FALL 2000

Palo Alto Duck Pond and Byxbee Park 09-16-00 POSTED
Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake 09-24-00 POSTED
Arastradero Open Space Preserve 09-30-00 POSTED
Alum Rock Park 10-07-00 POSTED
Joseph D. Grant County Park 10-14-00 POSTED
Princeton Harbour and Pillar Point 10-21-00 POSTED
Merced National Wildlife Area 10-28-00 POSTED
Point Reyes National Seashore 11-04-00 POSTED

Note: The trip reports below are organized in reverse chronological order (more recent report first).



Point Reyes National Seashore 11-04-00

This was our last field trip of the term and despite early fog, our trek to the outer point was largely successful. We began at the Bear Valley Interpretive Center and found most of the target birds, but failed to see some others. Pygmy Nuthatch was a "heard only" species as was Brown Creeper, but we had fine looks at Townsend's Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Downy Woodpecker. Olema marsh was not enormously productive, but yielded our only Cinnamon and Green-winged Teals of the day. Inverness, where we paused for lunch (and Phil's birthday cake), offered a good Gull turnout with shorbirds such as Dunlin, Marbled Godwit and Sanderling. We then decided to continue to Chimney Rock despite the possiblity of dense fog and were rewarded with Common Loon, Clark's and Western Grebe, Surf Scoter, Golden-crowned Kinglet, two Peregrine Falcons and Great Horned Owl! Point Reyes continues to be worth the trip even with the unpredictable weather.

Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Great Egret
Green-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Mallard
Gadwall
Surf Scoter
Bufflehead
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
White-tailed Kite
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
California Quail
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Marbled Godwit
Sanderling
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Heerman's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern
Mourning Dove
Rock Dove
Great Horned Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecer
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Pygmy Nuthatch (heard only)
Brown Creeper (heard only)
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Hutton's Vireo (heard only)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Western Meadowlark
Pine Siskin

Some additional birds I noticed in the area both before and after our field trip were:

Wild Turkey
Black-bellied Plover
Pacific Golden Plover
Killdeer
Horned Lark
Marsh Wren
Cedar Waxwing (heard only)
Tricolored Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Sparrow



Merced National Wildlife Refuge 10-28-00

The weather cooperated nicely, allowing for a beautiful drive around the loop. In the week since I had visited the reserve, both Snow and Greater White-fronted Geese had arrived, but noticeably absent were the many Cattle Egrets and Common Snipe. Numbers of Sandhill Cranes were down as well, presumably they were feeding elsewhere in the Valley. Highlights included a Great Horned Owl, an American Bittern flying in the distance, plenty of Loggerhead Shrikes and awesome looks at a Prairie Falcon. This uncommon raptor flew in and displaced an American Kestrel giving us a nice size comparison between the two. White-faced Ibis were even more plentiful than the week before and vocalized frequently as we approached closely near the second platform. The only down side of the trip was an army of merciless mosquitos which reminded me of the value of insect repellent! Next time, I'll remember...

Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
White-faced Ibis
Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
Ring-necked Pheasant (heard only)
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Long-billed Dowitcher
Herring Gull
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Downy Woodpecker (heard only)
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Oak Titmouse
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (heard only)
American Pipit
Loggerhead Shrike
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Savannah Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
California Towhee
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Some additional birds I noticed in the Valley both before and after our field trip were:

Eared Grebe
Long-billed Curlew
California Gull
Anna's Hummingbird
Tri-colored Blackbird



Princeton Harbour and Pillar Point 10-21-00

Wow, what a great trip! This will certainly be a permanent addition to the Fall and Winter field trip itinerary. The weather was sunny and wonderful, with some wind as we walked out to the Point. The species count may not have been exceptional but we saw many birds which could be added to the "Fall term life list". Most notably was the Red Phalarope, which approached within 10 feet and afforded us fantastic views and interesting discussion. These winter birds can easily be confused with the slightly smaller Red-necked Phalarope and everyone contributed to the final identification. This particular bird was "oiled" which added to the id confusion. Other interesting coastal birds included good numbers of Whimbrel, Mew Gull and Black Turnstone. We were perhaps too late in the season for Elegant Terns and a bit early for the great numbers of Diving Ducks which should be present on our next visit to this wonderful coastal location.

Common Loon
Western Grebe
Eared Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Red-tailed Hawk
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black Oystercatcher
Lesser Yellowlegs
Willet
Whimbrel
Marbled Godwit
Black Turnstone
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Red Pharalope
Bonaparte's Gull
Heermann's Gull
Mew Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Dove
Northern Flicker (heard only)
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (head only)
Bewick's Wren
Marsh Wren (heard only)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (heard only)
American Pipit (heard only)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat (heard only)
European Starling
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Brewers Blackbird
House Finch

Some additional birds I noticed in the immediate area and down the coast near Pescadero were:

Snowy Egret
Red-tailed Hawk
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Black Phoebe
Cedar Waxwing
Loggerhead Shrike
Cliff Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
Red-winged Blackbird



Joseph D. Grant County Park 10-14-00

This was one of the better trips recently! Perfect weather and lots of good birds in this open, grassy oak hillside habitat. Highlights included first-ever-for-a-field-trip Lincoln's Sparrow and Lark Sparrow! While Wild Turkey and Yellow-billed Magpie eluded the group I was able to see them just prior to most people's arrival. Unexpected but not surprising was a large group of Ring-necked Ducks and a single Canvasback on the pond. Raptor numbers were low, but winter Warblers and Songbirds were in good supply. Let's hope that future trips this term will be as fun and productive as this one!

Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
Canvasback
Ring-necked Duck
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Mourning Dove
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Accipiter species
California Quail (heard)
American Coot
Greater Yellowlegs
Dowitcher species
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker (heard)
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch (heard)
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Lark Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Purple Finch
House Finch
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Some additional birds I noticed in the same area before and after our field trip were:

Red-shouldered Hawk
Wild Turkey
Killdeer
Rock Dove
Yellow-billed Magpie



Alum Rock Park 10-07-00

The main entrance has been closed since September 21 because of a landslide which I didn't known about. So we gathered at the gate and then drove as a group to the new entrance on Penitencia Blvd. Once inside we began birding near the Rustic Lands picnic area and had good looks at a singing California Thrasher. Cool weather seemed to keep the birds from really showing themselves, but as we proceeded beyond the bridge toward the second picnic area we were treated to satisfying looks at Townsend's Warbler and Nuttall's Woodpecker.

Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Red-shouldered Hawk
Turkey Vulture
Mourning Dove
Killdeer
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Black Phoebe
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Wrentit (heard only)
American Robin
California Thrasher
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo
Townsend's Warbler
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee (heard only)
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch

Some additional birds I noticed in the same area before and after our field trip were:

Red-tailed Hawk
Downey Woodpecker
California Gull
Rock Dove
Northern Mockingbird
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Brewer's Blackbird
House Sparrow



Arastradero Open Space Preserve 09-30-00

Today we concentrated on Birds of Prey, of which we had seven species! Despite a productive start to the day, numbers of species were low, perhaps because of the high temperatures as we approached mid-day. The highlight would almost certainly be exceedingly good looks at a Cooper's Hawk as it moved from post to post and remained perched for several minutes. As well a Bewick's Wren revealed itself briefly in the same tree as a Nuttall's Woodpecker and a White-breasted Nuthatch. Conspicuous no-shows included Green Heron, California Quail, and Western Bluebird.

Great Blue Heron
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
American Coot
Killdeer
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
Wrentit (heard only)
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee (heard only)
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch

Some additional birds I noticed in the same area before and after our field trip were:

Turkey Vulture
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
American Robin
Hermit Thrush
Northern Mockingbird
Western Meadowlark
Orange-crowned Warbler



Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake 09-24-00

Perfectly beautiful weather! We had increased numbers of Dabbling Ducks and Shorebirds and even some migrant Warblers. I think seeing more Duck species was helpful but difficult since many of the birds were immature or eclipse-plumaged males. Highlights included good, but brief looks at Sora and Moorhen, a fierce Cooper's Hawk perching cooperatively in plain view, and an enormous flock of more than 100 White Pelicans that came to feed and bathe in the slough as we watched. Three Black Skimmers took to the air as the entire island bird population was startled by some unseen predator. All in all it was a wonderful trip with some lifers for most people.

Pied-billed Grebe
Brown Pelican
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron (seen by Dody and myself)
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Cooper's Hawk
Ring-necked Pheasant (heard only)
American Coot
Common Moorhen
Sora
Virginia Rail (heard only)
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Marbled Godwit
Western Sandipiper
Least Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitchers
Short-billed Dowitchers
California Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
Bushtit
Marsh Wren
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat (heard only)
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

Some additional birds I noticed in the same area before and after our field trip were:

Ring-billed Gull
American Crow
Western Scrub Jay
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Northern Mockingbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Savannah Sparrow



Palo Alto Duck Pond, Yacht Club Mudflats and Byxbee Park 09-16-00

Our first field trip of the Fall Term was a success thanks to some sharp-eyed observers! We visited the Palo Alto Duck Pond for a relaxed introduction to swimming birds such as Ducks, both diving and dabbling, Coots, and Grebes. Ducks will increase in numbers over the next month or two, so species count was low, but typical for this time of year. A few birds served as previews for other large learning groups such as Herons, Egrets, Shorebirds and Raptors. The weather was cloudy at first and cleared by 11:00. Highlights included an early Lesser Scaup, a fly-though Cooper's Hawk which startled the birds near the Duck Pond, two Clapper Rails and a lone Lesser Yellowlegs. As feared, the Burrowing Owls failed to appear at Byxbee Park, but overall the trip was a lot of fun.

Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
American Wigeon
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Clapper Rail
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Willet
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Ring-billed Gull
Western Gull
Forster's Tern
Black Phoebe
Barn Swallow
Common Raven
Brewer's Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird

Some additional birds I noticed earlier in the same area, but could not relocate during the group walk or neglected to discuss were:

Caspian Tern
Rock Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Marsh Wren
Common Yellowthroat
Brown-headed Blackbird
Song Sparrow
House Finch
House Sparrow