I've developed a cold and stayed in bed late both yesterday and today. Yesterday, as I drifted in and out of sleep I heard a Killdeer calling overhead and Western Tanager calling in the trees outside the bedroom window. I listened for it again today, but didn't hear it. Instead I heard the soft whinny of a Swainson's Thrush and a Downy Woodpecker. And perhaps a week ago, as Kelly and I were watching a video we both heard the harsh call of a Caspian Tern... I haven't kept an official house list, but I probably should. It seems like it's growing slowly, but surely.
This morning the Semipalmated Sandpiper was present on the left side of the entrance road to the Alviso EEC, about halfway between the tracks and the left hand bend. Another birder named Rick (from Manteca) was already on the bird when I arrived and was kind enough to direct me. Thanks to that, I was able to get wonderful looks. The bird was associating with several Least Sandpipers and was markedly paler on the breast and throat, with a typically short, blunt bill. Despite a reasonable effort, I could not relocate the Baird's Sandpiper along the traintracks. A Peregrine Falcon scattered all the Shorebirds in the area.
Both were present this morning when Kelly and I visited Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz. As previously reported, the Gray Catbird was present in the coffee berry bush across from the bench and trash can accessed from Delaware Street.
One of the two Summer Tanagers was present directly above the wooden platform in the Monarch Butterfly observation area. Both species were calling on occasion and took some patience to view well.
Also present was an Orange-crowned Warbler foraging with Bushtits in the dry weeds above the butterfly platform. Offshore, numerous Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot were present along with a few dozen Sooty Shearwaters.
I almost forgot to mention, after visiting Natural Bridges, Kelly and I drove in on the entrance road at Long Marine Lab at the end of Delaware Street. On our way back out, we spotted two Grasshopper Sparrows perched quietly on a coyote bush across from the first buildings.
Petersen and I took a short walk from the parking lot at Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Ponds which produced three Vaux's Swifts among the many Violet-green and occasional Barn Swallow. Only one Cliff Swallow was observed here. Most fun were two juvenile Green Heron on the wooded planks in the channel and another three adults seen before even reaching the pond. A single Virginia Rail was heard in the reed brake by the large pipe leading out toward the radar tower.
Later we visited Coyote Point Harbor where there was a single Wandering Tattler on the gravel beach. We also spotted 5-6 Whimbrel. At least eight Black Turnstones another dozen Elegant Terns were also keeping company with the scores of Forster's Terns. Black-bellied Plovers were present in small numbers, far out-numbered by the many Semipalmated Plovers, Least and Western Sandpipers . At one point an immature Peregrine Falcon scattered all the birds on the sand bar, only to zero in on what appeared to be a Least Sandpiper. It nailed the Peep and returned to one of the power tires to finish its meal.
As reported by others, the Little Blue Heron remains in the usual location along Alameda Creek just west of Mission Blvd. Kelly and I first spotted it at 12:45 about 200 yards down stream from the inflatable dam, on the gravel island. It then flew up toward the dam. Also present were two Spotted Sandpiper and six female-plumaged Common Mergansers.
This morning Ashutosh, Petersen, Kelly and I visited Alviso where we birded the levy west of the EEC. Salt pond A-16 was active with young and adult Forster's Terns. while the east-west channel contained both Red-necked and a few Wilson's Phalaropes. Least and Western Sandpipers were numerous as well. We found the male Ruff on the 4th island. It still has patches of black on its breast and neck, andwas still difficult to get lengthy looks at. Eventually our patience was rewarded. As we backtracked we spotted the basic-plumaged Black Tern on the first island. At various stops we also found Semipalmated Plovers foraging among the Peeps. At State and Spreckles two Eurasian Collared Doves were seen.