A spectacular day on the bayfront


Jim Chiropolos
 

After a tough bike ride up and around Mt Tam yesterday, I decided to take a rest day and bike and bird the east bay bay trail. Biking, I thought about how lucky we are to have the birding on the bay trail - it is WORLD CLASS. Probably in 2/3 of the country now, a good days birding would be 40 species and 500 birds seen. 22 minutes from my house, birding the bay trail from bike in 4 hours, I had 85 species and maybe 30,000 individuals (peeps too hard to count) from Arrowhead Marsh to Mt. Trashmore. Amazing abundance and diversity! Even endemics - Arrowhead Marsh and Ridgeway’s Rail - a bird I almost take for granted would be a life bird for most American birders - - is usually easy to see at Arrowhead and if not seen heard! Arrowhead has to be the best place in the world to see one I thought as onestared back at me (“another birder”it must have been thinking).

Todays highlights were the geese. I had four large groups of geese flying south - Cacklers or Canadian - the bay trail at times reminded me of the central valley wildlife refuges. This was very special and the most geese I have seen in the air on many trips to the bay trail. Mt. Trashmore was especially spectacular with an estimated 800 Cacklers feeding or in the air. Listening to the cacklers honk, I was able to approach a Lapland Longspur to within 20 feet - a bird of the tundra on the green grass of Trashmore. Wow! For searchers - look in the more barren areas.

My other favorite area today was Arrowhead Marsh. Greater Scalp are everywhere! I estimate between 5,000 and 9,000 greater scalp are using the greater arrowhead area as I did a circuit around the bay here on three sides. More than rare birds, I like high numbers of birds and thats where I want to be as its a sign something is working right!

We are very lucky to have the bay trail and the abundance of birds that come with it!

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda