10-14-01

I'm back from icy-cold Montana where a week of touring the Northwestern secton of the state produced few birds. Bad weather in Glacier NP closed Logan Pass so my chances at White-tailed Ptarmigan and Black Rosy Finch were dashed. The best birds of the trip were 3 Blue Grouse which fed calmly beside the car, oblivious to our presence, Ruffed Grouse, a single immature Bald Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Black-billed Magpie, and Black-capped Chickadee. Large mammals were actually the best part of the trip with many Bison, Elk, Pronghorn and Mountain Goats seen in both the National Bison Range and Glacier NP. What a beautiful place!!

More locally, this afternoon, Brian Christman and I visited Byxbee Park at the end of Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto. At the intersection of Embarcadero and the road leading into the dump there was a Palm Warbler foraging in the annis on the ground among White-crowned Sparrows. We observed the bird for a few minutes and it remained in the area after we left. At the park proper we found a group of about 15 American Pipits and a single Burrowing Owl.

At the Palo Alto Flood Control Basin we found four drake Blue-winged Teal among a large group of Northern Shovelers in the second pond on the left as the trail leads out toward the Bay.

Earlier this morning a short trip to Charleston Slough produced an American Bittern near the bleachers along the Adobe Creek. It was foraging along the near shore and flushed across the water and remained in view for some time. As well, on one of the small mud islands, a pair of Common Snipe were clearly visible among a group of Dowitchers. No interesting ducks were seen, but two Virginia Rails and a two Soras were along the creek and in the Mountain View Forebay. There were 16 Black Skimmers on their island near the new platform and two Lincoln's Sparrows were along the freshwater-in close to Shoreline Lake.