Date   

eTerns & southering shorebirds

Harry Fuller <harry_fuller@...>
 

Late Thursday, checked Fort Mason...no sign of Egrets...anybody know where they
are "nesting" there?

Late Friday, checked Heron's Head Park, nee Pier 98...it's filing up with
windblown trash and hand-dumped trash
no ducks, geese or shorebirds...one GREG, one Cas TERN, one WCSO lotsa WEGU and
D-C CORM

Now for the fun stuff, even later Friday, checked Ocean Beach between Pacheco
and Santiago:
120 Elegant Terns including many juveniles,,,in with flocks of Heermann's &
Western Gu
1 Cas. Tern
2 Whimbrel
13 M. Godwit
20 West. Sandpiper in breeding plumage
17 Sanderlings in breeding plumage, nary a gray feather to be seen

Might the Sanderlings and WESA be some of the ones bound south of Equator?
Godwits, however, do not go south of Panama. Whimbrels have been around all
summer.
Can we now declare the southern migration officially open?


Sat PM

rferrick@...
 

The Elegant Terns that Harry reported from Ocean Beach were back this
evening. About 20 of them at Rivera, in amongst 2 Caspian Terns, 75ish
Heerman's Gulls.

Earlier in the afternoon (4:30PM-5:30PM) I checked the Presidio for
California Quail.

The M/F pair and 2 chicks were observed at the Mission Dolores Trail in
Tennessee Hollow.

At the Restoration Area off of Battery Caulfield, there was a sentry M near
the Tennis Courts, a M/F pair (without chicks) foraging at the white gate
into the large parking area, and a M/F pair with at least 4 chicks along the
fenceline of the path into the Restoration Area.

Rich


migration at Mt View

myra ulvang <myra90@...>
 

Lots of migrating shorebirds in breeding plumage at Charleston Slough today, Sat. M godwits, wn and least sandpipers, am avocets, a few willets and dowitchers, a semipalmated plover, 2 gr yellowlegs plus the usual.
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a morning at the beach

Dan Murphy <murphsf@...>
 

Well, today was better than yesterday at the beach. True, the fog was
quite wet and I couldn't see far off shore, but the wind was down so I
didn't freeze.

At Seal Rocks there was a Wandering Tattler. My first for the season
and a pretty early migrant. Marbled Godwits and a Willet were on the
beach. 5 Black Oystercatchers were feeding on the rocks. I never saw
more than 3 Pigeon Guillemots at once, but if they were the same 3 every
time they sure were flying around a lot. Brandt's Cormorants were still
sitting on nests. I finally ticked off an Elegant Tern. It seems they
don't sit on the beach overnight since I missed them yesterday morning
at Pacheco.

Down at Fort Funston the Bank Swallow colony remains active. There are
several burrows with chicks and adult birds visited many more.

Good birding, Dan


Half-time; Big Year 2000

Harry Fuller <harry_fuller@...>
 

This is rough draft for article in "Gull" ayt mid-point. RSVO on any mistakes.
And who is "Karennani" from the BT PIgeon email? I couldn;t figure it out from
my email collection which is not complete. Any huge oversights? lemme know
ASAP.


Half-Time: Big Year 2000

Well, the crazed San Francisco birders are at it again...a city-wide Big
Year contest. There are seven contestants this time around, including three
veterans of the 1998 showdown. Some people never learn,. My excuse is that I
finished last in '98 and had to do a little better this time, but Hopkins won
and Murphy got sucked in because it was his suggestion that we start the
Millenium with a Big Year to establish the expected species for the next
thousand years of San Francisco birding.
"The purpose of this competition is to generate some competitive interest
in birding in the city but to also improve on the understanding of species,
distribution and occurences within the city."
A modest proposal, that.
The official participants are Stephen Davies, Rich Ferrick, Harry Fuller,
Alan Hopkins, Kevin McKereghan, Dan Murphy and Jay Withgott. Jay described
himself as "new in town, having just moved up from Tucson AZ, and just gotten
onto SFBirds [the email list]." By now Jay is just another wind-burned face
squiting into the fog off the Cliff House, or trudging up Mount Davidson for
another vagrant. That is one of the best stories of this Big Year:
non-combatant, Paul Saraceni,
has staked out Mt. Davidson as his regular nieghborhood birding spot. As a
result all the competitors have been forced to chase species he's been reporting
there: Merlin, Band-tailed Pigeons all winter long, all three western Swift
species on May 19th, House Wren, Spotted Towhee, Lazuli Bunting, then in late
spring Hammond's, Dusky and Ash-throated Flycatchers, a singing male
Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Add Brian Fitch's Townsend Solitaire found on Davidson
on April 10 and you have a pretty active hot spot. It is the same spot the '98
BY found it's only Solitaire. Mt. Davidson is an island of trees and grassland
in a sea of roofs and pavement.
Well, it is not a tight contest as it was in 1998. Kevin McKereghan early
established that he had the time, energy and skill to get nearly every gettable
bird in town. He was ahead at the end of January with 148. He still leads with
204 through the first six months. Second is Rick Ferrick with 192. After a
slower start, Ferrick rallied with a prodigious 30 new species in April. Kevin
is running several species ahead of Alan Hopkins' record-setting pace for 1998.
Alan ended with
243. The overall Big Year total in '98 was 280 species. So far the BY2K total
is 223, five ahead of the '98 cumulative pace.
Here are some of the highlights so far, with thanks Mark Eaton, a retired
vet from the '98 Big Year who is acting as this year's scribe.
Jan. 2 Reigning BY champ, Alan Hopkins does mini-Big Day and claims the
record for the new millenium with 103 species for himself and Calvin Lu (another
'98 retiree). They bagged Loggerhead Shrike and Harrier at Candelstick,
difficult city birdsin most years.
Jan. 3, Saraceni issues his first of many daily reports on the birds of
Davidson: includes House Wren and Lincoln Sparrow, must-get birds for all BY
counters.
Jan. 5, Ferrick finds exotic Kingbird at south end of Lake Merced, setting
off the first lengthy email debate over a bird's ID. It turns out to be a
Tropical Kingbird who will hang around for weeks, finally being ticked by every
BY birder and dozens of others.
Murphy bags a Marbled Murrlet off the Cliff House. Everybody has the
Eurasian Wigeon wintering at Stow Lake.
A debate rages over supposed Glaucous Gull at south end of Merced. Biggest
email debate of the year so far. It is finally presumed that there were a
series of legit Glaucous Gull sightings of one or possibly two individuals in
the dense flock of Western, California, Mew and Glaucous-winged that are
normally on Merced during stormy times.
During January Merced also yields Swamp Sparrow, Nuttall's Woodpecker,
Cinnamon Teal, Tennessee Warbler--all difficult S.F. birds.
This is also the first full year for the newly recreated Crissy Lagoon.
Regular reports on birds there came from Josiah Clark: Red-necked Grebe, Merlin,
Peregrine, large flock of Greater Scaup (numbering of 340 at one point), Snowy
Egret. In spring the list included Western Kingbird, a regular city transient
that can be hard to find.
Mid-Jnauary a Loggerhead Shrike set up a hunting territory at east of the
Buffalo Paddock in Golden Gate Park. At the end of the month there was a report
of a Northern Goshawk in San Francisco, but the bird could not be re-found.
Also, several birders found the Baltimore Oriole wintering in the Arboretum.
Withgott
spotted a Harlequin Duck off the Cliff House. Good find.
February was lively though only 15 new species were added by the whole
group.
On Feb 10 Saraceni saw 400 Band-tailed Pigeons pass over Davidson. The
next day, Karennani wrote: "I'll see your 400 and raise you 1075." That's how
many BTs she counted in two hours atop Twin Peaks on February 11.
Mid-month Dan Murphy reported Yellow-billed Magpies had been seen in Daly
City, four miles south of San Francisco. Prescient.
On Feb. 14, Hopkins and McKereghan spot Peterodroma off the Cliff House,
species not determined. None of the petrels are considered anything less than
rare for San Francisco shoreline. The same morning Kevin had two Northern
Fulmars, another difficult onshore bird. Same date Davies had two Marbled
Murrlets overhead at night.
Feb. 18 Hugh Cotter, not in this year's contest, reported a Murrelet swarm
off Cliff House. In addition to Marbled, one possible Anicent and a Cassin's
Auklet.
Feb. 21, Murphy and Fuller got small flock of early Vaux's Swifts over
south end of Merced
Feb. 23, Davies gets an Oldsquaw off Land's End. In early March an
Oldsquaw joins the Scaup off Crissy Field for several days.
Feb 24, Saraceni has Longspur flyover on Davidson
Feb. 29, Barn Owl spotted at Merced near Golf Club House
McKereghan ends February at 157, way ahead.
March 6, Andrew Rush creates a rush with report of Black-and-white Warbler
in willows at east end of Mountain Lake Park. Bird is hard to find but is seen
repeatedly over the next two weeks.
Mid-March a few sightings of Yellow-biulled Magpies occur around Sutro
Heights. Murphy warns Fuller, who lives in that area, "You don't get to see any
of the great birds that show up on your doorstep park. Sorry, that's just how
it is..." At least Murphy missed 'em, too. Davies sees the Magpies on March 20
at the Veterans Hospital. First sightings in S.F. since 1991-2.
March 26, Alan Hopkins' Bird Blitz finds Wrentit in McLaren Park. The Blitz
totals 121 species in S.F.
April proves to be the busy month that was expected. Many north-bound
migrants: Western Kingbird, smaller flycatchers, Gnatcatcher, vireos, western
and vagrant warblers, a Ross's Goose spends several days in Golden Gate Park.
McKereghan, Withgott, Ferrick and Saraceni do a Big Day, getting S. F.
record of 134 species.
The first week of May brings unusual storms, catching many northbound birds
beneath heavy fogs and hard rains. Big spring fallouts noticed along western
edge of San Francisco. Dense flocks of Orange-crowned and Wilson's Warblers,
knots of Tanagers, Warbling Vireos, Grosbeaks, flycatchers of varous kinds. A
Dusky Flycatcher lands on Davidson. Chat show up in Glen Canyon and Golden Gate
Park. A Red-eyed Vireo is found near Middle Lake. The group adds 16 new
species in the month. Then another 17 in May when Saraceni gets his Swift
trifecta on Davidson, Willow and Hammond's Flyctachers show up, a Northern
Parula takes to singing west of West Wash, White Pelicans check out Crissy
Field, Magnolia Warbler is found by Davies near Vet's Hospital, two Hooded
Warblers found in city.
June brings an Ash-throated Flycatcher through town, along with the first
American Redstart of the year.
To follow the action, here's Eaton's webpage for the San Francisco BY2K.
http://home.pacbell.net/mweaton/Birding/B2K/B2KResults.html
July brought the several post-breeding migrants. Elegant Terns are back
in numbers, Sanderlings arrive wearing brown. Murphy had his first Tattler of
the season on Seal Rocks. Wish me luck in September, I'm 19 species behind
McKereghan, but at least I'm way ahead of where I was in '98. We are all
looking forward to a big and busy fall: send those raptors, Waterthrush,
Pectoral Sandpipers, Common Terns, vagrant warblers and wayward migrants this
way, please.


grackle alert...will we get one in SF before the bIg Year is over ????

Harry Fuller <harry_fuller@...>
 


Half-time; Big Year 2000, final version

Harry Fuller <harry_fuller@...>
 

Peter: Here is article for "Gull" on the first half of the San Francisco Big
Year 2000. If you need to shorten cut some of the chronology in lower part of
article.

Half-Time: Big Year 2000

Well, the crazed San Francisco birders are at it again...a city-wide Big
Year contest. There are seven contestants this time around, including three
veterans of the 1998 showdown. Some people never learn. My excuse: I finished
last in '98 and had to do better this time. But Hopkins won, and Murphy, he got
sucked in because it was his big idea to start the Millenium with a Big Year..
He wrote:
"The purpose of this competition is to generate some competitive interest
in birding in the city but to also improve on the understanding of species,
distribution and occurences within the city."
A modest proposal, that.
Official participants are Stephen Davies, Rich Ferrick, Harry Fuller, Alan
Hopkins, Kevin McKereghan, Dan Murphy and Jay Withgott. Jay described himself
as "new in town, having just moved up from Tucson AZ, and just gotten onto
SFBirds [the email list]." Today Jay is just another wind-burned face squinting
into the fog off the Cliff House, or trudging up Mount Davidson for another
vagrant. That is one of the best stories of this Big Year: non-combatant, Paul
Saraceni,
has staked out Mt. Davidson as his regular nieghborhood birding spot. As a
result all the competitors have been forced to chase species he's been reporting
there: Merlin, Band-tailed Pigeons all winter long, all three western Swift
species on May 19th, House Wren, Spotted Towhee, Lazuli Bunting, then in late
spring Hammond's, Dusky and Ash-throated Flycatchers, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,
American Redstart. McKereghan finds a singing male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
there. Add Brian Fitch's Townsend Solitaire on Davidson April 10 and you have a
hot spot. It is the same spot the '98 BY found it's only Solitaire. Mt.
Davidson is an island of trees and grassland in a sea of roofs and pavement.
Well, it is not a tight contest as it was in 1998. Kevin McKereghan early
established that he had the time, energy and skill to get nearly every gettable
bird in town. He was ahead at the end of January with 148. He still leads with
204 through the first half. Second is Rick Ferrick with 192. After a slower
start, Ferrick rallied with a prodigious 30 new species in April. Kevin is
running several species ahead of Alan Hopkins' record-setting pace for 1998.
Alan ended with
243. The overall Big Year total in '98 was 280 species. So far the BY2K total
is 223, five ahead of the '98 cumulative pace.
Here are some of the highlights so far, with thanks to Mark Eaton, a
retired vet of the '98 Big Year, acting as this year's scribe.
Jan. 2 Reigning BY champ, Alan Hopkins, does mini-Big Day, set record for
the new millenium with 103 species for himself and Calvin Lu (another '98
retiree). They bag Loggerhead Shrike and Harrier at Candlestick, difficult city
birds most years.
Jan. 3, Saraceni issues his first of many daily reports on the birds of
Davidson: includes House Wren and Lincoln Sparrow, must-get birds for all BY
counters. Brian Fitch reports exotic KIngbird at south end of Lake Merced.
McKereghan gets year's first Marbled Murrelet off the Cliff House.
Jan. 5, Ferrick re-finds exotic Kingbird at Merced, setting off the first
lengthy email debate over a bird's ID. Cassin's? Couch's? It turns out to be a
Tropical Kingbird who hangs around for weeks, finally being ticked by every BY
birder and dozens of others.
Murphy bags a Marbled Murrelet off the Cliff House. Everybody has the
Eurasian Wigeon wintering at Stow Lake.
A debate rages over supposed Glaucous Gull at south end of Merced. Biggest
email debate of the year so far. It is finally presumed that there were a
series of legit Glaucous Gull sightings of one or possibly two individuals in
the dense flock of Western, California, Mew and Glaucous-winged that are
normally on Merced during stormy times.
During January Merced also yields Swamp Sparrow, Nuttall's Woodpecker,
Cinnamon Teal, Tennessee Warbler--all difficult S.F. birds.
This is also the first full year for the newly recreated Crissy Lagoon.
Regular reports on birds there come from Josiah Clark: Red-necked Grebe, Merlin,
Peregrine, large flock of Greater Scaup (numbering of 340 at one point), Snowy
Egret. In spring the list included Western Kingbird, a regular city transient
that can be hard to find.
Mid-Jnauary a Loggerhead Shrike set up a hunting territory at east end of
Buffalo Paddock in Golden Gate Park. At the end of the month there was a report
of a Northern Goshawk in San Francisco, but the bird could not be re-found.
Also, several birders found the Baltimore Oriole wintering in the Arboretum.
Withgott spots a Harlequin Duck off the Cliff House. Good find.
February was lively though only 15 new species were added by the whole
group.
On Feb 10 Saraceni sees 400 Band-tailed Pigeons pass over Davidson. The
next day, Fitch wrote: "I'll see your 400 and raise you 1075." That's how many
BTs he counts in two hours atop Twin Peaks on February 11.
Mid-month Dan Murphy reports Yellow-billed Magpies seen by his wife in Daly
City, four miles south. Prescient.
On Feb. 14, Hopkins and McKereghan spot Peterodroma off Cliff House,
species undetermined. None of the petrels are less than rare for San Francisco
shoreline. Same day Kevin has two Northern Fulmars, another difficult onshore
bird. Davies has two Marbled Murrelets overhead at night.
Feb. 18 Hugh Cotter, not in the contest, reports a Murrelet swarm off Cliff
House. In addition to Marbled, one possible Anicent and a Cassin's Auklet.
Feb. 21, Murphy and Fuller get small flock of early Vaux's Swifts over
south end of Merced
Feb. 23, Davies gets an Oldsquaw off Land's End. In early March an
Oldsquaw joins the Scaup off Crissy Field for several days. Everybody scores.
Feb. 29, Barn Owl spotted at Merced near Golf Club House
McKereghan ends February at 157, way ahead.
March 6, Andrew Rush creates a rush with report of Black-and-white Warbler
in willows at east end of Mountain Lake. Bird is hard to find but is seen
repeatedly over the next two weeks.
March 11, Fuller finds American Pipits at Funston.
Mid-March a few sightings of Yellow-billed Magpies occur around Sutro
Heights. Murphy warns Fuller, who lives in that area, "You don't get to see any
of the great birds that show up on your doorstep park. Sorry, that's just how
it is..." At least Murphy missed 'em, too. Davies sees the Magpies on March 20
at the Veterans Hospital. First sightings in S.F. since 1991-2.
March 26, Alan Hopkins' Bird Blitz finds Wrentit in McLaren Park. The
Blitz totals 121 species in S.F.
April proves to be the busy month that was expected. Many north-bound
migrants: Western Kingbird, smaller flycatchers, Gnatcatcher, vireos, western
and vagrant warblers, a Ross's Goose spends several days in Golden Gate Park.
McKereghan, Withgott, Ferrick and Saraceni do a Big Day, getting S. F.
record of 134 species. Overall another sixteen species added to the Big Year
count.
The first week of May brings unusual storms, catching many northbound birds
beneath heavy fogs and hard rains. Big spring fallouts noticed along western
edge of San Francisco. Dense flocks of Orange-crowned and Wilson's Warblers,
knots of Tanagers, Warbling Vireos, Grosbeaks, flycatchers of varous kinds. A
Dusky Flycatcher lands on Davidson. Chat show up in Glen Canyon and Golden Gate
Park. A Red-eyed Vireo is found near Middle Lake. One non-contesant hears the
bird box report, zips out to North Lake and adds eight city lifers in ninety
minutes thanks to the fallout. Sacraceni gets his swift trifecta on Davidson,
Willow and Hammond's Flyctachers show up, a Northern Parula sings for several
days west of West Wash, White Pelicans check out Crissy Field, Magnolia Warbler
is found by Davies near Vet's Hospital, two Hooded Warblers found in city.
Seventeen more species added to the list, most the new ones since January.
McKereghan is now at 200!
June brings an Ash-throated Flycatcher through town and only three new
species. ZZZZZ.
July brought several post-breeding migrants. Elegant Terns are back in
numbers, Sanderlings arrive wearing brown. Murphy had his first Tattler of the
season on Seal Rocks. Wish me luck in September, I'm 19 species behind
McKereghan, but at least I'm way ahead of where I was in '98. We are all
looking forward to a big and busy fall: send those raptors, Waterthrush,
Pectoral Sandpipers, Common Terns, vagrant warblers and wayward migrants this
way, please.
And some jinxes need to be broken. Murphy has no Say's Phoebe in eighteen
months of Big Year birding: Fuller is O for 2 on Townsend's Solitaire.
To follow the action, here's Eaton's webpage for the San Francisco BY2K.
http://home.pacbell.net/mweaton/Birding/B2K/B2KResults.html


Presidio birds

Harry Fuller <harry_fuller@...>
 

This afternoon I stopped by Tennessee Hollow in prep for my GGAS field trip in
Presidio this weekend.
Mockers, family of four
HOOR, party of two
Les Gold. >4
Sc Jay
RT Hawk
PYNU, HOFI, AMRO inc. many juvies
VG and Barn Sw
OS FLy calling
two calling Casp Terns flew over
CORA
ALHU
------
Crissy Lagoon:
gulls only, but first Ring-bill of the season, an adult

Coast Guard pier: DC COrm, WEGU, Pelicans flying past, one PIGU flew in and
landed just east of pier, one female Gr Scaup near fishing pier west of Coast
Guard


Re: Presidio birds

Alan Hopkins <ash@...>
 

Monday there was a Semipalmated Plover at Crissy Field,and the Killdeer
chick is still with us. Last week there was at least one Western
Sandpiper and the Sort-billed Dowitcher was around for a few days.

Alan

Harry Fuller wrote:


This afternoon I stopped by Tennessee Hollow in prep for my GGAS field trip in
Presidio this weekend.
Mockers, family of four
HOOR, party of two
Les Gold. >4
Sc Jay
RT Hawk
PYNU, HOFI, AMRO inc. many juvies
VG and Barn Sw
OS FLy calling
two calling Casp Terns flew over
CORA
ALHU
------
Crissy Lagoon:
gulls only, but first Ring-bill of the season, an adult

Coast Guard pier: DC COrm, WEGU, Pelicans flying past, one PIGU flew in and
landed just east of pier, one female Gr Scaup near fishing pier west of Coast
Guard

------------------------------------------------------------------------
BTW: Did you buy that new car yet?
If not, check this site out.
They're called CarsDirect.com and it's a pretty sweet way to buy a car.
http://click.egroups.com/1/6847/7/_/_/_/963936127/
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Re: Presidio birds

Htcotter@...
 

Harry et al,
LAst night at Crissy there were 3 Semi P Plover , at least 6 Kildeer, GW
Egret, and a Summer Plumaged Willet. ALso there was a Caspian Tern. Offshore
there has been a Common Loon and a Pac Loon, a lingering Surf Scoter and
Western Grebe,
Hugh


Wandering Hooded Oriole in Cole Valley

Paul Saraceni <Paul.Saraceni@...>
 

This morning I observed a juv. Hooded Oriole in the cypress and eucalyptus outside of our kitchen window on 17th St. (also perched briefly on our neighbor's TV antenna).  This is my first observation of the species in this part of the City, though I observed a male a few miles south of here at Mt. Davidson on 6/6.
 
Paul Saraceni
 


JOsiah...way to go

Harry Fuller <harry_fuller@...>
 

Josiah Clark's article on Crissy, "Build It and They Will Come" on front page of
the new "Winging IT"...alongside an article on Elkhorn Slough...makes Nor Cal
sound like a birder's hot spot.

Good article, Josiah...can it be posted on local websites without infringement?


Help! They're turning on the lights.

Dan Murphy <murphsf@...>
 

Hi,

Is anybody out there familiar with impacts of night lighting on birds,
plants or other organisms? There is a plan to renovate Harding Golf
Course in San Francisco. It is the golf course at Lake Merced. They
want to install night lighting for a new driving range which would
remain open until 11 p.m. Now common sense tells me this isn't going to
be good for birds, especially a place like LM which is home to a pretty
big population of all sorts of birds throughout the year. That's not
good enough for the comments I'm writing on the negative declaration the
developers are trying to push through. If you know anything about the
issue of night lighting or can cite any references I can get to easily I
sure would appreciate it.

Thanks, Dan


Re: Digest Number 57

Richard Beban <beban@...>
 

Dan: Try http://nmnhwww.si.edu/BIRDNET/OC/OCinfo/OCBv1n8.html, which
is more about tower lighting, but talks about bird mortality,
particularly in fog, when birds fly toward lights.

There's also http://www.fws.gov/~r9mbmo/issues/towers/beason.html, which
is also more about tower lighting, and is inconclusive, but contains
anecdotal evidence. It says:

...avian mortality at communication towers occurs when the birds
hit a tower or its guy wires. The rate of collision increases as birds
are attracted to the tower or become disoriented near
the tower and fly in circles around it, getting repeated chances at
hitting the guy wires. Two aspects of the tower that
might potentially affect its attractiveness are its illumination and the
FR signal that is transmitted by the antenna itself.
Light can have behavioral effects on the birds through two sensory
systems: the visual system and the magnetic
perception system - the magnetic compass. Color perception in birds is
much more complex than it is in humans. Birds
have 4-6 different types of color receptors, or cones, where as humans
have only 3. The avian photoreceptor itself is
more complex than in humans and other mammals. In addition to the visual
pigments, birds also have an oil droplet in
their inner eye segment that acts as a filter determining which light
reaches the photo pigments themselves. Each
photoreceptor has one oil droplet and one photo pigment or visual
pigment. So far, of all the avian species that have
been examined, all of them have a very narrow, very sensitive channel in
the red spectrum. This is of interest because
most of the illumination that is put on towers is in the red region.
This red cone has a peak sensitivity of about 600 nm,
which is what we call a reddish orange. By comparison, the human red
cone has a peak sensitivity of about 560 nm.
Depending upon the species of the bird, they either have an ultraviolet
sensitive cone, or a violet sensitive cone that is
totally missing in humans and most mammals. In fact, humans have oil
droplets in the lens that filter out the ultraviolet.
So birds can see ultraviolet and apparently have specialized receptors
for detecting it. It varies from species to species,
but there are 2 or 3 additional receptors that might be analogous to
what we call blue, the green and the yellow
wavelengths. In the Bobolink, one of the species I work with, these
peaks are at 460, 535 and 570 nm. Humans, for
comparison, in addition to the red cones have the blue and green cones
that are at 430 and 530 nm.

Of the 10,000 species or so of birds, depending on whose taxonomy you
want to deal with, we know the photo
pigments or the visual pigments and associated oil droplets for exactly
11. Only two of these are nocturnal migrants in
the Western Hemisphere: the Bobolink, again the species I work with, and
the Mallard. Another is considered to be a
diurnal migrant: the European Starling. Partial information is available
for a few other species, but for very, very few,
and most of this is simply limited to oil droplets information.

We don't know the spectral sensitivities of the visual pigments with
which they are associated. Consequently, we know
very little about what colors birds can actually detect and how well
they can differentiate between colors. The visual
pigment of the rod for comparison is very similar to the human rod
pigment with a peak of around 500 to 510 nm, in
the green range. Birds have very large rods, at least the species that I
have looked at so far, which means that they have
very good night vision � they have very good sensitivity to moving
around at night. The rods lack the oil droplets; they
have only the visual pigments, which makes sense if you want to have
something that is very sensitive to light.
Illumination at specific wavelengths of light might affect a taxis-like
response, whereby the bird is attracted to the light
or the communication tower. There are anecdotal reports that the
attraction of birds to lights is strongest in adverse
weather especially in fog, as Todd pointed out previously. The
attraction of birds to these lights might simply be an
escape response, whereby the bird flies towards the brightest part of
the night sky, which under natural conditions would
represent the moon. Flying towards the moon would simply get the bird
above any fog or low-lying clouds and out of
any potential problems.

Two aspects of tower lighting that can attract birds are its color
(white lights, ultraviolet, or specific wavelengths) and
the duration of light (strobes, flashing lights, or steady lights) as
pointed out previously. Both these aspects remain
unresearched. Unfortunately, there have been no controlled experiments
as to which colors birds find most or least
attractive. Anecdotal reports, again as Al has pointed out earlier, are
that white lights seem less attractive that red lights,
and strobes might even be less attractive, but we really don't know.

A second avenue of the influence of light is disorientation that is
caused by the disruption of the magnetic compass.
Long wavelengths of light in the red and orange part of the spectrum
have been shown to produce disorientation, or a
change in the direction of orientation, in the 5 species of migratory
birds that have been tested. This long wavelength
illumination interferes with the magnetic compass of the species, but it
isn't known what the birds might do if other
sources of information, such as stars, were available at the same time.
The mechanism by which the wavelengths of
light influence magnetic orientation is not known either. There are a
couple models put out, but no one has been able to
validate or invalidate any of them. All experiments that have been
tested with migratory birds have been done with very
narrow band filters or LEDs and researchers have only looked at the
particular wavelengths that were of interest. These
might resemble the conditions that a bird would encounter during fog or
inclement weather when it was flying very near
to a communication tower that was illuminated by say, red lights. Under
normal conditions, in addition to this red light
from the tower, the birds would also have starlight and perhaps even
moonlight. Whether this additional illumination
would simply cancel out or negate the effects of the red illumination on
the magnetic compass isn't known. No one has
looked at it. Disruption of the bird�s navigation system and the
magnetic navigation system might occur with either red
lights or the RF signal if it were to interfere with the bird�s ability
to detect the magnetic field. If this resulting
disorientation causes the birds to circle, to be unable to establish its
directional cues, it would increase the probability
of striking either the tower or the guy wires.

From: Dan Murphy <murphsf@att.net>
Subject: Help! They're turning on the lights.

Hi,

Is anybody out there familiar with impacts of night lighting on birds,
plants or other organisms?


[Fwd: Presidio field trip]

Mark W. Eaton <mweaton@...>
 

fyi...

Mark
--
Mark Eaton
mailto:mweaton@pacbell.net
SFBirds Web Page
http://home.pacbell.net/mweaton
Golden Gate Audubon Web Page (note new URL)
http://www.goldengateaudubon.org

"Under no circumstances was I to contact the penguin scientist."
Jane Bledsoe


Harry's birds +

Dan Murphy <murphsf@...>
 

Hi,

It sounds like Harry had a great field trip yesterday. Details follow.
At Fort Funston today I had a Peregrine Falcon flying over the still
active Bank Swallow colony. There are still over a dozen active burrows
out there. At the south end of LM there are only 8 remaining Cliff
Swallow nests with at least 3 still active. I finally saw the Western
Grebe with a single immature. It seemed pretty wierd how long that
young bird could stay under water.

Best, Dan

Here's Harry's report:


Dan: please forward, they changed my office email server and I am now
off the
sfbirds email group...will try to get registered tomorrow.

Three unexpected birds, nothing rare:
1) Calling Western Wood-peewee in willows east of Tennessee Hollow...he
aggresively chased another bird, acting very territorial
possibly breeding there?

2) Breeding plumage male Bullock's Oriole at Kobbe/Upton? Early
dispersal ?
Local breeder this year?

3) Harrier chasing juvenile Red-tailed hawk high above Cattery Caulfield
Rd.
Probable juvenile Harrier on the roam.

------------

Otherwise: one Semip. Plover and one Willet at Crissy Lagoon. Also
there: one
Blue Heron, two Great Egret, one juvie BC NIght-heron flyover, fishing
Kindfisher (female)...all three summer terns: Forst, Casp, Elegant. Two
Pig
Guil offshore.

Inspiration Pt: calling OS Flyc

Fort Point: one Wes Grebe

Tennessee Hollow: 2 femaile CAQU, Hooded Oriole family, Pine Siskins,
AMGO
flocks, calling OS Flyc, calling juvie RT Hawk, adult RT Hawk, one juv.

Cowbird,
VG Swallow, LEGO, male Wil Warb, singing Win Wren

Kobbe/Upton: one female CAQU, VG Swallow, Wil Warb pair, juv. BLPH,
Olive-sided
Flycatcher: family of four sitting side-by-side on a single bare limb
(missed
photo of the day award)

Restoration chapparal north of public health hospital: male Ho Oriole,
VG
Swallows, AMGO, male and female CAQU, VG Swal

Else all the usual birds in the expected places: juvenile Robins abound
as do do
Ho Finch, WC Spar, Junco and PYNUs
--------
Did I mention we did NOT see any YB Magpies...I know, that would be
against the
"rules" as propounded by Murhpy.


[Fwd: [SBB] Common Tern at Charleston Slough]

Mark W. Eaton <mweaton@...>
 

COMMON TERNS are starting to show up in the South Bay; time to start looking
for them at Coast Guard Pier and elsewhere.

Mark
--
Mark Eaton
mailto:mweaton@pacbell.net
SFBirds Web Page
http://home.pacbell.net/mweaton
Golden Gate Audubon Web Page (note new URL)
http://www.goldengateaudubon.org

"Under no circumstances was I to contact the penguin scientist."
Jane Bledsoe


weekend birds

David Armstrong
 

Our walk through the Presidio yesterday was much less
productive than Harry's field trip today apparently
was -- did have the American Goldfinch and one male
quail in the area behind the old hospital, and a lot
of PYNU, both goldfinches and house finches on the
Ecology Trail. Crissy was quiet-- only 1 Caspian tern
to be found.
Today we fared better, starting at the Cliff House
where we saw 4 black oystercatchers and numerous
Heerman's Gulls. We checked out the Bank Swallow
colony but did not see any activity -- I thought they
had cleared out until reading Dan's mail just now.
Lake Merced was the best stop of the day: 2 beautiful
male ruddy ducks, an osprey, a calling flyover
sharp-shinned hawk, Northern rough-winged swallows,
Caspian Tern and a Virginia Rail all on the north side
of the lake.
David Armstrong

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Lands End, Monday 6pm

Harry Fuller <Harry_Fuller@...>
 

Swarm of feeding birds around a fish run just offshore from the Lands End
parapet north of Sutro Baths...usual nearshore birds: gulls, cormorants,
pelicans, Ele and Cas Terns...plus a couple dozen Co Murre, inc. at least two
juvies that I really wanted to morph into Marbled Murrelets (would have been a
city bird) but they were just following around their parent (s)... closest I
have ever seen Murres to shore, <40 yards.

Great Egret feeding in Sutro Bath

Male Hooded Oriole still calling in Sutro Heights


Birds at Hunters Point

Harry Fuller <Harry_Fuller@...>
 

See below...SF Tomorrow is a preservation and conservation group trying to stir
interest in Htrs. Point...they'd like a birding trip...anybody interested in
seeing if there are Burrowing Owls, Shrike, WT Swift and Stilts at Hunters
Point? This is your chance...one volunteer needed. Please let me know but
communicate directly with Ms Miller. You;d likely get a free lunch out of it.
---------------------- Forwarded by Harry Fuller on 07/26/2000 03:13 PM
---------------------------

Original Message from Mary Anne Miller <ma-miller@email.msn.com> on
07/26/2000 02:47:36 PM

To: Harry Fuller <Harry_Fuller@zd.com>
cc:
Subject: SFT Hunters Point picnic







Hello Harry,

I spoke with you Sunday at the Presidio about the San Francisco Tomorrow
August 26th picnic and the desirability of having a guided birding walk.
Morning is always the best time, I know, but the invitation reads
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with barbecue lunch between 12 noon and 2 p.m. Ten
o'clock is not very early for a true
birder, but perhaps if it is a foggy morning the birds won't awaken until 10
or 10:30! What would you think about a 10:30 start, finishing at noon?

I remember that you said you would be away that weekend but back on Sunday,
so I'm hoping you'll be able
to make it yourself. However, if you cannot be there, would you ask around
to see if anyone else would be interested in prospecting for birds at
Hunters Point?

Of course, if you are not a member of San Francisco Tomorrow, your
membership will be encouraged by a year's free membership. The organization
has gotten very involved in local politics in the past few years, with not
enough emphasis on proactive conservation of the environment, in my opinion.
Birds are a basic indicator, and I don't think most of our Board can
identify (more than) one! Our next newsletter is September and we could
write-up our August 26th day list and make it part of an article.

Let me know if you're still interested.

Mary Anne Miller

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