Spotted Sandpiper at Mt. Lake

Kimberly Jannarone

hi folks,

I stopped by Mountain Lake today and the first bird I saw on the sandy "beach" was a SPOTTED SANDPIPER. Ebird doesn't show any records for this spot, so I'm sharing the news. It was there at least an hour.

other birds by the lake: TURKEY VULTURE, WESTERN TANAGER, Cliff Swallow, juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron. One molting male WESTERN BLUEBIRD was foraging by the nearby golf course. By the willows: one singing Wilson's Warbler, a Hutton's Vireo, and a Pacific Wren.

happy birding,
Kimberly Jannarone
San Francisco

Fort Mason: Lazuli Bunting

David Assmann

Addition to this morning's list - a female LAZULI BUNTING was also in the garden.

Telegraph Flycatchers

Michael Gertz

Hola folks, 

Took a long lunch today on Telegraph. A PACIFIC-SLOPE and WILLOW flycatcher were both active at the top of the hill in Pioneer Park. I also had a nice long view of a WESTERN KINGBIRD perched atop the tallest tree at the lower section of the Greenwich steps. There were also two ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, one in the bottle brush at the top of Filbert and one on the way down the first section of Greenwich steps. 

Last week I saw a PAC-SLOPE and WILSON'S WARBLER in close proximity to each other on two separate occasions in two separate locations. Probably just a coincidence, but I'm hoping they're traveling bird buddies, the stars of the next Pixar film :)

Keep smiling!


Telegraph Hill 2014.08.26



Looks like Fort Mason was the place to be but took a quick walk around lunchtime and saw a Orange-crowned Warbler and a Western Kingbird.

Good fall birding!
Carlo Arreglo
San Francisco

Local Interest: Fort Mason - Warblers, Vireos

David Assmann

The Community Garden was the active place at Fort Mason this morning, with a CASSIN'S VIREO, at least three WARBLING VIREOS, a RUFOUS/ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD, an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, two YELLOW WARBLERS, 4+ PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS (more seen elsewhere in Fort Mason) and a WILSON'S WARBLER (there was also a Wilson's in the Battery). One of the young COOPER'S HAWKS was also in the garden.A NUTTALL'S WOODPECKER called, as did a NORTHERN FLICKER. There were five GREAT BLUE HERONS on posts in Aquatic Park.

East Wash: American Redstart

David Assmann

The best bird of the early morning at the East Wash was a female AMERICAN REDSTART that flew right past me. Other migrants included WILSON'S WARBLERS, PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS, my first TOWNSEND'S WARBLER of the season, and a RUFOUS/ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD.

Opportunity - Farallon Island trip - Blue-footed Booby

Alvaro Jaramillo

Hello folks,


    The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society’s trip to the Farallon Islands earlier this month had to be rescheduled due to weather issues. I am guiding the re-scheduled trip with Bob Power this Friday. Due to the change in date, spots have opened up on this previously sold out trip. There are Tufted Puffins to be seen, along with numbers of Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots and the marine mammals (N. Fur Seals, Steller’s Sea lions, whales). But something extra special is possible right now. Three different members of the booby family have been seen there, sometimes all on the same day, in the recent past – Blue-footed Booby, Brown Booby and Northern Gannet!! On our last trip we saw the last two, the first Blue-foot (there have been two) showed up a day later. So if you want to try a “poor man’s” Galapagos trip, a chance to see a booby is there. No guarantees, but we shall try hard. After visiting the islands we shall head to the deeper waters off the shelf to look for albatrosses, and offshore seabirds – hopefully one of the southern murrelets will be around. We shall see.


If you are interested in going on the trip, do contact me privately.




Alvaro Jaramillo



North Lake

Brian Fitch

A flock of western migrants was still present at North Lake in western Golden Gate Park this morning.  The birds were on the west side of the lake, mostly near the middle island, and I was later joined by Rob Cullison, and then David Assman, who both saw almost everything on the list below:
Turkey Vulture
Willow Flycatcher 
Pacific-slope Flycatcher - 4+
Cassin's Vireo
Hutton's Vireo - 2
Warbling Vireo - 2+
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Yellow Warbler - 4
Townsend's Warbler - 2
MacGillivray's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler - 6+
Western Tanager
Lazuli Bunting - juvenile

Down at S Lake Merced, an Osprey and a Caspian Tern were hunting, and a Killdeer was on the new drought beach north of the bridge.  David told us about the continuing redstart and a dead hawk at the East Wash, and when Rob and I went up there, we found enough of the wing to ID it as a Red-shouldered, but couldn't relocate the 'start.
Brian Fitch

Monterey Bay Birding Festival Pelagic Opportunities


Hello, Birders,

Shearwater Journeys is proud to be the provider of pelagic trips for the Monterey Bay Birding Festival, September 25 - 28, headquartered in Watsonville. Kenn Kaufman will present the keynote talk on Saturday, September 27th at 7 p.m. Festival web site:

Popular leaders, Scott & Linda Terrill will present a seabird workshop on Thursday, September 25 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. 

Pelagic birding opportunities for folks attending the festival include the trips listed below, including trips for folks arriving earlier than the festival dates. Trips are open to anyone whether attending the festival, or not. We have a great line up of leaders! Debi Shearwater will be co-leading on all trips. Book pelagic trips directly with Debi Shearwater; debi@....

SEP. 19: BODEGA BAY: Steve Howell, Peter Pyle, Lisa Hug, Steve Tucker, Jennifer Green
SEP. 21: HALF MOON BAY: Steve Hampton, Marisa Ortega-Welch, Will Brooks
SEP. 24: HALF MOON BAY: Jon Dunn, Peter Pyle, Jim Holmes, Jim Danzenbaker, Jennifer Green
SEP. 25: MONTEREY BAY: Jon Dunn, Jim Danzenbaker, Nick Levendosky
SEP. 26: MONTEREY BAY: Kenn & Kimberly Kaufman, Scott & Linda Terrill
SEP. 27: MONTEREY BAY: Scott & Linda Terrill, Jim Danzenbaker, Jennifer Green
SEP. 28: MONTEREY BAY: Rick Fournier, Marissa Ortega-Welch, Courtenay Ray

See our latest trip report with Beth Hamel's images, for the Shearwater Journeys's August 22 Monterey pelagic trip at:

Highlights were many: a leucistic BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATER; great views of a SCRIPPS'S MURRELET; all three jaeger species, including a spectacular robbery of a fish from a SABINE'S GULL by a PARASITIC JAEGER; ocean sunfish sucking in by-the-wind-sailors; Risso's dolphin with a deformed dorsal fin, and more. It was quite a day!

Our very next trip is this Monday, Labor Day, September 1 departing from Bodega Bay. And, storm-petrels are THERE! I've declared this trip a "Leader's Party" day! Go seabirding with your favorite leaders — Steve Howell, Lisa Hug, Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Tim Miller, Russ Bradley, Annie Schmidt, Al DeMartini and yours truly, will all be on board. Read about our epic September 20, 2013 Bodega Bay trip with 17,325 storm-petrels:

Let's party with the storm-petrels on September 1at Bodega Bay! 
See you out there!
Debi Shearwater

Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024

Birding Down Under: SubAntarctic Islands, November 9 - 25, 2014 with Debi (2 berths available)
Pacific Odyssey:  April 6 - 23 and April 23-7 May
Russian Far East Voyages: May 27 - 8 June & June 9 - 20 with Debi

Sunday coastal birds

Alan Hopkins

Nothing rare to report from yesterday other than an interesting gull and phalaropes off shore. There were good numbers of shorebirds along Ocean beach:
Yesterday morning scoping from Sutro Baths scoping through the Elegant Terns I spotted a bird I initially thought was a Caspian Tern due to its dark primaries. Shortly thereafter I realized the bird was in fact a gull and that the dark of the primaries extended down onto the secondaries. The bird was too small to be a Western Gull and the secondaries were too dark for a California Gull. The bird showed black primaries on the upper wing, I did not note any white tips. The upper wing and mantel were medium to dark gray, the tail was all white. By the time I thought to look at the head the bird was flying off to the south, the head appeared to have gray on it but wasn’t obviously black. At one point the bird flew next to a Western Gull where I could get a good feeling of the size and comparison of underwing confirming that the dark was not due to an effect of the light. I believe the bird was most likely a Laughing Gull but I did not see it well enough (it was pretty far offshore) to have a record worthy observation.
Otherwise there was a lot of cormorant activity but little in the way of alcids. I saw one Jaeger too far off to Id. There were a number of Whimbrels, Marbled Godwits and Willets along the shore and two Black Turnstones on the rocks so I decided to check the beach at Noriega St.
On the beach near Noriega St the shore was lined with many dead crabs, jellies, a few Vellia. The Elegant Tern roost had about 150 birds, nearby were small flocks of Whimbrels Godwits and Willets. Checking the gull flocks there were Heerman’s, Western, and California. Along the beach to the north I could see large flocks of shorebirds feeding at the tide line most were Sanderlings. Unfortunately I never got close to the feeding birds as dogs constantly chased them off. There was a flock of roosting birds at about Lawton St. I counted at least 200 Sanderlings and 24 Snowy Plovers, one Western Sandpiper. Walking back I spotted a flock of 20 Red-necked Phalaropes one bird in the flock had a white rump and was likely a Wilson’s Phalarope.
The highlight for me was watching a Sea lion trying to eat a large fish while the gulls swirled overhead. Another Sea lion came into the fray both Sea lions raised their heads above the surf and I realized the Sea lion with the fish was a Steller’s Sea lion! It was one of the better comparisons I’ve seen with head shape, size and color.

Alan Hopkins

North Lake Redstart and more

Kimberly Jannarone

I accidentally went birding in GGP this afternoon instead of working.  I'm glad I did.  North Lake had one AMERICAN REDSTART and one YELLOW, two WILSON's, and one BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER.  Two WARBLING VIREOs foraged alongside a Hutton's Vireo.  Everybody gave me excellent looks in great light, especially the BT Gray, who foraged in front of my nose (too close for binoculars).

Other birds of interest:

One adult and one immature Black-Crowned night Heron
One male Belted Kingfisher

On the way back, I stopped at Lloyd Lake, where (the) male NORTHERN PINTAIL spent the afternoon.  I also watched a young Snowy Egret try to swallow a rather large fish it had caught.  I almost lost hope for it, but after 30 (thirty) rounds of dropping the fish and picking it back up, the Egret finally downed it.

At the Bison Paddock, a flock of 20+ Mourning Doves scattered when a young Red-Shouldered Hawk flew over.  A Turkey Vulture hunted over the paddock for over 15 minutes.

And two very beautiful chickens scratched in the dirt at North Lake.  A passerby told me they've been there a month!

Good birding,

American Redstart at East Wash


To follow up on Dominik's post, Jim and I drove over with our bikes to
Marin Headlands and then rode across the GG Bridge to SF for a few
birding stops.

After stops with little luck at Battery Godfrey and Lobos Dunes, we
had some nice activity at the East Wash before spotting the Redstart.
We saw a Hermit Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, two Warbling Vireos, six
Pacific Slope Flycatcher and a Downy Woodpecker.

We only had a brief look at the female/juvenile American Redstart
before it flew off. It was in some tall schrubs near the golf course
tee off area by the paved path that goes straight downhills from
Lincoln Highway across the street from the Palace of Legion of Honor.
The schrubs were just after the dirt path that heads downhill to the
right to the area that I believe is a popular birding spot where we
had seen the birds mentioned earlier.

We then headed over to the Cliff House where we saw a Wandering
Tattler and Surfbird on the beach before it was disturbed by some
folks walking on the beach. Lastly, at El Polin Spring we saw a
Red-necked Phalarope in the tiny pond.

Sorry if this is a duplicate post as I was having some browser problems.

Derek Heins

American Redstart in east/west wash

Dominik Mosur

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Chiropolos, James" <JChiropolos@...>
Date: August 23, 2014 10:50:24 PDT
To: "polskatata@..." <polskatata@...>, Josiah Clark <josiah@...>
Cc: derek <Derek.Heins@...>, Aaron Maizlish <AMaizlish@...>
Subject: American Redstart in east/west wash

Hi Dom - Josiah

Derek Heins and I just found a first year American redstart in east wash west wish just below the palace of legion of honor (don't know the exact name) being from the east bay


Migrants at Fort Mason - Grosbeak, Gnatcatcher, Vireo, Warblers

David Assmann

A nice pulse of migrants visible during a 90 minute visit at Fort Mason this morning. In the garden a BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK perched for several minutes.  The Battery had a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, a WARBLING VIREO, a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, and at least two WILSON'S WARBLERS. An adult COOPER'S HAWK was actually harassing crows, and a NUTTALL'S WOODPECKER was very vocal.

Farallon update

Peter Pyle

An update from Jim Tietz this morning from SE Farallon. The Blue-footed Booby was also still there last week, as was an adult male Painted Bunting. We've aged the booby as an ASY (at least 2+ years old) so not one of the returning HYs (first-fall birds) from last year.

In addition some links to keep track of things out there this fall. Cheers,



A few new birds today: LEFL, HEWA, BUOR, GBHE, AMKE.

I have been regularly posting photos to the Farallonia Flickr account:

Lastly, Dan Maxwell and Adam Searcy have been posting their photos to their own photo streams. They have been uploading occasional photos to our eBird checklists, which you can see from the "patch lists" webpage.

James R Tietz

Fort Mason: Local Interest

David Assmann

A pair of COOPER'S HAWKS were displaying and performing aerobics in the Battery at Fort Mason this morning, at times landing no more than 10 feet away from me. The only new migrant was a PACIFIC SLOPE FLYCATCHER. A WANDERING TATTLER was working the rocks at the side of Aquatic Park.

Local Interest: Fort Mason and El Polin

David Assmann

Fairly quiet this morning.  There was an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER and two WILSON'S WARBLERS in the Battery at Fort Mason, and a young COMMON MURRE swimming offshore.  El Polin featured a BELTED KINGFISHER chasing a hawk, and a WILSON'S WARBLER.  A family group of PINE SISKINS was hanging around the spring (there was also what appeared to be a Siskin with a yellow wash on its belly).  There were still three RUFOUS/ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRDS around the spring.

Seabird Report: August 15 & 16


Howdy, CalBirders,
Highlights of Shearwater Journeys's most recent three pelagic trips are as follows:

August 15, Monterey (all birds for Monterey County): a massive feeding flock of SOOTY and BLACK-VENTED (450) SHEARWATERS along with as many as 30 Humpback Whales just outside of the harbor; offshore we found SOUTH POLAR SKUA and the first juvenile SABINE'S GULLS of the season, and one CRAVERI'S MURRELET. Marine mammals were terrific, ending the day with breaching Humpbacks. Full report:

August 16, Half Moon Bay was an incredibly amazing day at sea. Highlights: continuing good numbers of (129) BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES; continuing BLACK-VENTED SHEARWATERS, more BULLER'S SHEARWATERS (first found on our 26 July trip); WILSON'S (12), ASHY (13) and BLACK (450) STORM-PETRELS near the 100 fathom edge (I have not found numbers of storm-petrels in such shallow water since the late 1970's to early 1980's); SOUTH POLAR SKUAS; SCRIPPS'S MURRELETS (2); and TUFTED PUFFINS (2). 

Marine mammals that favor more tropical areas were a surprise on this trip. This included 250 LONG-BEAKED COMMON DOLPHINS, one "presumed" offshore BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN and one DWARF/PYGMY SPERM WHALE. During the 39 years I've been doing pelagic trips, I've only seen Dwarf/Pygmy Sperm Whale once. (I have seen them on long range voyages in both the Atlantic and Pacific, though). I had views of this unique and little known cetacean five times on August 16th. Scott Terrill also saw this animal, but we were the only two on the trip who saw it. We prefer to identify it as Kogia, only, for want of a better view.

A ten foot SALMON SHARK that swam around our vessel for about 10 minutes gave everyone great views however. The full trip report with images:

The central coast of California is teaming with food. We have, in abundance, anchovies, sardines, squid and juvenile rockfish, along with loads of zooplankton (see my report). Squid is of particular interest. The salmon shark and dwarf/pygmy sperm whale, as well as Risso's dolphins and albatrosses are feeding on the squid. I am loathe to make "predictions" because they are so often off the mark, but I think it is safe to say that just about anything that feeds on squid could turn up. That includes the nocturnal feeding Swallow-tailed gull. 

Our next trips from Monterey are August 22 with Scott Terrill, Rick Fournier, Jennifer Green and I co-leading, and from Half Moon Bay on August 23 with Scott Terrill, Linda Terrill, Steve Tucker, Will Brooks and I co-leading. Most (all) of Monterey Bay and Half Moon Bay are welling in warm water at 61 to 63 F. It is like one big bathtub out there. The "edge" is 70 miles off Half Moon Bay at this time. These things will, of course, change over the next several weeks. It seems likely to me that a lot of the birdlife is out at the edge, including most of the jaegers, Buller's shearwaters and Arctic and Common Terns. 

Departing from Bodega Bay, we have trips on September 1 with Steve Howell, Lisa Hug, Tim Miller, Al DeMartini and I co-leading and on September 19 with Peter Pyle, Steve Howell, Lisa Hug, Steve Tucker, Jennifer Green and I co-leading. The only 50-some degree water is out at Bodega Canyon. If this holds up and the area is not infiltrated by warm water, it could be a very interesting place for seabirds.

And, loads more trips from Monterey and Half Moon Bay throughout September and October. See our full schedule at:

Squid Schools Forever,
Debi Shearwater

Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024

Birding Down Under: SubAntarctic Islands, November 9 - 25, 2014 with Debi- SOLD OUT
Russian Far East Voyages: May/June 2016 with Debi- discounted cabins available now

Aug 16 SF - SM pelagic report

Alvaro Jaramillo

Hello all.


We enjoyed great calm seas, warm water and fun with old friends and new on our San Francisco waters pelagic last Saturday. Highlights included Fin Whale, N Elephant seal and yes...birds. There were two Scripp's Murrelets (San Mateo), a great show of Black Storm-Petrels (several hundred) with Wilson's (7 or more, SF county), and Ashy Storm Petrels. Shearwaters included nice views of Black-vented (numbers are building), Sooty and Pink-foots of course, and a few Buller's filtering in now. South Polar Skua, Long-tailed Jaegers and Sabine's Gulls, many Red-necked Phalaropes and the first Reds coming in. Black-footed Albatross are out there, but in smaller numbers than in late July. We did not encounter many Vellela vellela (by the wind sailors), but numbers of Mola mola (Ocean Sunfish) were still high. Three species of loons inshore were nice, a surprise Sea Otter outside the harbor, and a close inshore Humpback Whale. A really pleasant trip, great diversity, some goodies and some questions…like where are the Craveri’s? There were three pelagics out this weekend, and none of them found Craveri’s. I am sure they will turn up again, just a matter of time!

    We are heading out this Friday (Half Moon Bay), and Saturday (Monterey). Spaces still left and weather is looking good!


I leave you with some photos taken this Saturday by Jeff Poklen.


Good birding,




Alvaro Jaramillo



Harlequin Duck at Battery Godfrey

David Assmann

There was a female HARLEQUIN DUCK swimming next to a large rock immediately below Battery Godfrey a few minutes ago.  Earlier I spent time at Fort Mason where migrants included 4 WILSON'S WARBLERS, a WARBLING VIREO, a NORTHERN FLICKER, a WESTERN TANAGER, and a PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER.  Shorebirds at Crissy Lagoon this morning included 2 SEMI-PALMATED PLOVERS and a SPOTTED SANDPIPER.

7781 - 7800 of 26237