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
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