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Vain attempt for Long-tailed Duck in Carquinez Strait

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This afternoon I was joined by Gary and Eugenia Larson in an attempt to re-find the Long-tailed Duck first seen on the MDAS rarity chase of January 2. Rather than looking down on the Strait from the old Crockett-Martinez Scenic Road, we walked along the Strait from Martinez Regional Shoreline. We crossed the railroad tracks at the foot of Berrellesa Street near downtown Martinez, then turned left immediately onto Embarcadero. After parking near the Sportsman's Club, we first walked out along the trail to view the river and strait from the corner by the sailing ship wreck. There were between 250 and 300 Surf Scoters seen from here. We then walked along the Pickleweed Trail (on map), which leads west to parallel the railroad tracks. We actually walked as far as the distant oil pier.

No Long-tailed Duck was seen. We did find a number of scattered Scaups, only a handful of distant Buffleheads, 10-15 female Common Goldeneyes and only one male Common goldeneye. There were also some very distant Western/Clarks Grebes and we were very pleased with a shoreside Spotted Sandpiper.

When we started walking the tide was very high, but by the time we returned, much of the sailing ship wreck was exposed.

This is probably not the best thing to do for most, as we did walk along the railroad tracks of the Union Pacific for a long way. We were lucky that there was no heavy rail traffic this afternoon.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek