West SF 11/21/22 - Snowy Plovers, Horned Lark, White-throated Sparrows et al.


 

Yesterday I walked a long route from the dunes at the north end of Fort Funston to the north end of Ocean Beach at Beach Chalet, from there meandering through west Golden Gate Park around the golf course/archery range, Bercut Equitation area to South Lake, then the Polo Fields, Metson Lake, the central maintenance yard and exiting the park at 28th and Lincoln, continuing to note birds in the neighborhood as I walked approximately 1.5 miles north along 28th/29th Avenues.

The beach was crowded and almost completely devoid of any birds including gulls. West Golden Gate Park seemed quiet as well, with low numbers of expected species like kinglets, Townsend’s Warblers, non-resident sparrows etc, and only Hermit Thrush numbers conversely seeming much higher than what I’ve come to expect at this season.

Some species of note :

Snowy Plover - 39, in two small roosts at the traditional spot below the north dunes which run from Irving to Noriega. One banded individual noted : L black over orange R green over yellow.

Long-billed Curlew - continues off Pacheco , the only large shorebird noted (!!)

Sanderling - a small flock of 25~ was seen flushed south by dogs at the start, I then noted 2 more roosting w/plovers for a pitiful low count. The times when a flock of several hundred can roam ocean beach seems largely dependent on tide, time of day but also human activity. Where do these birds go when “good” weather brings large amounts of people, dogs and the associated disturbances to the beach for many consecutive days as has been the case in the past several falls and winters?

Wilson’s Snipe - an unexpected sighting as one circled the Polo Fields 14:40-42, before heading west. 

Say’s Phoebe - one was foraging at north Funston. Notably absent were Say’s Phoebes along the ocean beach dunes next to the reopened great highway. Other wintering species that flourished during the highway closure that weren’t encounters: Savannah Sparrow and Western Meadowlark

HORNED LARK - calling fly over seen from the north Funston Dunes. Another formerly common bird on the coast that has become a mid-level rarity in San Francisco as all appropriate habitats get appropriated.

American Pipit - 3-4, fly overs north bound from Funston to north Ocean Beach, a couple attempted to land and forage only to be flushed and flying on

House Wren - north  Funston dunes with Zonotrichia flock 

White-throated Sparrows - (3) feeding together with Juncos and Golden-crowns in California blackberry ~80m east of South Lake Golden Gate Park represent an apparent glut of this species in the region as also noted by mini flocks this fall on Mount Sutro (2-3 from 10/14-11/16 likely attempting to winter locally) and Corona Hill (1-2 for a couple of weeks end of October through early November)

Lincoln’s Sparrow - single bird noted with juncos and Golden-crowns was the only encountered along the route and one of only a few I’ve encountered locally thus fall, seems like a particularly poor year for them

Orange-crowned Warbler - worth noting that only was detected among the few insectivores in west GGP

For those who have already received your CBC assignments it’s not to early to start scouting out your areas.

Good birding.

Dominik Mosur
San Francisco 



 

Yesterday I walked a long route from the dunes at the north end of Fort Funston to the north end of Ocean Beach at Beach Chalet, from there meandering through west Golden Gate Park around the golf course/archery range, Bercut Equitation area to South Lake, then the Polo Fields, Metson Lake, the central maintenance yard ending near Elk Glen.

Some species of note :

Snowy Plover - 39, in two small roosts at the traditional spot below the north dunes which run from Irving to Noriega. One banded individual noted : L black over orange R green over yellow.

Long-billed Curlew - continues off Pacheco , the only large shorebird noted (!!)

Sanderling - a small flock of 25~ was seen flushed south by dogs at the start, I then noted 2 more roosting w/plovers for a pitiful low count. The times when a flock of several hundred can roam ocean beach seems largely dependent on tide, time of day but also human activity. Where do these birds go when “good” weather brings large amounts of people, dogs and the associated disturbances to the beach for many consecutive days as has been the case in the past several falls and winters?

HORNED LARK - calling fly over seen from the north Funston Dunes. Another formerly common bird on the coast that has become a mid-level rarity in San Francisco as all appropriate habitats get appropriated.

American Pipit - 3-4, fly overs north bound, a couple attempted to land and forage only to be flushed and flying on