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 seen.


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.