Fort Mason Local Interest - Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, Warbling Vireo, Warblers

David Assmann

For about 30 minutes this morning, the Battery was full of birds - 10 WILSON'S WARBLERS, an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, 2 HOODED ORIOLES, at least one YELLOW WARBLER, a WARBLING VIREO and a BLUE GRAY GNATCATCHER. All of these birds moved through quickly, and were gone by 8 am. I also spent some time at El Polin Springs, where a PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER was the only migrant I was able to find.  Final stop was Crissy Lagoon, where there were at least 1,500 ELEGANT TERNS.

Fort Mason Local Interest - Western Tanager, Western Kingbird, Olive Sided Flycatcher, etc.

David Assmann

The Battery in Fort Mason was quite active this morning with a WESTERN WOOD PEWEE, an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, a WESTERN TANAGER, two WILSON'S WARBLERS, a BROWN CREEPER and two WILSON'S WARBLERS. A WESTERN KINGBIRD flew over the Great Meadow. This afternoon I counted 24 SNOWY PLOVERS on Ocean Beach, and spotted a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE flying south along Ocean Beach at Noreiga.

Farallon Islands Pelagic Trips


Good Morning, Birders,

Shearwater Journeys recently completed our first pelagic trips of the fall season. 

On August 4 we departed from Sausalito, heading to the Farallon Islands. It was a beautiful ride out to the islands with a few sooty shearwaters and common murres along the way. The islands were fog-free and looked stunning in the light. The NORTHERN GANNET was sitting on Sugarloaf almost surrounded by TUFTED PUFFINS! What a sight! 

Loads of PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were calling back and forth, along with more common murres and a single RHINOCEROS AUKLET. All of the usual breeding seabirds were present. Heading off the edge of the Continental Shelf, we had good views of BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS, more Rhinoceros Auklets and a few Cassin’s Auklets. Several HUMPBACK WHALES were feeding along the shelf break. On the return to Sausalito, we had splendid views of the iconic San Francisco skyline and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge (from underneath it)!

We’re returning to the Farallon Islands this Sunday, August 11, departing from Sausalito at 7 a.m. Two spaces have opened up on this previously sold out trip. If you are interested, please email me directly: debi@....

You can view our complete fall schedule here:

“It’s all about food!”
Living the Salt Life,
Debi Shearwater

Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024

Celebrating 44 Years of Seabirding with Shearwater Journeys
Siberia’s Forgotten Coast & Spoon-billed Sandpiper- 23 June - 6 July 2020
Northeast Passage: Northern Sea Route 27 July -   22 August 2020

Fort Mason Local Interest - Western Wood Pewee, Bullock's Oriole, Western Tanager

David Assmann

More migrant movement this morning at Fort Mason, with at least one WESTERN WOOD PEWEE in the garden, a nice male WESTERN TANAGER in the Battery, two WILSON'S WARBLERS (also in the Battery) and a BULLOCK'S ORIOLE over by the restroom (where there were also at least five HOODED ORIOLES).

Farallon Islands today

Alvaro Jaramillo

Hello Birders

    Another magic day out on the water. This time a trip to the Farallon Islands with many great folks from the Golden Gate Audubon Society. Starting in Pillar Point Harbor we once again found the young male Harlequin Duck, as well as many Pigeon Guillemot. The Marbled Murrelet population continues to be good in Half Moon Bay, we saw 7 on our way out through the bay!! Best of all, in the morning while I was loading my car with coffee and treats for the pelagic, as I was in my driveway, I heard a Marbled Murrelet! I thought this may happen one day, and it did, a new Yard Bird…yippee.

   As is typically the case recently the first few miles were dense with Common Murre, and Sooty Shearwater as well as a smattering of Humpback Whales, and a couple of Harbor Porpoise. The travel out was a tad bumpy but not enough that it slowed our progress. Many more Sooty Shearwaters and murres as we headed out, as well as a couple of Rhinoceros Auklet. Things were much more fun around Southeast Farallon Island where the Northern Gannet was on Sugarloaf, although no Brown Booby today. Lots of Tufted Puffin as well as oodles of Common Murre, and good numbers of Pigeon Guillemot. Stand out was a single flock of approximately 250 Pigeon Guillemots, the largest single flock I have ever seen. A few Cassin’s Auklets and one Rhinoceros Auklet were around. Of course many pinnipeds including Northern Fur Seal, Harbor Seal, California Sea Lion and Steller’s Sea Lion.

    We went offshore from the island and eventually had some fantastic views of Black-footed Albatross, a few Pink-footed Shearwaters and a small pod of Risso’s Dolphin. Sunny skies and very pleasant ride back towards port. Perhaps the highlight for many was encountering a high concentration of Humpback whales on the way back with approximately 10 actively lunge feeding all around our boat, the whales accompanied by several hundred sea lions. The situation was stunning, there is lunge feeding, and then amazing five star, one of a kind, lunge feeding – the latter is what we experienced. Amazing! The anchovy they were feeding on were so thick, that you could see a large purple-blue stain in the water from the massive column of fish. It was awesome, to top it off a Tufted Puffin flew over (relatively close to shore here), and a nearly white and huge Mola mola showed itself to us. The white color was weird, it may actually have been leucistic but I have to research this.

  Great birds, great company and awesome show of marine mammals. We are heading out tomorrow again, surely it will be another fantastic day out. Weather is supposed to be calmer for the ride out. We shall see.

The next offshore trip is August 17 and there are still spots left.



Alvaro Jaramillo




Local Interest - Migration Stirrings - Sharp Shinned Hawk, Wandering Tattler, Yellow Warbler, etc.

David Assmann

Spent most of the morning at Fort Mason, with a few interesting sightings including a SHARP SHINNED HAWK in the Battery, a WANDERING TATTLER in Aquatic Park (first sighting since spring at Fort Mason), and a WESTERN TANAGER near the cul-de-sac in front of the Battery. There was a small movement of WILSON'S WARBLERS, with at least five moving through - my first sighting of a Wilson's since May. Spent the last hour of the morning at Lafayette Park, where I met up with William Grant and we found a YELLOW WARBLER in the southwest corner of the park.


Daniel Scali

Just now flying Northwest over Lincoln Park Golf Course

Pelagic report - Half Moon Bay.

Alvaro Jaramillo

Hello all,

    A very diverse and interesting trip today. Highlight was a rare Leatherback Sea Turtle which was photographed well, perhaps my best views ever! A highlight that turned to a negative was a Minke Whale that was easily seen, often seeming to spy at us with full head out of the water. We eventually realized the poor whale was entangled, we reported it to the NOAA Whale entanglement group.

   Birds included the first Scripps’s Murrelet in northern California this year. We saw Wilson’s Storm-Petrel as well, both of these were in San Francisco county. Many Ashy Storm-Petrels, including some very close to the boat. Good numbers of Black-footed Albatross, a juvenile Sabine’s Gull, Northern Fulmar as well as many Sooty and a few Pink-footed Shearwaters. Common Murres and Rhinoceros Auklets were out there as expected. Harlequin Duck was a surprise in the harbor, and Blue Whale was also a good find as few have been out there. Humpback Whales were common. Lots of surprises, and some good photo opportunities as well as good weather made for a fun day out.

   Our next trip with openings is on August 17.

  Good birding!



Alvaro Jaramillo




Local Interest - White Tailed Kite and Rocky Shorebirds

David Assmann

I checked the Golden Gate Yacht Harbor for returning shorebirds this morning and was rewarded with 7 BLACK TURNSTONES, 3 SURFBIRDS, 1 SANDERLING, 5 LEAST SANDPIPERS and 4 WILLETS. Spent an hour at Fort Scott where the highlight was a young WHITE-TAILED KITE, sitting on top of a tree in front of the ball fields.  A COOPER'S HAWK and a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK did not appreciate the kite, and took turns dive-bombing it until it left. At the other end of the field a GREAT BLUE HERON was starting to eat a gopher when a RED-TAILED HAWK decided it wanted to steal the rodent and flew right at the heron, which flew off squawking, but holding onto its lunch.

Migrant Uptick This Morning in Lafayette Park

Lori Lee

After a few months of consistency, there were several new visitors to the park. 
* male western tanager
* pacific-slope flycatcher (calling and also seen)
* immature nuttall's woodpecker raising a ruckus
* immature/female wilson's warbler with possibly a second very yellow warbler in the bushes

So something is brewing. 

Lori Lee

Re: Hermit Warblers @ Strawberry Hill

Chris Vance

Hermit Warbler seen at 1:30 on 8/1 north of the reservoir in pine trees. 
Thanks for the tip Ken.
Chris Vance


PAAU still present

Anne Kelley

The Parakeet Auklet gave good views today, late morning (11:15-11:45) at Hermit Rock.  
Anne Kelley

Dickcissel (not) update

Ken Moy

Returned to find CLou & CYap taking pictures of Hermit Warblers
 Decided Dickcissel was a female grosbeak that showed up.

Possible Dickcissel @ Strawberry Hill

Ken Moy

Spotted from the trail on N side of reservoir sitting on branch near trunk of pine sited on the N slope of the hill. Initial impression of an overstuffed White crown sparrow. Brown head & back with white bars on top of head and above and below eyes. Mostly whites underparts with rust brown splotched near throat. Two white wing bars on brown wings with one bar narrower and fainter. Spotted first @ 10 from trail and again from the steps leading to the concrete bridge.

BTW, hermit Warblers seemed to be HY female- white throat, gray cap and faint gray bar under eye.

Good birding

Hermit Warblers @ Strawberry Hill

Ken Moy

Two hermit Warblers and 1 Wilson's seen @ 9:20 on 7/30 in eucalyptus NW of the falls from the wooden steps. Refound all 3 in pine west of the picnic tables by the reservoir @ 9:45. 

Good birding!

Ken Moy

Western Tanager @ Land's End on 7/28

Ken Moy

Good morning,

Started @ 8:15 from Pacific Coast Trail @ Land's End and proceeded East to turn off for Mile Rock Beach. The entire length was fairly birdy with the usual residents. Turned back and went up the connector trail/steps to the VA Medical Center. About 2/3 of the way to the intersection with El Camino del Mar, there was a large mixed flock comprised mostly of American Robins and song sparrows in the pines on the West side of the trail. Spotted two smaller birds and got a brief glimpse of two bright yellow birds with black wings and white wingbars but then lost them. Got to the top and spotted a Wilson's Warbler in the eucalyptus that immediately disappeared in the brush underneath. Then spotted a male Western Tanager 3/4 of the way up the eucalyptus along with an assortment of robins, starlings, chickadees and song sparrows. Could not locate a second tanager. After about 5 minutes, a male Cooper's made a sally into the tree and broke up the party. Sorry for the late report.

Good birding to all.

Ken Moy

continuing Parakeet Auklet


Between 11:45 and 12:15 today I watched the Parakeet Auklet floating a bit to the west of Hermit Rock, apparently one of its favorite locations.  It was present when I first arrived, I watched it and explained to a number of passers-by that I was not looking at whales, and even showed the Auklet to a few.  Too bad I had to head home to the heat of Central contra Costa County; it was fun to see this bird and try to tell the questioners that this bird should really be in Alaska.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

shorebirds are back; come learn about them in SF

Maureen Lahiff

Eddie Bartley is teaching a course on shorebirds for Golden Gate Audubon.

3 2-hour evening presentations on Wednesdays Aug 21 and 28, Sept 4
and 3 3hour field trips Sundays Aug 25, Sept 15 and 22 (timed with the tides)

registration here:  opens Monday, July 22 at 9 am

Re: cont. and new Semipalmated Sandpipers

Derek Lecy

This morning from ~8:30-11:30 am, we were unable to locate the HY Semipalmated Sandpiper at/around Yosemite Slough first reported by D. Mosur on Tuesday (7/23) and last seen yesterday evening (7/26) by a few individuals. We checked both the freshwater pond east of the community garden, as well as the mudflats in the slough itself to no avail. There were decent numbers of Least Sandpipers, some Western Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers, the continuing Wandering Tattler, and a surprise appearance by a very confiding Wrentit. eBird checklist below.

Hopefully someone can refind the SESA, as at least one other birder showed up just as we were leaving. Posting here in hopes that a negative report can sometimes be helpful as well.

Derek Lecy
San Rafael

cont. and new Semipalmated Sandpipers


Yesterday evening the hatch year Semipalmated Sandpiper continued at freshwater pond near Yosemite Slough. It was seen at the same spot yesterday morning as well and doesn't appear to stray far.

Today a new hatch year Semipalmated Sandpiper was feeding with a small flock of Whimbrels, Sanderlings, Western Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers on the south end of Ocean Beach below the sewage plant. The flock was chased off by a dog around 9:30.

Dominik Mosur
San Francisco