Date   
Laysan Albatross - band returns/biology/population

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Hello all,

     This season we have had five encounters with Laysan Albatross off Half Moon Bay, and Bodega Bay. We were able to get color band details from three of the birds. One of those was a bird seen off Half Moon Bay that was seen the following day off Bodega Bay, and we were able to identify it as the same individual based on distinctive plumage patterns. We have been in contact with the folks working on Laysan Albatross in Mexico, specifically Julio Montoya and Yuliana Bedolla. They confirmed that all of our birds were banded on Guadalupe Island, Mexico as part of their project. They confirmed that the birds were all juveniles, as we had identified them in the field. Interestingly, there are four colonies in the Guadalupe Island archipelago, two on the main island, and two on islets adjacent to Guadalupe. ALL of our birds were specifically from “Isla Zapato” which is the islet to the S of Guadalupe. Isla Zapato had over 300 nests in 2013, and that number has grown. The Guadalupe Island population of Laysan is recent, with the first nests detected there in 1983. Growth has been steady in the colony and now hundreds of nests are found there. Growth in the colonies cannot be explained solely by the fledging rates, suggesting that some birds from Hawaii are being recruited to the local population. The colony growth rate is perhaps the highest for any albatross colony known. So we should expect that Laysan Albatross will become more common on pelagic trips in the coming years. Certainly Half Moon Bay has been a great port for finding this species, and we already knew that Bodega/Cordell Bank is an albatross hotspot.

              It is interesting that all of our birds were juveniles, but this may be the norm. Steve Howell commented to me that most of the Laysans on pelagics at this time of year are juveniles. Band data from the past has also clarified that most CA Laysans are from the Mexican, not Hawaiian population (at least in recent years of course). Our birds hatched in February, they were banded in May, and fledged in June so they had only been on the wing for a few months. They won’t return to the colony until they are 6-7 years old, so these guys may not be seen again for a few years. Tracked adult Guadalupe Laysan Albatross during the breeding season mainly forage off Baja California, with some movement up to central CA at or near the continental shelf edge, with extensive wandering in offshore areas as well. So we are well within the normal range of Guadalupe Laysan Albatrosses. Another thing we have learned is that underwing pattern is quite variable in juveniles and with good photos it may be possible to plumage match individuals. Or it can be used to identify if multiple observations of a Laysan on a pelagic trip pertains to one or more individuals, on the 25th we did see another individual with a very pale underwing confirming that two different Laysan had been seen that day.

     

Photos of the birds are here:

Aug 17, 19 off Half Moon Bay

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59076654

Aug 24, 19 off Half Moon Bay

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59282454

Aug 25, 19 off Bodega Bay

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59260963

Sept 2, 19 Half Moon Bay

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59470843

 

If you are keen on trying to see a Laysan Albatross this Saturday we are going out of Half Moon Bay into good water for them. Note that we now offer a discounted youth price for birders 19 and under. Our boats have seen a lot of youthful energy recently, and it is nice to see!

http://alvarosadventures.com/boat-trips/pelagics/

 

good birding,

Alvaro

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 


Virus-free. www.avg.com

Local Interest Last 2 Days

David Assmann
 

Yesterday's brief bout of rain didn't bring in any new birds to Fort Mason, and some of the previously seen birds were not around. 8 YELLOW WARBLERS, 4 WESTERN TANAGERS, 1 TOWNSEND'S WARBLER, 1 HOUSE WREN and 1 COMMON YELLOWTHROAT were the only migrants seen. Today was definitely better, with 6 species of warbler - 1 WILSON'S WARBLER, 4 TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS, 1 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, 12+ YELLOW WARBLERS, 1 NASHVILLE WARBLER and 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER,  There were WESTERN TANAGERS everywhere (a minimum of 16). Other migrants included a HOODED ORIOLE, 1 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, 1 WARBLING VIREO, 1 HOUSE WREN, and 1 PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER. A very brief visit to El Polin Spring resulted in sighting 4 flycatcher species on the hillside above the spring from the steps - two WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, 2 PACIFIC SLOPE FLYCATCHERS, 1 WESTERN WOOD PEWEE and 1 BLACK PHOEBE.

A grunting finch?

Richard Bradus
 

Hi all

I spent a bit of time around noon enjoying this lovely day at the East Wash, where I saw multiple FOF for me (including Fox Sparrow, Hermit Thrush and Flicker) but was also completely stumped by a bird making a call like none other I've heard.

I first heard it deep in the fennel/reeds on the upper west slope of the wash along the paved path next to the golf course - a kind of deep guttural "wonk", single call, repeated at rather long intervals a couple of times. Eventually the bird popped up atop the dry stalks, seemingly foraging along with a flock of House Finches, where I saw it make that same deep call once again. While it perhaps could have been an odd female Purple Finch, my first thought was not of a finch but of an abnormally large juvenile/female (Indigo) Bunting, as it had a relatively pale streaked breast, brown head with a not very prominent superciliary line, and a paler throat with a somewhat distinct pale gray/tan band extending around the neck toward the back (but I never got a look at the back or the under tail). However, it had a stout beak, but not huge, and the overall coloration was not as bold (especially around the head) as I would expect for a female Black-headed Grosbeak. After about 30 seconds of a relatively good frontal look, it flew off upslope along with the House Finches and I did not hear or see it again.

I couldn't put the various features together into a cohesive whole in the field, and I can't find a good match in my guidebooks - it actually looks most like a cross between a female bunting and juvenile Spotted Towhee as seen in the illustrations for the third edition of the National Geographic guide (but not like those in Sibley). And, most importantly, that low grunt of a call, so unlike the melodious tones I expect from a finch or grosbeak - more fitting a corvid (raven especially).

So, I'm wondering if anyone has heard a call like that before (dang, sure wish I had thought to whip out my phone to try to get a recording; too late!), or would like to hazard a guess as to the ID. Is it something weird, or just a typical species that I'm blanking on because of its unusual call? Any thoughts welcome.

Richard Bradus
San Francisco

Re: Clay-colored Sparrow behind McLaren Lodge

Brian Fitch
 

Rob's Clay-colored was in the same spot behind McLaren during the 12 o'clock hour.

Brian Fitch


On Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 8:49 AM Rob Cullison <robcullison@...> wrote:
A Clay-colored Sparrow is foraging in the shrubs and lawn above the parking lot just north of the orange office building. 

Good birding,
Rob Cullison

Clay-colored Sparrow behind McLaren Lodge

Rob Cullison
 

A Clay-colored Sparrow is foraging in the shrubs and lawn above the parking lot just north of the orange office building. 

Good birding,
Rob Cullison

Fort Mason Last Two Days - Blackburnian, Chat, etc.

David Assmann
 

The highlight of this morning's GGAS field trip at Fort Mason was a BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER found a little after 9, and seen again around 10:30. Other warblers included an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, at least 7 TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS, and 16+ YELLOW WARBLERS. There were at least 9 WESTERN TANAGERS, 5 WARBLING VIREOS, a BULLOCK'S ORIOLE, a SWAINSON'S THRUSH, 2 GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS, a FOX SPARROW, a BEWICK'S WREN, 2 HOUSE WRENS, 2 or more RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, and at least 2 PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS.

Yesterday the highlight was a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT in a Cabbage Palm on the hillside above Aquatic Park.  Also seen were a BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, 7 WESTERN TANAGERS, a WILSON'S WARBLER, 2 TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS, 26+ YELLOW WARBLERS, a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 2 GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS, a WILLOW FLYCATCHER, 2 PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS, 3 WARBLING VIREOS, and 3 CEDAR WAXWINGS.

Poor quality photos of the Chat and Blackburnian attached.

Black-and-White Warbler et al, Western SF, 9/15/19

Paul Saraceni
 

This morning Hugh Cotter and I checked a number of locations on the W side of the City.


Sea-watching from the S end of the Great Highway was highlighted by thousands of Sooty Shearwaters streaming N nearly the entire time, 20+ Parasitic Jaegers on the move and harassing Elegant Terns, small numbers of each of the 3 regular loon species, 1 juv. Common Murre and 2 juv. Pigeon Guillemots, and 9 Red-necked Phalaropes flying over the ocean.  Hugh also spotted a N. Pintail and a Green-winged Teal flying together S over the ocean.  The only large shorebirds we observed this morning were 2 Whimbrel (the regular Hudsonicus ssp.) on the beach.


We next walked a loop including the East Wash, the "plateau" west of the Legion of Honor, the West Battery beyond the VA Hospital, and then back to the East Wash.  Small numbers of some typical migrants were around. Red-breasted Nuthatches were seemingly everywhere -- at least 20+ observed during our walk. There were also 2 Willow and 2 "Western" Flycatchers, a House Wren, 4 W. Bluebirds, and a Great Horned Owl that we heard daytime-calling from somewhere E of the East Wash. 


Around 10:30, near the trail intersection closest to the West Battery, I briefly observed an imm. BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER which flew out of a cypress tree and dropped down into lower trees before it disappeared to the north. It was not with a flock, though there was a Willow Flycatcher nearby. We were unable to relocate the warbler.


Our final stop was Kobbe Upton / Ft. Scott, where sightings included a Say's Phoebe, 13 W. Bluebirds, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler in the field, as well as a Red-breasted Sapsucker in the trees above the tennis courts.


Paul Saraceni

San Francisco


Blackburnian At Fort Mason

David Assmann
 

Battery 

Re: Seeing beyond

Mila Zinkova
 

Thank you, Dominik!
And while there please do not forget to watch the sunset.
They are amazing in San Francisco.

Seeing beyond

Mila Zinkova
 

Hello everybody,

Yesterday I went to the Ocean Beach at Noriega. The Sooty Shearwater were everywhere. Plus there was another thing to see - a superior mirage of a ship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQz2qpcoE24.
So the next time you'd go bird watching at the ocean don't forget to look at the horizon. 
Best,
Mila.

Yellow Breasted Chat At Fort Mason

David Assmann
 

On hillside above Aquatic Park

Re: Hybrid Pintail Lloyd Lake

David Barry
 


Agreed not pure Northern Pintail.
Could even be Pintail x Wigeon.

Dave Barry
Santa Rosa.



On Friday, September 13, 2019, 03:34:56 PM PDT, kim <leo811sf@...> wrote:


We're the wings clipped?  If domestic hybrid that was dumped, it may have a clipped wing.  Otherwise a wild hybrid? 

Be Kind. Lady Karma is Always Watching.



On September 13, 2019, at 3:29 PM, Joachim Gonzalez <gonzalexgaming21@...> wrote:


I’ve been seeing a lot of reports of the supposed eclipse male Northern Pintail at Lloyd Lake that is molting to adult plumage. In the photos I’ve been seeing, it doesn’t look to me like a pure pintail. Some things that seem wrong for pure pintail are the Rufous/brown feathers coming in on the breast. The breast of a pure pintail should be bright white, but this seems to indicate a Mallard X Pintail hybrid. Plus the head feathers molting in look blackish/iridescent which is completely wrong or Pintail. Again, points to Mallard X Pintail hybrid. Graeme Colmer’s photos show this very well, checklist linked here.

Good Birding
Joachim Gonzalez

Re: Hybrid Pintail Lloyd Lake

kim
 

We're the wings clipped?  If domestic hybrid that was dumped, it may have a clipped wing.  Otherwise a wild hybrid? 

Be Kind. Lady Karma is Always Watching.



On September 13, 2019, at 3:29 PM, Joachim Gonzalez <gonzalexgaming21@...> wrote:


I’ve been seeing a lot of reports of the supposed eclipse male Northern Pintail at Lloyd Lake that is molting to adult plumage. In the photos I’ve been seeing, it doesn’t look to me like a pure pintail. Some things that seem wrong for pure pintail are the Rufous/brown feathers coming in on the breast. The breast of a pure pintail should be bright white, but this seems to indicate a Mallard X Pintail hybrid. Plus the head feathers molting in look blackish/iridescent which is completely wrong or Pintail. Again, points to Mallard X Pintail hybrid. Graeme Colmer’s photos show this very well, checklist linked here.

Good Birding
Joachim Gonzalez

Hybrid Pintail Lloyd Lake

Joachim Gonzalez
 

I’ve been seeing a lot of reports of the supposed eclipse male Northern Pintail at Lloyd Lake that is molting to adult plumage. In the photos I’ve been seeing, it doesn’t look to me like a pure pintail. Some things that seem wrong for pure pintail are the Rufous/brown feathers coming in on the breast. The breast of a pure pintail should be bright white, but this seems to indicate a Mallard X Pintail hybrid. Plus the head feathers molting in look blackish/iridescent which is completely wrong or Pintail. Again, points to Mallard X Pintail hybrid. Graeme Colmer’s photos show this very well, checklist linked here.

Good Birding
Joachim Gonzalez

Pelagic report - Thursday

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Hello all,

   We went out on a pelagic trip offshore from Half Moon Bay yesterday and encountered warm water offshore, and bird/whale rich waters about 10 miles out. As has been the pattern, a bloom of food is parked about 10 miles offshore with nice groups of Humpback whales and mixed shearwater flocks. Up to a dozen whales were seen in one spot feeding with hundreds of California Sea Lions, pretty incredible! Dozen more whales were in the distance. Bird abundance was much richer inshore and to the north of a warm water plume offshore. We found Ashy Storm-Petrel, a couple of small flocks of Buller’s Shearwaters, and all three jaegers including some nice adult Long-tails, and full spoon Pomarines. The constant high numbers of Arctic Terns continue, with the chance to get some nice photos of a close group foraging with Sabine’s Gulls. At one time about 10 Arctic Terns were being chased by a full breeding plumaged Parasitic Jaeger, dramatic and neat to watch. Most Arctics are adults out there, but we did see some juveniles as well. Two Tufted Puffins were a treat to see, now that they are dispersing from breeding grounds. Only a few Cassin’s Auklets were offshore as has been the case recently. Mammals were great – with densities of Pacific White-sided Dolphins coming close to the boat, beautiful bow riding Northern Right Whale Dolphins, and a nice little pod of Dall’s Porpoises offshore. The regulars were out there too, Black-footed Albatross, Sooty an Pink-footed shearwaters (many out there now), Common Murre, and Rhinoceros Auklet. A good group of a few thousand Sooty Shearwaters near shore allowed me to actually get a recoding of their voices, you don’t hear Sooty Shearwaters all that often. Here is the recording: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S59708767

    Weather looks good for our trips tomorrow and Sunday. Low to moderate winds predicted, a tad lower on Sunday. Both trips are out of Half Moon Bay and we are hoping that this weekend we find our first Flesh-footed Shearwater of the season. This weekend’s trips expect to visit SF and San Mateo county waters. The change to the fall with arrival of crowned and fox sparrows makes me think that this could be when the Flesh-foot comes in! E-mail me or register online here for this weekend, or the Sept 21 trip out of Half Moon Bay, and 22nd trip out of Monterey:

 

http://alvarosadventures.com/boat-trips/pelagics/

good birding,

Alvaro

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 


Virus-free. www.avg.com

Fort Mason Local Interest

David Assmann
 

About 50 AMERICAN CROWS mobbed a GREAT HORNED OWL this morning for at least an hour.  The owl didn't move, and the crows eventually stopped harassing it. Had my FOS FOX SPARROW (Battery) and SAY'S PHOEBE (Great Meadow).  1 BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, 18+ WESTERN TANAGERS, 1 WILSON'S WARBLER, 4 TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS, 14 YELLOW WARBLERS, 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, 1 BULLOCK'S ORIOLE, 1 HOODED ORIOLE, 2 SAVANNAH SPARROWS, 1 HOUSE WREN, 1 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, 2 WILLOW FLYCATCHERS, 1 WANDERING TATTLER, and at least 5 PACIFIC-SLOPE (WESTERN) FLYCATCHERS.


Prairie Falcon at BG

Brian Fitch
 

It had been 22 years since I last saw a Prairie Falcon in SF, but the drought ended at 12:30 today when one coursed over Battery Godfrey, adding that one species that made an otherwise slow hawkwatch worthwhile.  Long, pointed falcon wings, tan body, dark axillaries; I don't know why it's been such a long gap between sightings for me, since they see multiples on Hawk Hill every fall, but it's obviously a tough bird in the city.

Other raptors included 1 northbound Turkey Vulture and 2 southbound, 3 Sharpies north, 2 Cooper's north, 1 Red-shouldered south, 6 Red-tailed north with 5 south, as well as the local Peregrine.

Other birds included a very high flying Great Egret, 2 Curlews, Glaucous-winged Gull, 5 Parasitic Jaegers over the bridge, with others pirating the terns and shearwaters, a few Band-tailed Pigeons, 2-3 Vaux's Swifts, Say's Phoebe, Warbling Vireo, Barn and Rough-winged Swallows, 3 Red-breasted Nuthatches, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, 7 American Pipits coming in on the early side, Yellow, Townsend's, Black-throated Gray, MacGillivray's, and Wilson's Warblers, and at least 15 Western Tanagers, every one of them heading north.

The other highlight was already reported, although the number of Sooty Shearwaters went up to over 50,000 as I watched and scanned further out into the Gate.  The majority of them spent about 2 hours sitting on the water, with one group of roughly 10,000 drifting quite close to the battery and almost under the bridge, probably on the tide.  They then slowly dispersed until I didn't see any in the Gate when I left at 2:15.  There were still big dark swatches of them well out to sea though.

Brian Fitch

Surf Scoter

Peter & Amy
 

Surf Scoter just off the St Francis Yacht Club.

Amy Kuhlmann

Shearwaters

Brian Fitch
 

20000 or more in the mouth of the golden gate at 10 45 am
Viewed from battery Godfrey
Brian fitch

Fort Mason Local Interest - FOS Golden Crowned Sparrow

David Assmann
 

A short visit to Fort Mason this morning was fairly productive.  The number of WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS has increased over the past two days, possibly due to returning birds. A FOS GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW was in the garden as well. Warblers today included at least 19 YELLOW WARBLERS, 3 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, 3 TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS, 1 WILSON'S WARBLER and a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER.  There were at least 7 WESTERN TANAGERS, 3+ RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, 3 WARBLING VIREOS (Garden and Battery), 4 PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS, 2 WESTERN WOOD PEWEES, 1 HOUSE WREN (Garden) and 1 BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Garden).