Parakeet Auklet is back at Land's End/Fort Miley 6/21/19


The PARAKEET AUKLET has returned for a fourth consecutive summer. Today it was seen flying into the north face of its favorite rock at 11 a.m. Viewed from the Coastal Trail near the "Historic Shipwrecks" sign. This is a couple minutes walk east from the USS San Francisco memorial parking lot /West Fort Miley.

A male ROSE-BREASTED Grosbeak was at the trail X on Mt. Davidson before 7 a.m., calling frequently from a hidden perch. It dove for cover once I got eyes on it.

Dominik Mosur
San Francisco

Northern Parula at Lobos Creek

Joachim Gonzalez

There is a silent Northern Parula at upper Lobos Creek. Last seen at around 12:30

Joachim Gonzalez

Parula location

Joachim Gonzalez

Forgot to mention. In the willows with a flock of CBCH, PYNU, WIWA, and others right by the concrete bridge by the creek.

Land's End/Fort Miley 6/24/2019

C Lou


No Parakeet Auklet. But Alan Hopkins and myself had an ANCIENT MURRELET behind Hermit Rock. It kept
swimming east and out of sight.

Calvin Lou

Parakeet Auklet visible now

David Assmann

The PARAKEET AUKLET found by Dominik on June 21st is swimming close to shore south west of the rock it’s been seen on right now.

Parula at North Lake

David Assmann

NORTHERN PARULA singing at south end of lake.

Least Tern at Lake Merced

Aaron Maizlish

I found a Least Tern at Lake Merced. Very unseasonable (late migrant or failed breeder/early dispersal?). Viewed looking southwest-ward from the shoreline at the entrance to the Rowing Club/Harding Park.

The bird is at the far shore, circling around fairly high and diving for fish at least twice in the 10 minutes that I watched it. Also some Caspian Terns around, for easy size comparison. If you go, look both high near the tree-line, and also along the reedy shoreline, where it was last seen feeding.

Yellow bill, black mask, short forked-tail. Distinctive flight style. Looks like an albino swallow at this distance!

There are not that many records for SF as far as I know.

Aaron Maizlish
San Francesca

Least Tern continues

Joachim Gonzalez

Viewed by Calvin and I from Boathouse tamp looking SW.


Brian Fitch

Sighted at 10 30 by Erik atwell
Currently out of sight on north face of hermit rock
Brian fitch

Possible Lesser-black-backed Gull Ocean Beach this moring

Peter Pyle

Comments welcome here or privately (ppyle@...)

Foot of Ortega at 07:48 but was skittish and flew out to sea before I got any decent photos; some crappy photos are here:

Looks OK for 2 year-old LBBG but I want to be sure this time (ahem) before I finalize ID.

Sorry for the late word but I didn't have a chance to look at photos until now.


Re: Parakeet & Hermit Rock Dramas

Brian Fitch

As I wrote via cell earlier, Erik Atwell spotted the Parakeet Auklet making a very brief sortie around Hermit Rock at 10:30 this morning (6/28).  The rest of us honed in on the spot, and we too saw the auklet make several more quick flights around the top of rock.  On one landing, it was briefly visible, but otherwise it kept alighting out of sight.  We had all been out there from around 8:30 onward.

Around 11:30, after Hugh and Ken had to leave, Erik and I saw a Peregrine swoop into the long vertical crack in Hermit Rock where the Pigeon Guillemots nest, and I got my scope on the bird as it waddled into a small cave near the top.  As I was waiting for it to come out with prey of some type, Erik called out "Peregrine," and I turned to see a falcon on the low rock just left of Hermit, with an adult PIGU wriggling in its talons.  It turns out that the cave penetrates through the rock, and the falcon had emerged from the far side with the guillemot. 

We both commented that the auklet ought to have been startled out of its hiding place, but we were caught up with watching the struggle.  After a few seconds the PIGU broke free, slid down the rock and vanished underwater, and we didn't see where or if it surfaced.  But as I watched the falcon, which seemed to limp a bit as it walked on the rock, I spotted the Parakeet Auklet in the water just beyond the falcon.  Erik got some photos of the alliterative pair of birds in the same frame, and I commented on Nature's weird themes.  (Para-keet and Pere-grine for those of you who aren't much into literary terms.)  We also heard the auklet joining in the chorus of complaints about the falcon, giving its upslurred trill along with the calls of the upset guillemots and oystercatchers.

We watched the PAAU for another half an hour as it allowed itself to be washed closer to shore, making many dives into and through oncoming breakers.  Erik left around noon, and shortly after that the second drama unfolded, as the auklet seemed to weaken and let the waves move it very close to the rocks and small cliff faces on the shoreline.  I couldn't see any sign of it feeding, but I don't know the species well, so perhaps this kind of extreme Surf Scoter behavior is typical.  After 25 minutes of fearing that I was about to see it smashed to death, it jumped onto a low rock, only to be washed right off again.  It then swam over to a bigger rock directly on the shore and jumped onto it.  I soon left, wanting to think positively about its future survival despite the perilous behavior I'd been seeing.

On a non-aquatic note, I suspect that Pine Siskins are breeding on the level above the Hermit Rock viewpoint.  Last week I heard and then saw a siskin singing for quite a while along the upper road by the steep sandy trail up to Ft Miley West, and today I saw one or more siskins go in and out of a cypress adjacent to last week's spot.

Brian Fitch


American White Pelican at Fort Mason

David Assmann

Just flew east over Aquatic Park.

SF pelagic and Farallon Island trips

Alvaro Jaramillo

Hello SF Birders,

      I wanted to send out a reminder that the San Francisco county pelagic will be on Aug 31. There are still spots left for that trip.

The first two Farallon Island trips are coming up soon – July 13 and July 15.

Our summer pelagic, which has had some notable rarities in the past is coming up on Aug 3. to book, or email me for more information.

Great birding to you all!



Alvaro Jaramillo



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Local Interest - Returning Shorebirds, etc.

David Assmann

Fall shorebird migration is starting. Yesterday at Hermit Rock, while looking in vain for the Parakeet Auklet, 15 MARBLED GODWITS flew by, heading into the Bay.  While the Parakeet Auklet didn't show up, a RHINOCEROS AUKLET did.  Today, at Heron's Head there were a number of shorebirds, including a flock of 26 WILLETS in alternate plumage, a WHIMBREL, two LONG-BILLED CURLEWS, four LEAST SANDPIPERS, and five BLACK-NECKED STILTS. At Crissy Lagoon, a WILLET, two LEAST SANDPIPERS and a LONG-BILLED CURLEW joined the resident KILLDEERS. Lake Merced had a strange looking MEW GULL, and the trio of unusual ducks were all still at Stow Lake - the male HOODED MERGANSER and the female MANDARIN DUCK were following each other on the west side, and the now motley-looking male WOOD DUCK was east of the Boathouse.

Before the fireworks, Southern Waterfront

Eddie Bartley

July 3: Did a mini-Bio-blitz at Pier 94 and Yosemite slough with Bob Hall and Brent Plater this morning

Pier 94 highlights included a LEAST SANDPIPER that circled us calling, briefly landed in the marsh, a raft of 86 Western and Clark's Grebes , a PELAGIC CORMORANT in Islais Creek, 5 Caspian Terns plunge diving and two NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS foraging in the upland. There were at least two fledged Red-winged Blackbirds. The very vocal Mockingbird included a pretty good California Towhee song and an even better Willet in it's repertoire. 

Yosemite Slough: a visit to this neglected area is always a sobering visit but the slough itself is looking a bit cleaner and the uplands had at least two fledged SAVANNAH SPARROWS, on fed repeatedly by a parent during our visit. The Mockingbird at this location did a fair Belted Kingfisher mimic. 

Pier 94 had a surprisingly high number of aquatic invertebrates, butterflies in fair numbers at both sites.

Happy Trails!

Eddie Bartley

Lands End seawatch

Max Benningfield

Hi All,
This morning I went out to do a PAAU watch and waited about 45 mins and saw the Parakeet Auklet for about 3 mins. It flew in and was being pushed towards the shoreline, then it flew out of sight not sure if it flew back out or to the other side of the rock. Small dark alcid with red bill and white stripe behind eye. It looked quite sick. Also saw a rhinoceros auklet. This was about 11:25-11:35.
Max Benningfield

Red-Breasted Merganser at Crissy Lagoon

David Assmann

There is a female RED-BREASTED MERGANSER in Crissy Lagoon. First San Francisco July record for this species.

Re: Red-Breasted Merganser at Crissy Lagoon

Paul Saraceni


I observed a female Red-breasted Merganser flying N over the surf at Ocean Beach (near Judah) several days ago on the evening of July 5th.

Paul Saraceni 
San Francisco 

On Jul 8, 2019, at 11:55 AM, David Assmann via Groups.Io <david_assmann@...> wrote:

There is a female RED-BREASTED MERGANSER in Crissy Lagoon. First San Francisco July record for this species.

Re: Lands End seawatch

Rob Cullison

Reporting for the two Lee's, the Parakeet Auklet was being seen at 12:01.

Rob Cullison

Re: Lands End seawatch

Lee-Hong Chang

On Monday, July 8, 2019, 12:17:17 PM PDT, Rob Cullison <robcullison@...> wrote:

Reporting for the two Lee's, the Parakeet Auklet was being seen at 12:01.

Rob Cullison