Arrowhead Marsh least terns

Martha Morrow

Just a heads-up about the least tern and snowy plover sightings on the newly created shell mound “island” at Arrowhead. There are at least 6 decoys there, of both species, which I saw myself during an EBRP work party to finish this year’s efforts on the site 3 weeks ago. To my knowledge, no actual terns or plovers have come to nest there yet.

Marty Morrow
San Leandro

Harris's Sparrow at Castle Rock Park Friday March 29


The previously reported Harris's Sparrow was seen by five birders this morning at the Castle Rock Park softball field.  After several other small sparrow flocks, the Harris's Sparrow was seen in far left field out on the grass.  It was not quite as far as the red barn maintenance building, and this particular flock was the largest we had seen earlier.
A couple of Scrub-Jays were making noise and may have spooked the flock back into the bushes and trees on the slope behind the field.  A drive-around lawn mower might have kept the birds hiding for about 20 minutes, but a few eventually re-appeared on the ground in front of some dead bushes.  Then, the Harris's Sparrow was seen at the very top of a tree and in full sun.  After just a few moments, all the sparrows seemed to fly over our heads and toward the picnic area and creek behind us.
I'm thinking that we probably started walking from the parking lot around 10 AM, maybe a bit earlier.  Thanks to Walt, Steve, Chris and George for the good time.  When we first arrived at the swimming pool area, we heard the chatter of an Oriole, but it stopped and was never found.

Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek

Cassin's Vireo and other migrants at Sunol

Philip Georgakakos

Hi Everyone,

I had a pretty great day of birding at Sunol today, migrants have arrived and many birds are singing. Also, the oaks and willows are starting the leaf out, and the first wildflowers are out. I started around 10 finished at 3.

My route was: visitor’s center -> Flag Hill -> High Valley Camp -> Cave Rocks Road -> Cerro Este Overlook -> back to the parking lot via McCorkle and Canyon View trail. Total of around 7 miles.

Notable sightings
Cassin’s Vireo singing around the visitor’s center
Warbling Vireos(2) near the creek
Big numbers of Orange-crowned warblers ~15
Horned Larks at Cerro Este Overlook
Yellow-billed magpies(2) off Cave Rocks Road
Blue-gray Gnatcatchers off McCorkle trail.

53 species on the day, full list here:

Hope everyone can get out this weekend and enjoy the weather!
Phil Georgakakos

FOS, Hooded Oriole, San Ramon


An adult male Hooded Oriole showed up in our backyard, this morning, about the same date as in the past.

Steve Lombardi
San Ramon

Swamp Sparrow at EBMUD Valle Vista Staging Area

Robert Raffel

This morning I had a Swamp Sparrow at Valle Vista Staging Area. The following link contains pictures and location details.

Robert Raffel

Oriole in Hercules

Susana dT

Sunol Swallows


For any of you who would like close-up looks at swallows and are also sick of driving 680, there are a couple of spots on Pleasanton-Sunol road north of the town of Sunol that are worth a quick stop.

1) Koopman Rd. at 680. This is a southbound-only exit off 680. In a 20 minute stop there yesterday we saw:
Dozens of CLIFF SWALLOWS gathering mud next to the road for their nests on the 680 overpass.
Several NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGS foraging and perching on nearby signs and fences. They're probably ready to nest in the weep holes on the overpass.
Several WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS cruising in the vicinity.
An adult GOLDEN EAGLE on the ground near the road, eventually being chased off by a pair of RED-TAILED HAWKS.
Any number of other commonly seen birds including ZONOS and HOUSE FINCHES.
Here's a Google Maps link:

2) The Verona Avenue pedestrian bridge off Pleas-Sunol Road just south of Castlewood Dr. provides a nice view into the creek and into the adjacent tree tops.
VIOLET-GREEN and ROUGH-WING SWALLOWS forage over the creek and perch on the bridge.
The adjacent vegetation is full of the usual oak-woodland birds.
WOOD DUCKS are sometimes in the creek.
A pair of RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS are on a nest just south of the bridge.

Maybe best of all, you can thumb your nose at 680 from both places.

Good birding,
Steve Lombardi
San Ramon

Cliff Swallows - Brentwood - 3/31

Paul Schorr

During a trip to Brentwood today, we drove by the intersection of Fairview Drive and Sand Creek Rd. where Sand Creek flows in the culvert underneath the roads. For the past several years this location has been a favorite nesting and feeding location for Cliff Swallows and today we were not disappointed as many had arrived.

In addition, there were many Painted Ladies migrating throughout the entire Antioch/Brentwood area.

Good birding

Paul Schorr

The Nutall's are back. Sneaky bastards.


I have been waiting all winter and finally they start up. Was getting worried. But like the month long delay in local plum blossom blooms, they seem to have adjusted their timing as well.   Last year's approx start was 3/10/18. Given the current level of damage they must have started around March 29th.

Album has a picture of the pair, the location of the nest and the evidence below.
Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA

Wildlife reminder


A friend of mine was hiking around Brione Reservoir yesterday and encountered a coiled rattler along a trail. So while looking up, make sure to look down.

Marcus Pun
Video Editor / Producer/Editor / Camera
C: 510-384-8085 | H: 510-530-2507
Oakland, CA

FOS, Bullock's Oriole, San Ramon


We had a FOS adult male BULLOCK'S ORIOLE in our yard this morning.
We haven't seen BUOWs in our neighborhood for a few years, so this was a treat.
Interestingly, the bird spent most of its time feeding on our peanut feeder, and ignoring the nearby oriole nectar feeder.
I don't see anything in the literature about BUOWs eating peanuts or indeed anything but insects, fruit, and nectar.
Guess the bird can't read.

Steve Lombardi
San Ramon

White-throated Sparrows

John Luther

HI All,
Two wintering White-throated Sparrows are still in my yard in the Montclair region of Oakland on the south side of Shepherd Canyon along with the wintering Golden-crowned and Fox sparrows.  A male Black-headed Grosbeak arrived at seed feeder today, April 2, for my first here this spring.  
John LutherOakland

Tropical Kingbird still here, Heather Farm Park, Walnut Creek


At 7:45, this morning, the Heather Farm Park TROPICAL KINGBIRD was seen perched in an oak on the
south end of the natural pond. This is now April 3, and the bird is still with us. This last fall, it was first
spotted on September 28, its earliest arrival in the last five years. If pattern holds, it should be
gone by about the middle of next week. If anyone spots it after today, please send me a note.

Happy Spring, everyone.
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek

Nashville Warbler in Richmond Annex 4/3/19

Matt R.

This morning (7:50 AM) I saw a beautiful adult male NASHVILLE WARBLER
foraging in the apple and cherry trees outside my home office window in the
Richmond Annex (near Colusa and San Jose). The distinct white eye ring,
bright yellow underparts, overall small size, and grayish head and nape
were hard to miss and very different than the Yellow-rumped and occasional
Orange-crowned Warblers I’m more used to seeing this time of year. Probably
my best yard bird in the 15 years I’ve lived in the El Cerrito/Richmond

Matt Ricketts


Migrant Activity on Mount Diablo

Ethan Monk <z.querula@...>

Hi All,

Yesterday on Mount Diablo, I hiked from the Summit Trailhead (Upper Bridge Loop)->Green Valley Regional Trail->Macedo Ranch Staging Area->Pine Canyon->Castle Rock Park. Overall a hike of about 7 miles. I had some notable migrant sightings along the way including 4 Cassin's Vireos (3 singing) on Summit Trail (1), Pine Canyon (2), and Castle Rock (1). As well, I tallied 17 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, with 10 of these all within one mile of chaparral on the Green Valley Regional Trail, and 6 Pacific-slope Flycatchers, all of which have arrived within the past week or so. A Wilson's Warbler was flitting around at Macedo Ranch, and my first of season (overdue) Warbling Vireo was singing and 6 Orange-crowned Warblers hung around with it in the riparian willow corridor in Pine Canyon. Two weeks ago I counted 15 Orange-crowned Warblers here--13 in one spot: It seems as though these numbers have declined a fair bit since then. In a stand of Eucalyptus off Green Valley Road, I counted 7 selasphorus hummingbirds, presumably mostly Rufous considering the time and location. I also had 2 singing Townsend's Warblers, both probable migrants on Mount Diablo: They rarely winter on the mountain. As well, the Harris's Sparrow did not continue at Castle Rock Park. It's good to know that Spring is back!

Also of note, in my yard (Alamo), on the 2nd, I photographed a probable Hammond's Flycatcher, this would be the second Spring arrival of the year in NorCal. From what I can work out, this is the third earliest Spring record of this species in Contra Costa and also the East Bay (I assume the Hammond's Flycatcher at Garin Regional Park between 2010-12 was one bird returning for consecutive winters but the lack of winter reports were generally due to a lack of coverage and/or the bird being more reclusive during the colder times of year? Correct me if I am wrong...) The only earlier records I can find are on the 31st of March in Mitchell Canyon per Steve Glover in 1995, and the 12th of February, 2017, at Hayward Regional Shoreline per Bob Richmond. While my bird could presumably be a Dusky, it seems rather early and this bird did not strike me as a Dusky/Least Flycatcher in the field. Then again, I haven't seen too many of either of those species. For now this is tentatively IDed as a Hammond's considering the date and my general proximity to Mount Diablo. Feedback welcome.
Photos here:

Good birding,
Ethan Monk

White tailed kites nesting in Hercules

Susana dT

I have so much fun observing theses guys. I think this is interesting behavior. These kites select branches from their favorite perch, some are pretty big and flexible since the tree is not dead. They put their weight to work in their favor but still it is not enough to get what they want. They succeeded in other occasions. Video here:

Castle Rock/Pine Canyon, this morning, 4/4/19


Despite the light drizzle, Castle Rock Park (Walnut Creek), and a little ways further up Pine Canyon, beyond the park,
conditions were quite birdy. On the south end of the ball field I found a group of 12 LARK SPARROWS. A bit
further on, I heard several WARBLING VIREOS, and had visuals on a couple of ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS.
Between the first cattle gate and the grassy berm opposite the Castle Rocks (where the Peregrines nest), I had
good visuals on 4 more Warbling Vireos, half dozen Orange-crowned Warblers, 6 WILSON'S WARBLERS, a brightly singing BROWN CREEPER,
2 HOUSE WRENS, an active WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH nest (old knot hole in a lower branch of the first oak
with the bench beneath it), and plenty of WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS, overhead.

Upon my return, about 200ft. before re-entering the park/recreation area, bird activity in the stream-side thicket (east side of the trail)
was notable. While literally standing still for about 15 minutes, I had another Wilson's, 2 Warbling Vireos, 2 more Orange-crowns, a WESTERN BLUEBIRD

There were good numbers of both WHITE-CROWNED and GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS, flitting through the growth.
And who should make an appearance? Popping into view, jumping from ground to a small shrub, was the HARRIS'S SPARROW.
I believe this is the furthest south from the grassy ball field area that it's been seen.

It's a birdsong lab up there, folks.

Good birding,
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek

San Leandro Marina

Bob Richmond

Today at the south part of the San Leandro Marina a PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER was on the large island offshore. Also a WANDERING TATTLER was heard.
Back near Monarch Bay Parkway a CASSIN'S VIREO was seen and not heard.
Bob Richmond

Friday in Heather Farm Park, Walnut Creek and more


First of all, it had nothing to do with meeting me, but Derek Heins found the continuing Tropical KIngbird today.  His eBird list is here: 

We have been dodging the morning rains this week, but a lot of birds are out there to be seen.  The Ruby-crowned Kinglets are singing, Canada Geese have their first goslings in the concrete creek channel to the west of the park.  Rough-winged Swallows are flying over the big pond, and a few Barn and sometimes Violet-green Swallows, too.
The Ring-necked Ducks and Buffleheads which spent the winter with us have left, but today we had two male Ring-necked Ducks and one female Bufflehead.  Maybe they are heading north from even farther south than Walnut Creek.  Interestingly, what appears to be a young male Common Goldeneye has been staying around for quite a while, now.  The Double-crested Cormorants are also sticking around, but the waders have disappeared; no egrets, Night-Herons and no Green Heron.  The Green Herons may be around, though, as they have nested here annually for many years.
Yellow-rumped Warblers are changing colors and looking very sharp.  Not too far away on cherry Lane, Hooded Orioles have returned to some palm trees at Kings Oak Place.  They have also returned to Jean Richmond's backyard in Alamo.  The male flew across the yard and into the bird bath while I visited yesterday.  She also has her White-throated Sparrow continuing, and its colors are electric right now.
Pacific-slope Flycatchers are around, too.  We have had them on each of the last two MDAS field trips and Fred Safier had one on Seven Hills Ranch Road west of the park this morning.
Sprung is springing, time to go birding.
Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek

Garin Regional Park - Hammond's Flycatcher

Bob Toleno

Juli Chamberlin and i birded Garin Regional Park today, where the best bird
was a Hammond's Flycatcher. It was foraging in an oak uphill from the creek
along the Dry Creek Trail, just a couple hundred meters past Jordan Pond.
The exact location we saw the bird is here:

Lots of other recent arrivals including plenty of Pacific-slope
Flycatchers, singing Wilson's and Orange-crowned Warblers, one Hooded and a
few Bullock's Orioles, and a singing male Black-headed Grosbeak with a
nearby calling female, probably its mate.

Good birding,
Bob Toleno