Shorebird Migration, etc.


I spent some time this morning at the Berkeley Marina. During a walk
around the waterfront perimeter of Cesar Chavez Park, migrating peeps were a
nearly constant presence. Western and Least Sandpipers, with a few Dunlin
mixed in, flew by me heading northwards in flocks ranging from two to
fifty-five, with an occasional singleton. Some groups were close to shore, while
others were well out in the bay. I stopped and made some rough estimates for
about twenty minutes, and my best approximation is that I saw a little over
a thousand shorebirds fly by during that period alone.

Least Terns were also on the move, with several duos, two apparently
different groups of four, and one flock of seven, fishing around all sides of the
park, mostly well out from shore. An alternate plumaged Common Loon was
eating a crab next to the fishing pier, and a Wilson's Warbler was singing
across the street from the pier's base.

At the Berkeley Meadow, migrants included a Western Kingbird and a singing
young male Bullock's Oriole, both in willow patches. Killdeer, Stilts, and
Avocets were using the new vernal pools along the north-south pathway, one
of the White-tailed Kites was hovering and kiting in the cold north wind,
and a pair of Northern Rough-winged Swallows was hawking at face level. The
local Jackrabbits were out in force, especially visible in the newly planted
Brian Fitch