Re: Common Gallinule, Lake Merced

Bob Toleno

I saw the Common Gallinule this morning at a little after 7am in exactly the spot that Peter described. It was fairly well hidden in the reeds, so i had to wait until it moved a little before i could find it.

Bob Toleno

On Sun, Feb 24, 2019 at 6:48 PM Peter Pyle <ppyle@...> wrote:
The gallinule, first found by Brian Fitch on 22 Feb, was observed
today at about 3:45. It was skirting the back edge of the semi-open
area of water about 40 feet west of the NE corner of the concrete
bridge, to the left of the bleached white willow snag in the water
but to the right of the live willow that comes up to the bridge
railing, about 25 feet out from the bridge. When Rudy and I arrived
it was being observed by Max Laura and his son Mark, who apparently
first spotted the bird, and Jeff Gray. Jeff's and my photos are here:

As I wrote in my eBird checklist,

"My guess is a second-cycle bird - examination of photos indicates
broad and basic (rather than juvenile) primaries and rectrices but
bill shield is dull and not fully developed. By this date in Feb an
older bird should have brighter red-and-yellow bill and broader more
developed red shield (see photos)."

Civic Center Mew Gulls

Smokey Bear

Mew Gulls have been a steady presence in Civic Center this winter.
They really like the northeast square of lawn during the rain, and I
count as many as 35 massed up on this one patch, looking for worms or
grubs, I presume. Today there were 20. I'm not sure why but the other
three patches of lawn don't attract them at all. I believe numbers of
Mew Gulls are up sharply this year over the last few years, when I
counted just 5 or so at any one time and only saw them for a few


Orchard Oriole and tree removal at Fort Mason

David Assmann

Pretty much the expected birds at Fort Mason this morning with the ORCHARD ORIOLE and a ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER in the garden, a BUFFLEHEAD and a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER in the Aquatic Park, and an ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD on the hillside above Aquatic Park. However, a Park Service employee told me that massive tree removal is about to start in the Battery at Fort Mason, with 19 Eucalyptus trees slated for removal between now and March 8th, which will completely change the character of the Battery, and probably will reduce its suitability as a stopover point for migrating birds.

Long Tailed Duck Continues

David Assmann

At Baker Beach, but further out than earlier this week.

Re: Orchard Oriole and tree removal at Fort Mason

Bob Hall

David: Is the Fort Mason planting plan available somewhere? I think the habitat will actually improve if they plan to replant with coffeeberry, toyons, silk tassel, etc. If you hear of a public meeting on this, please let me know.

Here’s an interesting blurb on toyon from author Kate Marianchild:

"Toyon contributes nectar and pollen for at least 27 native bee species, including leaf cutter and resin bees, digger bees, carpenter bees bumblebees, cellophane bees and mason bees. It provides nectar for hover flies, monarchs, California Sister butterflies, mourning cloaks, Anna’s hummingbird and various beetles and ants. Toyon is the larval host for at least 50 species and it provides seeds and berries for multiple birds, including thrushes, cedar waxwings and finches. Hutton’s vireo, orange-crowned warblers, California towee and several other birds use the tree for nesting."

Since this is a birding sighting forum: robins and waxwings are in huge mobs in my neighbor’s back yards. The most I can remember.

Bob Hall

Bob Hall
San Francisco, CA
"There is no better high than discovery." - E.O. Wilson

Eastern Phoebe continues in Twin Peaks Natural Area 2/28/2019


Same area as last week, trail from north end of Crestline, or look down from Twin Peaks onto the draw below the restrooms.

Good luck,

Long tailed duck and 2 Red-necked grebes

Josiah Clark

The long tail duck continues with the flock at the north end of the beach just passed Breakers. Two red-necked 
 grebes were a few hundred yards offshore by the first parking lot.
At a job site in Pacific Heights pine siskins continue to be loyal to a feeder at a 3rd story windows. We did not see the Wilson’s Warbler spotted by Cedric there last month. 

On Apr 10, 2018, at 5:53 PM, SFBirds <> wrote:


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The Team

Red Necked Grebes and Baker Beach

David Assmann

A RED-NECKED GREBE offshore at Crissy Field was the first of two this morning - the other was at Baker Beach.  In addition to the LONG-TAILED DUCK at Baker Beach this morning, there was a MARBLED MURRELET, three BLACK SCOTERS (two female and one male) and at least 200 SURF SCOTERS.

Northern and Eastern niceties continue

Richard Bradus

Hi all

Had a very successful morning, starting at Baker beach where the continuing Long-tailed Duck made a nice flyby and hung out for a time with a large raft of Surf Scoters (also seen by Max Benningfield, who hopefully got some photos). Two female Black Scoters also remain, seen near the edge of the largest raft, and there were also three species of Loon (though I missed seeing the Red-throateds), and at least one Bewick's Wren singing from above the battery.

Then off to Twin Peaks, where I got lucky having decided to survey from just south of the tourist overlook rather than hiking up. The Eastern Phoebe, which I had initially seen as a flash of white as it flew into cover in the brush, thankfully popped out and worked the scrub slope below for about ten minutes, affording me better views than Lee-Hong Chang who was below on the Crestline trail. It didn't sing but it did give one sharp chip call before it flew out to forage. Despite a dead battery (good thing I carried a spare) and my camera's annoying tendency to focus on the vegetation behind rather than the bird, I did manage to get a couple of decent photos. Interestingly, these show a bit of pale yellow on the belly, which I was not able to appreciate on my initial observation through binoculars.

Thank you Josiah and Dominik! (and all the subsequent reports) - they are still out there despite the storms. Fun for all!

Richard Bradus
San Francisco

Fort Mason and Crissy Field Local Interest

David Assmann

Spent the first half of the morning at Fort Mason, where the ORCHARD ORIOLE continued in the garden. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER near the west side of the garden was very aggressive, chasing after AMERICAN ROBINS - a behavior I have not observed before. On my way to Crissy Field I stopped at the Yacht Harbor, where four SURFBIRDS foraged on the rocks. At the northwest corner of Crissy Lagoon, two SAVANNAH SPARROWS were in the willows, and on the field I observed several WESTERN MEADOWLARKS and spotted an AMERICAN PIPIT.

Ferry Park (Sue Bierman) - Wilson's Warbler 3-1-19

Jack Hayden

The wintering Wilson's Warbler continues at Ferry Park (as of March 1). Among birds currently reported on eBird, this is the most northerly Wilson's along the west coast of the US. Interesting to note there is another Wilson's wintering in British Columbia.

Also present is the continuing White-throated Sparrow and three other warbler species.

eBird report with photos.

Jack Hayden

Spotted Towhee in Lafayette Park

Allan Ridley

A spotted towhee was actively foraging with a group of robins and starlings on the slope north of the concrete walkway opposite the tennis courts.

Long-tailed duck still around

Bob Hall

Took a long walk yesterday to see the white duck of the crashing surf. Didn't expect to get lucky, but there was the long-tailed duck about 50 feet off the beach. Easy views, no scope necessary. Another birder pointed out some female black scooters. Nice, close looks at Pacific loons, too.

On the way over I heard a Wilson's warbler singing in the Lobos Dunes willows. I also heard two or three Bewicks wrens. They seem to be a fixture there now. Today, in my backyard, I saw my FOS orange crown warbler.
Bob Hall
San Francisco, CA
"There is no better high than discovery." - E.O. Wilson

Regarding the Baker Beach sighting

Bob Hall

I was told that I likely saw a red-throated loon and not a Pacific loon. My birding skills have surely eroded due to neglect but I still arrogantly walk around without a bird guide, for some reason!

Bob Hall
Bob Hall
San Francisco, CA
"There is no better high than discovery." - E.O. Wilson

Fabulous March Birdathon events available


Hi All,

We still have a few spots available for three of our great March Birdathon fund-raising events.
We have two wonderful "behind the scenes" the Oakland Zoo and to the California Academy of Science.
As well as an opportunity to go birding and eat chocolate all on the same day in Alameda.
The event descriptions and registration links are below.

Birdathon will run into early May.
Here's a link to the trip schedule if you'd like to see more great events.

Behind the Scenes at the Oakland Zoo
Sunday March 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Leslie Storer, Tom & Diane Bennett

Min. Donation: $100

Click HERE to register

(Please consider an additional donation to GGAS when you register)

You will be treated to private talks with several keepers. Our tour will highlight major recent events, including a new aviary and California Trail. Lunch on your own at the Landing Cafe or bring your own. Either way, take in a spectacular view of the Bay Area while you dine. After lunch, your experience continues with a guided walking tour of CA Trail and the opportunity to observe training sessions.  Limit 14 people.

Behind the Scenes at the California Academy

Hurry! Only 2 spots left.

March 28, 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (option to stay to 10 p.m. for NightLife)

Jack Dumbacher, Dir. of Mammals and Ornithology

Min. Donation $100

Click HERE to register

(Please consider an additional donation to GGAS when you register)

Enjoy a private tour of the world-renowned bird collection at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Curator of Ornithology Jack Dumbacher will guide you through the collection of 100,000 bird specimens dating back to the 1800s. Afterwards, enjoy free admission to the Academy’s monthly Night Life event for those 21 years of age and older. Limit 12 people

Birds and Chocolate in Alameda

March 30, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Joyce Mercado and Sharol Nelson-Embry

Min. Donation $50

Click HERE to register

(Please consider an additional donation to GGAS when you register) 

Begin the day at the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary in Alameda. The shoreline will be packed with overwintering shorebirds! The overlook and trail provide close access to identify and observe these birds, along with ducks, pelicans, egrets, and maybe a flyover of a peregrine, or kingfisher! Bring a bag lunch to enjoy on the beach if weather permits. At the host house, we’ll discover some of the finest luxury chocolates in the world, many made locally. Choose your favorites while you learn about rainforest ecosystems, conservation issues, and how our love of chocolate impacts wildlife. Limit 15 people.

Good birding,

Steve Lombardi
Golden Gate Audubon Society

cont. Blackburnian Warbler


Yesterday I had business at the SF Zoo so I stopped at Lake Merced Park to look for the Blackburnian Warbler found on the CBC (12/27/18) by Peter Pyle, and last observed in early February.

After spending some time sorting through Yellow-rumped Warblers in the willows and myoporums on the south side of the entrance road from Skyline Blvd. the BLACKBURNIAN Warbler was relocated alive and still wintering. As in previous visits the soft call note preceded laying eyes on the bird as it feeds very quietly and almost in the creeping manner of Black&White Warbler than the frequently sallying Yellow-rumps. A wad of feathers and tree gum has formed over the bird's bill as is typical of exotic nectar tree clients by this late into the winter but this time it was feeding in the budding Arroyo Willows.

If anyone has anyone significant sightings from December - Feb that didn't make it on to the list let me know offline as I am beginning to compile the winter report.

Thank you,

Dominik Mosur
San Francisco

Eastern Phoebe continues, 3/7

Adam Winer

The Eastern Phoebe continued this morning, just above the trail from the north end of Crestline and below the Twin Peaks restrooms.  Also present was a House Wren in full song.

-- Adam Winer

Long Tailed Duck Continues at Baker Beach

David Assmann

The LONG-TAILED DUCK originally found by Josiah continues at Baker Beach, in with 250 or so SURF SCOTERS.

Eastern Phoebe

Joachim Gonzalez

Continuing near restrooms

Long-tailed Duck continues at Baker Beach 3/8

Felix Rigau

Long-tailed Duck continues at Baker Beach


Late afternoon today I walked along Baker Beach and sighted the Long-tailed Duck mixed in with a small group of Surf (18) and Black (3) Scoters. From there I walked along the Battery to Bluffs trail and sighted a large raft (200+) of Surf Scoters east of Baker Beach.

Thanks Josiah.

Felix Rigau