Date   
Local Interest - Fort Mason and Crissy Field - Summer Tanager etc.

David Assmann
 

The SUMMER TANAGER in the Battery at Fort Mason has now been there for 12 days.  This morning it was high up in the canopy. HOODED ORIOLES continue to be highly visible, mostly in the garden, although it appeared there were fewer of them today (5-6) than in previous days. A young male BULLOCK'S ORIOLE was the boldest of the Orioles in the garden, often perching up on poles. At least one WESTERN TANAGER remains - in the Battery. A juvenile WESTERN BLUEBIRD was feeding on the north side of the garden.

At Crissy Field, I watched an assortment of shorebirds, including 2 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 2 LONG-BILLED CURLEWS, a MARBLED GODWIT, 2 WESTERN SANDPIPERS, and at least 7 KILLDEER.


Summer Tanager and other sightings at Fort Mason

David Assmann
 

Today's GGAS field trip participants were all treated to close views of the continuing SUMMER TANAGER in the Battery at Fort Mason.  Although the day was cold and foggy and birds were less active, we had a good diversity of species.  Two PEREGRINE FALCONS flew low down over the Community Garden near the beginning of the walk.  Other raptors included a COOPER'S HAWK early in the morning, three! GREAT HORNED OWLS in the palm tree behind the General's House, and a RED-TAILED HAWK after the end of the walk carrying, and then eating what looked like a EUROPEAN STARLING.  HOODED ORIOLES were spotted several times, and a WESTERN TANAGER was in a berry bush outside of the garden at the very beginning and end of the morning. A juvenile WESTERN BLUEBIRD was active on the lawn in front of the General's House.  At the very beginning of the morning, a MARBLED GODWIT was on the beach at Aquatic Park, which also had two SURF SCOTERS.  After the tide got higher, a BLACK TURNSTONE (first in several months) perched on the abandoned pier.


SF Sea watches -- alcids, etc., 7/15-16/16

Paul Saraceni
 

I conducted several sea watches on July 15-16 from the Mile Rock (Land's End) overlook (this morning with Hugh Cotter) and the Cliff House terrace (part of the time this morning with Hugh), searching with no success like others for the excellent Parakeet Auklet photographed back on 7/13.  Gray overcast skies and brisk SW winds both days. Yesterday's fog half-way out was replaced by excellent visibility this morning.

The adult breeding-plumaged RHINOCEROS AUKLET originally photographed with the other auklet on the 13th continued through this morning at the Mile Rock overlook. Both yesterday and today it was present before 7 AM relatively close to shore and then flew out a ways and landed in the rougher water.

The many (40+) Pigeon Guillemots at that location include one observed on the evening of the 14th and photographed this morning that has an orange base to (2/3 the length of) its upper mandible. This morning it was perched at the entrance to a little tunnel on the cliff face visible to the left of and below the lower overlook.

This morning, adult-chick pairs of Common Murres appeared with at least 5 such pairs out from the overlook in the GG Channel near Mile Rock.

There were 3 Sooty Shearwaters flying in the GG Channel on the 15th and one observed landing on the water there this morning. About 10 Surf Scoters and a Pacific Loon were also in that area. Finally, later this morning Hugh spotted a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE in flight that landed on the water out near Mile Rock.

Non-waterbirds of local interest observed while at the overlook included a calling-flyover Cedar Waxwing on the 15th, and a Bewick's Wren, 2 W. Bluebirds, and 2 Turkey Vultures this morning.

Between visits to the Mile Rock overlook this morning I sea-watched from the Cliff House terrace (8:15-11 AM), joined by Hugh for much of the time.  While scoping just south of the rocks at 8:25 AM where there was a small feeding frenzy developing in the rip about 100-200 yards out, I briefly got onto a black-and-white murrelet on the water by itself, which arched up then dove as I watched. Despite continual scanning I was unable to relocate it.  A small alcid with solid black upperparts including upper half of head, bright white below including throat/neck/breast down to the water, small black bill.  I believe it was a SCRIPPS'S MURRELET.  Perhaps this was the unidentified murrelet with bright white underwings and underparts that flew north past a south-end sea watch on 7/11.

Later during the sea watch a RHINOCEROS AUKLET flew south with 3 Common Murres; not sure if it was the Mile Rock individual.

We also observed some newly-arrived ELEGANT TERNS with 1 flying over the feeding frenzy and 7 trying to roost on nearby Ocean Beach with 20+ Caspian Terns and 200+ Heermann's Gulls. 

Shorebirds on the rocks off the Cliff House included the continuing SURFBIRD and recently-/newly-arrived WANDERING TATTLERS (3) and BLACK TURNSTONES (4), as well as the local Black Oystercatchers (4) and fly-by Whimbrels (5).

There were also Common (1) and Pacific (2) Loons and Surf Scoters (8) in the area.

Marine mammals observed during the sea watches included:
Humpback Whale 2
Bottlenose Dolphin 2
Harbor Porpoise 3
Cal. Sea Lion 2
Harbor Seal 4

Paul Saraceni
San Francisco


Fort Mason Today - Local Interest

David Assmann
 

The SUMMER TANAGER continued in the Battery at Fort Mason this morning, although it was only seen and heard at the very beginning of the morning.  A female RED CROSSBILL was seen in the Battery mid-morning.  Observers spotted at least two WESTERN TANAGERS, and HOODED ORIOLES continue to be active, with five in view at the same time at one point.  A young male BULLOCK'S ORIOLE was in the garden, and a young WESTERN BLUEBIRD was hanging out with a HOUSE SPARROW outside the garden.  Two RED-TAILED HAWKS drew the ire of a WESTERN GULL (for some reason AMERICAN CROWS were almost entirely absent).  A SURF SCOTER continued to roost on a raft in Aquatic Park, and PIGEON GUILLEMOTS have a nest in one of the buildings in lower Fort Mason.


Fort Mason - Tanagers and Orioles

David Assmann
 

In addition to the continuing SUMMER TANAGER in the Battery at Fort Mason this morning, there were at least two WESTERN TANAGERS (one in the Battery and one just east of the garden). Orioles were flying around everywhere - including three that were mobbing a young RED-TAILED HAWK.  At one point there were five HOODED ORIOLES in one shrub.  Two BULLOCK'S ORIOLES sat next to each other on a bush in the middle of the garden. A MARBLED GODWIT, rarely seen here, was on the beach in Aquatic Park, and two SURF SCOTERS were on the raft that is the home for the now rapidly growing WESTERN GULL chick.


Re: Summer Tanager Fort Mason 7/14

Oscar Moss
 

I was at Fort Mason from about 8;00 to 9;15 today (7/16) and the Summer Tanager was flitting around in the Eucalyptus trees directly above the battery. It was gleaning the canopy the whole time, except when it briefly perched on a shrub just a few feet off the ground. 

On Jul 15, 2016, at 9:59 AM, falco1440@... [SFBirds] <SFBirds-noreply@...> wrote:


At Fort Mason yesterday morning, the continuing young male SUMMER TANAGER made three appearances throughout my time at the battery from 6:00 to 7:15.  It id definitely a "morning bird", so go early to see it.  It hangs out high up in the large Cypress at the West Battery, and also in the two Euks on either side of it.

good luck,

-Jonah



Summer Tanager Fort Mason 7/14

Jonah Benningfield
 

At Fort Mason yesterday morning, the continuing young male SUMMER TANAGER made three appearances throughout my time at the battery from 6:00 to 7:15.  It id definitely a "morning bird", so go early to see it.  It hangs out high up in the large Cypress at the West Battery, and also in the two Euks on either side of it.

good luck,

-Jonah

Rhinoceros Auklet

Alan Hopkins
 

A single bird seen flying south off the Sutro Baths overlook at 7:40. No Parakeet Auklet. I left many observers at the overlook before heading to Sutro. There were small numbers of Sooty Shearwaters and Common Murres. There were Common and Red-throated Loons near Seal Rocks. There were about five Humpback Whales offshore and Bottlenose Dolphins near Seal Rocks.

Alan Hopkins

PARAKEET AUKLET in San Francisco fide Marty DeAngelo 7/13/2016AM

Logan Kahle
 

Hi All,

Marty Angelo found and photographed a PARAKEET AUKLET at Land's End in San Francisco this morning, viewed from the Fort Miley overlook at the Northern terminus of 48th Avenue in San Francisco. I looked for over an hour this afternoon without success. Given the date, this could mean there are more to come...

Photos and details here:http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S30672370

Good birding,
Logan Kahle for Marty Angelo
San Francisco

Fort Mason Oriole and Tanager Bonanza

David Assmann
 

It was more like fall migration than a mid-July day at Fort Mason this morning. The SUMMER TANAGER was in the Battery early in the morning, along with a BULLOCK'S ORIOLE and at least four HOODED ORIOLES. A RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH was in with the Pygmy Nuthatches (two of whom are raising a 2nd brood in a nest hole).  Later there was intense Hooded Oriole behavior around the garden, with 8 or more HOODED ORIOLES flying around. At one point I had six birds in one binocular view.  It appeared there were two family groups of four each, and young were being fed on a regular basis outside the garden. While watching the Orioles, a young male WESTERN TANAGER flew in.  There were two or three WESTERN BLUEBIRDS (one male, and at least one young bird), along with all the other expected species.


Summer Tanager

David Assmann
 

The SUMMER TANAGER is still (back) in the Battery at Fort Mason.

Local Interest yesterday and today

David Assmann
 

Started the morning yesterday at Crissy Field Lagoon, which had 17 CASPIAN TERNS, including 6 young. A few shorebirds were present, including one SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, several KILLDEER, 2 LEAST SANDPIPERS and two WILLETS. There was a WESTERN TANAGER above El Polin Springs. In the Battery at Fort Mason, I spotted a BULLOCK'S ORIOLE on the antenna, and later at least four HOODED ORIOLES flew around the Battery.  This morning I spent an hour plus at Heron's Head, where I found a nice assortment of shorebirds, including my first of the season SPOTTED SANDPIPER, as well as WILLETS, BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS, WHIMBREL, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, BLACK-NECKED STILTS, a MARBLED GODWIT, and a LONG-BILLED CURLEW. Before leaving I walked to India Basin to check out a few ducks (which turned out to be MALLARDS), but when I got there a TRI-COLORED BLACKBIRD landed on a rock next to shore.


Parasitic jaeger baker beach

Josiah Clark
 

Flying several hundreds yards offshore going west into the wind, a light morph bird. Not unexpected but a first of the year for me as the bait concentrations continue around the SF gate. Thought I might have seen elegant terns back in their favorite spots on the Marin side from Kirby cove to Tennessee beach.
Also bottle nosed dolphins and humpbacks are regular sites from the beach of late.
Good birding
- Josiah

Yellow-headed Blackbird over Cole Valley + Sea watch, 7/11/16

Paul Saraceni
 

Monday (7/11) afternoon during casual skywatching from my deck in Cole Valley I observed a completely-unexpected, post-breeding wanderer around 1 PM: an immature male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD that flew N relatively low over my house, giving its hard flight call repeatedly while flying over. I believe it was an imm. male rather than an adult female based on the extent of the ochre-yellow coloring on its underparts which went a bit below its upper breast. 

Monday morning I joined Hugh Cotter for a sea watch (7-8:30) from the south end of the Great Highway. It was nice to have no fog for a change, with good visibility and brisk SW winds.  The large numbers of SOOTY SHEARWATERS from the past week or so were not present -- just 5 solo birds flying N, relatively close to shore. Nice numbers of Common Murres were moving in both directions and on the water (400+), and there were small numbers of Pigeon Guillemots (6), Common Loons (2 -- basic), W. Grebes (2), and Pelagic Cormorants (4). Most interesting but unidentified was what appeared to be a murrelet flying low over the wave tops and fast northbound, showing bright white underwings and underparts.

There were a few migrant shorebirds including Marbled Godwit (4 on the beach), W. Sandpiper (2 on the beach), and Least Sandpiper (18 fly-bys). The bleached, summering Glaucous-winged Gull continued on the beach, and a single Bank Swallow was flying over the colony area. 

Paul Saraceni 
San Francisco

Register now for WFO's annual conference, 28 Sep through 2 Oct

David Quady and Nancy Boas
 

Hi, Birders:

Registration is open for Western Field Ornithologists’ 41st annual conference, 28 Sept - 2 Oct in Fortuna, Humboldt County CA. We’ll meet at the beautiful River Lodge Conference Center along the Eel River; four motels and an RV park are just a short walk away.

There’ll be full-day field trips on Thursday and Sunday, and half-day field trips and workshops on Friday and Saturday mornings. Our always enlightening Science Sessions will fill the early afternoons, followed by Nathan Pieplow’s popular bird sound identification team challenge (Friday) and Ed Harper’s illuminating expert panel bird photo identification session. WFO’s no-cost reception and cash bar will close out Friday evening while our annual meeting, banquet and keynote address, and a silent auction (benefits our youth scholarship program) will conclude Saturday’s program.

Openings currently exist in workshops that will be led by Jon Dunn (warblers), Steve Shunk (woodpeckers), Peter Pyle (molt), Phil Unitt (specimen prep), Kimball Garrett (non-native bird ID), and Christine Elder (field sketching). Two dozen different field trips will be presented, each at least twice; many are full or nearly so, but several fascinating trips still have openings. The Science Session agenda is nearly filled with presentations, but there’ll be plenty of room in the audience for you there, and for the ID panels.

To learn more, and to register, visit < http://www.westernfieldornithologists.org/conference.php> now. See you in Fortuna!

Please excuse duplicate postings.

Dave Quady
President, Western Field Ornithologists
Berkeley, California
davequady@...

Re: San Francisco City Cumulative List - Mid Year Report

h cotter
 

All,
A number of people have asked why a San Francisco City cumulative list and not a County cumulative list ; what constitutes the City versus County; what is included on the City list etc.

The response is a very "only in San Francisco" one.

As we all know the San Francisco is a City and County.

In general the county boundaries extend past the Farallones to the west, to the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, in around the water harbor at Fort Baker on the north, cuts across a portion of Angel Island, up the delta to Red Rock I believe, includes Treasure Island and includes a portion of the Alameda National Wildlife Refuge to the east and then to Candlestick Point and the end of Lake Merced to the south.

When a species list was initially drawn up it was felt that having a combined City and County list with the Farallones included would distort the species distribution of a number a species that are regular on the Farallones but very difficult if not impossible outside of the islands - for example there are many records of Connecticut Warbler from the Farallones and only one seen on the mainland; one at Mount Davidson.
In addition, at the time information or a list of records from outside of the City were not as accessible then as they are now through media such as sfbirds or ebird.

Many San Francisco birders started keeping both a City and County list because we could not access the Farallones or the Alameda NWR with the City list having as much if not more importance than the county list. We have maintained this list for the last 16 years or so.
The San Francisco City list has been adjusted over the years but it basically encompasses only the peninsular part of the City/County and everything seen from there or close to there. We have used 3 miles offshore as the arbitrary line to the west. Treasure Island and Alameda NWR are not included as part of the City list.
The county list then encompasses everything within San Francisco City and County. I do update this list as well.

This is all pretty arbitrary and likely only of relevance or interest to SF City birders and since we don't seem to get out of SF much we gotta get our kicks somehow.

Comments appreciated.

Hugh


From: "htcotter@... [SFBirds]"
To: "sfbirds"
Sent: Sunday, July 10, 2016 2:13:41 PM
Subject: [SFBirds] San Francisco City Cumulative List - Mid Year Report

 


All,
The San Francisco City cumulative species list stands at 245 at the end of the June 2016.
In spite of the poor spring vagrant season, this is three ahead of last year's total and two ahead of our previous highest total through June from 2014.

The breakdown by month is as follows:
Jan 189
Feb 199
Mar 214
Apr 231
May 243
June 245

There have been a number of highlights so far this year but the three new additions to the San Francisco City list must be at the top; Royal Tern and Leach's-storm Petrel in January and California Thrasher in June.
Other highlights so far this year include Yellow-billed Loon, Long-eared Owl, Gray Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, (first in five years) and Phainopepla,( first since 2007) to name a few.
Main misses so far include Ross's Goose and  Blue-winged Teal.
July usually adds one to two species to the annual list and to date one has been added so far this month.

The current San Francisco list stands at 414 species with the county list at 486 per my calculations.

Hugh



Farallon Islands - trip report

Alvaro Jaramillo
 

Hello all,

   It was a foggy day yesterday, but low winds and waves so it was a pleasant ride to get out and back from the islands. Minutes after leaving the slip, we had our first surprise a female Black Scoter! Generally uncommon in the county, and very rare in summer, this individual had been found here several weeks ago by Steve Hampton. As we headed out, right in Half Moon Bay we had a nice show of Humpback Whales, close to the boat and actively feeding with a lot of gulls and the first Elegant Tern of the season for us. Three species of loons, and the first mass of Common Murres were here. The adults males with young we saw later on in the day, but they have not yet reached the coast. The young can’t fly yet, so when they arrive on the coast you can be sure that they swam from the nearest colonies! The first Red-necked Phalaropes are in, all adults as expected, numbers should build up soon. Arriving at Southeast Farallon Island we were treated to a spectacle. There are thousands and thousands of Common Murres still attending the colony, including many birds flying in with fish in the bills to feed the young. Perhaps 300 or so Pigeon Guillemots are about as many as you can see anywhere in the state at one time, and many great views of adult Tufted Puffins in all their glory. The islands were foggy, but Bob Power eventually spotted a Brown Booby on Sugarloaf where they have been present for several seasons now. Lots of Northern Fur Seals where there, as well as a Grey Whale. Off we went to the deep water, where for a few minutes the wind blew and the fog disappeared and then out of nowhere – Two Blue Whales!! It had been a while since we had seen them, but it seems to be a good year for them, so I am hopeful we can find more this season. What luck! Many, many Cassin’s Auklets were out there, with a smattering of Rhinoceros Auklets, but due to the fog and low wind there were very few tubenoses. Sooty Shearwater picked up as we arrived closer to shore, and another surprise as we began to see the coast – the Northern Gannet made a distant fly by heading south along the Half Moon Bay coast. Ironic, as we thought if we see the gannet it will be at the islands. A few photos of the birds here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alvarojaramillo/with/27965465140/

   All in all it was a great trip to the Farallons, lots of birds, although we could have done with less fog. The next trip out is this Saturday, to the continental shelf where I am hoping for more Blue Whales, as well as albatross. This is a very good time of year for albatross, a nice time to find a Laysan in with the Black-footed. And recall that the Salvin’s Albatross that we found was in July a couple of years ago. Warm water has been out there, it came in, retreated and I hope it comes in soon. In Oregon tuna rich warm waters are creating a boom in the albacore fishing, so this water may show up here even as early as this weekend. We shall see, the last time that happened was a few years ago and we had some great sightings, including Hawaiian Petrel, Leach’s Storm Petrel, lots of jaegers etc. We shall see. Contact me if you are interested in Saturday’s trip.  http://alvarosadventures.com/boat-trips/pelagics/

 

Alvaro

Alvaro Jaramillo

alvaro@...

www.alvarosadventures.com

 

Local Interest

David Assmann
 

By the time I left the Cliff House at 7:45 am this morning, at least 3,000 COMMON MURRES had passed by, flying south, and they were still streaming by at a rate of several hundred a minute. Some even flew in between the rocks and shoreline.  The total number could easily have been triple what I estimated, since I only counted/estimated for about half the time I was there.  There were a handful of SOOTY SHEARWATERS in with them, and two WHIMBRELS flew by close to shore. I also saw a small, all dark bird with pointed wingtips and a fluttery flight in with some of the Murres.  It was smaller than a Common Murre, but I have no idea what it may have been.

I spent most of the morning at the Chain Lakes, where the highlights included the continuing AMERICAN REDSTART at North Lake, singing on the west side of the lake, and three GREAT HORNED OWLS sitting in the same tree over the path at Middle Lake. Conspicuous by their absence were ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRDS - I only saw two (and none yesterday at El Polin) - they may already be heading south.

I had fifteen minutes for a brief stop at Fort Mason, to see if the Summer Tanager was still around (it was seen yesterday).  There was a PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER in the Battery (the first since May), and a bird that was the right size and shape for the Summer Tanager flew out of the Battery heading south, but I wasn't able to get on it well enough to confirm.


San Francisco City Cumulative List - Mid Year Report

h cotter
 

All,
The San Francisco City cumulative species list stands at 245 at the end of the June 2016.
In spite of the poor spring vagrant season, this is three ahead of last year's total and two ahead of our previous highest total through June from 2014.

The breakdown by month is as follows:
Jan 189
Feb 199
Mar 214
Apr 231
May 243
June 245

There have been a number of highlights so far this year but the three new additions to the San Francisco City list must be at the top; Royal Tern and Leach's-storm Petrel in January and California Thrasher in June.
Other highlights so far this year include Yellow-billed Loon, Long-eared Owl, Gray Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, (first in five years) and Phainopepla,( first since 2007) to name a few.
Main misses so far include Ross's Goose and  Blue-winged Teal.
July usually adds one to two species to the annual list and to date one has been added so far this month.

The current San Francisco list stands at 414 species with the county list at 486 per my calculations.

Hugh

Rose-breasted Grosbeak continuing at Mount Sutro Forest - Open Space Reserve

Linda Swanson
 


This morning at about 10:45 there was a singing male Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the Mount Sutro Forest along Johnstone Drive. The location on Johnstone Drive is up from the intersection with Medical Center Way, and at the summit, highest point of Johnstone across from a wooden sign indicating the address numbers 165 and 175. This is just across the street and up a short distance from the Rose-breasted Grosbeak that Daniel Scali reported on June 11, so assume this is the same individual. I returned about forty-five minutes later but could not refind the bird.


Linda Swanson