Crittenden Marsh has been active recently. The most exciting
bird to be found there was a basic-plumaged Ruff.
This Old World vagrant is quite rare in our area but seen
nearly every year. It was located by Peter Metropolis on
the far side of the large lagoon between Moffit Field and
Shoreline Amphitheater, requiring a scope to be seen. Elsewhere
in the area were the nearly 50 Least Tern, over 100
Vaux's Swifts, and an adult Peregrine Falcon.
Good numbers of the expected Marbled Godwits and
Long-billed Curlews, Black-bellied Plovers
and Semi-palmated Plovers could be seen as well.
Last week a trip to the Sacramento River National Wildlife
Refuge produced small numbers of Swainson's Hawks,
two more Peregrine Falcons, a few stray Cattle
Egrets flying over the road, an American Bittern,
small groups of White-faced Ibis, two imm. Blue
Grosbeak, and two Lazuli Bunting.
Last weekend in Princenton Harbor, just north of Half
Moon Bay, hundreds of Elegant Terns could be seen
on the mudflats by the road. On a boating trip leaving from
the area and travelling south toward Pescadero, hundreds
of Common Murre, up to 50 Phalaropes most
likely Red-necked, and two Parasitic Jaegers were
A few interesting birds have been showing up with some regularity
in the Shoreline Area. At the end of Crittenden Road near
the entrance to Shoreline Park, a trail leading north along
the creek eventually ends up near an open area called Crittenden
Marsh. Most of the area is actually owned by a salt company
and therefore closed to pedestrians. With binoculars, or
better yet a telescope, good numbers of Least Terns (uncommon in our area), Wilson's and Red-necked
Phalaropes as well as Lesser Yellowlegs can be
observed. The nearby marsh which falls between two parallel
paved trails is often good for numerous shorebirds such
as Marbled Godwit, Long-billed Curlew, Whimbrel and many others. Both Sora and Virginia Rail can be seen here as well.
Last weekend was pretty exciting in that a trip to Point
Reyes, or more specifically Olema Marsh, produced a Purple
Martin among the many Barn and Cliff Swallows.
This species is quite rare in our area, but breeds yearly
in Marin County. As well, I photographed an Osprey
on the nest and also Belted Kingfisher and Red-shouldered
Hawk. With any luck these slides will be worth showing
in class next month.
Just today, I found a Band-tailed Pigeon along
Alma as I drove home. The bird flew right over my car and
landed in a tall conifer near the junction with Oregon.
That's all the now, I guess. Those of you who have been
the class before know how much I like Black Skimmers.
Well my new slides of this species are really good and I
can't wait to show them off! I also had the good fortune
of seeing a new individual at Rodeo Lagoon in the Marin
Headlands last weekend. As far as I know, this these birds
have not been seen in that area before and it represents
a continuing trend of northward expansion.