Westside SF 10/8/2020
Today I birded around Western San Francisco, primarily the southwest part, joined for the majority by Cédric Duhalde. Conditions were mostly overcast (getting a little foggier at times) with light SW winds and mild to cool temps. In the past week or two the birding has really transitioned to feeling more like Fall to more like Winter, with a large exodus of Yellow, Wilson's, and Black-throated Gray Warblers, Warbling Vireos, Western Tanagers being replaced by swarms of Townsend's Warblers and Sparrows and increased numbers of Yellow-rumps (though not nearly at the numbers they'll be in a couple months). Nonetheless, we managed to eek out a few interesting birds among the winteresque swarms.
We started at Fort Funston hoping the interesting conditions would bring in some wayward goodies. We covered a lot of regions I'd never checked in the area before, including the section between the olympic club and the beach. We ran into Peter Pyle who'd had the same idea as us but came out similarly skunked. While goodies were nowhere to be found, a few observations of interest were:
House Wren-3 was a nice count
Purple Finch-18 were some of few birds actively on the move today
Savannah Sparrow-1 migrant on the golf course
Common Yellowthroat-5 seemed like a nice migrant push in the scrub
Full eBird checklist here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S74588403
We then hit the South Lake Merced region, walking around the Golf Course briefly then checking the Vista Grande Canal, willows along John Muir Drive, briefly checking the Terry Duel Site and Brotherhood Gulch before wrapping around to the penguin statue, willow trail, concrete bridge and finally gun club marsh. We found more migrants here than at Funston, with little flocks scattered through the region. Highlights here were:
PHILADELPHIA VIREO-1 at coordinates mentioned in previous post. A relatively drab bird for this species. Sounds like others had success with it later in the day, so hopefully it'll stick around a few more days
MAGNOLIA WARBLER-1 at the edge of Gun Club Marsh was likely the same bird Jonah found earlier this week
Yellow Warbler-2 exemplified their outward push recently
Hermit Warbler-1 at VG canal
Full eBird checklist here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S74588560
At the golf course, a large sparrow flock contained 3 lincoln's and a Spotted Towhee. At Brotherhood Gulch we were very surprised to find a migrant MARSH WREN in the Willows (!), the only migrant of this species I've seen in the city away from marshy habitats. Terry Duel was slow and boring because it is in San Mateo county.
We briefly checked Pine Lake Park before splitting up, which held a decent assortment of migrants but nothing unusual.
I proceeded north to Golden Gate Park where I spent a couple hours toodling around the Botanical Garden. The area was very active despite the late hour, and I managed to find a good number of mixed flocks scattered around. Warbler diversity here was nice but still very clearly down in terms of non-wintering birds. Highlights included:
BEWICK'S WREN-1 was a complete surprise, and was just my second ever for the park. Seen by the reservoir
TENNESSEE WARBLER-1 bird on the southwest side of the big meadow near the entrance (just south of the dry fountain)
Orange-crowned Warbler-5 including one gray-headed bird
Full eBird checklist here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S74588700
Finally, I stopped briefly at the Polo Fields where a couple of White-fronted Geese and Two Cackling Geese have set up shop among the Canadas. One of the cacklers is an Aluetian and the other is a very confusing, small, pale bird. I'm not positive what subspecies it is but it may turn out to be something interesting. Also a single Meadowlark flew in at dusk.
Enjoy the last few weeks of FALL!
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To add to the report from yesterday, I went over to chase the Philadelphia Vireo Logan and Cédric found and although I dipped on that I had 2 Blackpoll warblers at the very west end of the VG canal. This area is proving to be a collector of rarities and migrants right now and is a lot of fun to bird.
On Thu, Oct 8, 2020 at 10:16 PM Logan Kahle <logan@...> wrote: