Post-rain migrants -- Purple Martin et al., SW SF, 5/7/16

Paul Saraceni

After today's rain showers I made a mid-afternoon (2:30-3:30 PM) visit to the concrete bridge and Vista Grande canal @ south Lake Merced.

There was a nice mixed flock of swallows moving around over the lake, including all 6 regular species: Tree (30+), Barn (10+), Cliff (5), Bank (3), Rough-winged (2), and Violet-green (1). Around 3 PM I caught sight of a noticeably larger, dark, long-winged swallow -- a PURPLE MARTIN.  The Martin flew east of Lake Merced and out of view.

Western migrants included: Warbling Vireo (2), W. Wood-Pewee, Pac.-slope Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler, and Wilson's Warbler.  Local breeding species included Com. Yellowthroat (2 singing m., 1 f.) and Great-tailed Grackles (conservative count of 3 m. & 3 f.).  A breeding-plumaged Eared Grebe was on the lake.

I then made a quick stop at the south end of the Great Highway.  Afternoon is never the best time for a seawatch but there were some birds around, including a moving "feeding frenzy" consisting mostly of Brandt's Cormorants, Pacific Loons, Brown Pelicans, and Western Gulls, but also attracting single Heermann's Gull, Pelagic Cormorant, Common Loon and Red-throated Loon.  2 SOOTY SHEARWATERS headed N further out.

The big Sanderling flock (400+) on the beach also included 1 Dunlin and 3 Western Sandpipers.

Paul Saraceni
San Francisco

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