Date   

Re: Biking Field trip yesterday GGP and changes afoot

Ken Moy
 

Spent several hours on Sunday morning at the Botanical Garden @ GGP and can echo Josiah's observations re Townsend's and Yellow-rumped warblers. Will keep an eye out for solitary towhees.

On a more hopeful note, 2 'traditions' continued at the garden yesterday between 10 and 11 am: male varied thrush returned to skulk in the leaf litter next to the gray/brown bench upslope and north of the west end of Moon Viewing Terrace (looked but did not  find female of the species) and a flock of 3-5 Townsend's Warblers, x ruby-crowned kinglets and and at least 3 (2 adult males) golden-crowned kinglets provided 15 minutes of autumnal kaleidoscopic viewing as they foraged in the copper beech and magnolia on the west side of the lawn by Zellerbach Terrace. 

Be safe and good birding to all.

On Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 8:13 AM Josiah Clark <josiah.clark621@...> wrote:
Yesterday took a small group of people from shaping San Francisco on a bike ride through GGP. 
Highlights included 13 hooded mergansers between Lilly pond and stow lake, 12 northern shovelers at Stowe lake. 
There was a lone Lincoln’s sparrow among many crowned sparrows being fed at the handball courts. One white-fronted and at least 12 cackling geese included one minima  at the polo fields along with over 300 introduced  Canada geese. There were at least five meadowlarks at the bison paddock.
    Out by the ocean we found a lone black  oystercatcher and just one black turnstone. I noticed their scarcity last year and in my experience this is very unusual, I used to find several of both species on every visit with more scattered along lands end. 
Over the ocean we could not find a single loon of any kind, and I’ve not seen the large numbers of wintering red-throated loons I am used to. There were however a hundred or more Heerman’s Gulls on the water, more than I ever remember seeing before this time of year.

Many of the old-school birders around have been saying what I have been feeling, that the birds are acting very strangely this year.
    The insectivores are feeding very low down on the ground, or right along the edges of Rhodes making them very obvious. 
This is a sign of food stress that we usually see only in very cold rainy weather, not sunny weather.  We probably viewed 60 to 100 Townsend’s warbler’s by the end of the day, many of them providing good long looks. 
Yellow-rumped warblers were notably scarce, mostly just single birds. We ran into Alan Hopkins who pointed out there’s a lot of single, unpaired California Towhees around, leading us to think some have perished. 
With Unprecedented winter heat, low humidity/atmospheric dryness, warming oceans and no rain in the long range forecast its logical to think this could translate to big changes to our local ecology in the coming seasons. 
With so many changes in the human world taking our attention, it’s important to take special note of what’s happening in the natural world. 
Honestly not my favorite subject but I don’t really see anyone else talking about it. In the age of shifting baselines I hope these changes don’t go unnoticed. 
Good birding and keep looking up. 
    

Josiah Clark | Habitat Potential | Consulting Ecologist | 415.317.3978
License #1043929


Biking Field trip yesterday GGP and changes afoot

Josiah Clark
 

Yesterday took a small group of people from shaping San Francisco on a bike ride through GGP. 
Highlights included 13 hooded mergansers between Lilly pond and stow lake, 12 northern shovelers at Stowe lake. 
There was a lone Lincoln’s sparrow among many crowned sparrows being fed at the handball courts. One white-fronted and at least 12 cackling geese included one minima  at the polo fields along with over 300 introduced  Canada geese. There were at least five meadowlarks at the bison paddock.
    Out by the ocean we found a lone black  oystercatcher and just one black turnstone. I noticed their scarcity last year and in my experience this is very unusual, I used to find several of both species on every visit with more scattered along lands end. 
Over the ocean we could not find a single loon of any kind, and I’ve not seen the large numbers of wintering red-throated loons I am used to. There were however a hundred or more Heerman’s Gulls on the water, more than I ever remember seeing before this time of year.

Many of the old-school birders around have been saying what I have been feeling, that the birds are acting very strangely this year.
    The insectivores are feeding very low down on the ground, or right along the edges of Rhodes making them very obvious. 
This is a sign of food stress that we usually see only in very cold rainy weather, not sunny weather.  We probably viewed 60 to 100 Townsend’s warbler’s by the end of the day, many of them providing good long looks. 
Yellow-rumped warblers were notably scarce, mostly just single birds. We ran into Alan Hopkins who pointed out there’s a lot of single, unpaired California Towhees around, leading us to think some have perished. 
With Unprecedented winter heat, low humidity/atmospheric dryness, warming oceans and no rain in the long range forecast its logical to think this could translate to big changes to our local ecology in the coming seasons. 
With so many changes in the human world taking our attention, it’s important to take special note of what’s happening in the natural world. 
Honestly not my favorite subject but I don’t really see anyone else talking about it. In the age of shifting baselines I hope these changes don’t go unnoticed. 
Good birding and keep looking up. 
    

Josiah Clark | Habitat Potential | Consulting Ecologist | 415.317.3978
License #1043929


Re: Gull ID

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

…. Sorry about all of the spelling issues 😊

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 

From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Alvaro Jaramillo
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2020 10:28 AM
To: spw49@...; SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: Re: [SFBirds] Gull ID

 

Sally

  The key to the young gulls is to know the adult versions. In particular, focus on the size and shapes. How fat they look, if the bills are think or heavy etc. This is a young Western Gull. Although you could go to plumage, for me it is the big bulkly look, a long neck, relatively small eyed look. But most importantly it is the big bulky bill that becomes thicker towards the tip, blob ended. That is key. The pale tip is an oddity, weird. Shapes and structures vary less than the plumage at times, and the best way to learn the shapes is to stare at many, many adults where you are more comfortable knowing what they are. From there, extend that to the youngsters.

Alvaro

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 

From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of spw49 via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2020 9:05 AM
To: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: [SFBirds] Gull ID

 

As a beginner birder, I'm confused about how to ID gulls. This one was at Palace of Fine Arts last week. It looks like a juvenile herring gull, but there is no mention or depiction of that white tip on the dark bill in any of the guides I have looked at. Can anybody help?
Thanks.
Sally Whitehead


Re: Gull ID

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Sally

  The key to the young gulls is to know the adult versions. In particular, focus on the size and shapes. How fat they look, if the bills are think or heavy etc. This is a young Western Gull. Although you could go to plumage, for me it is the big bulkly look, a long neck, relatively small eyed look. But most importantly it is the big bulky bill that becomes thicker towards the tip, blob ended. That is key. The pale tip is an oddity, weird. Shapes and structures vary less than the plumage at times, and the best way to learn the shapes is to stare at many, many adults where you are more comfortable knowing what they are. From there, extend that to the youngsters.

Alvaro

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 

From: SFBirds@groups.io <SFBirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of spw49 via groups.io
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2020 9:05 AM
To: SFBirds@groups.io
Subject: [SFBirds] Gull ID

 

As a beginner birder, I'm confused about how to ID gulls. This one was at Palace of Fine Arts last week. It looks like a juvenile herring gull, but there is no mention or depiction of that white tip on the dark bill in any of the guides I have looked at. Can anybody help?
Thanks.
Sally Whitehead


Gull ID

spw49@...
 

As a beginner birder, I'm confused about how to ID gulls. This one was at Palace of Fine Arts last week. It looks like a juvenile herring gull, but there is no mention or depiction of that white tip on the dark bill in any of the guides I have looked at. Can anybody help?
Thanks.
Sally Whitehead


Eurasian Wigeon at Pier 94

David Assmann
 

A nice male EURASIAN WIGEON was swimming with about 75 AMERICAN WIGEON at Pier 94 this morning.


Re: Y-b Sapsucker - No luck

Richard Bradus
 


I spent an hour and a half or so along the east side of Buena Vista Park from about 10am (Nov. 28), including on sapsucker watch for at least a half hour across from the Manor House/condo area, but no sapsucker appeared. There were a couple of Flickers and a Nuttall's, and lots of robins and hermit thrushes. Also a wren that gave a scolding call very much like a Bewick's but turned out to be a Pacific once I was able to get a good look, with a second Pacific Wren near the summit gleaning in brush piles.

I also did a very quick pass along the panhandle off Baker St., thinking that the sapsucker might be commuting between these wooded areas, but to no avail - people and dogs but very few birds.

Nice find Brian! Maybe someone else will have better luck.

Richard Bradus
San Francisco


On Friday, November 27, 2020, 1:04:42 PM PST, Brian Fitch <fogeggs@...> wrote:


Around 11:30 this morning I found an apparent adult male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker along Buena  Vista Ave East.  My wife and I were walking on the south side boardwalk in BV Park when I saw a woodpecker fly from the trees in front of BV Manor House up into a cypress cluster at the neighboring condo complex.  The bird was distant and in deep shade, but appeared to have a pure red throat bordered by thick black, and no red intruding onto the nape or face, which had bold black and white stripes.  The large white wing patch was clearly visible, and the back had white barring.

We then walked down to the street for closer views, but could not refind the bird.  We checked the well-used sapsucker tree in the park across from Park Hill, but it was empty.
Brian Fitch 


Re: Y-b Sapsucker - No luck

Brian Fitch
 

I tried for the sapsucker again this morning, also without success.

My city lifer Yellow-bellied was first found by Josiah in the Rhodie Dell back in 2005.  It took me three weeks to refind it, just a short distance across the street.

This one is likely wintering, so I’ll keep an eye out for it, especially as I want a better look at the head details in good light.
Brian Fitch

On Sat, Nov 28, 2020 at 1:02 PM Richard Bradus <grizzledjay@...> wrote:
I spent an hour and a half or so along the east side of Buena Vista Park from about 10am (Nov. 28), including on sapsucker watch for at least a half hour across from the Manor House/condo area, but no sapsucker appeared. There were a couple of Flickers and a Nuttall's, and lots of robins and hermit thrushes. Also a wren that gave a scolding call very much like a Bewick's but turned out to be a Pacific once I was able to get a good look, with a second Pacific Wren near the summit gleaning in brush piles.

I also did a very quick pass along the panhandle off Baker St., thinking that the sapsucker might be commuting between these wooded areas, but to no avail - people and dogs but very few birds.

Nice find Brian! Maybe someone else will have better luck.

Richard Bradus
San Francisco


On Friday, November 27, 2020, 1:04:42 PM PST, Brian Fitch <fogeggs@...> wrote:


Around 11:30 this morning I found an apparent adult male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker along Buena  Vista Ave East.  My wife and I were walking on the south side boardwalk in BV Park when I saw a woodpecker fly from the trees in front of BV Manor House up into a cypress cluster at the neighboring condo complex.  The bird was distant and in deep shade, but appeared to have a pure red throat bordered by thick black, and no red intruding onto the nape or face, which had bold black and white stripes.  The large white wing patch was clearly visible, and the back had white barring.

We then walked down to the street for closer views, but could not refind the bird.  We checked the well-used sapsucker tree in the park across from Park Hill, but it was empty.
Brian Fitch 


White-throated Sparrow at Elk Glen Lake

Nancy Palmer
 

Hi all,
I had a White-throated Sparrow in a sparrow flock at Elk Glen Lake this morning around 11am on the east side of the lake in the area between the lake and Middle Drive West. It was spotted again by Ken M. around 11:45 just south of where I originally found it. 
Last seen coordinates: 37°46'03.4"N 122°28'49.8"W

Photo:

Good Birding!

Nancy Palmer
San Francisco


Another Accipiter Dogfight at Alta Plaza

Richard Bradus
 

Opting to head north to the waterfront (and therefore missing the possible Y-b Sapsucker seen by Brian at Buena Vista to the south) I was nonetheless fortunate to witness a somewhat drawn-out aerial combat/display in and above Alta Plaza Park, similar to dueling Cooper's Hawks I've seen here at least once before in the past couple of years.

Starting at about 10am I heard a scream from a Raven and saw the flash of a Cooper's Hawk flying by with the raven in hot pursuit, which it broke off when the hawk sheltered deep in one of the clump of Monterey Pines on the west side. The raven protested for a bit before flying off. But that was just the prelude. A few minutes later I was startled to hear a quick protest cry as the first Cooper's was rousted from the tree by a second, followed by a back and forth with chases and retreats into the various trees. After I thought all had been resolved, yet another accipiter appeared, a bit smaller and possibly a Sharp-shinned, but this time both Cooper's took off in pursuit and the smaller hawk was quickly driven below the trees and off to the west so I was never able to confirm the ID. A couple more quick skirmishes resulted in one Coop flying off to the west, and the apparent victor later took a nice soar over the area before continuing off to the east. That left just a pair of crows to engage in their own aerial skirmishing before also retreating into the shelter of the pines.

I'm still struggling to figure out how to best capture aerial photos and action, so I was unable to focus or track quickly enough to obtain any photos of the Cooper's dogfight (drat!); just a couple of shots of one perched in the trees, but I may have gotten one photo of the crows in action. If so I'll eventually post it to eBird. And, wouldn't you know it, nothing much of interest down by the bay, though the joggers, bicyclists and dogs seemed to be having a splendid time enjoying another beautiful sunny day.

Hope everyone had a nice, safe Thanksgiving. We are so fortunate to live here and to experience nature's gifts. So, no matter where you may be, remember to keep looking up, and enjoy!

Richard Bradus
San Francisco


Y-b Sapsucker

Brian Fitch
 

Around 11:30 this morning I found an apparent adult male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker along Buena  Vista Ave East.  My wife and I were walking on the south side boardwalk in BV Park when I saw a woodpecker fly from the trees in front of BV Manor House up into a cypress cluster at the neighboring condo complex.  The bird was distant and in deep shade, but appeared to have a pure red throat bordered by thick black, and no red intruding onto the nape or face, which had bold black and white stripes.  The large white wing patch was clearly visible, and the back had white barring.

We then walked down to the street for closer views, but could not refind the bird.  We checked the well-used sapsucker tree in the park across from Park Hill, but it was empty.
Brian Fitch 


Re: Thanksgiving Highlights - Cassin's Vireo, Black-Throated Gray Warbler, Bullock's Oriole

Loretta
 

The Cassin's vireo made an appearance just was I was about to leave El Polin.
 
9:30 am in the first big tree on your right when you enter from the parking lot. 
 
No sign of the black-throated grey. Lots of lovely locals, though. 
 
Thanks for the report, David!
 
Happy Thanksgiving,
 
Loretta

 

On Thu, Nov 26, 2020 at 5:19 PM, David Assmann via groups.io
<david_assmann@...> wrote:
A CASSIN'S VIREO and a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER were Thanksgiving surprises at El Polin Spring today.  Both were in a tree immediately north of the spring. At Fort Mason, the BULLOCK'S ORIOLE has now been in the garden for four weeks.


Thanksgiving Highlights - Cassin's Vireo, Black-Throated Gray Warbler, Bullock's Oriole

David Assmann
 

A CASSIN'S VIREO and a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER were Thanksgiving surprises at El Polin Spring today.  Both were in a tree immediately north of the spring. At Fort Mason, the BULLOCK'S ORIOLE has now been in the garden for four weeks.


Re: Clay-colored Sparrow

Rajan Rao
 

Correction this is chipping sparrow, but due the bad photo I'll leave it at Spizella Sp.


On Wed, Nov 25, 2020 at 5:12 PM Rajan Rao <rajpie123@...> wrote:
Hi all, 
Clay-colored Sparrow found on the north slope of Alemany Farm by 8 year old Adi. 


Happy birding,
Rajan


Clay-colored Sparrow

Rajan Rao
 

Hi all, 
Clay-colored Sparrow found on the north slope of Alemany Farm by 8 year old Adi. 


Happy birding,
Rajan


Re: Rock sandpiper returns to Heron�s Head

Peter Pyle
 

That's funny Joe. Sounds like you have just christened her, even though we don't know if it's a him or not (and these days it doesn't matter anyway). Actually, I'll look at last year's alternate feathering to see if we can tell. P

At 11:13 AM 11/25/2020, Joe Morlan wrote:
Thanks. My voice recognition software thinks this local celebrity is named
"Roxanne Piper."

Short Video showing foraging behavior: https://youtu.be/pynF_iYpxos

Images:
https://macaulaylibrary.org/catalog?taxonCode=rocsan&view=Grid&subId=S76652425

On Sun, 1 Nov 2020 10:23:22 -0800, "Ben Dudek" <benja.dudek@...>
wrote:

Despite a large party at the end of the point,
a rock sandpiper is currently roosting on the north side of the trail near the end in a similar position to last season’s bird.

Good birding,
Teresa Ely and Ben Dudek
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA



Re: Rock sandpiper returns to Heron�s Head

Joe Morlan
 

Thanks. My voice recognition software thinks this local celebrity is named
"Roxanne Piper."

Short Video showing foraging behavior: https://youtu.be/pynF_iYpxos

Images:
https://macaulaylibrary.org/catalog?taxonCode=rocsan&view=Grid&subId=S76652425

On Sun, 1 Nov 2020 10:23:22 -0800, "Ben Dudek" <benja.dudek@...>
wrote:

Despite a large party at the end of the point, a rock sandpiper is currently roosting on the north side of the trail near the end in a similar position to last season’s bird.

Good birding,
Teresa Ely and Ben Dudek
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA


Tropical Kingbird Sutro Hghts Park

Peter Pyle
 

This morning in central area east of parapet, favoring large Norfolk/Cook Is pine. Similar to one that was at Cliff House a couple of weeks ago- hopefully will winter here


Continuing Glaucous Gull

Richard Bradus
 

Thankfully the Glaucous Gull continues it's daily routine (and much thanks to those who have posted its appearances over the past few days so that I was finally able to see it).

At Sutro Baths it flew in around 7:30ish to rest and bathe in the freshwater pond with the mixed gull flock, hanging around until about 7:45am when it flew off, going behind the first large offshore rock and disappearing to who knows where. Lots of confusing gulls (confusing for me anyway) with a number of hybrids. Also quite active with small birds, including sparrows, warblers, finches, kinglets, bushtits, territorial hummers and both male and female yellowthroats - nice! 

Richard Bradus
San Francisco


Battery Godfrey 11.21.20: Townsend's Solitaire; Swainson's Hawk etc.

H Cotter
 

Spent the morning with Eli Gross at Battery Godfrey with some nice results.
Winds were E/ NE and it was clear.
Highlights included:

Townsend's Solitaire - (1) that flew directly overhead and east
Swainson's Hawk - (1) light morph juv that came from the west and then crossed to Marin - Late
Tree Swallow- (11) going east.

In addition we had some good movement of Varied Thrush (278) and Band-tailed Pigeon - (Approx 2700 with biggest flock approx 800 or so birds ) mostly going south and Red Crossbill (4) flying west.

Most intriguing were two pale bluebirds flying east in the GG channel at a distance that suggested Mountain Bluebird. They were too far away to confirm.

Hugh