Date   
Del Puerto Canyon / San Antonio Valley / Mines (PAAS trip report)

Matthew Dodder
 

I led the second half of my Palo Alto Adult School birding class through Del Puerto Canyon, San Antonio Valley, and Mines Roads yesterday. Conditions were sunny and mild with increasing wind in the afternoon. Again we were unable to locate Blue Grosbeak or Costa’s Hummingbird at our usual spots, but we had many highlights nevertheless.

STANISLAUS:
Grasshopper Sparrow (1, on hillside just before cattle grate in grassland section)
Cassin’s Kingbird (3-4, on power towers near only surviving orchard in grassland section)
Rufous-crowned Sparrow (hard to miss in cottonwood grove and Graffiti Rock areas)
Lark Sparrow (several, in cottonwood grove)
Rock Wren (several, various rocky areas along road)
White-throated Swift (several nesting at Graffiti Rock)
Phainopepla (hard to miss in oak savannah areas)
Bell’s Sparrow (1, chamise across from playground on hillside at Frank Raines. During rare, but short-lived silence of ATVs)
Lawrence’s Goldfinch (2 at Creek Crossing, 2 at Frank Raines campground)
Canyon Wren (2, from overlook before Frank Rains picnic area, and in quarry just before Adobe Springs)

(Incidentally, the Odonata at Adobe Springs were wonderful. We had American Rubyspot, Flame Skimmer and Grappletail, and Painted Ladies were also abundant and seen throughout the day)

SANTA CLARA:
Tricolored Blackbird (200-300, at traditional pond near Junction)
Western Tanager (1 at Tricolored colony)
Lewis’s Woodpecker (4, in two areas along San Antonio Valley, south of Junction
Lawrence’s Goldfinch (1-2 south of large shallow pond on San Antonio Valley)

ALAMEDA:
Northern Pygmy-Owl (heard and seen in pine-oak woodland habitat near MP 18)
Golden Eagle (2 on Mines Road near MP 5)

(We also had a close encounter with a 3.5 foot California King Snake (around MP 5). A beautiful individual was sunning in the middle of the road. We pulled off and made sure it moved safely away from the traffic.

Matthew Dodder
Mountain View

Castle Rock/Pine Canyon, this morning, 5/12/19

tracy_farrington
 

A morning walk in Castle Rock Regional Park (Walnut Creek), and further up into Pine Canyon,
produced some pleasant Springtime rewards. The setting, as is so often the case this time of year, was
positively bucolic: clear skies, mild temperatures, and just enough breeze to gently deliver the redolence
of our oak woodlands.
As I stepped from my car, I was greeted by a singing WILSON'S WARBLER. Shortly thereafter, at the outset
of my walk, I heard the first, of what would become several, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS. West of the
swimming pool and adjacent to the basketball court, sits is a stand of Locust trees. As I expected, there
was a nesting pair of BULLOCK'S ORIOLES; what I did not expect, however, was to also find a nesting pair
of WESTERN KINGBIRDS. A kingbird nest, specifically in these trees, is a first for me.
WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were fairly abundant, and several of the bird boxes provided were occupied by them.
After leaving the recreation area, and ~200 ft. before getting to the first cattle gate, I heard quite a lot of
activity on the right (west side) of the trail. At about this point, there's an old wooden fence post that shares the
space with some short snags. To the left there's a good sized oak right next to the fence. In that one tree I found
two pair of Bullock's Orioles, each tending to a nest; another Western Kingbird nest; a pair of nesting
Western Bluebirds, and a couple of LARK SPARROWS, anxiously courting. The under-story was being defended
by a HOUSE WREN. In the nearby small, broken oak closest to the trail, a pair of MOURNING DOVES were
tending to their nestlings.
A bit further along, near the junction with Shell Ridge Loop trail, I first heard, then finally sighted, a LAZULI BUNTING.
I'm hoping for a successful nest, here. It's been at least three years since I've found any
sign of nest activity for this species, in this particular location.
The stretch of trail beyond, where the canyon narrows and becomes quite wooded, can be very attractive.
Several pair of AMERICAN ROBINS were found nesting, and a female BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK was gathering
what appeared to be nesting material. In the distance a male was singing, non-stop. Moving on, another grosbeak was
heard, along with ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS (2), and a WARBLING VIREO.
Where the trail opens up, I climbed to the bench at the top of the berm, and found another nesting pair of House
Wrens. They were using the small wooden bird box in the oak just to the left of the bench. A BROWN CREEPER, was
singing, almost continuously, and by the looks of several dead branches supporting loose bark, I suspected a nest was nearby.
The face of the Castle Rocks to the north was backdrop for dozens of WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS, and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS.
One pair of swallows was seen inspecting a couple of cavities in the large oak at the foot of the berm.
At times during my walk, I could hear the collective "laughter" of WILD TURKEYS serving as an occasional chorus, of sorts.
For more than twenty years I've had the good fortune, and the privilege, to live but five minutes from this wonderful and
accessible habitat.

Good Spring, and happy birding.
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek

Yellow-breasted Chat at Mountainview Cemetery in Oakland

Bruce Mast
 

Folks,
Just heard and then saw. a Chat at the upper end of the lower (west) pond.
It's skulking in a patch of broom near waters edge. Seen from the road
that divides the two ponds.

Bird on,

Bruce Mast
Oakland

Re: Phainopeplas at Lime Ridge, Walnut Creek

judisierra
 

I went looking for the Phainopeplas today. Didn't see them. There were at least two LAZULI buntings, an ASH-THROATED flycatcher and a Red shoulder-hawk that grabbed lunch from the drive range ground.

Judi Sierra- Oakland
--------------------------------------------

On Sat, 5/11/19, joel.herr <emupilot@...> wrote:

Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Phainopeplas at Lime Ridge, Walnut Creek
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2019, 9:48 AM

I did a quick check this morning and had two
Phainopeplas back at their spot on Lime Ridge in Walnut
Creek Open Space.  From the trailhead across from the
Boundary Oaks golf course clubhouse, proceed up the hill and
turn left at the first trail junction.  The
Phainopeplas were along the trail where it passes above the
top end of the golf driving range near coordinates 37.92681
/ -121.99368.  There were also multiple Lazuli Buntings
in the area.

Happy birding,

Joel Herr

Re: Phainopeplas at Lime Ridge, Walnut Creek

Mike Shannon
 

I saw Phainopepla twice in the past few days, once at Don Castro Regional Park in Fairview and again in Palomares Hills (sitting on a light pole on Villareal).

I wonder if we are having an irruption as I have only rarely seen them around.

Mike Shannon

Sent from Xfinity Connect App

------ Original Message ------

From: judisierra via Groups.Io
To: EBB-sightings@groups.io
Cc: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Sent: May 13, 2019 at 8:28 PM
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Phainopeplas at Lime Ridge, Walnut Creek

I went looking for the Phainopeplas today. Didn't see them. There were at least two LAZULI buntings, an ASH-THROATED flycatcher and a Red shoulder-hawk that grabbed lunch from the drive range ground. Judi Sierra- Oakland -------------------------------------------- On Sat, 5/11/19, joel.herr wrote: Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Phainopeplas at Lime Ridge, Walnut Creek To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io Date: Saturday, May 11, 2019, 9:48 AM I did a quick check this morning and had two Phainopeplas back at their spot on Lime Ridge in Walnut Creek Open Space.From the trailhead across from the Boundary Oaks golf course clubhouse, proceed up the hill and turn left at the first trail junction.The Phainopeplas were along the trail where it passes above the top end of the golf driving range near coordinates 37.92681 / -121.99368.There were also multiple Lazuli Buntings in the area. Happy birding, Joel Herr

Re: Phainopeplas at Lime Ridge, Walnut Creek

alanbade@...
 

I thought I'd add to the Lime Ridge sightings; we had three Phainopeplas while helping with Save Mt Diablo's Lime Ridge Mangini BioBlitz on May 4th, on SMD's Mangini property. They were fairly vocal. I'm just now getting our lists entered into iNat (SMD prefers iNat for their data over eBird). We also had a Nashville warbler, a Hermit, several Townsend's, Orange crowned, and Wilson's, along with many Ash-throated Flycatchers. Common Poorwill and a Western Screech owl during an evening effort. I attached the ebird checklists here if folks are interested. We were fortunate to have some very experienced birders helping, and it was a lot of fun.

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/save-mount-diablo-s-2019-bioblitz-lime-ridge-mangini
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55802323
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55815202
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55823616
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55823971

--Alan Bade

Stellar's Jay near Pleasanton, plus some area populations seem lower than last year, and my Nutall's

Marcus
 

Saw a Stellar's on the road side and stopped for a bit. It seemed rather animated and moving around on the ground.  Location - Pleasanton - Sunol Road just south of Verona

For some of you this may be a rather common sighting but for me there are much fewer sightings than 40 years ago, similar to the California Quail that used to be more ubiquitous in the SF Bay Area when I was growing up. Maybe I have bad luck but I haven't seen a Stellar's Jay for years despite my hiking around.

On another note, my partner and I have noticed a marked decline in the number of swifts this season around the Thermo Fisher Campus, and a similar decline of Cliff Swallows a bit south where they nest. [ I can pinpoint the location if you like. Just send an email. ]    We were wondering if anyone else has seen similar declines in their local birds. The winter was a bit prolonged and perhaps had a negative effect despite the fact that as someone who grew up in the area, the winter seemed normal for 50 years ago.  On yet another note, the Thermo Fisher campus Canadian geese are now shepherding 9 goslings this year around the grounds, mostly the pond area.

My Laurel neighborhood Nutall's last month seemed to have abandoned their nest, perhaps for another location. We saw this happen a few years back when the male started on a nest across the street from my house, then abandoned it and started a new nest on the same tree. I do hope they come back next year.


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

Swainson's Thrush - Antioch yard - 5/15

Paul Schorr
 

This afternoon we were delighted to spot a FOS Swainson’s Thrush at our bird bath.

Good birding,

Paul Schorr
Antioch

FW: Odd weather event--heads up for vagrant shorebirds!

judisierra
 

From Yahoo Calbirds
Wed May 15, 2019 6:46 am (PDT) . Posted by:
"Brian Sullivan" heraldpetrel

1
Odd weather event--heads up for vagrant shorebirds!
Hi Everyone,

We're about to experience a fairly odd weather pattern with 2-3 significant
fronts stacked up very late in the season. It could be nothing, but it
bears keeping our thoughts and eyes open for trans-oceanic shorebirds that
could be affected on their way north. Species such as Bar-tailed Godwit and
Bristle-thighed Curlew come to mind. I wasn't living in California in 1998,
but I did manage to see the Kehoe Beach Bristle-thighed Curlew. The timing
here is similar. There was a lot of discussion then around the fallout of
BTCU from California north through Washington due to odd weather. A
subsequent paper is here:

http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~sbf1/papers/Mlodinow_Feldstein_Tweit_1999.pdf

In any case, it'll be an interesting week. Double-check those Whimbrel on
your local beaches!

New family in town

rosita94598
 

While sitting upstairs after returning from Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek, I heard the quiet sound of a baby bird in our patio.  We have been having the baby Juncos come to collect seeds, and I thought this was what I might be hearing. 

But I went downstairs anyway to look out the window.  We had three California Towhees, not the occasional two, and one was being fed.  The fledgling has very faint streaks on the breast, but looks mostly like an adult.  Not a first for us, but still exciting and fun to see.
Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek

White-faced Ibis at MLK Shoreline RP Oakland

VerneN
 

A White-faced Ibis was foraging on the far side of the first vernal pond as you drive into Arrowhead Marsh (5/17/19).

Here's a distant photo-

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vnelson/47875765631

Re: Chabot Regional Park--Clyde Woolridge Entrance

Derek
 

Taking Judith's recommendation, I went up to try out this route and
the resulting attached trip report #41 added Northern Pygmy-Owl to
species seen there. Thanks Judith for suggesting this spot as I was
really surprised how interesting it was. Before this hike I made
fairly quick stops at Elsie Roemer (no shorebirds, no Brant) and
Arrowhead Marsh (2 White-faced Ibises, 3 Red-necked Phalaropes and a
single Western Wood-Pewee.

The Pygmy-Owl had a dead bird in it's grasp. I'd be interested to hear
opinions on what species folks think it might be.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56510182

Derek Heins
Piedmont, CA

On Tue, May 7, 2019 at 3:09 PM judith_dnhm <jldunham@...> wrote:

I stumbled upon another spot in the East Bay hills with little eBird coverage. The Clyde Woolridge Staging Area of Anthony Chabot Regional Park had only 39 checklists over all years. Lydia Huang and I made it 40 this morning with our 5.8-mile hike.

We started at the staging area where Skyline Boulevard meets Grass Valley Road. From there we went down Jackson Grade to the Cascade Trail, which we took all the way to the northern arm of the lake. The habitat is diverse, typical of Chabot: grassland, oak woodland, and bay trees and dense vegetation filling the canyon through which Grass Valley Creek flows.

Our FOS species were SWAINSON'S THRUSH and CASSIN'S VIREO. Birdsong was continuous: Black-headed Grosbeak, Wilson's Warbler, Warbling Vireo. The bonus was a nice selection of wildflowers, including a number of globe lilies.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55971806

Judith Dunham
Berkeley, CA






Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Kay Loughman
 

For the *tenth* year since 1997, we've had a Rose-breasted Grosbeak visit our feeders!  Likely some of the sightings, as in consecutive years, were of the same bird - no way to know.  Mostly it's been males, but in at least two years there was also a female. Our yard has for decades been "grosbeak central", and we have several pairs of Black-headed Grosbeaks visiting our feeders again this year.  This morning's special guest was here only briefly before he was chased off by one of our highly territorial scrub-jays.    Fortunately, my camera was close by.  See a few photos <http://www.nhwildlife.net/album/New/slides/RBGR-8010c-72.html> here.

Kay Loughman
in the hills on the Berkeley-Oakland border
Note new email address: kayloughman@...

Cormorant Nests at Lake Merritt

Hilary Powers
 

The Double-crested Cormorants are back! This morning the nests on the bare trees all had cormorants sitting in them or beside them or arranging new sticks that others were bringing in.

Dunno why this year's breeding season had a hole in it....

--
~ Hilary Powers - Hilary@... - Oakland CA ~

~ www.salamanderfeltworks.com; www.Etsy.com/shop/SalamanderFeltworks ~

~ Needle Felted Sculpture - Real and Fantasy Creatures ~

Bald Eagle 680 near Stoneridge My first Bay Area sighting

Marcus
 

After 64 years,/10 months and 4 days I finally get to see a Bald Eagle in the Bay Area. I have seen them elsewhere from Lassen to Coco Beach, FL where they are as ubiquitous as the local night herons in Oakland hanging at KFC.. Had just gotten onto 680 from the Stoneridge on ramp (just after 6:25pm) and by the grove of Eucalyptus trees there were up to a dozen turkey vultures flying around and over the freeway which is pretty unusual, so I looked around and on my left over the canal I spotted a small bird harassing a larger one, thinking it might have been another vulture except it was moving around a lot, then I noticed the lighter head and then the white tail. YaYYYYY!! I wish I could have pulled over, was very tempted, but drove on. The smaller bird was really letting the Bald Eagle have it. My gf works in the area and thinks that she has seen it around as well. Finally!!!!


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

Look up everyone

Aaron Maizlish
 

There are dozens and dozens of White-throated Swifts and a few Vaux’s Swift flying with the swallows around Berkeley Meadow. With this low cloud cover this morning in the middle of migration, the swifts are low. It might be our best chance to find a Black Swift in migration. I haven’t found one yet but please look up everybody if you’re on the eastshore.

Aaron Maizlish

Precarious Oystercatcher nest at Ballena Bay, Alameda

VerneN
 

A pair of Black Oystercatchers has nested for years on an section of boat decking moored as a bird refuge next to a seawall. The Ballena Bay Marina was purchased by a new company and they have removed the deck. The pair resorted to making a precarious nest on the seawall.
As of this photo they had laid two eggs (one has a shadow crossing it) and a day later there were three.
I think their chances of a successful brood are minimal.

Photo with two eggs:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vnelson/47925833823

Lawrence's Goldfinches on Mt. Diablo

Derek
 

Jim Chiropolos and I biked to the summit of Mount Diablo from the
north gate side with some well-timed rest stops for birding. Our final
stop was Muir Picnic Area which is roughly 2 miles from the summit,
where we had good looks at three Lawrence's Goldfinches for a few
seconds before they flew off. The goldfinches, like us, were
likely using the area as a rest stop before moving on.

Links below from our ride.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56730371
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56730224
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56730368

Derek Heins
Piedmont

Red Phalarope at Lake Merritt

David Robinson
 

Yesterday afternoon, two friends separately texted me to ask if I could
identify an unusual bird at Lake Merritt. Each sent a pic:


Red Phalarope!

Maybe it’ll be back today.

Happy Memorial Day!
--
Sent from an iPhone or iPad. Blame Apple for any errors in spelling,
phrasing, content, layout -- any errors whatsoever. And since I'm using
Gmail, feel free to blame Google too.

Jean Richmond in memoriam

rosita94598
 

Bob Richmond phoned us this morning to say that his mom, Jean Richmond, passed away last night.  For many years now, Jean knew that I would introduce her as the world famous author of the 1985 book, Birding Northern California.  It would bring a chuckle to her to hear it.  She was 92 years old and was predeceased by her husband, Morland, better known to the world as Rich.
Jean's involvement with the Mt. Diablo Audubon Society is generally well known.  In the late 70s and the 80s, she was the editor of our newsletter, The Quail, for 10 years.

Hugh B. HarveyWalnut Creek