West Contra Costa 9/24 and fennel


Ethan Monk
 

I spent the day today birding West Contra Costa County hoping the warm and still weather would be good for sparrow-y type things and diurnal migration. It was just 'ok' on both of those fronts but with a few highlights. I spent two hours in the vicinity of Pt. San Pablo Marina where diurnal migration was quite surprisingly minimal. The only highlight was a Lewis's Woodpecker which headed NW up the point following the traditional flight path of most migrants here before it reached the tip of the point where it turned back at the edge of the bay. After doing a full 360, it decided to try again and launched out west over the bay and flew straight towards San Rafael. I don't know of any previous records from the Richmond "lowlands." A streaky juv. Chipping Sparrow was the first of three I would have today and two Hermit Thrush here represented the first big push of this species I have noticed. At the Beach Park the summering Brant continued, and there were two Gray-headed Orange-crowned Warblers here.

A three hour hawkwatch afterwards from Vollmer Peak was dreadfully slow, save a good and almost constant movement of Vaux's Swifts. There was another streaky juv. Chipping Sparrow here and an Olive-sided Flycatcher. And three more Hermit Thrush. 

The scrub patch at Miller/Knox was quite active with the last of three juv. Chippings today and a Nashville Warbler in the euc line on the north end of the scrub patch. 

 A stop at Landfill Loop was quite disheartening. I found a Lesser Yellowlegs among the Greater, and my least favorite government agency at work--the East Bay Regional Park Service using a bulldozer to mow down all the fennel. Besides the bulldozer repeatedly flushing the high-tide shorebird roost, I noticed the mowing implement on the bulldozer was high enough above the ground to mow the fennel but leave the iceplant untouched. I guess this explains the steady spread of iceplant here. I also noticed last time the fennel was cut here, it was rapidly replaced with a dense mat of yellow star thistle the fennel normally shades out--I find it interesting that the park service really only makes an effort to manage the least invasive by far of the three dominant invasives here. And he landfill next door which we are not allowed into is surrounded by unmanaged fennel--way more than exists on the bay trail--and when you exit the bay trail and head onto Richmond Parkway you can find fennel growing unabated at the water treatment plant, in the road median, along the railroad, in the neighborhoods etc. etc. So why mow the tiny strip of fennel that grows in the gravel here? 

And that's all I have to complain about :)
Ethan


Bev
 

Thank you for the update.  I love all the plants that animals use, but I wish they would stop killing fennel, which are so important for so many birds and other animals. It's so maddening, and even worse when the EBRPD uses poison. The more they kill, the more fire risk they make.  I'm in the Coalition to Defend East Bay Forests and we've been trying to stop the EBRPD for years from damaging the environment and bird and other animals' habitat and food.

Bev

-----Original Message-----
From: Ethan Monk <z.querula@...>
To: EBB-Sightings@groups.io Group Moderators <ebb-sightings@groups.io>
Sent: Sat, Sep 24, 2022 7:58 pm
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] West Contra Costa 9/24 and fennel

I spent the day today birding West Contra Costa County hoping the warm and still weather would be good for sparrow-y type things and diurnal migration. It was just 'ok' on both of those fronts but with a few highlights. I spent two hours in the vicinity of Pt. San Pablo Marina where diurnal migration was quite surprisingly minimal. The only highlight was a Lewis's Woodpecker which headed NW up the point following the traditional flight path of most migrants here before it reached the tip of the point where it turned back at the edge of the bay. After doing a full 360, it decided to try again and launched out west over the bay and flew straight towards San Rafael. I don't know of any previous records from the Richmond "lowlands." A streaky juv. Chipping Sparrow was the first of three I would have today and two Hermit Thrush here represented the first big push of this species I have noticed. At the Beach Park the summering Brant continued, and there were two Gray-headed Orange-crowned Warblers here.

A three hour hawkwatch afterwards from Vollmer Peak was dreadfully slow, save a good and almost constant movement of Vaux's Swifts. There was another streaky juv. Chipping Sparrow here and an Olive-sided Flycatcher. And three more Hermit Thrush. 

The scrub patch at Miller/Knox was quite active with the last of three juv. Chippings today and a Nashville Warbler in the euc line on the north end of the scrub patch. 

 A stop at Landfill Loop was quite disheartening. I found a Lesser Yellowlegs among the Greater, and my least favorite government agency at work--the East Bay Regional Park Service using a bulldozer to mow down all the fennel. Besides the bulldozer repeatedly flushing the high-tide shorebird roost, I noticed the mowing implement on the bulldozer was high enough above the ground to mow the fennel but leave the iceplant untouched. I guess this explains the steady spread of iceplant here. I also noticed last time the fennel was cut here, it was rapidly replaced with a dense mat of yellow star thistle the fennel normally shades out--I find it interesting that the park service really only makes an effort to manage the least invasive by far of the three dominant invasives here. And he landfill next door which we are not allowed into is surrounded by unmanaged fennel--way more than exists on the bay trail--and when you exit the bay trail and head onto Richmond Parkway you can find fennel growing unabated at the water treatment plant, in the road median, along the railroad, in the neighborhoods etc. etc. So why mow the tiny strip of fennel that grows in the gravel here? 

And that's all I have to complain about :)
Ethan