Mount Diablo Audubon Society Elsie Roemer and Ballena Bay


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Today was a beautiful day to bird the Alameda shore, starting at Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary.  Eleven birders met at 9 AM to watch the shorebirds as the tide rose, allowing us to see hundreds of peeps and other with fairly close viewing.  We had lots of Western and Least Sandpipers, Sanderlings, Semi-palmated Plovers maybe two Snowy Plovers, some Dunlins, and a few Killdeers.  These were all joined by Dowitchers, Marbled Godwits, Long-billed Curlews, Black-bellied Plovers, Black Oystercatchers, Greater Yellowlegs and Willets.  Before we left some American Avocets joined the group.  Others included Western and Ring-billed Gulls, Forster's and Elegant Terns, Double-crested Cormorants, Brown Pelicans and a couple of Snowy Egrets.

While we watched, suddenly the birds became excited.  The peeps flew off in great clouds of murmurations.  The Godwits and Curlews became erect and moved into a very tight group before taking flight.  The Elegant Terns flew off toward the bay and disappeared. Finally one of our group spotted the Peregrine Falcon, which eventually came closer before being chased off by Crows and gulls.  That was quite a show well worth the price of admission--which was gas money and time spent in commute traffic.  As we were discussing moving on, another eruption occurred, this time it was a Northern Harrier, which did not really care about the littler birds and just flew through.

We moved on to Ballena Bay, not knowing what to expect, but that had a nice selection of birds, too.  On one of the empty piers in the marina were twenty-two Black and one Ruddy Turnstone.  They were joined by two Double-crested Cormorants and two Pelagic Cormorants, some Greater Yellowlegs, a Forster's Tern and a couple of Least Sandpipers.

We happened to find Dawn Lemoine there and she joined us for a short time.  As she was driving out, she spotted a Red-necked Grebe on the bay and came back to tell us.  By the time we walked back to her car the only grebes we saw were very far out on the water and hard to identify, so we did not include that bird on our group list.  We did count our species, though, and our group had 43 for the morning.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek