Barn swallow, yellow warblers and termite hatch lake Merced

Josiah Clark

Today Jaime Chaves and I met up at lake Merced with Cedric and Jonah. We checked the number of spots in the morning with the highlights being a barn swallow at Fort Funston, at least for white bellied swallows (probably tree)  in the distance and 2 yellow warblers pointers out by Eddie Monson by the boat House. Also 4 continuing Bonapartes gulls and a Heermans gull flying around over the lake. Of local interest a house wren and a couple pipits also at Fort Funston. With the King tides there was very little exposed beach and not one shorebird present.
  The warbler action was really focused around a solid hatch of subterranean termites that were flying around at various locations by Lake Merced. Among other insectivores we viewed no less than 30 Townsend’s warblers, including many one that landed and then plucked a termite off my bike helmet! 
Many  of them were on the ground, which usually raises real alarm bells for me in the winter, as it indicates food stress and starving birds. In this case however I have to think it’s just a case of a hyper abundant food source making birds get very tame and concentrated. Heartening to see good numbers of some wintering birds doing well.

Josiah Clark | Habitat Potential | Consulting Ecologist | 415.317.3978
License #1043929

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