Mtn Lake -- Red-eyed Vireo (continues?)

Daniel Scali

Hey bird fanatics,

Let me start by reminding folks to use caution when viewing in the Redstart nest area. It's a wonderful thing to have all these m.o.b.s (many observant birders) and curious passersby but if we stress the breeding pair or attract corvid attention or other predators it seems less likely that they will return to the lake in the future or tell their friends about it.

I headed to Mountain Lake early to check on the American Redstarts. I started out by the playground and was perplexed to hear the now familiar male's song coming both from across the lake to the north and from the south side. A little while later I confirmed one AMRE moving in a Monterey cypress south of the lake. Over in the Redstart territory, the male consistently sang near the nest for a good bit while Dave Webster and I enjoyed looks at the female, who left the nest once or twice. A really nice guy named Al came by walking his dog. He'd heard all the vagrant hullabaloo and lamented not having his bins. He was an old school hawk guy who said he'd been fortunate to pal around with birders like Dan Murphy and Joe Morlan back in the day. The male bird had been silent since before Al arrived; he left after 30 minutes of no luck. When the bird finally returned he passed an insect to his mate — his tendency toward lengthy sojourns could explain the earlier sighting across the water.

Bob Gunderson arrived and some other birders followed, including Pat Wong and a Michelle. The male was seen by all and photographed in good light. As Pat's group was disappearing around the bend, I heard what sounded like a purple finch coming from the willows, only the song was a "self song," the quieter kind one hears from solitary birds. I had never heard that from purple finch before, plus the notes started taking on a slightly different quality, more disjointed, vireo-like. I got on the large RED-EYED VIREO (one was had by Mark Dettling and then Rajan on June 18) for two seconds before it blended back into its surroundings. While Bob tried to get pics I was able to get a nice long recording (audio here: ). Ken Moy rolled up next and said the recording was good for REVI. The vireo reappeared infrequently over the next hour or more but was tough to pin down with so many birds, such as Hutton's Vireo, house and purple finches, and European starlings, making somewhat similar sounds. I finally made peace with the lack of a photo, leaving the work to a pair of young birders who were tackling the Redstarts as I pried myself from the lake's grip.

Who said summer is boring!?
Dan Scali, SF

Joel Perlstein

Is the Redstart north or south of the side path that leads to the 3 benches on the northeast side of the lake?

Am I correct that it is on the west side of the road?

Joel Perlstein
San Francisco