For the past few days there has been a Tropical Kingbird in Palo Alto at the end of Geng Road near the Palo Alto Municipal Golfcourse. This species is very similar to our familiar Western Kingbird but has a longer bill and a strongly notched tail. As well, the post-breading northward dispersal of TRKIs means that Kingbirds seen this time of year should be scrutinized thoroughly as they may turn out to be this rare Mexican species. To reach the area, turn on to Geng off of Embarcadero and follow the road to the end of the parking lot. From there, walk to the right along the bike trail toward the pedestrian bridge. The bird was located in the area near the bridge. Some people reported seeing in on the San Mateo County side of the bridge, but I saw it inside of the golfcourse fence on the Santa Clara County side. While it may seem silly to dwell on which county the bird was in it is of extreme interest to "county birders" who keep separate checklists for each county. This data then helps create the various checklists that are handed out during class. In the same area there was a female Merlin and back by the parking lot there was a very unseasonalbe Bullock's Oriole.


Today at Redwood Shores in the large water treatment pool there was a male Eurasian Wigeon along with multitudes of Hooded Mergansers and all the other expected waterfowl. A Peregrine Falcon streaked through and scattered all the small birds, but most seemed to settle back down on the pond again.

There are still 2 Barrow's Goldeneyes near the boathouse on Shoreline Lake coming close enough to shore to photograph easily and allowing good comparisons to the numerous Common Goldeneyes. Both Horned and Eared Grebes are present as well.

The Palo Alto Flood Control Basin still has good numbers of Blue-winged Teals, although not in the same quantity as earlier in the week. A very pale, unusually grayish American Bittern, flushed from the small waterway beside the trail on the way to the deadend where the Teals were. I also got a glimpse of a Virginia Rail as it fluttered across the canal.

At Lake Cunningham in San Jose the Lesser Black-backed Gull remains near the small island off to the right. It seems to have established a 20 yard circle of water which it protects from other gulls. It swam leisurely just off shore back-and-forth across its territory until I left. Hopefully the photos will turn out... Elsewhere in the park the parking lot had Red Breasted Nuthatch. I saw no interesting Geese among the CAGOs.

On a trip to Grant Ranch yesterday I failed to find the Summer Tanager, but did have good looks at Red-breasted Sapsucker, Say's Phoebe, and Ring-necked Duck.


Blue-winged Teals
were in abundance at the Palo Alto Flood Control Basin along Frontage Road today with as many as 23 males and almost that many females. This seems to be a dependable spot of BWTEs and Mike Rogers joked we should keep a look out for Garganey!


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.

High Tides for the Palo Alto Yacht Harbor

11/13/00..... 12:54 pm..... 9.0 ft
11/14/00..... 01:36 pm..... 9.0 ft

12/09/00..... 10:29 am..... 9.0 ft
12/10/00..... 11:07 am..... 9.3 ft
12/11/00..... 11:48 am..... 9.4 ft
12/12/00..... 12:32 pm..... 9.5 ft
12/13/00..... 01:20 pm..... 9.4 ft
12/14/00..... 02:11 pm..... 9.0 ft

01/06/01..... 09:10 am..... 9.0 ft
01/07/01..... 09:55 am..... 9.3 ft
01/08/01..... 10:41 am..... 9.6 ft
01/09/01..... 11:29 am..... 9.7 ft
01/10/01..... 12:18 pm..... 9.7 ft
01/11/01..... 01:09 pm..... 9.5 ft
01/12/01..... 02:02 pm..... 9.1 ft

02/05/01..... 09:34 am..... 9.2 ft
02/06/01..... 10:27 am..... 9.5 ft
02/07/01..... 11:20 am..... 9.6 ft
02/08/01..... 12:12 pm..... 9.5 ft
02/09/01..... 01:03 pm..... 9.2 ft

03/07/01..... 10:19 am..... 9.0 ft
03/08/01..... 11:14 am..... 9.0 ft

The above tide schedule is courtesy of Deborah Bartens one of the city's naturalists.


On my way to Point Reyes for a class field trip, I spotted an adult Bald Eagle atop the power lines in Burlingame. This is the same area I found an eagle almost exactly a year ago and is immediately north of Coyote Point and south of the San Francisco Airport. The full list of birds seen on the trip is posted on my site at: Trip Reports.