Richmond misc., Indigo Bunting notes

Ethan Monk

June 13th, there was a small raft of assorted summering ducks off the
east side of Brooks Isl. that included 42 summering Surf Scoters and 1
Long-tailed Duck. I presume this is the same Long-tailed Duck seen on
June 15th of 2021 with the summering scoter flock (on that date
numbering 12 birds), and perhaps the same as the bird on May 24th,
2019 in the same location. Each year the duck was seen for one day and
that was it, but the scoter flock is erratic at best--I have checked
already three times this month and two of those visits saw no scoters
at all.

This year there are approx. 50 Snowy Egrets nesting in the now dead
copse of pine trees on Brooks Island, as well as a couple pairs each
of Night-herons, Great Egrets, and Great blues.

On June 9th, an estimated 150 Snowy Egrets were at the rookery on Red
Rock as viewed from Stenmark Drive which seems to be more than
previous years. One Glaucous-winged Gull was at the Pt. San Pablo
marina. On this date I estimated 2800 Brown Pelicans on Brooks Isl.
which is a solid count for the date but perhaps not wildly unusual.
Today I estimated only 1900.

Jim Chiropolos asked about the Indigo Bunting in Briones--I don't have
a complete answer, but as Teale noted in his email after originally
finding the bird, this does appear to be a first year male. My photos
show some white in the lower belly and lower flanks, some brown
feathers in the mantle and two-three median coverts with brown
fringing. So it is not a returning bird. I also wouldn't fret about
what Merlin calls this bird's song. If we all haven't learned already,
Merlin can be horribly inaccurate and deceptive. Please don't rely on
Merlin sound ID!! Please! I also noted when visiting the Indigo two
interactions with a female Lazuli. Once, in response to a calling
female Laz in a scrubby patch below the Indigo's favorite bay tree,
the Indigo stopped singing, began calling, and dropped into the scrub
patch. A while later the male flew back into the bay tree and
continued singing. Second, while the Indigo was singing a (the?)
female Lazuli approached through the thistles below the bay, and then
flew west into the bay trees west of the Indigo's favorite perch. The
Indigo pursued the female Lazuli and stopped singing. A couple minutes
later the Indigo resumed singing further to the west, and worked its
way back east to its favorite perch. Keep an eye on this bird, perhaps
there will be hybrid buntings here soon...

Ethan Monk