Palo Alto, Bayfront Park, Dumbarton

Kris Olson

Yesterday, in between errands and child drop-offs I managed to sneak in a
bit of birding.

Palo Alto Baylands - high tide in the AM. What interested me were 7
BONAPARTE GULLs in the duck pond. They swam in a circle around the fountain,
right outside the splash line. What were they doing? They were not picking
for food, nor were they splashing luxuriously in a bath. Just going around
the fountain in this circle. I mentioned it to Rich Ferrick at my next
stop, and he had seen the behavior, too.

Bayfront Park -- Rich was leading a bird walk or providing information on
birds for visitors to the park. I thought I would see if he needed help, but
it was a quiet AM. I did not stay to bird, but he mentioned that the

Dumbarton Bridge -- I checked the ponds to the north of the west entrance on
my way to Berkeley. Amazingly dry and deserted. The one big pond that has
held lots of shorebirds lately and last year many ducks was almost empty.
LEAST SANDPIPERS landed near the car and eagerly fed on the rain-wettened
mud and pickleweed. There is still some water in the deeper channel of the
pond to the left of the "trail" (now closed due to duck hunting, until Jan
27) -- and I could see a few peeps flying around out there. Not a tern in

Alamada County -- many Bonaparte Gulls on both side of the road (Dumbarton
bridge); lots of shorebirds - including Black-necked Stilts--but, going 60
mph, I did not identify the rest. Maybe the shorebirds have moved over to
this side of the bay.

Meanwhile, closer to home -- our neighborhood Screech Owl seems quieter
right now, but that may be because it's calling in the middle of the night,
our windows/doors are not open, and we are outside less in the dark cold
evening. The last time I heard it was Nov. 27. My daughter was up on the
roof taking photos for her photography class earlier this week, at dusk, and
the owl flew right over her head. She was excited to see its "big wings".
She also did not tell me until the next day so that she could "savor" the
experience. I understand the sentiment! I will listen for it during count