Date   
Nelson’s Sparrow at Arrowhead

Matthew Dodder
 

Bob Dunn was the first to spot the NELSON’S SPARROW on the shore of the little island just left of the boardwalk today during the high tide. Several birders got extended looks at the bird. Thanks, Bob!!

Also a GREAT BLUE HERON was seen capturing and eating a SORA. Photos will be posted on eBird soon.

Matthew Dodder
Mountain View

Pt. Pinole Peregrine Falcon

Sheila Dickie
 

Yesterday January 4, 2019 at about 3:30 p.m. there was a Peregrine Falcon perched on the old pier pilings at the Point adjacent to the fishing pier at Pt. Pinole Regional Shoreline Park.

Sheila Dickie
Richmond

Nelson's Sparrow Arrowhead Marsh

Matthew Dodder
 

I tried sending this earlier, but it doesn’t appear to have gone through…

The NELSON’S SPARROW at Arrowhead Marsh was found again today by Bob Dunn. He spotted the bird on the near shore of the small island just left of the boardwalk during the high tide. Several birders were able to get extended looks at the pumpkin-colored Sparrow before it disappeared again into cover. Also seen was a GREAT BLUE HERON feasting on a SORA.

Matthew Dodder
Mountain View

White-throated Sparrow - Antioch yard - 1/6

Paul Schorr
 

Before the heavy rains began this afternoon, I spotted a FOS White-throated Sparrow among the White-crowns in our yard. This was the fourth consecutive year that we have had a least one WTSP.

Good birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch

Swamp sparrow 1/7 Antioch marina

Teri L Wills
 

Monday afternoon we had great looks at a swamp sparrow in the bushes at the southwest corner of the Antioch marina. The Antioch marina is north of Hwy 4 at the end of L street which has an off ramp. The trail starts at the south west corner of the parking lot.

Good Birding
Chris and Teri Wills
Martinez

Runner ducks, I think, at McNabney

John Missing
 

All: on my first visit to McNabney Marsh today, I observed what appear to be a pair of Runner ducks (perhaps an Indian, or Indian hybrid, and a Chocolate), which are presumably escaped captive or domestic birds and therefore of limited (if any) interest to the group, and their presence may indeed be old news. So, fwiw:


https://flic.kr/p/RZ5kz7 https://flic.kr/p/RZ5kz7


John Missing
Berkeley

Greater White-fronted Goose at Lake Merritt

kateh37@...
 

This morning I saw (at close range) a Greater White-Fronted Goose at Lake Merritt. It was just east of the Rotary Nature Center area on the grass (bill covered in grass clippings). It was alone, but there was a flock of Canada Geese nearby.


Kate Hoffman
Oakland

Nelson's NO, Swamp YES

Alan Krakauer
 

I spent a while mid-day Thursday (1/10) looking for the Nelson’s Sparrow that was recently reported near the 51st access to the Bay Trail between Pt. Isabel and Meeker Slough. I didn’t see it, nor did anyone else before about 1:30 as far as I’m aware. I think the tide was rising but we definitely did not have a king tide. Also lots of construction noise.

On my way back to Meeker Slough (just a few minutes after Denise Wight and her friend left), I got a about a half-second glance at a Swamp Sparrow just south of Meeker Slough. I think this is more or less the same spot where it has been reported. I was between the old pier and Meeker Slough proper, close to the trash can and dog poop bag dispensers. The bird was on the edge of the long strip of higher elevation upland that’s about 75 feet or so on the inland side of the trail. I waited around for a while for this sparrow too but i was not able to refind it.

Other highlights were a Ridgeway’s rail that swam accross Meeker Slough maybe 50 feet upstream of the bridge, pretty close looks at a snipe near the old pier, a couple of canvasback, distant looks at a Merlin, first spotted by Denise Wright well inland from the trail, and impressive numbers of peeps (mostly Western Sandpipers) in the restored area between Meeker Slough and the 51st street access.

Full list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S51536328

-Alan Krakauer
Richmond, CA

Eurasian Wigeon

James
 

Sorry about the late post, but I had a male Eurasian Wigeon at the Hayward Shoreline at Hayward's Landing this morning at 8:30 low tide.  He was with 3 American Wigeons about 300 feet out.James WattsHayward

Canal Blvd This Evening. Murrelet Sp.

Ethan Monk
 

Hi All,


Writing for Lucas Corneliussen and Mark and Lucas Stephenson who have been doing a bay watch from the Canal Blvd. viewing platform in the Richmond Area for the past hour. The winds have been blowing SW all day and the birds have been shooting past them going North into San Pablo Bay. Here is a rough list of what they have seen fly North so far:


MURRELET SP. Small murrelet/alcid. A small, torpedo-like bird with a small, pointed bill traveling north quickly and low to the water with rapid wingbeats and all dark underwings and a white belly. Much smaller than a murre. Most likely a Marbled Murrelet (but they are not definitively calling it such) representing a probable 5th (?) county record.


~80 Red-throated Loons

1 Common Loon
2 Sanderling
4 Brant
~30 Thayer's Gull
~5 Mew Gulls


All of these birds were flying to the North. Tomorrow the winds are supposed to be North-east/East winds, perfect for pushing these birds back out towards the ocean. Early morning seawatches from Canal Blvd. or Pt. Isabel could be very rewarding.


Good birding,
Ethan Monk

continuing Summer Tanager in Claremont Canyon, Berkeley/Oakland

Bruce Mast
 

Howdy birders,
Rode my bike today to the Claremont Canyon trailhead at Stonewall Ave.,
(Stonewall Panoramic Trail on Google maps). Before I even got to the
trailhead, I heard the SUMMER TANAGER chattering in the trees to the left
of the house at 91 Stonewall Ave. By the time I had stowed my bike and
switched to birding mode, the bird had flown north into the park. I tracked
it down by ear along the lower trail that proceeds north from the trailhead
through the flat meadow. I relocated the Tanager in the top of a live oak,
the big round one to the right of the trail at 37.863040, -122.244731. The
bird was initially buried in the foliage but it briefly popped up and
allowed a couple decent pictures before it flew off to the north into the
eucalyptus trees above the volleyball courts.

Thanks to Erica Rutherford and John Colbert for first locating the bird
back on Oct. 30.

Also enjoyed showing passing hikers a Great Horned Owl hooting from the
eucalyptus trees at the first bench overlook with the rope swing. Full
checklist at
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S51611148

Bird on,

Bruce Mast
Oakland

Continuing White-Throated Sparrows at feeders near Oakland Rose Garden

kateh37@...
 

I've been seeing White-Throated Sparrows (1 to 3 at a time) at my yard feeders for over a month. This is the first year I've noticed them. Are they common in the East Bay? I am participating in Project FeederWatch, so I'm paying closer attention than usual. Project FeederWatch stats for all of California are showing White-Throated Sparrows at fewer than 10% of feeders.

Kate Hoffman
Oakland, CA

Ring-necked Duck and Wood Duck at Mountain View Cemetery

Patricia Bacchetti
 

As I pursue new places to look for birds for the 5 Mile Radius 2019 Challenge (http://www.iusedtohatebirds.com/p/vancouver-5mr.html), I popped into 2 places that are less than .5 mile from my house today.


At Mountain View Cemetery, there was a male RING-NECKED DUCK in the upper lake, not an easy bird to get this close to the bay. Deciding to look more closely, I parked at the top of the upper lake and walked up the path behind the closed gate (it's open to hikers) and found a male WOOD DUCK ; again, not that common this time of the year. I'm also noticing a big movement of robins in my neighborhood in the last couple of days, and the cemetery was covered in them, too.



Encouraged by my explorations, I decided to take a peek in the quarry pond next to the big new Safeway store on Pleasant Valley Road. Low and behold, there was a pair of NORTHERN PINTAILS keeping the Canada Geese company, as well as a female RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. Behind the AAA I found a hatch-year TOWNSEND'S WARBLER. The quarry pond isn't even an eBird hotspot, but I'm going to keep an eye on it from now on. And since Arrowhead Marsh is just out of my circle, finding the pintails was a bonus.


The 5MR concept is a great way to look for little pieces of habitat near you that aren't birded much, and it's fun to be able to bird locally with the spare hour here and there.


Who knows that the coming storms will blow in,


Patricia Bacchetti
Oakland

Waterfront Road Wetlands -- Martinez -- Short-eared Owl & Kites

Graham Chisholm
 

Yesterday afternoon I visited the wetlands east of Martinez & east of I-680
on the north side of Waterfront Road. There are two locked gates with
parking along the side of the road, and I choose to walk north through the
gate that goes into a grassy area that is obviously a park though locals
walked the better road north through the gate with clear "no trespassing"
signs about 100 yards to the east.

About 15 minutes before sunset (5:30 pm) a short-eared owl started flying
around about 1/2 mile north of Waterfront Road and ranged pretty widely.
As enjoyable were the large number of White-tailed Kites with numbers
building toward dusk and birds still in the air when the owl appeared, my
last count was a total of 39 kites, including about 22 on one roost to the
northwest of the property. This may well be an undercount given that birds
were flying in from a number of directions and I turned my attention to
finding the previously report short-eared owl.

Graham Chisholm
Berkeley

--
Graham Chisholm
c. 510-409-6603
e. graham.chisholm@...

Heather Farm Wednesday morning

rosita94598
 

It was nice to visit Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek after being gone 9 days. Fred Safier and I did not meet each other until he was walking home west along the Contra Costa Canal trail, so we had a couple of different birds. Fred had a Common Goldeneye, which I missed, but I had the Common Gallinule, which he missed. Fred had some others which I did not see, but are fairly common like the Oak Titmouse or a Jay.



At the north end of the north ball fields parking lot, there is a turn-around. Just past it is a graveled area which had a little puddle. Many Robins and Cedar Waxwings were in the trees there, but when I entered the park some of the Cedar Waxwings were on the ground at the puddle. Thanks, mom.



Fred was able to show me the Tropical Kingbird, which may have moved its hunting area. Today it was seen from the CC Canal trail looking across the canal and between the park maintenance yard and the pond near the Seven Hills School. I am wondering if the hunting is better at that pond these days. The school is private, and the pond fairly secluded, but the pond may be seen from either the CC Canal trail or the equestrian area parking lot.


A large number of gulls was circling various areas of the park. I first noticed them as I was riding my bike south toward the park, then again from the big oak tree on the west side.


Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Birds in Alamo today

rosita94598
 

I spent an hour or so with Jean Richmond at her Alamo house today. It rained, it slacked off, but many birds were coming to her feeders and backyard.  She has a White-throated Sparrow which comes in, but the couple of times I have been there since the new year it has not shown.  A Fox Sparrow was also very shy today and did not show.  But there were plenty of White- and Golden-crowned Sparrows, House Finches, Lesser and American Goldfinches, both Towhees, Chickadees, a Bewick's Wren, Juncos and a White-breasted Nuthatch.

The rain may have kept her Nuttall's and Downy Woodpeckers away, as well as the Mourning Doves.  She has been seeing them regularly, and usually I do, too.  Since I left shortly after 2 PM, it may have been too  early for the Hermit Thrush to show.  She told me she also has had many Robins and Cedar Waxwings on occasion.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

Lots of Mountain Bluebirds in eastern Alameda county....

Jim Chiropolos
 

This is a late report but on Saturday January 12 Derek Heins and myself biked from Cedar Mountain Winery to Cross Road to Patterson Pass Road to Midway Road looking for the Rough-legged Hawk on Midway Road and back. We did not find the hawk!

We were compensated by finding and watching two very cooperative huge groups of bluebirds. One on the wires and grape posts in front of the Cedar Mountain Winery - we counted 96 - and there were likely more we could not see fly-catching in the wine fields. We located a second big group off Patterson Pass road, we counted 98 in a group associating with a black-bird flock. The second group was initially off the road a ways but this is one advantage of biking - its easy to stop and look, compared to a car where stopping on Patterson pass Road will may block both lanes of the narrow road.

These bluebird numbers are very interesting as in one ride we saw two groups approaching 100 birds each and the previous Ebird listed high count for Mountain Bluebirds was 85 for Alameda county. Are Mountain Bluebirds using Eastern Alameda county more - I wonder? Please keep reporting mountain bluebird numbers on eBird.

The Cedar Mountain Winery mountain bluebird group is especially noteworthy as compared to other locations (in California?), Mountain Bluebirds are very reliable and can be seen very close-up at this location (unlike Patterson Road where the birds are very mobile). The winery owners have installed a reverse osmosis system to clean ground water which is dispensed into a pool in front of the winery that the bluebirds use to bath and drink. (Great photographic opportunities). Birders birding here should also visit the winery, do some wine tasting and thank the Owners as they have created a spectacular opportunity for birders - and are very friendly. My last four visits here over the last three years I have seen mountain bluebirds here every time.

Besides the Mountain Bluebirds we saw the expected species but I like birding this area as it is quite scenic and holds the Alameda County grassland specialists - says phoebes, horned larks, shrikes and lark sparrows.

Good Birding
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda

Re: Birds in Alamo today

Roy Carlson
 

Glad to hear that Jean is still with us.

Roy Carlson
San Carlos, CA

On Jan 17, 2019, at 4:03 PM, rosita94598 via Groups.Io <rosita94598=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

I spent an hour or so with Jean Richmond at her Alamo house today. It rained, it slacked off, but many birds were coming to her feeders and backyard. She has a White-throated Sparrow which comes in, but the couple of times I have been there since the new year it has not shown. A Fox Sparrow was also very shy today and did not show. But there were plenty of White- and Golden-crowned Sparrows, House Finches, Lesser and American Goldfinches, both Towhees, Chickadees, a Bewick's Wren, Juncos and a White-breasted Nuthatch.

The rain may have kept her Nuttall's and Downy Woodpeckers away, as well as the Mourning Doves. She has been seeing them regularly, and usually I do, too. Since I left shortly after 2 PM, it may have been too early for the Hermit Thrush to show. She told me she also has had many Robins and Cedar Waxwings on occasion.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: Lots of Mountain Bluebirds in eastern Alameda county....

KENNETH ARCHAMBAULT
 

Wonderful report, Jim, and i Learned about a spot I hadn't known about before!  Thanks, Amigo! -Ken ARchambualt, Birmingham, Alabama

On Thursday, January 17, 2019, 7:34:35 PM CST, Jim Chiropolos <jnc@...> wrote:

This is a late report but on Saturday January 12 Derek Heins and myself biked from Cedar Mountain Winery to Cross Road to Patterson Pass Road to Midway Road looking for the Rough-legged Hawk on Midway Road and back. We did not find the hawk!

We were compensated by finding and watching two very cooperative huge groups of bluebirds. One on the wires and grape posts in front of the Cedar Mountain Winery - we counted 96 - and there were likely more we could not see fly-catching in the wine fields. We located a second big group off Patterson Pass road, we counted 98 in a group associating with a black-bird flock. The second group was initially off the road a ways but this is one advantage of biking - its easy to stop and look, compared to a car where stopping on Patterson pass Road will may block both lanes of the narrow road.

These bluebird numbers are very interesting as in one ride we saw two groups approaching 100 birds each and the previous Ebird listed high count for Mountain Bluebirds was 85 for Alameda county. Are Mountain Bluebirds using Eastern Alameda county more - I wonder? Please keep reporting mountain bluebird numbers on eBird.

The Cedar Mountain Winery mountain bluebird group is especially noteworthy as compared to other locations (in California?), Mountain Bluebirds are very reliable and can be seen very close-up at this location (unlike Patterson Road where the birds are very mobile). The winery owners have installed a reverse osmosis system to clean ground water which is dispensed into a pool in front of the winery that the bluebirds use to bath and drink. (Great photographic opportunities). Birders birding here should also visit the winery, do some wine tasting and thank the Owners as they have created a spectacular opportunity for birders - and are very friendly. My last four visits here over the last three years I have seen mountain bluebirds here every time.

Besides the Mountain Bluebirds we saw the expected species but I like birding this area as it is quite scenic and holds the Alameda County grassland specialists - says phoebes, horned larks, shrikes and lark sparrows.

Good Birding
Jim Chiropolos
Orinda

Birds in Heather Farm Friday January 18--and one more

rosita94598
 

Walt Duncan and I were on bikes today at Heather Farm.  He was a bit ahead of me and had Mew Gulls on the lawn south of the concrete pond.  We both saw the Merlin in a conifer across from the truck-wash building next to the dog park.  It was later harassed by a couple of Crows.
The pond was very muddy and it was obvious that water had been high during the recent storm.  We saw continuing Ring-neck Ducks and Buffleheads.  In addition, two first-year male Common Goldeneyes were present.
Before Walt turned into a pumpkin, we decided to drive to the west end of Olympic Blvd beyond the traffic circle.  We found a couple of Mallards in the creek there and one male Wood Duck.  This section of the creek has often been good for the Wood Ducks in past years.  Due to the muddy waters following the storm, I was not certain we would have any luck, but we gave ourselves a low-five following our success.
Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek