakland Christmas Bird Count data to
really show what the decline is. There is a general decline in scaup, not
just in our area:

https://www.ducks.org/conservation/waterfowl-research-science/the-great-scaup-mystery

https://www.outdoornews.com/2018/07/02/in-illinois-clues-in-decline-of-scaup-on-rivers/


Megan Jankowski
Oakland

On Fri, Dec 13, 2019 at 9:24 AM Jim Chiropolos <jnc@...> wrote:

I have worked in Emeryville for 25 years and every day I park my car by
Chevys and start the work day by looking at the bay.

For the past 24 years, in the winter, a large group of Greater Scalp
(maybe 100 to 250 plus) has always been in the bay here to greet me when I
park. This year in this location, I think the high count of scalp so far
has been 25 and usually less than 5. The scalp have been replaced by lots
and lots of Buffleheads! This week I have been counting 300 to 500
Buffleheads actively feeding from where I park in the morning. I do not
think I have ever seen this many for so long at this area. The bay bottom
here is muddy and the water is probably 2 to 4 feet deep and this is an
area that is not exposed by the tides.

I am always amazed by how little we know about common birds we see all the
time. I have questions that include:
1. Why have the greater scalp abandoned this area so far this year? (It
seems to be a year of low scalp numbers in Emeryville)
2. Why have Buffleheads moved in this year to actively feed in this area
in big numbers?
3. What do Buffleheads feed on that is different than scalp? Do
Buffleheads feed underwater using a different behavior feeding behavior or
action? Since they are smaller is the food items they feed on smaller?
4. (I have noticed over the years that Lessor Scalp prefer areas to feed
that are exposed by low tides unlike Greater Scalp that seem to prefer
deeper water).
5. Is what I am seeing a sign than the "Chevys" bay mud bottom ecology of
marine invertebrates or whatever the bay ducks are feeding on is different?

I know so little of bay duck behavior despite considering them a "common"
bird.
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda and Emeryville

PS - No sign of tufted duck after the spotting on Tuesday and the
Bar-tailed Godwit has also been missing))



Bay Duck Behavior Questions in Emeryville

Jim Chiropolos
 

I have worked in Emeryville for 25 years and every day I park my car by Chevys and start the work day by looking at the bay.

For the past 24 years, in the winter, a large group of Greater Scalp (maybe 100 to 250 plus) has always been in the bay here to greet me when I park. This year in this location, I think the high count of scalp so far has been 25 and usually less than 5. The scalp have been replaced by lots and lots of Buffleheads! This week I have been counting 300 to 500 Buffleheads actively feeding from where I park in the morning. I do not think I have ever seen this many for so long at this area. The bay bottom here is muddy and the water is probably 2 to 4 feet deep and this is an area that is not exposed by the tides.

I am always amazed by how little we know about common birds we see all the time. I have questions that include:
1. Why have the greater scalp abandoned this area so far this year? (It seems to be a year of low scalp numbers in Emeryville)
2. Why have Buffleheads moved in this year to actively feed in this area in big numbers?
3. What do Buffleheads feed on that is different than scalp? Do Buffleheads feed underwater using a different behavior feeding behavior or action? Since they are smaller is the food items they feed on smaller?
4. (I have noticed over the years that Lessor Scalp prefer areas to feed that are exposed by low tides unlike Greater Scalp that seem to prefer deeper water).
5. Is what I am seeing a sign than the "Chevys" bay mud bottom ecology of marine invertebrates or whatever the bay ducks are feeding on is different?

I know so little of bay duck behavior despite considering them a "common" bird.
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda and Emeryville

PS - No sign of tufted duck after the spotting on Tuesday and the Bar-tailed Godwit has also been missing))

Mt. Diablo Young Birders CBC

tracy_farrington
 

Due to a running event in Walnut Creek on Saturday morning, Dec. 14, the Mt. Diablo AudubonYoung Birders CBC will now begin in Howe Homestead Park at 7:45am. Heather Farm Parkwill not be available until later in the morning. We'll move there after finishing Howe Homestead.As in my previous note, all who wish to join us are cordially invited to do so. Here's a Google Maps link. Parking is in the lot on Walnut Blvd.Looking forward!
Best,Tracy FarringtonWalnut Creek
Google Maps


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Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.
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Re: Correction re Merganser posting at Lake Merritt: Red-breasted not Common

Hilary Powers
 

On 12/12/2019 5:33 PM, Hilary Powers wrote:
On 12/12/2019 2:20 PM, lyla.arum@... wrote:
Hello! I'm new to this group and am still getting the hang of posting. I was trying to edit my post from this morning and ended up deleting it instead.

Thanks to pro birder Steve Hunter and his review of my photos, he helped correct my ID of the five Mergansers spotted at Lake Merritt yesterday. They were Red-breasted not Common Mergansers .
An easy slip - and Red-breasted Mergansers are a but more likely at the lake than Common, but I've seen both there at various times....
--

~ Hilary Powers - Hilary@... - Oakland CA ~
~ www.salamanderfeltworks.com; www.Etsy.com/shop/SalamanderFeltworks ~
~ Needle Felted Sculpture - Real and Fantasy Creatures ~

Correction re Merganser posting at Lake Merritt: Red-breasted not Common

lyla.arum@...
 

Hello! I'm new to this group and am still getting the hang of posting. I was trying to edit my post from this morning and ended up deleting it instead.

Thanks to pro birder Steve Hunter and his review of my photos, he helped correct my ID of the five Mergansers spotted at Lake Merritt yesterday. They were Red-breasted not Common Mergansers .

Apologies!
-Lyla

Re: Lake Merritt Common Mergansers

rfs_berkeley
 

Common Merganser has a strong preference for fresh water.

I wonder if the recent rains have dropped salinity levels in Lake
Merritt enough to be palatable for them. Especially at that end.

-Rusty Scalf

I saw one of these Common Mergansers here about 10:45 today! Thanks Kate for the heads up!

He was exploring between the islands closest to the colonnade. Beautiful bird, but too far for my phone camera.

On Dec 10, 2019, at 9:58 AM, Kate Hoffman <kateh44@...> wrote:

This morning on my commute to work (with binocs in hand), I spotted a pair of Common Mergansers just left of the Rotary Nature Center islands (on the end nearer the colonnade). I'd heard some might be around, but I've never seen them at the lake before.
Kate Hoffman
Oakland
Carolyn Arnold
(510) 590-1172 (cell)

Re: Lake Merritt Common Mergansers

Carolyn Arnold
 

I saw one of these Common Mergansers here about 10:45 today! Thanks Kate for the heads up!

He was exploring between the islands closest to the colonnade. Beautiful bird, but too far for my phone camera.

On Dec 10, 2019, at 9:58 AM, Kate Hoffman <kateh44@...> wrote:

This morning on my commute to work (with binocs in hand), I spotted a pair of Common Mergansers just left of the Rotary Nature Center islands (on the end nearer the colonnade). I'd heard some might be around, but I've never seen them at the lake before.
Kate Hoffman
Oakland


Carolyn Arnold
(510) 590-1172 (cell)

Cackling Goose, Oak Hill Park, Danville

photohutch
 

Good morning birders,

There was a single, Cackling Goose at Oak Hill Park in Danville this morning. Interestingly, there were no other geese around, just the normal mallards and farm ducks (which are almost as big as it is). The goose was calling quite a lot as well, sounding like a kids toy horn. Had never heard one, before.

Happy birding!

Steve Hutchcraft
Alamo, CA

Hayward Japanese Gardens/Senior Ctr/Morrison Theater area

Debbi Brusco
 

I've only had time to go over there (at Crescent and Third) three times since the first on 11/23, partially to scout the area for the Hayward-Fremont CBC on 12/15, Sunday.

At the bridge over Castro Valley Creek next to the Senior Center, I heard a Wilson's Warbler call from the north side of the bridge. I was in that area from 11:15 to about 3:45. I think it was around 2:30 or so that I heard it call, once or twice. I don't often enter observations to eBird and haven't been doing that much birding, so it wasn't until I did that I realized it was a rare occurrence.

I tried again on 11/29 in the afternoon and didn't hear it, but I did hear Red-breasted Nuthatch at the intersection, and Acorn Woodpecker calling from behind and north of the theater.

Yesterday 12/10 I went over and started at that bridge. I waited about 10-5 minutes, and since there were a few people playing around below the bridge, decided to leave the bridge so I turned around and after 7-or so steps from the middle of the bridge, of course the bird decided to call. I went back to where I was and waited 30-40 minutes, even trying a few short recordings at the end, but I didn't hear it again.

If you have time and patience, check it out. It would be nice if someone else were to detect it. I couldn't see anything moving around since the trees are tall and there's a city center apartment building on the other side of the bridge, so it's relatively dark there, at least in the afternoon.

There are also around 26 turkeys that hang around in the area and near the end of the day, are visible near/behind the chain link fence on Crescent just before the intersection of Third.

Debbi Brusco

Re: Crossbills still at Berkeley Marina

C Lou
 

Dec 11 1115am. The red crossbills are north of Skales on the Bay restaurant off of Seawall Drive now. Conifer on bay side.Calvin LouSFSent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------From: John Missing <@johnmiss> Date: 12/9/19 5:35 PM (GMT-08:00) To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Crossbills still at Berkeley Marina This afternoon at about 2:00 I saw 10 Crossbills at the top of the conifersin the parking lot immediately south of Cesar Chavez.  Checklist andpictures here:https://ebird.org/checklist/S62181957John Missing

Crossbills at Berkeley

Jim Roethe
 

This morning at (10:30) in a Cyprus tree — turn right at Skates Restaurant and pass the two blocked entrances to the parking lot.  At least a dozen crossbills.  Also a bonus bird - one gold-crowned kinglet.  Other Birds in the tree or on the ground.
25 lesser goldfinch2 Red-breasted nuthatch2 chickadee1 townsends warbler3 cal towhees3 white-crowned sparrows.1 ruby crowned kinglet1 Black Phoebe
Regards,
Jim
Jim Roethe925-254-2190jimroethe@...

Heather Farm Park, Walnut Creek

tracy_farrington
 

Pleasant, somewhat misty, and delightfully crisp winter morning at Heather Farm Park.Yellow-rumped Warblers were scattered throughout many of the trees surrounding the natural pond. Three Black-crowned Night Herons snoozed in willows on the island. A couple of Northern Flickers arrived. The crown sparrows were fairly abundant. On the west side of the pond, in a relatively confined area near the old olive tree, four Ruby-crownedKinglets were actively buzzing and foraging. Among the ~35 Ring-necked Ducks there wasa single female HOODED MERGANSER. Buffleheads have been trickling in--I counted eight. Numerous Double-crested Cormorants have been around for a few days--I countedtwelve, this morning. On the east side of the pond, near the parking lot, there were two Western Bluebirds. And right around 8:45, while chatting with Fred Safier, Hugh Harveyand Walt Duncan, the TROPICAL KINGBIRD made an appearance.
The Mount Diablo Audubon Young Birders Club will be covering the park this Saturday,December 14, for the CBC. I would like to invite anyone interested to join us for thisannual event. We'll meet at 7:45am in the parking lot on the east side of the natural pond. For any additional information, please send me a personal note.
Good birding,Tracy FarringtonWalnut Creek

Emeryville and University Ave Tuesday afternoon

rosita94598
 

Thought I would try for the Tufted Duck near the fire station in Emeryville, and found Emilie Strauss with the same idea.  The light was horrible and it did not work for us.  Due to the low tide, though, the mudflat toward I-80 was wall-to-wall birds, just ta little oo far away to see clearly.
I headed north to University and parked along Spinnaker Way.  I had about 30-40 minutes to search all the pines but so no Red Crossbills.  I did have a female Townsend's Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow and several House finches.  The Finches made me take out the scope, then it was an, "Oh, it's Finches" moment. 

A Spotted Sandpiper was off the edge by the little traffic/parking circle at the end of the road--my consolation prize.

Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek

Lake Merritt Common Mergansers

Kate Hoffman
 

This morning on my commute to work (with binocs in hand), I spotted a pair of Common Mergansers just left of the Rotary Nature Center islands (on the end nearer the colonnade). I'd heard some might be around, but I've never seen them at the lake before.
Kate Hoffman
Oakland

Tufted duck at Emeryville Marina

Teale Fristoe
 

Hello all,

Phil Georgakakos were on our way to look for the bar tailed godwit when we
noticed a young male tufted duck in the scaup flock just west of the fire
station.

Happy Christmas counting,
Teale Fristoe
Berkeley