Saturday pelagic - great opportunity to find Flesh-footed

Alvaro Jaramillo

Hello all,

     There is a Half Moon Bay pelagic this Saturday (Oct 7) which we are offering. This time of October is interesting out there, and the best time to find some species which are at other times quite difficult. Two of these are Flesh-footed Shearwater, and Short-tailed Shearwater. In addition, this is also a good time of year to find South Polar Skua, and the likelihood for Laysan Albatross begins to increase as well. This is a time of year that numbers of some species are lower, such as Sooty Shearwater, but the likelihood of rarities is higher. Buller’s Shearwaters have been out there in force, and seen from the coast in numbers, so we are hoping for great photo opportunities for this most gorgeous of shearwaters. This is the best year for Buller’s in many, so it is superb to have such great opportunities lately to enjoy so many Buller’s. I am looking forward to more. Late in the season we may find some winter species, perhaps Ancient Murrelet, and maybe Black-legged Kittiwake. Dream bird that can show up in October – Streaked Shearwater. Chance is low, but the chance is so much fun to ponder!

    Right now weather is looking good for the weekend. If you are interested:


good birding,



Alvaro Jaramillo



Sutro & Ft Miley

Brian Fitch

Another Sutro Baths seawatch turned up a Pomerine Jaeger, at least eight Parasitic Jaegers, and my first of season Marbled Murrelets, a northbound pair. 

Hiking from the El Camino parking lot up into Ft Miley West, Red-breasted Nuthatches were amazing, along with other coniferous/mountain species.  A minimum of six nuthatches were together at the battery, and four more were along the main path to the West Wash.  Three singing Varied Thrush, twenty or more Pine Siskins, calling Purple Finches, and Red Crossbills were also present.

This is the best showing of R-br Nuthatch that I've seen since they ceased wintering a number of years ago, so I'm holding out hope that they might stay with us until spring.

Brian Fitch

Chestnut-sided and Palm Presidio

Josiah Clark

During an early morning cruise to Presidio Hills there was a Palm Warbler associating with the sparrow flock, eventually moving into the willows. Also a bewicks wren, spotted towhee, a couple House Wrens and lincolns sparrows there. Ft Scott lawn was very active and had a quite late perched Violate-green Swallow and chipping sparrow. Say's phoebe, meadowlarks, bluebirds and coyotes too.
This evening while with Parke Custis I found a chestnut-sided Warbler along Lobos creek. There were lots of warblers in the pines and oaks bordering the creek and across from the parking lot. The chestnut-sided flew into the lone scarlet flowering euc (mostly done flowering) across the creek in a backyard. It was a bit of a stinker and liked to hide. That tree is a favorite of yellow warblers and w tanagers. Bt gray and yellow today.
I had at least 10 Red-breasted Nuthatches scattered all around over the presidio with at least 3 at lobos. Good numbers of purple finches, pine siskins and cedar waxwings at Mt. Lake Park. Fewer and fewer summer migrants but increasing numbers of sparrows all over, it's officially Sparrow Month...

Blackpoll continues

Brian Turner

The Blackpoll Warbler was refound at Sue Bierman Park in the poplars on the NE corner of Drumm and Washington at about 2pm.

Good birding, Brian 

Blackpoll continues at Sue Bierman Park

David Assmann


Sea- and sky-watches, 10/2/17

Paul Saraceni

This morning I was back at the south end of the Great Highway for a 1-hour sea watch, with W-NW winds, rolling seas, and improving visibility as the hour went on. Several Humpback Whales were offshore and hundreds of California and Western Gulls were on the beach and over the ocean.
Observations of local interest:
N. SHOVELER 12 (1 flock flying S)
Greater Scaup 15 m. (1 offshore flock flying S, then turned back N)
Surf Scoter 4
BLACK SCOTER 1 ad. m. (flying S close to shore; early migrant/returnee)
Loons: Common 1, Pacific 1, Red-thr. 1
Great Egret 2 (1 flying N, 1 flying S)
Killdeer 2 (flying over Great Highway)
DOWITCHER sp. 13 (1 flock flew in high over ocean and continued SE towards L. Merced)
Herring Gull 1 ad. (on the beach in big gull flock)
PARASITIC JAEGER 1 ad. (flying S)
Say's Phoebe 1 (briefly on the beach)

Midday and this afternoon I did some occasional, brief sky-watching from my deck looking out to the E and S over Cole Valley.  At 11:45 AM there was a kettle of 4 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS as I looked E towards Buena Vista Park and Corona Heights. The circling group gradually drifted S and out of view.  6 other species of raptors observed included 1 Osprey and 1 Merlin.

Paul Saraceni
San Francisco

Odds & Ends from Sutro Area

Brian Fitch

Just after sunrise this morning, I found a young Gr. White-fronted Goose in the tussocky grasses along the verge of the Sutro Baths.  The bird was up to its shoulders in the greens and gave me a brief gestalt puzzle as I looked down on it from almost directly overhead in the early morning shadows.  Later, a flock of seven white-fronteds flew east into the Gate.  Only four Parasitic Jaegers were in the channel, and there are finally a few first year Heermann's Gulls in the local flocks after several years of none at all.

Echoing Mike's report, a Western Meadowlark flew by me on the terrace and landed on the northernmost Seal Rock amidst pelicans, gulls, and cormorants, and on the way out, a flock of blackbirds swirling around the parkng lot included Bicolored, Tricolored, and "regular" Red-winged males. 

Sutro Heights had several Red-breasted Nuthatches and a White-throated Sparrow.

Brian Fitch

Late night at Sue Bierman, Meadowlark

Mike Carozza

Hit Sue Bierman just before sundown and the first bird I laid eyes on was a WESTERN MEADOWLARK looking desperately out of place under the skyscrapers. I was happy to find that the bird had a friend, another terrified Meadowlark under a tree that 3 Yellow Warblers were flycatching from.  The ground floor of Sue Bierman is a hostile environment for anyone, so I felt for these poor little birds stranded there.

150+ crows flew over in about 5 seconds of paying attention to them. I've seen thousands flying to roost in this part of the city. I wonder if crows outnumber the cumulative sum of all other birds in the city on a given day. Hope not. 

A Peregrine Falcon flew south and landed on the top corner of a skyscraper above Hyatt Regency.

Earlier in the day from my roof,  I had a Flicker fly from Russian Hill to a Eucalyptus under Coit Tower.


Highlights last three days, Fort Mason, etc.

David Assmann

The most interesting sighting at Fort Mason today was a flyover GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE.  Lots of returning wintering birds, including 35+ YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, a HERMIT THRUSH, SAY'S PHOEBE, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS and a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET.  Migrants included 3 different WESTERN WOOD PEWEES in the Battery, a PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER in the Battery, 2 SAVANNAH SPARROWS near the restrooms, a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, several YELLOW WARBLERS and a NASHVILLE WARBLER.  A WANDERING TATTLER and a BLACK TURNSTONE were on the abandoned pier. A TURKEY VULTURE, unusual for Fort Mason, flew over.

Yesterday there was a GREAT HORNED OWL at the Fort Scott Community Garden, as well as a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS.  There were three RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS near Kobbe and Upton (had one the day before at Chain of Lakes as well). Had a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER and a LINCOLN'S SPARROW at Lobos Creek, along with several RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES.  Singing FOX SPARROWS were seen each of the last three days.

Varied thrush mt. Lake

Josiah Clark

One flew over during a quick morning check. Also lots of purple finches, yellow-Rump's and a getting to be late Wilson's Warbler. In the yard here on lake st the bird bath has been especially popular with male and female bt grey warblers and yellow yesterday. Barn owls continue to be out hunting and calling each night as well. Two male kestrels were calling away and spent a few days around Lobos creek last week harkening back to the Presidio of yesteryear.
Enjoy those southbound migrants while they last, they are really clearing out fast by now.

Blackpoll warbler cont.@Sue Bierman

Mark Rauzon

At 9am the Blackpoll Warbler was with a warbler flock near the northern most poplar above the maintenance yard structure, it then moved south in the tree line and up before I lost sight of it.
Good luck.

Mark Rauzon

Misc. sightings - 10/1- Orchard oriole and Broad -winged Hawks

H Cotter

Did a stop at the maintenance yard in west GGP today and the best for me was a female/ Imm Orchard Oriole and a late Wilsons warbler
Had a Northern Harrier and WT kite at Battery Godfrey during a short visit.
Most interesting were two broad- winged Hawks that flew over 6th and Balboa in the inner Richmond
One flew into the tree in one of the yards there and the other continued being chased by a crow. They will likely roost in the city tonight 


Ferry Park/Sue Bierman Park - Blackpoll Warbler

C Lou


Around Noon (Sunday 10-1-2017), there was a BLACKPOLL WARBLER in the trees near
the maintenance yard at Ferry Park. (Drumm St and Washington St) Other warblers
included Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Wilson's Warbler, Yellow Warblers,
Townsend's Warblers and Black-Throated Gray Warblers.

Calvin Lou

Short-eared Owl (?) over Lake Merced this afternoon 10/1

Sam _

Hi all,

I believe I saw and photographed a female Short-eared Owl over Lake Merced this afternoon, where I was birding along the canal. The bird was flying high towards the south pursued by two ravens. The photos are not perfect, but I think they might be diagnostic. I'd appreciate any thoughts on the ID from others, as I have no experience with this species and am still working on my raptor basics. Hoping I haven't botched this!

See check-list here:

Sam Safran

Ferruginous Hawk

Alan Hopkins

Today at about 2:30 there was a Ferruginous Hawk flying southwest over a fallow field at the end of Evens St. near the Hunters Point Shipyard. It eventually flew off in the direction of Yosemite Slough.

Alan Hopkins 

first summer green heron

penelope watson

9/30/17 at heron's head, 2:30, water's edge, channel location. at times acting aggressive with a juvenile plover and a willet. variable habitats, water's edge, solitary. have they been sighted here before ?

also, a coopers, gr yellowlegs, several spotted sand pipers, say's phoebe. no ducks other than mallards.

Penelope watson

Westside SF, 9/30/17

Paul Saraceni

This morning Hugh Cotter, Mark Eaton, and I conducted a sea watch from the south end of the Great Highway and then birded south Lake Merced, after which Hugh and I hit Battery Godfrey for a midday skywatch. Diminishing W-NW winds and plenty of sun made for nice weather conditions and there were plenty of typical western migrants out there (e.g., Yellow, Townsend's and Yellow-rumped Warblers, W. Tanagers, Fox Sparrows, Pine Siskins) and we had some nice sightings throughout the morning.

Excellent viewing conditions, relatively mild seas as the WNW winds diminished. There were 4-6 Humpback Whales scattered about offshore and the recent shift in winds seemed to trigger a big movement of gulls -- hundreds on the beach, over the ocean, and flying N over the beach, mostly Californias and Westerns, good numbers of Heermann's, and a few each of Herring and Glaucous-winged. Observations of local interest:
Greater Scaup 20+ (several small groups flying over the ocean)
Common Loon 2
Pacific Loon 4
Pelagic Cormorant 1
W. Sandpiper 1 (with Sanderlings on the beach)
Elegant Tern 40+
PARASITIC JAEGER 18+ (2/3 adults, 1/3 sub-adults/imms.)
LONG-TAILED JAEGER 1 imm. (flying N trailing a Parasitic; observed well by the 3 of us relatively close to shore)
MARBLED MURRELET 2 (basic plumage; flying N together relatively close to shore)
Common Murre 30+

S. Lake Merced Concrete Bridge & Vista Grande Canal:
Eared Grebe 4
Virginia Rail 3 (heard near E end of bridge, both sides)
Warbling Vireo 2
Steller's Jay 4 (1 "flock" near VGC)
Red-br. Nuthatch 4
Hermit Thrush 1 (near VGC)
Swainson's Thrush 1 (near VGC)
Black-throated Gray Warbler 2
Com. Yellowthroat 3
Lincoln's Sparrow 3 (near VG canal)
SWAMP SPARROW 1 (I briefly observed an early individual that popped up on a low branch near VGC then disappeared; the 3 Lincoln's Sparrows and plenty of Song and White-crowned Sparrows were in the vicinity)
Great-tailed Grackle 3 (on the bridge)
Red Crossbill 8 (1 calling flock of non-locals flying S high overhead)

Battery Godfrey Skywatch (11:30-1:00):
Despite the wind direction we were hoping for some raptors and we only had a few but a couple of good ones and some other nice migrants were in the mix:
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 5
Red-sh. Hawk 2
BROAD-WINGED HAWK 2 juvs. (@ 12:05 PM crossed the channel W of GG Bridge then continued SE over the trees behind BG flying together in a direct line)
Merlin 1
Turkey Vulture 8
Pelagic Cormorant 2 (on rocks below)
Elegant Tern 20+
PARASITIC JAEGER 2 (flying E together high up near GG Bridge)
Band-tailed Pigeon 40+
Say's Phoebe 1 (continuing bird)
Wrentit 1
Red-br. Nuthatch 1
PALM WARBLER 1 (dropped in right in front of us @ 12:45 PM near restoration area at S end of BG; on ground and low shrubs)
Am. Pipit 2 (calling flyovers)
Red Crossbill 3 (calling flyovers)

Paul Saraceni
San Francisco



Today during my Golden Gate Audubon Society Class field trip we found a SUMMER TANAGER at the southwestern corner of of North Lake (Chain of Lakes). It was hawking bees from a conifer. No Tennessee Warbler.

See link below


A good Warbler in the West Maintenance Yard

Aaron Maizlish

I am posting on behalf of Eddie Monson, kid wonder-birder. He and his parents were at the West Maintenance Yard in Golden Gate Park this morning. They had a brief look at a "good" Warbler.

Unfortunately only brief looks of a skulky Warbler, yellow throat grayish back and an eye ring. Not enough for a definitive ID, but may be the right field marks for a Mourning Warbler. I am not going to be able to get out there today, but hopefully somebody else can find this bird and get a better look.

This was in the shrubs at the west end of the maintenance yard, where the footpath goes around the fence to the ballparks.

Good luck out there!

Aaron Maizlish
San Francisco

Tricolored Blackbird flock in the Sunset 9/30/17

Dominik Mosur

This morning there was a sizable flock of (~60) male TRICOLORED BLACKBIRDS foraging along 41st Avenue between Ortega and Quintara. This one of the largest concentrations of this state listed species I've noted in San Francisco in recent years.

The newly resodded nearby West Sunset Ballfields have been drawing Killdeer flocks in recent days and may be worth checking for unusual plovers and other grassland habitat migrants in upcoming weeks.

Dominik Mosur
San Francisco