Horned Larks, Big Accip, etc.

Brian Fitch

With three potential city year birds out in the southeastern quadrant of town, and me needing only one to set a new personal year record, I decided to head out and try my luck.  Before I could leave though, a Red-breasted Sapsucker popped up in my neighbor's magnolia tree, providing me with my 120th house species.

I stopped by Candlestick first, and walked the fields to see what might be hiding there.  I heard Horned Lark somewhere in the distance, but didn't see it.  Meadowlarks and Savannah Sparrows were the only grass species, but at one point, I heard some upset ravens and looked up to see two of them attacking a juvenile accipiter.  I was quite surprised to see that the hawk was the same length as the ravens, and after several nice maneuvers, it evaded the corvids and flew off toward Hunter's Point.  I'll leave it unnamed because of the distance, but according to  a quick reference check, only one accipiter reaches that size.  All I could see was the highly streaked buffy plumage, and that the partially spread tail showed gradation (shorter outer rectrices) rather than roundedness like a Coop.

At Yosemite Slough, I heard another Horned Lark flying somewhere, and was again unable to sight it.  I spent some time scanning through the fence (not enjoying radioactive shoes like some of you!), and eventually heard and spotted a Horned Lark flying from the restricted area over me and off to the west.

Despite the record being achieved, I still tried for the White-winged Dove at Hillpoint Park, but was unsuccessful.  Every city year bird from now until 12/31 is frosting on the cake, and I like frosting.
Brian Fitch