Last weekend while we were skating along the Stevens Creek
Trail I spotted a "Eurasian" Green-winged Teal. This
bird was associating with some of our standard "American"
Green-winged Teal as might be expected, but its diagnostic
lengthwise stripe of white gave it away. Elsewhere in Shoreline
Park a pair of nesting Burrowing Owls were easily
seen near the golfcourse along the main entrance road.
Yesterday, on a walk along San Francisquito Creek by my
office I was able to see a few interesting spring arrivals.
Violet-green Swallows, Barn Swallows, Townsend's
Warbler and many Yellow-rumped Warblers in full
breeding plumage. This last species is usually seen in the
winter and therefore much drabber than now.
The Mourning Doves have set up house right above
my car downstairs on an impossibly small ledge where the
flimsy stick nest somehow stays in place. No chicks yet,
but the adults have been there for a week now, and I can't
wait to see what happens next. I imagine once the eggs have
hatched, the pair will be trading off feeding the young
and it should be fun to watch.
One door down from my appartment, all seems to be well
with the House Sparrow family that has taken up residence
in a small vent above a neigbor's door. I see lot's of activity
with the male and female both coming and going but no sounds
of babies yet.
Just a few moments ago I heard a Barn Owl give
its harsh screech over my complex. I've seen this species
occasionally fly over the road, but I've not gotten a better
look than I did at the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
last month when I was able to photograph one in broad daylight.
Spring seems to be all around us! The winter birds are decreasing
in numbers and every day, new resident species are singing
in full voice. Among the more interesting songs I've heard
in the past week was that of a California Thrasher
by my apartment complex. Seeing a Thrasher is always exciting
to me, but the appearance of this bird represents the first
time in six years I have ever detected the species on the
property. It's song resembles that of a somewhat less musical,
less practiced Mockingbird. Bewick's Wrens as well,
have been setting up territory in the vacinity of the dumpster
by my carport, and Mourning Doves have been investigating
possible nest spots above my doorway. Elsewhere, White-tailed
Kites could be seen mating at Arastradero OSP and at
Princeton Harbor, three species were seen on a recent field
trip and two, the Common Loon and the Red-throated
Loon appeared in full breeding plumage which is a very
uncommon site in our area. American Avocets are also
adopting their orange head and neck plumage.
The Ruff continues to be seen at the east end of
the Dumbarton Bridge in the first pond after leaving the
toll plaza. After paying the toll, pull immediately off
to the right and park in a small gravel/mud sholder and
survey the many shorebirds for the rare Eurasian shorebird
in the first pond. The bird appears like a stocky, short-billed
Yellowlegs with more gold-tones and extensive scaling on
the back. In the same pond there were several hundred Bonaparte's
Gulls as well. The Rough-legged Hawk which has
been seen on numerous occasions near the entrance kiosk
at Coyote Hills Regional Park, could not be refound this
weekend, but was present the previous Saturday along with
an immature Peregrine Falcon.
On a serious note, the extremely rare Black-backed
Wagtail from Asia persists Cargill Salt Company property.
I was able to view it briefly, but now realize I made a
serious error in judgement by doing so. I was severely repremanded
after I made a post to both South Bay Birds and CalBird
because the Wagtail is now and indeed always has been on
private property. I was aware the surrounding areas were
privately owned but believed in error I had found a public
entry to a accesible area. I had heard rumors the bird could
be observed without trespassing, but this does not appear
to be the case. Upon examining maps in detail and reading
previous posts regarding the bird's location it is clear
the entire area is private and should not be entered without
written permission. I was mistaken and acted with poor judgement
when I accessed an overlook that "seemed" safe. I did not
have enough information. Despite my efforts to be responsible
and consciencious, I both trespassed and alarmed many birders
who have justifiably expressed their concern.
For this poor behaviour I wish to apologize to the entire
birding community and the Cargill Salt Company. I urge people
to avoid the same mistake I have made. I hope my actions
will not convince others to pursue this bird or any other
that cannot be viewed from public land.