FALL 2003

Calero Park 09-20-03 POSTED
Coyote Hills Regional Park 09-27-03 POSTED
Joseph D. Grant County Park 10-04-03 POSTED
Elkhorn Slough/Moss Landing 10-11-03 POSTED
Ogier Ponds 10-18-03 POSTED
Point Reyes National Seashore 10-25-03 POSTED
Princeton Harbor/Pillar Point 11-01-03 POSTED
Merced/San Luis National Wildlife Areas 11-15-03 POSTED

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



Merced/San Luis National Wildlife Areas 11/15/03

Rain was forecast for the entire central valley today, but we had almost none. True, it was cool and the skies were threateningly dark, but birding proved to be perfect. We began in the riparian area near the entrance to Merced National Wildlife Area and turned up a few Passerines that would not be seen the remainder of the day. Many Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and of course, Song, Golden and White-crowned Sparrows were logged. House Wren was a nice surprise, but according to the checklist, not entirely unexpected. We also had a close encounter with a Downy Woodpecker, a Belted Kingfisher and a pair of Barn Owls. Back on the platform we observed the first of several thousand Snow Geese we would discover throughout the day, and Northern Harriers patrolled the ponds, occasionally causing a "lift off" of huge white, swirling clouds made up of countless birds. An uncommon Lesser Yellowlegs and scores of Tree Swallows were also found in this area. After we had identified all that there was to be identified, we began the auto loop and encountered the rarest bird of the day, a Northern Shrike! Later I called into the RBA and made a brief report. Hopefully the bird will remain in the area long enough for other people to observe. Continuing along the loop, we made a short stop, and observed an American Bittern, a few American Pipit and a distant perched Peregrine Falcon. Both Sora and Virginia Rails were heard along the route as well, but they were never actually seen. Just before the second platform we located a huge group of Snow and Ross' Geese, which included small numbers of blue morphs individuals. White-faced Ibis and the majority of our Shorebird species were located from the second platform. As we neared the end of the loop, we discovered a small group of Sandhill Crane foraging among the cattle but the number fell short of expectations. On previous trips, many hundreds of Cranes have been observed, but today, we had only these. After a short lunch break, we proceeded to the San Luis Unit of the preserve where Wilson's Snipe was well observed and a few Wood Duck were added to the list. For me, the most exciting bird was not the rarest, but in fact a common bird for the central valley in winter--the Tundra Swan. Large numbers of these birds can be found in the wetlands surrounding Sacramento in season, so it is no surprise when they show up in suitable habitat where we were. Nevertheless, there can be nothing more breathtaking that a flock of these enormous birds landing in a shallow pond at the end of a wonderful day of birding. I'm so happy we got to see them together. I managed to capture a few on film, which can be seen in the gallery section of my web site: http://www.birdguy.net/gallery/index.html (scroll down to the Waterfowl section to view the images)

Other intesting birds, not seen by the group, include a group of three Cattle Egrets on Hwy 152 across from the Shell Station in Los Banos, and a noisy group of Great-tailed Grackles near the intersection of Hwy 165 and Henry Miller. A single image of a male GTGR can be found int he galley section as well.

Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret (Los Banos)
White-faced Ibis
Tundra Swan
Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow Goose
Ross' Goose
Wood Duck
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Ruddy Duck
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Ring-necked Pheasant
California Quail
Virginia Rail (heard only)
Sora (heard only)
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Bonaparte's Gull
Herrring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
American Pipit
Loggerhead Shrike
Northern Shrike
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle (Los Banos)
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow



Princeton Harbor and Pillar Point 11/01/03

The weather was beautiful, but bird variety and numbers were rather low. Recent reports of Red Phalarope were not repeated as we had hoped, perhaps because the weather had become so mild. The storms and winds of two days prior had subsided and species that had sought refuge in inland and coastal areas had once again returned to their offshore haunts. For this reason, combined with the early season timing, we saw few Waterfowl or Diving Birds. A nice consolation of our modest species list however, was that nearly all birds logged were observed well and at length. We began by the boat docks as usual, birding the small beach and reeds near the parking area. There was some early excitement when we found a cooperative Wilson's Snipe, first scoped from a distance and then later observed at closer range. Four species of Gull were located with ease in the harbor and a fifth (Thayer's) later by the rocks. Numerous Whimbrel and Sanderling were seen in the beach area, with a few Dunlin and Least Sandpiper mixed in. Moving to the Pillar Point area, rock-loving Shorebirds were represented by Black Oystercatcher and we added the Pelagic Cormorant as well. Black-bellied Plovers were located throughout the day, but especially during the walk toward Maverick's Beach. A few marsh Passerines were discovered, such as Common Yellowthroat and Marsh Wren, both of which appeared near the parking area at Maverick's. Of course, a wonderful lunch followed our walk at our new traditional venue, "Princeton Harbor Something", or "Pillar Point Bar & Something, Something..." Anyway, it was fun!

Common Loon
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Mallard
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Bufflehead
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black Oystercatcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Whimbrel
Marbled Godwit
Black Turnstone
Sanderling
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Wilson's Snipe
Mew Gull
California Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Pigeon
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (heard only)
Hermit Thrush (heard only)
American Robin
American Pipit (heard only)
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch



Point Reyes National Seashore 10/25/03

This is what birding should always be like! A beautiful area, perfect weather and a picnic lunch by the ocean... The trip was scheduled after the height of fall migration, but expectations were still high that something unusual might show up. It did! A basic-plumaged Bobolink was found in the weedy thicket at Olema Marsh and allowed everyone to get great looks at this rare migrant. The yellowish wash on this heavily streaked, short-tailed Blackbird, combined with the heavy pinkish bill, upright stance and Cowbird proportions made for a solid identification. Considered rare in the state, it was clearly one of the most newsworthy birds our class has ever seen (others include Brown Booby, Franklin's and Sabine's Gulls, Northern Parula). After everyone had had a chance to scrutinize the bird, it flew off over the trail and out of sight. From the car I phoned the Northern California Rare Bird Alert (415-681-7422) and left a brief message, crediting Eric Cords with the discovery. Later that day, our car revisited the location to find two birders from Sacramento that had heard the report and were hoping to find the bird again... Anyway, the fun hardly stopped after this one bird. A total of 106 species were logged over the course of the day, but quite a few were identified by voice only and some birds were seen by only a handful of class members. Birds that the majority of the group saw include Red-breasted Sapsucker and a female Merlin at Bear Valley, Thayer's and Heermann's Gulls at Drakes' Beach, and Pigeon Guillemot and Red-necked Grebe at Chimney Rock. Other exciting finds such as Tricolored and Rusty Blackbird, Peregrine Falcon and Ferruginous Hawk were unfortunately seen by only a few. Shorebirds were rather scarce because of the midday high tide and our decision not to visit Abbott's Lagoon, and Waterfowl were generally hard to find. I can't wait to visit the area again this winter and compare our results with today's remarkable list.

Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe (2nd visit Inverness)
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret (2nd visit Oyster Pt.)
Great Egret
Canada Goose
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Mallard
Gadwall
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Bufflehead
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Osprey (seen by several, SFD Blvd)
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk (several, Chimney Rock exit)
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Wild Turkey (SG Valley)
California Quail
Virginia (Olema, heard only)
Sora (Olema, heard only)
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover (Inverness, heard only)
Killdeer
Greater Yellowlegs (2nd visit Inverness)
Willet
Long-billed Curlew (2nd visit Oyster Pt.)
Marbled Godwit
Sanderling
Heermann's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Pigeon Guillemot
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Band-tailed Pigeon
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker (heard only)
Downy Woodpecker (heard only)
Hairy Woodpecker (heard only)
Northern Flicker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Hermit Thrush (heard only)
Varied Thrush (heard only)
American Robin
Wrentit (heard only)
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird (SFD Blvd)
Rusty Blackbird (Chimney Rock junction)
Brewer's Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brown-headed Cowbird (SFD Blvd)
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow (cattle areas)



Ogier Ponds 10/18/03

This long abandoned gravel quarry complex, now turned model airplane flyway, is generally productive in fall and winter, when multitudes of wintering Waterfowl and Gulls descend on the deep ponds and Coyote Creek flows. As well, several Raptors species can be found in the open areas and closed riparian woodland. Wintering Warblers and Sparrows as well as numerous resident Passerines are found anywhere there is cover. [The only problem with this area is an incomprehensible trail improvement project currently underway, that makes some areas difficult to bird, but we managed quite well anyway. The south pond near the runway for example, is now essentially off limits, but we were able to explore the area briefly and identified a Virginia Rail by voice.] Hoped for species at Ogier always include Wood Duck, of which we saw quite a few, and Green Heron, which we managed to flush, but never got an extended look at. Try as we did, no American Bittern were seen, though. Waterfowl variety had still not reached its peak, but several wintering Anseriformes were logged, including Ring-necked Duck and American Wigeon. A teaching moment ensued when a Nuttall's Woodpecker showed up just a few feet from a Downy Woodpecker and we were able to both see and hear the differences between them. A real favorite, the Belted Kingfisher was particularly easy to find, appearing several times and allowing extended observation. Most exciting bird of the day for me however, would have to be the female Merlin that posed for several minutes allowing everyone to get a good look. Passerines put on a good show with a late Orange-crowned Warbler appearing along the roadside and Yellow-rumped Warblers being numerous and easy to locate. Loggerhead Shrike was well seen in the open grassy areas and a few American Pipits could be heard flying overhead. The species list is modest, but as several people pointed out we managed to get good looks at nearly everything and we did finally see Wood Duck! We also helped Jody celebrate her birthday by eating donuts before our walk!

Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
RuddyDuck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Virginia Rail (heard only)
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Killdeer
Greater Yellowlegs
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven (hills across 101)
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Marsh Wren (heard only)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Pipit
Loggerhead Shrike
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat (heard only)
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch



Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (Moss Landing add-on) 10/11/03

This was our group's first venture to this important and heavily birded reserve. Elkhorn Slough has been recognized by the American Bird Conservancy as an Important Bird Area (IBA) of international significance, meaning that at various times of the year, the area plays a crucial role in world bird populations. It is dominated by a large tidal waterway that attracts huge numbers of Laridae (Gulls), Shorebirds, and Anatidae (Waterfowl) during the winter and numerous migrant Passerines (Songbirds) in closed woodland spots and riparian in season. Resident populations of Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants) and Ardeidae (Herons/Egrets) nest in the tall conifers and eucalyptus in various spots, and nearby open grassy slopes attract Falconiformes (Raptors) making this place a productive stop for birders year round. The weather was stunningly beautiful and mild with clear skies and no wind. We began at the interpretive center and worked our way along the south marsh loop trail. Immediately, Northern Flicker, both crowned Sparrows and Say's Phoebe were found. On the water, Waterfowl were generally scarce, but we managed to find many wading birds and a few Shorebirds such as the similar Long-billed Curlew and Whimbrel. I imagine as we progress into late fall and early winter, activity will pick up in the wetland areas considerably. Quite a few birds resisted observation and had to be identified by sound alone, such at Downy and Nuttall's Woodpeckers, but we did eventually get adequate looks at Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Raptors seen included White-tailed Kite, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, American Kestrel and a fast moving Merlin. We also found many Owl pellets in the large barn and feathers that indicated Barn Owl. Despite our hopes though, no evidence was found of the recently reported Rufous-backed Robin; I suppose no one will be surprised at that... There have been many questions regarding the accuracy of that report.

After a fun group lunch at Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing, some members decided to continue birding with us at Moss Beach where many additional species, primarily Shorebirds and Gulls were logged. There were few surpises, exept perhaps 6 Ruddy Turnstones and a small flock of Snowy Plovers. Both of these species, I believe, are class firsts. Birds located at this add-on portion of the trip are indicated with (ML).

Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant (ML)
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Pintail
Turkey Vulture
Osprey (seen on way to ML)
White-tailed Kite
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Semi-palmated Plover (ML)
Snowy Plover (ML)
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt (ML)
American Avocet (ML)
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Spotted Sandpiper
Whimbrel
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone (ML)
Sanderling (ML)
Western Sandpiper (ML)
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin (ML)
Short-billed Dowitcher (ML)
Heermann's Gull (ML)
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Elegant Tern
Forster's Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl (evidence only)
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker (heard only)
Downy Woodpecker (heard only)
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Hutton's Vireo (heard only)
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Swallow (species, too distant)
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat (heard only)
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin (instructor only)
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch



Joseph D. Grant County Park 10/04/03

We began, as usual, in the narrow riparian corridor near the historic farmhouse. The valley was draped with a thick fog, backlit by the rising sun, making for a hauntingly beautiful, peaceful morning. Dew hung from perfectly formed spiderwebs, suspended between long fingers of dried brown grass as our group slowly made its way through the mist. Many birds, such as the two crowned Sparrows and Oak Titmouse, were identified by voice alone as visibility was poor for the first part of our walk. It was good audio exerise though and I believe many members were able to identify the White-breasted Nuthatch before it was seen. Later, as the atmosphere cleared, we would see nearly all species well. A trio of Hermit Thrush, for example, allowed relaxed observation. Generally though, Passerines were scarce for much of the day. A few allowed uncommonly good looks such as numerous Western Bluebirds and Lesser Goldfinches bathing near the watertower. A flock of roughly 30 Lark Sparrows was observed from across the parking lot and their bold facial pattern stood in sharp contrast to that of the nearby House Finches. Conspicuously absent was Say's Phoebe in the large areas of suitable habitat. A frustrating Red-breasted Sapsucker was observed briefly by a single member of our group, but was quickly forgotten because of the excitement of two Golden Eagles high overhead! A pair of male Northern Flickers caused quite a stir as we watched them engage in some kind of elder/younger territorial squabble. It was bobbing heads and flash after dramatic flash of salmon-colored underwing for a while as they worked out the details. Later, we relocated to the lake, where we logged several additional species such as wintering Ring-necked Duck, a Belted Kingfisher and our first Yellow-rumped Warbler. A few Shorebirds were recorded as well, all of which were flushed by a sudden fly-through Cooper's Hawk. It was understandably very exciting!

This was indeed a special day. Not only was it the 100th field trip I've led with this group but it was also the week of my 40th birthday. After the walk our group had a delightful picnic to celebrate both landmarks with great food, wine, and carrot cake (my favorite). Thank you all! I can't think of a more wonderful group of people to be with on such a special day. You've all become so important to me

Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Ring-necked Duck
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Wild Turkey
California Quail
American Coot
Killdeer
Greater Yellowlegs
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Red-breasted Sapsucker (seen by Mr. Melnick)
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker (heard only)
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Swallow (species)
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Mapgie
American Crow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
Marsh Wren (heard only)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (heard only)
Western Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
Wrentit (heard only)
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Lark Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco (entrance road)
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch



Coyote Hills Regional Park 09/27/03

Bird activity was high and the mild, overcast conditions were generally good for observation. A noisy "Walk/Run" fundraising event however, made it somewhat difficult to hear the birds at times, but we managed. We also noticed a conspicuous absence of standing water in the familiar south pond, explaining an unseasonably slim waterfowl and shorebird turnout. Passerines were in abundance though, with migrants like an unspecified Empidonax, Barn Swallow, Yellow, Orange-crowned and Wilson's Warblers, and Warbling Vireo providing great excitement. Wintering songbirds included our first Hermit Thrush, which required some care as we struggled to rule out the similar Swainson's Thrush. Also seen was our first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season. Most notable, but also the most elusive bird, was the Rock Wren located upslope by two members of our group. Five Sparrow species were recorded in healthy numbers, including the two wintering "Crowned" species. Raptors were prevalent as usual and at one point we had four Red-tailed Hawks, a Red-shouldered Hawk, a Cooper's Hawk and a White-tailed Kite all in the same airspace, providing us great opportunities to compare relative sizes and flight patterns. Nearby, an American Kestrel perched a power line as if waiting for his cue to make an entrance. As expected, the resident Great Horned Owl was located in the oaks above Hoot Hollow and scope views revealed a second owl sitting two feet away! Late in leaving, and also uncommon on the Bay, were several Elegant Terns on the distant salt ponds. We were aware of their presence because of recent SBB posts, but finding them was still a challenge. Surprising misses were Northern Flicker, which has been numerous on other field trips, and Western Meadowlark which we often see in the grassy areas. It also seems odd that on two separate trips to suitable areas we have not yet logged American Avocet...

Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Cinnamon Teal
Gadwall
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
California Quail (heard only)
Sora (seen by one)
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Least Sandpiper
Dowitcher (species)
California Gull
Elegant Tern
Forster's Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker (heard only)
Downy Woodpecker
Empidonax species ("Western", presumably Pacific-slope)
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Barn Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Rock Wren (seen by 2)
Bewick's Wren
Marsh Wren (heard only)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
American Pipit (heard only)
Loggerhead Shrike
Eurpean Starling
Hutton's Vireo (heard only)
Warbling Vireo
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch



Calero Park 09/20/03

This was the first trip of the term and a brand new location, so the pressure was really on! It proved to be a perfect place to ease into the new season with many of the expected species easily viewed. We began in the large parking area where a group of some 20 female Wild Turkeys paraded among the oaks, Red-winged and Brewers Blackbirds foraged along with the newly renamed Rock Pigeons, and Western Bluebirds and Say's Phoebe flitted up and down from the distant barbed wire fence. As well, a White-tailed Kite provided us an exciting introduction to the eventual 7 Raptor species we would eventually see. We ambled along the country road, which parallels a small creek, and discovered several other species including California Thrasher and the first of our wintering Sparrows--White-crowned and Golden-crowned (voice only). When we finally reached the trail head, the scene changed dramatically. Passing through the narrow corridor, we reached the reservoir where multitudes of Ducks, Geese and Shorebirds awaited us. We quickly logged Black-necked Stilt, Killdeer and both species of Yellowlegs. We also had good views of Spotted Sandpiper. Passerine migrants were conspicuous in the coyote bush, such as five Orange-crowned Warblers and a pair of Yellow Warblers. Expected on-water birds were hundreds of Mallards, Canada Geese and American Coots but somewhat surprising were both species of Pelican. (Brown is much more of a coastal species and seldom seen this far inland.) We all enjoyed the drama of seeing a male American Kestrel eviscerate a small mammal, at least I think we all enjoyed it... Some people chose to return at this point, while others continued along the dry, hilly trail where we were rewarded with dramatic scenery and exciting views of Cooper's Hawk being mobbed by a "murder" of American Crows. A small freshwater pond afforded leisurely looks at an immature Black-crowned Night Heron. An obvious missed species was Western Meadowlark, but it hardly seemed to matter... it was a great day!

Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Wild Turkey
California Quail
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Spotted Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dowitcher (species)
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker (heard only)
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Western Bluebird
American Robin
California Thrasher
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
California Towhee
Golden-crowned Sparrow (heard only)
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch