This seems to be a good time to see the Burrowing Owls
at Byxby Park in Palo Alto. Three of them were easily visible
in the short grass on top of the small hills closest to
the wooden poles.
I came across two more Eurasian Wigeons in the past
two days. The first one was located at the Palo Alto Flood
Control Basin on Frontage Road in Palo Alto (between Embarcadero
and San Antonio Roads). Take the trail out toward the Bay
and the bird was located in the third large pond on the
right. There were many ducks here and the Eurasian was resting
in a large group of Pintails, Shovellers and American
Wigeons. On my way back toward the car, a Common
Snipe jumped out from its hiding place and flew on a
zig-zag path toward Charleston Slough.
The second Eurasian Wigeon was at Redwood Shores
in San Mateo County. This male bird was on the Bay side
of the Sewage Treatment Facility in a small pond associating
with a flock of Pintails.
A lunch time walk throught Byxbee Park in Palo Alto produced
a few birds. The tide was quite high, and many, many dabblers
were out, but I could find no Blue-winged Teals--mostly
American Wigeons, Northern Shovellers and Cinnamon
Teals. The American Pipits have returned full
force, with about 100 birds in a flock near the wooden poles.
A Say's Phoebe was also in this area. Two Bonepart's
Gulls flew along the main waterway toward the Palo Alto
Duckpond. Three Canvasbacks, two males and a female,
were foraging in the vicinity of the dam. As well there
was a single female Greater Scaup.
Perhaps 50 White Pelicans were on the shore also
near the dam.
For those of you in the class, Western Meadowlarks
occur in the grassy areas of Byxby Park in abundance, as
do the Savannah Sparrows.
After work today, on a short trip to the Palo Alto Flood
Control Basin, I was able to locate 4 Blue-winged Teal
in the second big pond on the left as you follow the trail
toward the Bay. There are also a few Redheads on
the far side of the first pool on the left. I flushed a
Common Snipe which then flew away from the path toward
Recent returns to my office include White-crowned Sparrows
and Golden-crowned Sparrows. These birds have been
absent since spring and should be here through the winter
before they leave again to breed. As well, Dark-eyed
Juncos have returned. Last winter I had a "Slate-colored"
form of this bird among the flock of much more common "Oregons".
On a more dramatic note, Blue-winged Teals continue
to be seen at Charleston Slough and at the Palo Alto Flood
Control Basin on Frontage Road between San Antonio and Embarcadero
Roads. As well, a pair of Short-eared Owl was seen
hunting over the Basin during the weekend.
Over the next few months the high tides in our area will
become increasingly extreme. It is during these very high
tides that rails and other marsh birds become easier to
see. The following schedule should be helpful if you are
interested in seeing any of the rails in our area, especially
the extremely secretive Black Rail.
The above tide schedule is courtesy of Deborah Bartens
one of the city's naturalists.
The Black Skimmers have returned to Charleston Slough.
I saw three birds on the little island across from the pump
house. Earlier this week someone else reported seeing 11!
As well in the area, there is a male (drake) Eurasian
Wigeon. To see this bird follow main trail out (paralleling
the slough) for about 1/4 mile and look to the left. It
seems to like feeding in this area and may be associating
with American Wigeons.
Yesterday, I saw a Bald Eagle in Burlingame sitting
on the power lines just north of Poplar Avenue on Hwy 101.