Battery Godfrey - migration

Keith Maley

Battery Godfrey, with easterly winds on Friday and especially Saturday, showed off a few migrants as spring gets underway. 

The best bird was a crossing FERRUGINOUS HAWK, a rare SF spring migrant, on 3/18 just before 8 am. It appeared as a large buteo behind the battery, and then as it crossed the channel northward and into better light, we could pick up on the white underside, white tail and white patches on the top of the wings. 

Also on Saturday, 3/18, the first WESTERN KINGBIRD movement in the city was noted, with up to 6 birds moving east, occasionally perching briefly in the trees behind the battery. 

In a year devoid of migrating ducks, a trio of NORTHERN PINTAILS flew towards the gate, then changed their minds and headed north. 

On 3/17, a LINCOLN'S SPARROW, an apparent migrant, moved east along the bluff. Also observed were my FOY BARN SWALLOW and at least 14 WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS, many crossing to the north, along with TREE and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS. 

PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were seen in the channel, and CASPIAN TERNS have begun to move into the gate in pairs. 

A HOUSE WREN continues to sing along the bluff. 

In other locations around the city:

The juvenile male ORCHARD ORIOLE continues in the Children's Garden at the Botanical Gardens. It is starting to show more black in the throat and face, and the first signs of the burnt-orange color are starting to appear on its breast. Also in the Botanical Gardens are two continuing WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS. 

The overwintering TENNESSEE WARBLER continues on the southeast side of North Lake in Golden Gate Park. 

FInally, thanks to Will Keller, I had the opportunity to see the apparent first-ever spring SF record of a VESPER SPARROW at Crissy, with its rufous shoulder patches, eye ring, fine streaking, and white outer tail feathers. It was accompanied by its best friend, a striking LARK SPARROW. Also associating with the pair was a SAVANNAH SPARROW without apparent yellow lores, causing some brief ID confusion. A WESTERN KINGBIRD, SAY'S PHOEBE, and WESTERN BLUEBIRDS were also working the wrack down the beach. A RED-NECKED GREBE continues beyond the scoters offshore.