Kelly and I both got our first choices for the Breeding Bird sponsorship. She chose Warbling Vireo, and I chose Black-chinned Sparrow. We were the second and third donors, with Eric picking up a full 5 species after that! His choices were Belted Kingfisher, White-breasted Nuthatch, California Thrasher, Canyon Wren and Lewis's Woodpecker. With any luck the remaining birds will ALL be sponsored and the atlas will be published by December.
As many of you know, I am on the Santa Clara County Breeding Bird Atlas committee. We've been working hard with Bill Bousman and his team of editors, who have been working for years on this labor of love, so we can get this important publication completed. SCVAS and I are very excited that the book is close to completed and is expected to be available late fall or early winter.
If you have received your Avocet newsletter, you may have noticed that there is an opportunity for you to help complete the book. In the newsletter is a sponsorship form which asks you to choose a species to sponsor, and your contributions will help fund the printing costs of the book. Your name will appear in the sponsor section of the completed book beside the name of the bird you have chosen. Imagine, this landmark publication could have your name and your bird in the opening pages! What a unique opportunity and something that will last for years.
Kelly and I have made our selections, and since we just received our newsletter today, I plan on calling in my pledge tomorrow.
Please consider helping with your contributions and think about which bird YOU would like to sponsor. Something you especially enjoy, every time you see it. Let's try to get all 177 sponsored soon, and remember, there are NO garbage birds in Santa Clara County, but there are certain birds we feel just a little closer too. You know how fond I am of Skimmers, Swifts and Sparrows...
Kelly and I were unsuccessful at locating the Pectoral Sandpiper this morning near the EEC. However, there were many other birds to keep us occupied. We watched the nesting Black Skimmers on A16 and then three more showed up from the farther islands. A total of 5 were seen at one time. Also interesting were at least 5 Lesser Yellowlegs . One of them was along the boardwalk, the others were seen from the train tracks off then entrance road. Present there as well was an immature Greater Yellowlegs with a slightly shorter bill and smaller size which was momentarily confusing. Many Red-necked and Wilson's Phalaropes were also in evidence on both the entrance road, and A16. Still more Phalaropes, mostly Wilson's, were seen from the tracks. Lots of Wesetern and Least Sandpipers, of course. A Peregrine watched all the activity from the power tower above the road.
We also spotted 4 Bonaparte's Gulls in the corner of A-16 closest to the headquarters.
A short afternoon trip to Coyote Point today was very windy today. The high tide covered up most of the marsh, but a few Shorebirds were present. There were many Black-bellied Plovers, some of which were actually "black-bellied", 2 Whimbrels, roughly 30 Black Turnstones , 6 Black Oystercatchers and 4 Wandering Tattlers. Two Elegant Terns were resting among the many Forster's Terns. Most exciting for us was a single Ruddy Turnstones on the beach. There was no sign of the Harlequin Duck, or any Diving Ducks for that matter.
The Radio Road pond was also fairly quiet, although we saw 3 Black Skimmers.
Kelly and I awoke yesterday to the sound of a Black-headed Grosbeak calling in back yard. It was there for only a moment or two before it took off, I assume south... We also made a dash to the coast in the hope of finding a few more birds for the 175+ challenge. We touched down at Moss Landing and birded Jetty Road, finding our Snowy Plover, Sanderling and Red-breasted Merganser. Far off shore there were Sooty Shearwaters, Elegant Terns and a lone Parasitic Jaeger (scope required). We enjoyed seeing Common Murre and Pigeon Guillemot as well. No unusual Gulls yet, but there's still time.
Following that we visited Moon Glow Dairy where we entertained an optimistic fantasy of refinding last year's Vermilion Flycatcher. No luck with that, buy we did our first Cinnamon Teal of the challenge and bunches of Tricolored Blackbirds along the entrance road. After searching for the previously reported LeConte's Sparrow by pond 1 and sorting through hundreds of Red-necked Phalaropes I get a nasty bee sting and it convinced us it was time to look for lunch. We enjoyed the "Whole Enchilada" a Mexican Seafood place on Hwy 1. Perhaps we can go there next time our class visits the area.
This morning after Kelly and I relocated the juvenile Franklin's Gull on the levy between the east and west ponds at SWPCP. Also present here were both Wilson's and Red-necked Phalarope. An adult Peregrine Falcon was perched on the power tower above the main lot and a Virginia Rail in the reeds by the rotating radar station. A single Green Heron was seen flying down the channel.
We also visited the EEC in Alviso where we observed a both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs along the entrance road. A Black Tern was on pond A16. It foraged over the water close to the large island where 2 Black Skimmer are nesting. There were both Long and Short-billed Dowitchers present among the Shorebird clusters on the boardwalk. Semipalmated Plover, Least and Western Sandpipers were there as well. We were not able to find the Pectoral Sandpiper reported earlier in the morning.
In the afternoon, I continued birding while Kelly prepared for school. I made a few stops along the baywhere a highlight was a Wandering Tattler on the concrete slabs near the harbor mouth of Coyote Point. I had hoped to find the Harlequine Duck... No luck there, but the Tattler provided good looks. It flushed from the near shore as I walked out, called several times and then landed on the slabs. Also present were bunches of Black Turnstone, about 4-5 Black Oystercatchers, and in the mudflats there was a Whimbrel and an