SF CBC Recap for Ft. Funston Seawatch and Coastal Scrub, 12/27/13

Paul Saraceni

During yesterday's SF CBC I carried out my annual seawatch (4 hrs. to start the day, 1 hr. to end the day) from the closed parking lot at the S end of the Great Highway (= N end of Ft. Funston), plus a mid-day tour through Ft. Funston proper, including sea-watching (1 hr.) from the observation deck and birding the coastal scrub at the south end of the park. Sunny in the morning, followed by overcast in the afternoon and relatively flat seas made for excellent visibility out to the horizon. 

The best birds during the seawatch were passerines: between 10:35-11:35 AM I observed 8 BARN SWALLOWS in 3 groups (2/3/3) flying N over the beach. (A couple of hours earlier in the morning, Dan Murphy and his team observed another group of 3 flying N over the beach.) There is precedent for early-winter coastal movements of Barn Swallows through SF in past years, including during the CBC seawatch.

Mid-day I observed a RED-NECKED GREBE on the ocean from the Ft. Funston observation deck.

Other observations of local interest:

Am. Wigeon 8 (flying S over the ocean)

Greater Scaup 7 m. (on the ocean in separate groups)

Surf Scoter 614 (compare 111 on last year's CBC seawatch)

WHITE-WINGED SCOTER 79 (in scattered groups on the water/flying; highly variable numbers on CBC seawatch -- 45 in '12, 6 in '11, 215 in '10) 

BLACK SCOTER 24 (14 m./10 f.; compare 18 last year)

Bufflehead 1 m. (on the ocean)

Red-br. Merganser 7 (group of 6 flying N, 1 flying S)

Red-thr. Loon 922 (compare 1922 last year) 
Pacific Loon 3 (compare 11 last year) 
Common Loon 11 (compare 17 last year)

Eared Grebe 2 (on the ocean)

Brown Pelican 16 (compare 37 last year)

Pelagic Cormorant 3 

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 (flying over Zoo)

Killdeer 7 (flew over S parking lot)

Heermann's Gull 26 (compare 0 last year!) 
Mew Gull 381

Ring-billed Gull 2
California Gull 84 
Herring Gull 39 
Thayer's Gull 3 
W. Gull 255 
Glaucous-winged Gull 63 
Common Murre 574 (compare 0 last year!)

MARBLED MURRELET 4 ( 2 pairs flying N) 
Say's Phoebe 2 (1 @ S Ft. F.; 1 along Great Highway)
House Wren 1 (in coastal scrub @ S Ft. F.) 

Pacific Wren 1 (in coastal scrub @ S Ft. F.) 

Marsh Wren 1 (in coastal scrub @ S Ft. F.; after trying to observe this skulking wren for nearly an hour as it mostly remained hidden in blackberry brambles and dense vines, not associated with wet habitat, I was somewhat surprised that it turned out to be this species; the few photos I was able to obtain show a rather pale Marsh Wren, perhaps from an interior population)
Hermit Thrush 2 (in coastal scrub @ Ft. F.)
Orange-crowned Warbler 2 (including 1 gray-headed individual; in coastal scrub @S Ft. F.) 

Com. Yellowthroat (1 ad. m. & 1 f./imm.; in coastal scrub @S Ft. F.)

Also observed:

Harbor Seal 1

Harbor Porpoise 2

Bottlenose Dolphin 5

Paul Saraceni
San Francisco

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