Date   

Olive-Sided Flycatchers

David Assmann
 

Had my third OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER in San Francisco in four days today at El Polin Springs.  Yesterday there was one behind McLaren Lodge and Saturday I had one at Fort Mason. On Sunday there was an ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER at Fort Mason. It's becoming difficult to bird at Fort Mason with the closures.  There's no longer any parking allowed at Fort Mason, and the garden is closed (and patrolled), as of last week.


Buena Vista Park (photos)

Michael Lombardo
 

Was walking home along the southeast side of Buena Vista Park today, around 1:30PM, when some Chickadees and Bushtits started noisily doing their thing. 

I wouldn't always stop to look closely at those species, but I'm glad I did: among them was this handsome fellow (my first Hermit Warbler):

FB8A0E15-1F8A-482F-8619-B4ECCE421F38_1_105_c.jpeg

90911CC2-3087-418E-9B4B-40EFB8346549_1_105_c.jpeg

Moments later this Cassin's Vireo got in on the action. Same tree:

ABB2FE2C-8C01-41F2-A0F8-D366F531C1F9_1_105_c.jpeg

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The Cassin's was also there, a little higher on the southeast side, near the boardwalk, this morning around 10AM. I hope/expect to see more of him.

Also happy to report that a Hooded Oriole seems to be taking up in the palms where Duboce Street meets Buena Vista East. He was CHAIP-ing madly this morning, and a bit this afternoon. On both occasions he flew away before I could snap a photo.





They're popping out

Richard Bradus
 

Well, I know quite a few of you are not too happy about sheltering, prohibited from traveling to promising areas, and the relative dearth of migrants in SF lately (and - dang - I missed Oscar's Golden Eagle as I was preparing lunch). But our year-round residents are quietly bringing a new generation into this world, and our new arrivals will soon be following suit.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been happy to see that at least two of our resident pairs of White-crowned Sparrows at Alta Plaza Park have fledged young - and the House Sparrows (yeah, whatever) and House Finches are nesting under eaves or in trees, along with Juncos and, hopefully, the Brewer's Blackbirds that seem to have declined drastically in number. The swallows will be starting soon, if not already.

Today I wandered around the Golden Gate Park Golf Course, an area I have circled around in the past but never had the chance to explore - it was a revelation (way better than the heavily visited Presidio Golf Course, also now open for walkers). Not only a good species diversity, but lots of breeding activity to observe. By far the best experience (even better than sighting a Rufous hummer breaking off from skirmishing Allen's) was an entire family (!) of Pacific Wrens. Both parents were working frantically to feed two recent fledglings, with mom wisely ducking into cover whenever possible and dad flying up every once in a while to perch and sing a bit. The youngsters, of course, didn't know when (or how) to be quiet, but the parents were doing their best to keep them happy. Other nesters or soon-to-be parents included Juncos, Robins, Pygmy Nuthatches, Finches, a pair of Red-tails, Tree Swallows and maybe Siskins and others.

Take a look - and listen - around your areas or stretch your legs (at the proper spacing) in our local parks. Note, and marvel at the breadth of breeding activity even in this densely populated city. The birds are carrying on (maybe even better now that human activity is curtailed), showing the resilience of nature and giving us all hope.

Richard Bradus
San Francisco


Golden Eagle

Oscar Moss
 

Beautiful Golden Eagle just passed directly over my house heading north toward Fillmore/Pac Heights

Oscar


Lazulis on Mt D

Brian Fitch
 

A number of birders were on Mt Davidson this morning, but while I was with only my wife, we watched four Lazuli Buntings feeding in grass and bushes on the eastern slope.  After they flew off the hill, a fifth and probable sixth bunting came in, one of which sang and showed for several other birders at the top of the ravine.  Only one of these birds was a female.

The migrant mix was again weird, with only multiple Warbling Vireos, two male Western Tanagers, and the buntings offering more than singletons.  We heard the "pip-pip-pip" of an unseen Olive-sided Flycatcher, a Hooded Oriole, and saw a male Black-headed Grosbeak.  The sky was empty of migrants, and what little wind there was shifted majorly several times (NW to SE and back to NW.)

Further species were found by the other birders, and I'll leave it to them to report.

Brian Fitch


East Wash & Other Oddities

Brian Fitch
 

After seeing my first 2 Hermit Warblers of the year with Ken at Strawberry Hill, I went over to the East Wash (by the Legion of Honor) to see if any migrants were showing there.  There wasn't much in the way of numbers of species, but a flock of at least 7 Hooded Orioles was feeding in a single small willow.  None were adult males, but the 3 I saw well before they flew were 1st year males.  There were also 2-3 Swainson's Thrush, earlier in the season than I'm used to.  They were calling a lot, singing a little, and one dive-bombed me after I had the impudence to "whit" back at it.  One distant Olive-sided Flycatcher was heard, and 3 Pine Siskins were in a different willow at close range.

Last Friday, 4 was the operative number with another odd and limited set of migrating species at Ft Scott.  4 Vaux's Swifts and 4 Western Kingbirds were heading north, while 4 Great-tailed Grackles flew south, a male and three females.  All three of the fours were in single flocks.

I wish we could have some of the amazing action occurring in other California migrant sites, but we're not (yet), and the recent ferocious ocean winds might have something to do with this limitation.
Brian Fitch


Re: Sanderlings moved on?

Paul Saraceni
 

I saw a carefully-estimated 900 in several flocks during an evening Ocean Beach walk on 4/23 and similar numbers during OB evening walks or seawatch earlier that week.

The recent heavy traffic of people and dogs, as folks seek “exercise” on the beach, certainly has caused the flocks to move around, especially the off-leash dogs that almost constantly run at and flush the flocks.

Paul Saraceni
SF


------ Original Message ------

From: Joanna Wu
To: SFBirds@groups.io
Sent: April 27, 2020 at 6:27 PM
Subject: [SFBirds] Sanderlings moved on?

It seems early but I haven't been seeing Sanderlings at Ocean Beach - has anyone else? Here are my latest reports:

April 9 - nearly 300 Sanderlings seen at Fort Funston Beach
April 12, 15, 18, 19, 24, 26: No Sanderlings seen at Fort Funston or Ocean Beach, though Whimbrel, Marbled Godwits, plus Willets early on. Lately it's mostly Whimbrel with the occasional godwit.
Last year the large flocks left in early-mid May, though I caught a few stragglers or maybe stopover migrants in the beginning of June. I wonder if the large flocks of Sanderlings have already left this year or if people have been seeing them?



Sanderlings moved on?

Joanna Wu
 

It seems early but I haven't been seeing Sanderlings at Ocean Beach - has anyone else? Here are my latest reports:

April 9 - nearly 300 Sanderlings seen at Fort Funston Beach
April 12, 15, 18, 19, 24, 26: No Sanderlings seen at Fort Funston or Ocean Beach, though Whimbrel, Marbled Godwits, plus Willets early on. Lately it's mostly Whimbrel with the occasional godwit.

Last year the large flocks left in early-mid May, though I caught a few stragglers or maybe stopover migrants in the beginning of June. I wonder if the large flocks of Sanderlings have already left this year or if people have been seeing them?


Slate-Colored Dark Eyed Junco at Lafayette Park This Morning

Lori Lee
 

Hanging around top area and feeding on paths and compacted area. Frightened into trees by walkers. If the top circle is quiet it may come out again. Got pictures. 

https://ebird.org/checklist/S67910115

Lori Lee
SF, CA


April 25th SF Big Day Report

Josiah Clark
 


Short summary:

Saturday April 25th,  Jonah Benningfield, Josiah Clark and Auggie Kramer did a birding big day by bicycle starting at 530am at the Concrete Bridge at Lake Merced. We found 125 species covering over 60 miles while checking dozens of promising spots. Surprising to many but in keeping with this dynamic time of year, we missed most of the common wintering land birds including Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned and Fox Sparrows, Hermit Thrush and barely connected with just one lone Yellow-rumped Warbler all day. Plenty of other misses too, but needless to say the standing Big Day record of 149 species (set back in 2009 I believe?) will be all but impossible to match these days in my view. Here is the longer summary.

 

Long summary:

Lake Merced:

 Rolling onto the concrete span at twilight with bats and chirping tree swallows overhead, we quickly observed Green Heron and singing Common Yellowthroats as the Great-tailed Grackle colony started singing from the reeds.  The recently spotted Common Gallinule could not be found, nor did we hear either of the rails at the numerous spots we checked. Bank Swallows, Cliff Swallows and Red-winged Blackbird were also notably absent from this location where just a few years ago we used to expect them each spring. We were stoked though upon hearing the lake’s only Wrentit and rode to Ocean Beach.

 

Ocean Beach:

Birds from the beach included a roosting Snowy Plover, Northern Fulmer and all 3 Loon species over the water as the winds began to kick up, and a modest flight of murres and gulls commenced. We scoped the ocean hard for anything else of interest eventually finding just a couple northbound Surf Scoters and small groups but several small groups of Elegant Terns foraging as they flew.  Three Wandering Tattlers, 2 Black Turnstones and just one remaining Willet welcomed us at the Cliff House rocks. We never could find a Surfbird or Pelagic Cormorant all day, try and try as we did.

 

 Land’s End and Golden Gate Park:

With a rather paltry land bird list we opted to ride the Land’s End trail, picking up the singing Orange-crowned Warbler and Pacific Wrens on territory, Auggie heard Red-breasted Nuthatch yanking but it wouldn’t call again. Through the closed golf course and across to Golden Gate park we pedaled, finding the strangely non-migratory male Hooded Merganser loafing by the Ring-necked Ducks, but the shovelers, goldeneye and buffleheads had moved on over a week ago. A group of silent red crossbills and a Pacific-slope Flycatcher were had on the fly as we dashed out of the park.

 

McLaren Park:

The big ride to the east side was next, back to Lake Merced and eventually McLaren Park where we finally had some real luck. First with a singing House Wren then migrant Olive-sided Flycatcher,  Warbling Vireo, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak and our first Townsend’s Warbler. The real pull down of the day was had by Jonah, a light morph Swainson’s Hawk flying low over the park’s edge. With eyes to the sky he spotted the first of many White-throated Swifts and darting Sharp-shinned hawk. Just then another group of crossbills came barreling through just above us.

 

Candlestick:

It was getting on 2pm and we finally arrived at our furthest destination, the SF county line along the Bayshore at Tunnel road. It was hot, humid and felt like the Bayshore in summertime; not much happening. We kept riding and our first new bird was a Western Kingbird at the tip of Candlestick point, followed by Greater Scaup. And after lots of squinting, debating and eventually Digi-scoping, we all agreed. There were indeed some Lesser Scaup among the hundreds of remaining scaup. We kept riding, and scoping and stopping. And finally, a new bird for the day, 3 female Bufflehead! Ok. With few shorebirds to show for all our meticulous scanning and shore-hugging efforts we made a quick dash into a traditional field for Savannah Sparrow by Double Rock and found  2 of them.

 

India Basin, Heron’s Head, Pier 94:

The tide was high and we were moving on. Up and over the very steep hill with its housing projects.  I’ll just say some residents were not particularly friendly and we got the heck out of there. At India Basin a lonely, haggard looking Red-breasted Merganser was the add. A willow gland held 5-6 handsome looking Western Kingbirds, which made me wonder when they will first breed in the city.  At Heron’s Head Jonah sleuthed out the Rock Sandpiper which was now in breeding plumage, confiding and perplexing as it ever was. Over at Pier 94 we had our first Semipalmated plovers and a worn first year Herring Gull in the gull flock as pungent aromas of landfill blew in the breeze.  We never did find a Dunlin, dowitcher, Black-bellied Plover, yellowlegs or phalarope.

 

Financial District, Lafayette Park and Ft Mason:

Onwards to the Salesforce building where my teammates had found a white-throated sparrow, which made an appearance as the local Peregrine Falcons flew overhead. Next, a series of thigh busting hill climbs from downtown to Lafayette Park. We climbed a few extra hills even as we took a bad route. Besides that, seeing the city’s only breeding Acorn Woodpeckers at the top of the grind was really very easy.  No love at Ft. Mason. In fact, right now the garden is members only and it looks like they have their own border patrol force to keep visitors out.

 

Crissy Field:

Crissy Field had a couple last birds for us. The 8 or so lingering Mew Gulls “should” be long gone by now when compared to other years. The extralimital Laughing Gull that had been there, (but really should not be expected there), was not there. Missed it by an hour or so. A lone Wilson’s Snipe was the last species for the day, a rewarding find after some special searching. We checked the Battery and a few other spots making our final tally in failing light around 8:30 PM.

 

Closing Thoughts:

     The Big Day experience over the years has shaped much of my understanding about spring migration in the Bay Area. It is about far more than a final tally. This event really is a spring accounting exercise for every one of our local expected species . Finding the ideal peak diversity window is its own challenge, as the presence of many species starts to fluxuate day by day.

Late April has long been considered the best time for a spring big day, but it seems to me the peak diversity window in spring has gotten earlier over the years. The bulk of the wintering birds seem to be leaving earlier, so the peak diversity window is likely in mid-April when the first waves of north bound migrants arrive but wintering birds are still present.

 

Over the years the patterns of many species seem to generally have stayed the same. With other species however it becomes obvious that the pattern has changed. Elegants Terns and Great-tailed Grackles never used to be expected, and are now regular. On the other hand species including California Quail, Western Screech Owl, Bank Swallow and Cliff Swallow used to be expected but are now absent or rare.

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


Re: Hermit Warbler @ Strawberry Hil

Ken Moy
 

Refound with Brian Fitch in pines along the South side of the reservoir. Turns out there are 2, both males in sharp plumage.

Good birding,

Ken Moy

On Mon, Apr 27, 2020, 7:42 AM Ken Moy via groups.io <ken.moy62=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Earlier had Western Wood Peewee in pine SE of top of falls and Warbling vireo at top of falls.

On Mon, Apr 27, 2020, 7:34 AM Ken Moy via groups.io <ken.moy62=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
In pines at the summit overlooking picnic table and nearby live oak


Re: Hermit Warbler @ Strawberry Hil

Ken Moy
 

Earlier had Western Wood Peewee in pine SE of top of falls and Warbling vireo at top of falls.


On Mon, Apr 27, 2020, 7:34 AM Ken Moy via groups.io <ken.moy62=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
In pines at the summit overlooking picnic table and nearby live oak


Hermit Warbler @ Strawberry Hil

Ken Moy
 

In pines at the summit overlooking picnic table and nearby live oak


Laughing Gull Crissy Field

David Nelson
 

The Laughing Gull dropped in at 11:16 AM. to the shore south of the east island, then flew to the east island, where it is resting.

Good Birding,

David W. Nelson


Partial leucistic song sparrow at north lake

Dario Taraborelli
 

Ella found this baffling bird with bright white wings in the bushes across the street to the east of North Lake. It turned out to be an unusual, partially leucistic (presumably?) song sparrow.


Re: Swainson’s and Broadwinged Hawks (retraction of Swainson’s Hawk)

Oscar Moss
 

Hey all,

I jumped the gun calling the Swainson’s Hawk. Examining my photos of both rare hawks, they both look like BROAD-WINGEDs. Sorry for the excitement about that.

Oscar

On Apr 25, 2020, at 2:04 PM, Oscar Moss via groups.io <oscartmoss=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:

Hi All,

With the light winds and sunny, warm air I decided to look for hawks from my house. Just had both swainson’s and broadwinnged hawks flying very high north in a large raptor kettle. Pics of both will be put on eBird later. Also Rough-winged and Violet-green swallows, over 30 turkey vultures and lots of red tails incl. an interesting dark morph. More later. Keep eyes upward

Oscar


Swainson’s and Broadwinged Hawks

Oscar Moss
 

Hi All,

With the light winds and sunny, warm air I decided to look for hawks from my house. Just had both swainson’s and broadwinnged hawks flying very high north in a large raptor kettle. Pics of both will be put on eBird later. Also Rough-winged and Violet-green swallows, over 30 turkey vultures and lots of red tails incl. an interesting dark morph. More later. Keep eyes upward

Oscar


Rock Sandpiper continues

C Lou
 

25th. 100pm. Rock sandpiper continues at Heron's Head park. North side. About half way between 3 or 4 bushes and the end. Roosting on a rock on the north side of the rock. May overlook it.

Calvin Lou
SF



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


Re: Western Sandpiper with red flag band photographed on April 10

Ben Pearl
 

Hi again,

Thanks to those of you who responded thus far.  To clarify, Monica Iglecia did not take the picture, and does not know who took it.  She reposted it in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group, and that is how the Mexican researcher learned about it and eventually contacted us.

Thanks all!

  

On Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 11:44 AM Ben Pearl <bpearl@...> wrote:
Hello all,

We were recently contacted by Mexican researchers regarding a Western Sandpiper that they had banded with a red field-readable flag band.  They were alerted to a single photograph on Facebook (click to view the photo), which was reportedly taken somewhere in the San Francisco Bay estuary. 

They would like to know more about the location and obtain more photos, but unfortunately they don't know who took the picture.  If anyone knows more about this, please let us know so that we can connect you with the researchers.  Thanks!

Good birding,
Ben  

--
Ben Pearl
Plover and Tern Program Director
San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
524 Valley Way
Milpitas CA 95035
Office: 408.946.6548 ext 206
Cell: 805.550.0881


--
Ben Pearl
Plover and Tern Program Director
San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
524 Valley Way
Milpitas CA 95035
Office: 408.946.6548 ext 206
Cell: 805.550.0881


Laughing full still present at 1:15

Siobhan Ruck
 

Thanks all for letting me know the trip would not be vain! A US lifer for me, though I have seen them in other countries.

Siobhan Ruck, SF