Alcoa White-throated Sparrow.


Before green: aluminum. About 1:30 pm today a tan-striped White-throated sparrow, associating with about 30 mostly well-spread adult White-crowned sparrows, was feeding atop the pruned shrubbery on the elevated plaza of the Eastern end of Alcoa Building on Clay St., best reached from the elevated walkway over Davis from Ferry Park. Hats off to the unknown architect of this elegant, sleekly curving, smartly planted, serenely designed and productive cement commons from the wayback! One Orange-crowned warbler, more than a few Audubon and Townsend's warblers, and several Ruby-crowned kinglets were also spotted there or/and in the adjoining park. Found on the walkway: a Swarovski binocular raincap. Russ Bright

SF Birding resources for young children?

Candy Mabry

Hi All,

I will be embarking on a bird project with my class at an independent school in the Mission District in San Francisco at the end of January and am looking for thoughts on resources as well as any experts willing to work with my class during the late winter and spring. We are fortunate that our campus includes the yellow chevroned parakeets that live in our palm trees and the red-tailed hawks that nest in our bay laurel tree and roost on Mission Dolores during the day. Any thoughts or suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Candy Mabry
Candy Mabry
Preschool Head Teacher
Children's Day School
333 Dolores Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 861-5432 x326 (ph)
(415) 861-5419 (fx)

Birdbox line fixed was Re: Birdbox down temporarily

Joe Morlan


AT&T fixed the line. The Northern California Birdbox is back up and
running. As before, it can be reached at (415)-681-7422.

On Sun, 06 Dec 2009 14:00:57 -0800, Joseph Morlan <jmorlan@...>


The main telephone line for the Northern California Birdbox is currently
down because of a line failure. We expect AT&T to fix it tomorrow morning.
Thank you for your patience.
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA jmorlan (at)
SF Birding Classes start Feb.9
California Bird Records Committee
Western Field Ornithologists

Noe Valley Merlin

hdemann <scott_yh@...>

I walked up the hill to look for the Merlin reported by Adam Winer. According to some further information, it is hit or miss whether the bird is on the perch... seen there "once a week." After finally figuring out how to get to the 4100 block of Cesar Chavez, I almost immediately saw the merlin coming in for a landing.

I was able to get some good close-up photos as well

Link to a photo.

Thanks Adam for the info,

Scott Bowers

Lake Merced- White-Fronted Goose and Snipe

C Lou


From the concrete bridge at Lake Merced, there were two GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
seen on the south side. They were at first resting in the willows and later drifted
towards the south end. There were three WILSON'S SNIPE at the 'southeast' corner of
the bridge.

Calvin D Lou
San Francisco

Mori Point & Sharp Park before the storm

Eddie Bartley

Golden Gate Audubon Field trip: Mori Point (GG National Parks) / Sharp Park
(San Francisco): turned out better than even expected with a great group of
birders and some uncommon sightings.

After being treated to a briefing by Brent Plater on the status of the Sharp
Park restoration plan we ventured over to the pollywog pond spotting crowned
sparrows, Northern Flicker, Pygmy Nuthatches, thrushes, warblers and three
Red-legged Frogs. Returning to the main trail there was a Say's Phoebe
perched up on a home satellite dish diligently dashing out to clean the
adjacent roof of spiders and then Brent discovered a male Common
Yellowthroat in a mixed flock in the chaparral. Next we braved the cold
winds and drizzle whipping across the newly restored pond system and someone
mentioned a snipe hunt then lo and behold a Wilson's Snipe magically
appeared feeding very near but way out in the open for the whole world to
see. Low temps and a serious head wind kept us from lingering very long in
the open so we headed to the west side of Laguna Salada where a bit of cover
made things a tad more tolerable. The usual suspects here, most of them
dozing away. A very lightly colored second cycle Glaucous-winged Gull was
auspicious and a flock of 8 Killdeer wheeled in to bath at the lakeside.

Back up on the eroding levee we turned our attention seaside where there
were huge numbers of Red-throated Loons with some Pacific's mixed in. On the
rocks at the southern end of the beach we were able to find Black
Turnstones, Surfbirds, Black Oystercatchers and Pelagic Cormorants amongst
the Western and GW Gulls. A hike up Bootlegger Steps warmed us up
considerably and took us to some of the best sightings of the day out on the
cape of Mori Point. Howard spotted three BLACK SCOTERS which we scoped and
then another gull drifted into the same view that turned out to be a
hatch-year SABINE'S GULL. While the head of this very interesting Sabine's
was still in juvenal plumage the flight and body covert feathers as far as
we could see had already molted to first adult plumage. We were able to
study the very cooperative bird for 10 - 15 minutes. Very fun! Many, many
more loons, grebes and scoters bobbed in between the water chop. We missed
the hatch-year Peregrine that Noreen and I saw Saturday on the cliffside but
the significant whitewash under the perches we observed it at yesterday
might indicate it has taken up winter residence.

Returning on the coastal trail there was a great flock of sparrows and
Icterids working the hay at the most recent native plantings. The breezes
calmed significantly and passerines began perching up. Jeff Fairclough and
Laurie Graham pointed out the spot they had seen Thrashers back in October
when we noticed Howard down the trail pointing to the scrub just as the
first comic sounds of Thrashers filtered through to our ears. They seemed to
be in a bit of a tiff with some scrub-jays when we reached the area but
eventually perched up so all could admire those crazy curved bills. We
speculated that these birds may have expanded over from the nearly
contiguous habitat at Sweeney Ridge where very mature chaparral hosts big
numbers of this species. About 1/2 of the group so inspired continued on to
the south east side of the park but those of us who had appointments with
veggie burgers amongst other things returned to the starting point via Mori
Rd. which was greatly enlivened compared to our frigid beginnings three
hours earlier. The berry scrubs were getting worked hard by thrushes while
the cypress hosted a large group of Pygmy Nuthatches a few kinglets and a
Hutton's Vireo for comparison. As we were leaving a Downy Woodpecker
squeak-toyed to us a reminder to return to this area and often.

Happy Trails!

Eddie Bartley & Noreen Weeden

12/06/09 8:00-11:00 AM - 62 Species:

Surf Scoter
Ruddy Duck

Pacific Loon
Red-throated Loon

Pied Billed Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe

Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant

Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Peregrine Falcon (12/5 only)

American Coot

Black Oystercatcher
Black Turnstone
Wilson's Snipe

Heerman's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern

Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove

Anna's Hummingbird

Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker

Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Hutton's Vireo
Western Scrub Jay
Common Raven
American Crow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Pygmy Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Gold-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch

Harbor Seals
CA Sea Lion
Brush Bunny


bauersteven1 <>

Today at about 8 AM there were 3 Western Bluebirds along with about 20 American Goldfinch on the telephone wires at 40th and Anza.

Between 1:30 and 2 PM there was a first year White-throated Sparrow near the stone bridge on Stow Lake and a Say's Phoebe near the small lawn on the southwest side of Spreckel's Lake.


Get gifts for them and cashback for you. Try Bing now.

Birdbox down temporarily

Joe Morlan


The main telephone line for the Northern California Birdbox is currently
down because of a line failure. We expect AT&T to fix it tomorrow morning.
Thank you for your patience.

Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA jmorlan (at)
SF Birding Classes start Feb.9
California Bird Records Committee
Western Field Ornithologists

Rose Breasted Grosbeak in the Aboretum this morning 12/6/09

Dominik Mosur

while co-leading the Golden Gate Audubon bird walk this morning, I found an adult male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK on the north side of the Arboretum, about 50 yards east of the succulent garden feeding on thistle in a weedy patch between two paths. It was almost exactly in the same spot where I found a hatch year Rose-breasted Grosbeak on last year's December walk so it's possible this is a returning bird.

Best of all was that all three groups this morning were in the same area and everyone (I hope) got to see the bird.

Good birding,
Dominik Mosur

Sutro bath Heermann's gull with white wing patches

Rob Garriock <rgarriock@...>

Today I observed a gull fly into sutro bath with white wing patches. It was that rare color form of a HEERMANN'S GULL. This was the only HERRMANN's GULL I observed today. There was also a large flock of BLACK TURNSTONES (10-15 birds). Offshore there was some good feeding activity including a pod of 10 or more dolphins (White-Sided?). Nothing special of the feathered kind except for 3 COMMON MURRE.

Later Today near my home a Dead Young Male TOWNSEND'S WARBLER was on the steps leading down to the 17th and Clayton intersection. Beautiful bird.

cheers, Rob San Francisco.

Sora & Wilson's Snipe action at Lake Merced

Marc <crannif@...>

Went to the cement bridge at Lake Merced again today around 4pm and saw a SORA, four (4) WILSON'S SNIPES, a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, two (2) MARSH WRENS, and a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER.

Links to a few pics:



SF coasts, 12/05/09

Paul Saraceni

Hugh Cotter and I birded a few locations on the ocean and bay sides of SF.

Highlights were 2 hybrids.

On the west side of the south impoundment of L. Merced, we again observed the presumed hybrid Red-breasted x Red-naped Sapsucker, still faithful to the dying pine covered with sapsucker wells near the rocky drainage. Since we first observed it 2 weeks ago, it's plumage seems to have developed a bit, as it is now showing more well-defined white wing patches and is also showing a brighter yellow wash on its belly. It called several times and chased a Ruby-crowned Kinglet from the wells.

At India Basin Open Space on the bayside, there was a drake hybrid Eurasian x American Wigeon. This bird has the rufous-colored head of a Eurasian, but with a greenish eye patch. In the same flock were a couple of striking white-morph drake American Wigeons -- showing white or cream colored foreheads and cheeks. The flock later moved to the shore of Heron's Head park.

Other observations of local interest:

Lesser Scaup 1 m. (s. L. Merced)
Common Goldeneye 3 (2 @ Yosemite Creek, 1 @ Heron's Head)
Black Scoter 20+ (the regular flock just off the s. parking lot of the Great Highway)
Red-br. Merganser 1 f. (HH)
Green Heron 1 (calling nr. concrete bridge, s. L. Merced)
Pelagic Cormorant 1 imm. (Warm Water Cove on bayside)
Common (2), Pacific (10+), Red-thr. (20+) Loons (off of s. parking lot, Great Highway)
Peregrine Falcon 3 (1 on s. tower of GG Bridge, 2 over Yosemite Creek)
Black Oystercatcher 10 (2 fly-bys @ s. parking lot, 5 @ Yosemite Creek/Double Rock, 3 @ HH)
Black-necked Stilt 2 (HH)
Am. Avocet 7 (6 @ HH, 1 @ Pier 94)
Whimbrel 6 (Yosemite Creek/Double Rock)
Gr. Yellowlegs 3 (2 @ HH, 1 @ P94)
Herring Gull 4 (2 @ s. L. Merced, 2 @ HH)
White-thr. Swift 2 (flying over Candlestick Park)
Say's Phoebe 1 (HH)
Am. Pipit 2 (calling fly-overs @ Battery Godfrey)
Lincoln's Sparrow 2 (HH)
Purple Finch 2 (calling fly-overs @ BG)
Red Crossbill 1 (calling fly-over @ concrete bridge)

Paul Saraceni
San Francisco

Hairy Woodpecker at Sutro Heights

Joe Morlan

Today I took my Ornithology class to Sutro Heights Park and the Cliff

New was a HAIRY WOODPECKER in the same tree with a Downy for direct
comparison. A female RED CROSSBILL (Type 2) was at Sutro Heights.
Golden-crowned Kinglets and a Hutton's Vireo were also seen.

Full list is at:

Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA jmorlan (at)
SF Birding Classes start Feb.9
California Bird Records Committee
Western Field Ornithologists

GGP & Sutro

Alan Hopkins

There was a White-throated Sparrow and a Lincoln's Sparrow in the williows on Strawberry Hill near the Chinese Pavilion. The Pintail was in ts usual spot. There were Red Crossiblls in the trees near the Boat House.

The albino gull was on Lloyd Lake as were six Hooded Mergansers. The Wood Duck was on Elk Glen Lake.

I heard a flock of Bluebirds over Middle Lake, but did not see them.

There were 50+ Red-throated Loons off Point Lobos, the Peregrine was on Mile Rock, there were a few Murre fly-bys, but best of all was a Sea Otter just below the observation deck.

Alan Hopkins

ps just got Steller's Jay as a yard bird!

Corona Heights 12/5/09: SELASPHORUS sp. et al

Dominik Mosur

Birded the hill around work on the lunch hour (12:30 - 1:15 p.m.)


SELASPHORUS sp. hummingbird (in oaks/scrub, north side of park, possibly the same Selasphorus that I first found here in mid October, subsequently refound several times by myself and Brian Fitch)

NUTTALL'S WOODPECKER (female, working the large euke in the open space next to 168 Museum Way, just before it becomes the Randall Museum parking lot, this is also probably a continuing bird that was first found here in August)

Also of note:
Orange-crowned Warbler (lutescens, also another likely continuer/wintering bird)
Turkey Vulture (fly-over, 12:45-12:50 p.m.)
light/pale morph HY Red-tailed Hawk (fly-over, 1:00p.m., driven off by ravens)
American Kestrel (the Randall bird!, showing nicely on the fence above the parking lot/Caution Falling Rocks signs)

Good birding,
Dominik Mosur

White-throated Sparrow at my feeder

Logan Kahle <logan.kahle@...>

Hi all,

This morning I saw a 1st winter White-throated Sparrow at my feeder. This is a new feeder/backyard bird for me.

Good birding,

Fw: possible VESP and BARS sunday HHP

Logan Kahle <logan.kahle@...>

Sorry All,

The possible Vesper Sparrow was actually a Savanah Sparrow.

Good birding,

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Logan Kahle <logan.kahle@...>
To: SFBirds@...
Sent: Tue, December 1, 2009 8:29:49 PM
Subject: [SFBirds] possible VESP and BARS sunday HHP

Hi all,

On Sunday I birded Heron's Head Park (and Radio Rd.) with a group. The highlights (at HHP) were 2 (possibly 1) Says Phoebe, a Barn Swallow (seen by me and another birder) and a (possible) Vesper Sparrow (see photos). The yellow appearance on the head was mostly the sun.
Hirundo forever,

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Eurasian Wigeon at HHP 12/3/09 fide Al Demartini

Dominik Mosur

from the NorCal BirdBox. Al also had a hybrid AmericanXEurasian there as well.

I think this may be the first EUWI for the City this year.


Twin Peaks area 12/4/09

Dominik Mosur

**Warning, this post contains some off-topic ranting weaved in cleverly among the bird reports**

Checked out a couple of spots around Twin Peaks on my lunch break finding several birds of local interest.

Driving on Twin Peaks Drive where it turns left (the other road becomes Clarendon) I heard bushtits out the window as well as a Vermivora like chip. I stopped and looked through the dense ornamental plantings across from Twin Peaks X Mountain Spring streets.

Here I found a good mix (by December city standards at least) of sparrows/warblers:
Townsend's Warbler
(4)Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warblers
(2) Song Sparrows
(2) Fox Sparrows
plus a couple of RCKinglets and the aforementioned Bushtit flock.

I then birded around the Twin Peaks reservoirs (both the open reservoir and the covered res. across the street from there.)

The birding at the covered res.has gotten rather poor since the goats were brought in about 6 weeks ago. Much of the sweet fennel which had been attracting (150+) strong flocks of finches and sparrows is now gone and with it so are most of the Emberizids. The goats left most of the much less productive french broom intact. What a great a way to diminish bird diversity! :(

The cotoneasters here are also putting out many berries. As a result I heard no fewer than a half dozen Hermit Thrushes "chup"ing and "whee"ing away along with a couple of American Robins. But the real highlight was hearing the eerie whistle of VARIED THRUSH.

The edge of the euke stand next to the Sutro Radio tower had a flock of 8-10 Yellow-rumps and 4-5 RCKinglets. A Steller's Jay was heard calling from deeper in the euke stand.

The open reservoir area was pretty quiet except for an Anna's Hummingbird, (2) house finches, a black-and-white domestic shorthair (cat) and some songbird feathers on the ground (possibly White-crowned.) No sign of the Wrentits which were singing/calling here in the spring (odd considering they are such sedentary birds, hmmm....)

As citizens of this fine City we can always call on the SPCA to come and trap feral cats. However after spaying/neutering them and giving them a clean bill of health, the shelter will then release them, usually to the same spot where they were picked up. A brilliant SF birder once suggested in a letter to Audubon magazine that we should set-up reservations for feral cats. Since other population controls are not desirable in this day and age, perhaps its time to look into this more seriously.

Good birding,
Dominik Mosur

Western Tanager continues at Corona Heights 12/03/09

Dominik Mosur

For what it's worth, the (wintering, or at least attempting to winter) female WESTERN TANAGER was "pittrick!"ing loudly from the big Myoporum next to 168 Museum Way, at about 4:30 p.m. today.

I had failed to locate her on pre-work and lunch time birding forays earlier in the day. Other notables today included:

Red-shouldered Hawk (flying over heading NE/downtown, noon)
American Goldfinches (6 flying over around noon)
(9) Cedar Waxwings, (30+) American Robins and (2) Hermit Thrushes were all taking advantage of the fruiting non-native Cotoneasters behind the museums.
A handful of bird seed scattered on the museum terrace and near the stairs has been brining in a (60+) sparrow flock of White/Golden-crowns, DE Juncos and a couple of House Sparrows for over a week. Let's hope they pull in something cool by the CBC.
The male American Kestrel (which was being looked for by a visiting birder this morning) can usually be found in the top of one of the trees growing on the east side of Museum Way. Climbing to the top of the south face of the hill via the one of the two staircases offers the best vantage point.

Don't forget that this Sunday is the 1st of the month, Arboretum walk meets at 8 a.m., 9th ave. entrance.

On a sad off-topic note, today I found a dead baby Western Terrestrial Garter Snake (~ 7"TL, 0.25" wide) that appeared to have trapped itself in one of the tanks in the museum green house. The comforting thing is knowing that we still have garter snakes reproducing at this isolated and heavily (mis)used park.

Good birding,
Dominik Mosur
San Francisco

14161 - 14180 of 26236