Richmond Parasitic Jaeger

Jeff Hoppes

At 4 pm today (Thursday, July 18) I had a flypast Parasitic Jaeger on the
Richmond shoreline. The bird was trailing a group of half a dozen
California Gulls flying from east to west offshore of the Bay Trail between
Vincent and Shimada Parks. It gained altitude and turned south in the
direction of the Brooks Island sandbar.

eBird suggests that this is a very early date; almost all of the listed
jaeger reports for Contra Costa County are in August and September.

Good birding,
Jeff Hoppes

Heather Farm Park Thursday July 18


The couch was comfortable enough this morning that I fell back to sleep while watching the bike race on TV, so when I did head to Heather Farm Park, Fred Safier was already on the Contra Costa Canal trail heading home.  He had all the good birds--Great Egret, 2 Black-crowned Night-Herons, Green Heron, the Caspian Tern, a Red-shouldered Hawk, the Kingfisher, and 3 Red-winged Blackbirds.  These Blackbirds were special because they are usually absent during the summer; but these birds were not local, they had the yellow band of Red-winged Blackbirds from out of the area.   Our usual Red-wingeds are the California Bi-colored Blackbirds.  The only one of all these which I saw was the Kingfisher.  I also heard a Downy Woodpecker on the east side of the large, mostly natural pond.

Well, at least I don't have to stay awake until midnight awaiting a replay of the finish of Stage 12 in France.
Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek

Family of Cooper's hawks, Pt. Richmond

Alan Howe

Hi, all.

I haven't seen anything about this here. A 20-something leading kids on a
nature hike @ the park knew about it, so maybe the word's out.

@ Miller-Knox Reg Pk yesterday I saw 2 raptors fly into the thick row of
trees to the south of the lagoon & land, apparently, on the ground. I
investigated & found on branches just a couple of feet off the ground 2
juvenile Coops & heard a 3rd somewhere above (don't know if it was adult or
not; the person I talked to said there are @ least 3 juvs). It looked to me
like they recently fledged; while they can fly, it seemed like they were
waiting for mom or dad to show up with lunch. Every once in a while, 1 of
them would give a call that seemed to back up that impression & when they
flew to a higher tree, they perched in the interior, like they were trying
to stay inconspicuous. (Or am I projecting?)

Anyway, I got some great looks @ them & enjoyed watching the siblings


Alan Howe
North Oakland

Martinez Local Interest

Ethan Monk <z.querula@...>

Hi All,

Birded Martinez 10-1 today, tried to cover all the marsh in Peyton Slough (McNabney Marsh Area). Migrant activity was rather muted with very few shorebirds. Blackbird post-breeding dispersal is in full swing, with about 600-800 Red-winged Blackbirds working the marshes. I was able to pick out 2 rather bright Tricolored Blackbirds in the flock, suggesting that not all of these birds are local.

Waterbird Way pond was probably the most productive stop of the morning with close to 100 dabbling ducks, mostly Mallards. 2 Cinnamon Teal, and a rather early Blue-winged Teal were mixed in. This appears to be only the second Contra Costa July record of Blue-winged Teal? This bird is quite possibly a breeding dispersant from somewhere in the bay (the marshes N of 37? Maybe even from Contra Costa? An interesting thought...) Shorebird action was down with only a killdeer, G. yellowlegs and a few stilt.

McNabney Marsh had its usual duck numbers and species for the season. A lot of Mallards and Can. Geese. A few Gadwall and Cinnamon Teal. No Mute Swan! Almost no shorebirds with only a couple stilt and heard only yellowlegs. There is plenty of exposed mud available at low tide, it just appears no one is taking advantage of it. Very atypical was an Oak Titmouse in the eucs atop the hill. No phalaropes yet this year.

Mococo rd. Pond had about 39 Ardeids (14 Great E., 23 Snowy, 2 Blue). 4 G Yellowlegs. That’s about it.

Waterfront Rd. Wetlands—completely dry. On TransMontaigne Trail, there was no exposed water left before the Bay, but there was a Virginia Rail calling from some Schoenoplectus sedge. Possibly a breeder here? There are still about 6 singing territorial Common Yellowthroats, presumably all Saltmarsh Yellowthroat.

Hopefully more shorebirds start coming through soon.

Good birding,

Band-tail juvenile at feeders


The local Band-tailed Pigeon flock often raids our safflower seed feeders, but today was the first time they brought a kid. It was so young it even thought it might try some suet!

Walnut Creek/Lafayette border, photos here:

(I love those yellow feet)

Wood duck family at San Pablo Reservoir

Susana dT

At the very south end, seen across the reservoir from the Old San Pablo Trail. Five ducklings and adults. Bad quality photos due to distance here:

Other interesting sightings: Adult Bald Eagle perched. We startled each other, it took off before I could take a picture. There are several Heron nests behind the truck parking lot at the water district headquarters with young birds. And the always fun to watch Belted Kingfisher.

Red necked grebe

John Sterling

The grebe went missing from 2:15 to 3:15 when it returned to cove at base of sandpiper spit road in Richmond area.
John Sterling
530 908-3836
26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695

Red-necked Grebe continues in Point Richmond, CoCoCo

David Quady and Nancy Boas

Hi, Birders:

The Red-necked Grebe that Tony Brake found on July 10 continued in the little cove at the foot of Sandpiper Spit shortly before 3:00 pm yesterday, and again today at about 11:30 am.

Here’s a record shot.

Dave Quady
Berkeley, California

Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek Wednesday


For quite a while in the spring/early summer we see a Caspian Tern flying over the large pond in Walnut Creek's Heather Farm Park.  Usually it is very early, around 7 AM, though sometimes as late as 8.  Today, I went late and the Caspian Tern was present at 10 AM.  Sometimes it is there in the evening, too, but I have not been there lately to check in the evening.
We also have a couple of Green Herons and sometimes a couple of Night-Herons along the edges of the big pond.  The hillside below the houses have some oaks and a Red-shouldered Hawk, sometimes two, also, often sit overlooking the grassy slope.
The city has been having a pond skimming machine clean the big pond.  They have been working since June 30.  This paddle-wheel vehicle has a wide chain-like conveyor which scoops the algae out of the pond and into a hopper.  The eclipse-plumage Mallards mostly swim to another part of the pond to avoid the machine.
Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek

Red-necked Grebe Copntinues

Ralph Pericoli

The Red-necked Grebe found by Tony Brake and reported by Phred Benham continues in the Sandpiper Spit area. I saw it this morning at 9 AM and watched it resting and preening on the water until I left 1/2 hour later. It was just off the smallest cove west of Sandpiper Spit. It was an easy spot as it was the only bird on the water at that time.

Photo can be found on eBird Checklist:

Good Birding,

Red-necked Grebe in Pt. Richmond

The RED-NECKED GREBE was still present at the location provided by Phred Benham.

Looking at eBird records, this seems to be very unusual for this date. There are no eBird records in Contra Costa County, and only a handful anywhere in the bay for May-August.

Tony Brake

Red-necked Grebe- Point Richmond

Phred Benham

Hello all,
Tony Brake reported a Red-necked Grebe from Sandpiper spit in Point Richmond to e-bird earlier today.
I stopped by at 8:05pm and easily refound the bird here (37.908197, -122.376542). I observed it for about 10 minutes before it dove and disappeared around the corner.

Some pics are embedded in my ebird checklist for the area:

Good birding!

Phred M. Benham
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
University of California, Berkeley

11 White Tailed Kites in a tree

Madeline Brane

On the GGA bird hike today at Lafayette Community Center we saw 11 White Tailed Kites in a tree. They’re in a tree you can see from the hill that looks down on the St Mary’s Sports Fields. We assumed that this was 2 families living together.

Madeline Brane

Jewel Lake at Tilden: Pygmy Nuthatch, Swainson's Thrush, and Warbling Vireo

Lee Friedman

There are three different sightings mentioned briefly here, all at Jewel Lake.

1. Alan Kaplan led another excellent GGAS walk yesterday, which led to some terrific views of Pygmy Nuthatches. Here are two photos, one showing a Pygmy with a Ladybug for food that it dug out of the cone on a pine tree (to be submitted to Doug Tallamy’s project “What do birds eat”):

Pygmy Nuthatch:

Pygmy Nuthatch with Ladybug:

1. Anyone who has been to Jewel Lake during the past two months has heard the magnificent ethereal singing of the Swainson’s Thrush (still ongoing). Below is a photo of one singing, and a short 17 second video of it:

Swainson’s Thrush photo:

Swainson’s Thrush singing in video:

1. Finally, I observed a Warbling Vireo nest at Jewel Lake. I discovered it on June 5, when a parent was incubating the eggs:

Warbling Vireo incubating on nest:

By June 18, there were nestlings. I could see the begging open beaks of two, although there may have been other siblings that I could not see. I observed them being fed yellow and green caterpillars, and an insect that I think was a bee (also for Doug Tallamy’s project). Both parents fed the nestlings (sometimes at the same time). Here is a photo of one parent bringing the green caterpillar down into the nest:

Warbling Vireo on nest with green caterpillar:

When I returned on July 5, the nest was vacant.

Good birding all,

Lee Friedman

Pt. Pinole Lazuli Buntings

Sheila Dickie

Yesterday, July 5, at 4 p.m. I saw two male Lazuli Buntings flying back and forth across the Sobrante Trail at Pt. Pinole Regional Shoreline Park. The Sobrante Trail runs along one side of the Atlas Parking lot. The sighting which was a first for me at this park was near the trail's junction with Cooks Point Trail. Also seen, in a large tree at the intersection of the two trails, a Nuttall's Woodpecker, a species that I had not seen or heard in the park for a long time. Very breezy out there yesterday with low numbers except for 14 Double-crested Cormorants out on the old pier pilings at the Point, two Black Oystercatchers also on the old pier, and a flyover of 5 Snowy Egrets. Tree and Cliff Swallows also flying about at high speed out near the Whittell Marsh and Pier.

Sheila Dickie

Tilden Olive Sided Flycatcher


Speaking of Tilden, I heard (never saw) an Olive Sided Flycatcher both Saturday and Sunday in the general vicinity of Inspiration Point. It seems late—I didn’t think they nested here—but I’m happy to be corrected.

Jay Dodge, Berkeley

Re: Blue-gray gnatcatchers on lower Meadows Canyon Trail, Tilden


On Jul 1, 2019, at 1:16 PM, Pam Young via Groups.Io <> wrote:

Two blue-gray gnatcatchers - appeared to be one male and one female - foraged on and near lower Meadows Canyon Trail in Tilden Park on Saturday afternoon, June 29.

Good birding!

Pam Young

Hooded Orioles and Black-Headed Grosbeak in Hercules

Susana dT

The Hooded Oriole families are hanging out near the feeder. I am replenishing it twice a day now. I have a hard time distinguishing mother from kids, these might be 4 kids and adult male. Video here:

The Black Headed-Grosbeak decided to try the Oriole's menu. Video here:

Blue-gray gnatcatchers on lower Meadows Canyon Trail, Tilden

Pam Young

Two blue-gray gnatcatchers - appeared to be one male and one female - foraged on and near lower Meadows Canyon Trail in Tilden Park on Saturday afternoon, June 29.

Good birding!

Pam Young

Hooded Orioles and Black-Headed Grosbeak in Hercules

Susana dT

We had three pairs of Hooded Orioles at out feeder this season and they are now bringing their kids. There was a little bird bath fight today, video here:

A male Black-Headed Grosbeak has been a regular at the feeder too, I have not seen a female yet. Video here: