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Odds & Ends, SF, 07/01/07
This morning i did a 1-hr. ocean watch from the Cliff House terrace, followed by a visit to the SE bayshore of SF.
Observations of local interest:
Surf Scoter 4
Com. Loon 1 (basic plumage; flying N)
Pacific Loon 1 (alt. plumage; on the Ocean)
Black Oystercatcher 2
Com. Murre 100s (including several on Seal Rock)
Harbor Porpoise 2
S. end of Ocean Beach:
Osprey 1 (flying over beach; perhaps same individual observed today by Alan H. @ L. Merced)
Bayshore -- Agua Vista (no Black Skimmers today) to Candlestick Pt. SRA:
Snowy Egret 3 @ India Basin, 3 @ Yosemite Creek
Turkey Vulture 1 @ IB
Am. Kestrel 1 m. @ Heron's Head
Black Oysterctacher 3 @ HH. 2 @ Double Rock (incl. 1 on nest)
Long-billed Curlew 1 @ IB, 1 flying over Yosemite Creek
Willet 1 (alt. plumage) @ HH
Forster's Tern 1 @ HH, 1 @ Candlestick
BANK SWALLOW 1 @ Pier 94 (the 1st I've observed on the Bay side of SF)
Bullock's Oriole 1 imm. @ Cansdlestick (nr. westernmost parking lot/picnic area)
Spot-winged Glider (dragonfly) 1 @ HH
Bat Ray 1 (swimming close to shore) @ Candlestick Cove
I only saw one Cooper's Hawk today, but it is almost grown and
ready to fledge. There were no adults, nor did I see any other
nestlings. I noticed it would hop/fly from the nest to a branch and then
back again. When they had the Falcon Cam, I noticed the young Peregrines
would also do this. I'd like to direct your attention to Walter's photo
"Female with Prey." Notice she's banded on the right leg. I saw last
year's female and she, too, was banded on the right leg. We've suspected
that this was last year's pair, but I believe this confirms it. If I may
be so bold, I'd like to name the adults Frankie and Johnny. Frankie
being the female. As in, "Frankie and Johnny were sweethearts."
Fred Chambers birded the Arboretum and Middle Lake and
saw many of the same birds reported by others. The
juv. Red-tail hadn't been fed when we saw it. It is a
spectacular bird. There were 2 singing Wilson's
Warblers at Middle Lake. I only heard a single
White-crowned Sparrow in the Arboretum -- pretty sad
for Golden Gate Park. It seems the powers that be are
removing all snags from the Arboretum, or at least the
part that's presently planted. No worries about
dropping limbs or rotted trees. No more worries about
At Lake Merced I checked the Cliff Swallow colony on
the concrete bridge on Friday. About half the nests I
could get to were still in use and most of the others
seem to have recently been in use. I couldn't access
all nests because of high water, so I have no idea how
many nests there are this year. Vandalism from SI and
Pacific Rowing Teams doesn't seem to have impacted the
colony. I had an immature Wood Duck under the willows
at the SE corner of the bridge and there were 2
Tri-colored Blackbirds with the flock at the west end
of the bridge. This is the earliest I've seen them at
LM. On Saturday there was an Osprey in the cormorant
colony on the South Lake. All but one of the 12 Great
Blue Heron nests was empty. I'm confident all birds
from the South Lake nest and the 7 of the 8 North Lake
nests reached a level of maturity that allowed them to
fly from their nests. One nest in the North Lake
colony is still occupied. I'm not sure about the
status of the 3 Mesa nests. One recently fledged bird
was flying between the nests, but only 2 of the 3
nests should have had young old enough to fledge.
Double-crested Cormorants are still building nests and
are in record numbers. Though the first young are
fledging, we have no fewer than 306 active nests now.
Saturday evening I spotted large numbers of Brown
Pelican moving north past Fort Funston. My deck is
about 2 miles from there, but the birds were clearly
visible even without binoculars. I wonder what else
will be arriving with them.
The GGAS Lassen trip had about 95 species and 34
birders. The most unusual bird was a most ratty Snow
Goose at Baum Lake. Mounrning Doves were spotted at
about 6400 ft. at Hat Lake and Steve Zacharie reported
seeing them at the Kings Creek Falls trialhead at
about 7400 ft. That's really high. Almost all trails
were open in the park, birds and butterflies were
numerous. Wild flowers were poor this year.
Pinpoint customers who are looking for what you sell.
Farallon Islands, June 30 Whale watching trip
Robert Garriock <rgarriock@...>
I took my first palegic trip off the north west coast of CA. The waves
prevented any really great observations until i reached the protection
of the Farallon's.
After about a mile offshore all observed birds were:
Western Gulls and Caspian terns
The guide said that he saw Norther Fulmars and a possible Pomarine
Jaegar but I did not personally see these birds.
At the Farallon's:
Tuffed Puffin (3) sadly no Horned Puffins
Cassin's Auklet (10+)
Rhinoceros Auklet (6+)
Pink-Footed Shearwater (4+)
Double crested cormorants
Black-Footed Albatross (5+) all juv.
The guide observed several Storm-Petrels and the one that I viewed was
to far away to identify.
95% of the birds were common Murres or Sooty shearwaters which
numbered in the 1000s. It was something to see.
Cetaceans included many HB whales.
The Osprey (presumably the same one seen by Alan earlier today) was circling South Lake Merced at sundown. Also seen flying over were a Foerster's Tern and a Black-crowned Night Heron. There was an adult Clark's Grebe on the water being followed by a juvenille. Immature Wood Duck was seen swimming on the Northwest end of the concrete bridge. Cliff Swallows continued to fly back and forth to their nests on the West side of the bridge as well.
At 3 p.m. a White-throated Swift flew over Precita Park.
North Lake grebes
A stroll around North Lake in GG Park yesterday afternoon turned up one
Kingfisher at the south end. We were lucky to observe a Pied billed grebe family
having dinner at the north end. One adult caught a crayfish and passed it to the
other adult, who fed it to the two eager chicks.
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On Sunday evening I sighted an Osprey flying overhead at Robb Hill in the Presidio heading
northward over the gate.
San Francisco County Pelagic - August 18th, 2007
Hugh Cotter <htcotter@...>
There are still some spaces left on a San Francisco County Pelagic on August 18th leaving SF. There are some great pealgic birders already signed up.
We are looking to confirm the boat so if you are interested see below and let us know as soon as possible.
A San Francisco County Pelagic is being organised for Saturday August 18th, 2007 leaving from San Francisco.
The trip will be 10-12 hours and will more or less stay within San Francisco waters all day.
Weather permitting we will get beyond the Farallons to the continental shelf and deeper waters.
There will likely be a short stop at the Farallons on the way out or on the way back but this will not be the primary focus of this trip unless the weather dictates otherwise.
There are a limited number of spaces remaining as we do not intend filling the boat to capacity. If you are interested in going or have questions please contact :
and we will send through all the known details.
lazuli buntings at McLaren Park
The lazuli buntings at McLaren Park remain, the male singing and displayed over the paved
path running south of the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater. Two other birds flew from the same
tree, singing, and remained as singers in nearby trees, unseen again. All this through the mid
to late morning, Monday 2 July 2007.
Ft. Miley: Rose-breasted Grosbeak
An adult male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was seen on the North facing slope of Battery Chester this morning at 7:50a.m..
It was visble for about a minute before flying off in a Southwest direction.
A California Towhee at the same location was observed with a broken/dragging tail feather.
A Pygmy Nuthatch was displaying behavior never witnessed before by this observer, flying into a cloud of gnats/flies and appearing to capture several in mid-air.
Presidio Hills Bewick's Wren and other observations
While birding Presidio Hills this afternoon Josiah Clark was the first to pick up on the Bewick's Wren calling out just north of the live oak stand at Presidio Hills.
Other interesting observations included seeing a male Wilson's Warbler and flock of at least a dozen American Goldfinches gleaning in the poison hemlock field next to the compost lot.
At least three Hooded Orioles (1 adult male, 2 female/immature plumage) were seen near the Fourteenth Avenue Gate.
A word of caution for birders who may be in this area. It seems that the houses south east of the general hospital are now off limits to park visitors. While standing next to one of the structures trying to locate a possible Barn Swallow nest, Josiah and I were approached by a security guard who informed us that we were on private property and not allowed within five feet of the houses.
This seems rather odd as the area is neither fenced in nor is there any signs indicating a boundary.
Perhaps anyone out there in the know of this situation could enlighten San Francisco's birding community as to the status of the area.
My apologies in advance if the above two paragraphs are deemed inappropriate to this message board.
Cooper's Hawk Chicks Take Short Flights (Parrots not pleased)
Monday mid-morning saw activity picking up in Lafayette Park. I found
one of the Cooper's Hawk chicks prostrate on a branch a few meters from
the nest. At first I was afraid it had gotten trapped in the tangle of
small branches, but it seems it had wedged itself in this position on
purpose, basking in the full sun. It later pulled itself up and took a
few hops around the branches, soon joined by a sibling flying haltingly
amongst the nearby trees, while a third chick was more skilled and flew
some distance about the north half of the upper circle.
This activity got the few Red-masked Parakeets in the area a bit
agitated, with much squawking and flying about. They got even more
antsy (albeit briefly) when one of the parents flew in, but the adult
hawk quickly left as there was no food to be distributed. A bit later
it or the other adult CH returned and perched for a bit in a eucalyptus
at the north edge of the park, calling softly as if to encourage the
chicks to fly out, but they only whistled a little and stayed put.
After the adult flew off, two of the "parrots" flew into the nest tree,
exchanged a few choice squawks without much response from the hawk
chicks, then flew off. More to follow, no doubt!
Also of note: the Pygmy Nuthatches are gathering nesting material and
making numerous sorties in and out of their nest hole in the same
eucalyptus below the hawk's nest. Looks like they are well on their way
to a second brood this summer.
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Lafayette Park Cooper's
KAREN DEVANEY <kdevaney37@...>
Sunday July 1, at 5:30 PM while driving around Lafayette Park (looking for a parking space) we suddenly saw the adult Cooper's Hawk streak from the park across Gough and into Clay chasing prey. Immediately the chase reversed and headed down Gough and out of sight. I believe it was unsuccessful. It was the easiest drive by-birding ever. Thank you Rich (grizzly) for the directions. Monday morning about 8:45 AM I found the 3 branched Juvenile Copper's Hawks in their nest tree. They were quiet & preening.
In the Cooper's nest tree a nest is being constructed in a cavity at the fork of the main trunk, just above the fork. I'm not familiar with the species & didn't have Sibley with me. They were gathering fibrous bark material from the trunk of this same tree and entering the cavity with it.
Over in GGP, northeast section, I found two vociferous Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawks. They were so cooperative to call until I found them perched and flying. The Red-taileds were above JFK Dr.
Is it possible that I saw two Yellow-billed Magpie, low and in shrubs on Conservatory Drive East? They had very white under parts and black heads and back. Or am I just confusing them with something else?
It is great to see and hear so many Hummingbirds!!! Lafayette park is full of them.
Today there was a lone Short-billed Dowitcher feeding along the shore
of Crissy Lagoon. At Battery Corsby, on the coastal bluffs, there was
one adult and one fledged young Spotted Towhee.
July 4th Merced lake
Robert Garriock <rgarriock@...>
At the west parking lot and wooden bridge:
Osprey (actively fishing)
Swallows (likely tree swallows on the far side of the lake)
black phoebe (with a lot of young to feed)
Allen's and Anna's hummingbirds
note, the black and white cat was hunting young sparrows near the lake
and had a nearly full grown kitten.
At the concrete bridge
similar birds were observed except
Clark's grebes had chicks out on the lake and they were so cute.
Male Yellow throat (calling and calling)
Cliff Swallows had young out in the trees near the bridge
Small heron or possible American bittern few into a tree (and out of
Western tiger swallowtails were out in a large flight
short trip to San francisco
I will be visiting San Francisco the last week of July and will have 2
days to bird. Questions:
Are there any good, safe areas to bird where I would not need a car?
(I'm staying at the San Francisco Marriot near Fishermans Wharf)
If I should need a car, what are the best places that are easiest to
get to from the Marriot area, for someone who has never been to San
I'm from Mississipi, would like to see some new birds.
Agua Vista Park Afternoon
There were as many as sixty Caspian Terns present simultaneously on the old pier at various times today between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.
Only two appeared to be immatures.
Other interesting birds included fly-over California Gull (adult) and a White-throated Swift.
Fort Miley and East Wash observations
The appearance of a Cooper's Hawk in the trees on the west side of Battery Chester evoked much vocal protests from the local Pygmy Nuthatch gang around 2 p.m. today.
A pair of White-crowned Sparrows have also been around for the past ten days or so and are probably nesting in one of the coyote bushes.
A couple of days ago there were two more newly fledged Brown-headed Cowbirds begging for food around Battery Chester. One was hitting up a Song Sparrow the other a Dark-eyed Junco, for sustenance.
Also since last Friday Red-winged Blackbirds have started to mingle with the Brewer's Blackbird/Starling/Cowbird flocks at the VA and Legion of Honor/East Wash.
A flock numbering over a hundred Brewer's/Red-wings plus a couple of Starlings/Cowbirds was foraging north of Camino del Mar east of the East Wash this afternoon around 3 p.m. (the largest such assemblage observed in this area since early spring). One Red-winged male showed entirely white epaulets.
Alan Hopkins <ash@...>
This aftrenoon I walked around Crissy Lagoon, there were 18 adult Western Sandpipers at the Southwest corner, the Long-billed Curlew was back on the sand island near the bridge. When I returned to the spouthwest corner the westerns wer gone but Matt's Short-billed Dowitcher was there.
There were half a dozen Budwiser Clidesdale (sp?) horses at the stables along Park St. if anyone cares.
Alan Hopkins <ash@...>
Did a western tour today including GGP, the Cliff House, Ocean Beach and Lake Merced. Nothing to report from the Park. At Seal Rock there were nine Common Murres roosting in one small area, I saw what appeared to be copulation twice! Along Ocean Beach ther was a good movement of Marbled Godwits with a few Whimbrels and Willits thrown in for good measure, ther was one small flock of Western Sandpipers. No Snow P's or Elegant Terns yet. There was a Green Heron at the extreme south end of Lake Merced.