BG, Ft Scott, Twin Peaks

Brian Fitch

An interesting day, with multiple uncommon to rare migrant/vagrants; too bad the round up didn't happen over one of the last two days.

Battery Godfrey was quiet compared to yesterday, with the highlight being the three ibis heading east over the bridge and the Bay before 9 AM, my first at this site.  Other species included a southbound harrier during the 7 o'clock hour, a couple of Red-taileds and a Coop, both south, 2 small flocks of Caspian Terns heading into the Gate, a couple of Parasitic Jaegers, a single Vaux's Swift, a single Western Meadowlark, and a zoom-by flock of roughly 30 Tricolored Blackbirds right over the Battery shrubbery.  Maybe a third were males, and all of them appeared to have white edges on the wing.  The low light was having a scolding flock of passerines in the lone big cypress, just as I was trying to leave.  They complained for 20 minutes about something that I could not locate from any angle, and I can't help but think that I missed what could of been the high point of an already productive day.

Ft Scott started quietly.  Felix arrived while I was craning my neck on the unseen scoldee, and after we gave up on it, we crossed over to the Fort.  After finding the sparrow flock, I eventually spotted a single Chipping Sparrow, likely one of those reported by Oscar yesterday.  While we were trying to refind the bird, I looked up to see a Lewis's Woodpecker flying away south over the buildings, a glossy black woodpecker with very deep wingbeats, clearly smaller than a crow.  There was also a male kestrel hunting over the grassy areas and 2 Say's Phoebes.  After Felix left, I doubled back to the ball field, and found a Willow Flycatcher hawking from the fence rather uncharacteristically, at least 8 Savannah Sparrows, and a Lark Sparrow.  While working the sparrow flock, I again looked up to see a number of raptors over the forest south of the Fort; in the group was a TV, a Red-shouldered, a Sharpie, and a White-tailed Kite, my first in SF this year.

After reporting that things were moving in the area, I left, and thus missed Jonah's Swainson's Hawk.  After a hydration rest at home, I then hit Twin Peaks from 12:30- 2:30, where a strong east wind made the weather tolerable for a while.  The highlight on TP was 5 Broad-winged Hawks, all apparently juveniles, and all heading south, a single and two pairs.  Two flew right over me, but they were so high that only the scope allowed good viewing.  I hoped the Swainson's would fly by, but if it did, I never spotted it.  Other species were few up there, with 1 northbound TV, 3 Sharpies kettling, many local Red-taileds, 1, 30 and 1 Vaux's Swifts, the last singleton was heading north, 6 Barn Swallows and a single American Pipit, both species were northbound.  I haven't done a Twin Peaks watch in several years, and it was nice to see the swifts at eye level.  When I got in my car, the temp read 102...
Brian Fitch