FALL 2007


Coyote Point Marina/Redwood Shores 09-15-07 POSTED
Moss Landing/Moon Glow Dairy 09-22-07 POSTED
SFBBO Fall Challenge with "Team DeDUCKtions" 09-29-07 POSTED
Point Reyes (Ranches, Drakes Beach, MCI Towers) 10-06-07 POSTED
Andrew Molera State Park 10-13-07 POSTED
SCVAS Wildlife Education Day + SWPCP/Alviso EEC 10-20-07 POSTED
Bodega Bay 10-27-07 POSTED
Merced NWR 11-03-07 POSTED

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






Merced/San Luis NWR 11-03-07

It was clear with mild temperatures today--beautiful, as always. The usual supects were present at the reserve and will likely increase in numbers as the season progresses. We encountered more Sandhill Cranes than we often do, but fewer Geese. Somewhat unepected was a Red-necked Phalarope in the large pond near the second platform. Most thilling was a world-class view of a Short-eared Owl that flew toward our cars along the auto loop. It seemed unconcerned by our presence and even landed in the grass within view. For the second leg of the trip we visited San Luis, watching for Great-tailed Grackles and Cattle Egrets as we made the 20 minute drive. San Luis produced a few additonal birds, but was generally quiet... well, except for the hum of a bazillion mosquitos!

Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow Goose
Ross's Goose
Canada Goose
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Ruddy Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret (Los Banos)
Black-crowned Night Heron
White-faced Ibis
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Virginia Rail
Sora
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Willet
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Red-necked Phalarope
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Burrowing Owl (along Hwy 152, east of Pacheco)
Short-eared Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Pipit
Loggerhead Shrike
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch






Bodega Bay 10-27-07

Any day spent birding along the Sonoma County coast, especially on a mild warm day like today, is ok with me. Today was more than ok because we had tremendously good fortune with finding birds. We gathered, as we have in the past, at The Tides restaurant, but instead of lingering here and scanning from the deck, we consolidated the number of cars and backtracked to Doran Regional Park. There we hoped to locate a few Shorebirds before the incoming waters would make that difficult. Among the flocks we found Killdeer, Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover, Black Turnstone, Western Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Sanderling and many Dunlin. Watching the airborne flocks of reeling Shorebirds was especially beautiful, and even in flight, the different species were possible to identify. Great numbers of Gulls were present here as well, primarily California, Ring-billed and Western, with good numbers of Mew and an occasional Heerman's.

We turned our attention to the line of cypress trees where a mixed flock of Warblers was working the branches. Yellow-rumped Warblers of both races were hard to miss, but Orange-crowned and Townsend's were also present. Ruby-crowned Kinglets were noisy and conspicuous here as well, with some males displaying their bright crown. The most exciting discovery was a Palm Warbler in the tree. Generally, we expect to see this rare bird on the ground, but in this case it was foraging mid-story like a normal Warbler... After admiring this bird for several minutes, noting its bright supercilium, faint streaking, yellow undertail coverts and tail-bobbing behavior, it moved down the line of trees toward the entrance and crossed the dunes to reach the ocean. Off the beach we observed great numbers of Aechmophorus Grebes, Common and Red-throated Loons, Surf Scoters, Cormorants and Gulls. A few minutes of scanning revealed a Red-necked Grebe beyond the breakers, a great find! After that we returned to the trees and the nearby marsh to find another Palm Warbler, and then another! Clearly, we cannot be absolutely sure we saw 3 separate Palm Warblers, but chances are good since the first individual we encountered was last seen moving steadily toward the other end of the entrance road... The time lapse was perhaps 10 minutes however between the first sighting and the next. These two "new" birds were spending their time foraging low in the pickle weed, as we might have expected. One looked similar to our fist bird, while the second looked like a first year individual, with more streaking on the crown.



Photo: Mr. Eric Goodill

Next stop was Diekmann's Bay Store, where we scanned the trees for Passerines, but managed to find very few. Orange-crowned Warbler was the only one, I believe. Anna's Hummingbird appeared as well, but most of the birds were on the water. We found more Common Loons, more Surf Scoters, Eared and Horned Grebe, another White-winged Scoter (the first had been at the Tides Restaurant), Belted Kingfisher, and hoards of Marbled Godwit and Willet being chased by a girl with a long piece of pampas grass. On the pilings by the dock we also picked out both Black and Ruddy Turnstone, Whimbrel as well as Pelagic Cormorant, Brown Pelican and Glaucous-winged Gull. We moved on.

The north end of the harbor provides another good area to search for Passerines, and so we did. Before we entered the trees though, we searched the groups of Greater Scaup and Surf Scoters for anything new. A small group of 6 Ring-necked Ducks were there, as well as a couple of Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Common Loon, Eared and Horned Grebe. The wooded area along the side road is characterized by taller eucalyptus trees, and a dense shady undergrowth. We were able to find Winter Wren, but not as easily as in years past, and very few Sparrows. Hermit Thrush was a nice find here, as well as both Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawk. We left without finding our Virginia Rail in the small pond... We were developing a powerful appetite by now.

Our lunch stop was "Hole in the Head", the location of a dubious plan to create a nuclear power plant in the 1960s. After it was "discovered" that the location was directly on top of a sizeable earthquake fault, the plan was wisely abandoned. The hole where the crew had begun excavating for the foundation was allowed to fill with water, which over years provided a hold for freshwater marshy growth... We found Red-shouldered and Cooper's Hawk here, but no Black-crowned Night Herons as in the past. Overhead we also spotted an adult Peregrine Falcon. We also enjoyed scope views of Brandt's Cormorant, Brown Pelican and countless Gulls perched on the rock jetty and Red-breasted Merganser and Bonaparte's Gulls in the channel.

Next we drove up the road to the overlook at Bodega Head. We gawked at the spectacular view of the open ocean, the rocks and the frothy surf waves far below us. Many Gulls, Scoters, Grebes and Loons could be viewed from our perch, but most exciting were several Alcids among them. Common Murre and Pigeon Guillemot were seen in ones and twos, but as many as 7 Rhinoceros Auklets were also found! Black Oystercatchers and their twittering calls were heard and then seen flying to the rocks, as well as more Black Turnstones, but no Tattlers or Surfbirds. As we had noted earlier, White-winged Scoters seemed especially abundant this trip, and we saw two separate groups of more than 10 birds each flying south. With the other groups of 1-3 individuals, we estimated 30 to be a conservative total for the day. Encouraging, since the bird has often been difficult to find. We never did find Black Scoter however. Before we left the area we were surprised by the appearance of 3 Wild Turkeys way on top of the hills above the road. We couldn't remember encountering them here before, and guessed they just wanted to see the ocean one last time before Thanksgiving....

We descended to the harbor road again and stopped to work the Shorebird flock just west of Spud Point Marina. We found our only Least Sandpipers of the day, as well as large groups of Sanderling, Black Turnstone, Dunlin and a collection of Surfbirds. Seeing them on a sand bar was a bit of a shock, since we associate them with precarious rocky areas, such as where we had just been. American White Pelicans were here as well, simply dwarfing the nearby Snowy Egrets! The largest group of Bufflehead any of us could remember seeing was also in this area, and they kept very close together, moving as one large flotilla away from the shore. Yet more White-winged Scoters were here too.

After collecting the parked cars from the Tides Restaurant, some of us continued birding at the Bird Walk just north of Doran Regional Park. We added American Pipit and Western Meadowlark, as well as several curious Lincoln's Sparrows along the trail. We said goodbye after that and drove home via Sebastopol. Our car was fortunate to add a few more species including Red-tailed Hawk, Eurasian Collared Dove, Cattle Egret, "Aleutian" Cackling Goose and a single juvenile Snow Goose at a small pond along the Bodega highway.

Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Cackling Goose "Aleutian"
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Bufflehead
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
California Quail
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer
Black Oystercatcher
Willet
Whimbrel
Marbled Godwit
Long-billed Curlew
Surfbird
Ruddy Turnstone
Black Turnstone
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Short-billed Dowitcher
Bonaparte's Gull
Heerman's Gull
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Rhinoceros Auklet
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Winter Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Hermith Thrush
European Starling
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Palm Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch









Charleston Slough + Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Ponds/Alviso 10-20-07

This morning was a very special treat for our class. We helped with the Annual SCVAS Wildlife Education Day by leading small groups of children around Charleston Slough. The kids, several of whom were from Kelly's own third grade class, got to see loads of exciting birds including American White Pelicans, Forster's Terns, Bonaparte's Gulls, Black-crowned Night Heron, White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Canada Goose, Northern Shoveler, Cinnamon and Green-winged Teal. We did your best to point out interesting birds and their unique behaviors and answer the many questions they had. Why, for example, is the female Mallard a different color than the male, or why were so many Gulls bathing in the forebay...? It was wonderful to see their excitement about the bright red eye of the Kite, or the metallic green on the head of a Green-winged Teal! They were eager to see the Shoveler in particular because they had drawn pictures of it it in class, and all of them seemed thrilled by the acrobatics of the Black Phoebe! I think adult birders can all learn quite a bit from the childrens' reactions in that it really didn't matter whether a birds was common or not... just the fact that they were seeing it in its natural setting. That's what they loved! And everything was new to them... Among the less common birds, one group was able to see a Lincoln's Sparrow, and still another group had American Bittern in the forebay. The children were also fascinated by a feeding frenzy which included both Brown and American White Pelicans, and our team was thrilled to see a Common Yellowthroat that responded to pishing. They also enjoyed seeing the abandoned mud nests of the Cliff Swallows, and were able to watch a Barn Swallow forage over the pond. I have the feeling that the kids will remember this day for some time, and perhaps grow up to be birders as well.

After the kids left us to continue their adventure at McClellan Ranch, we adults continued to Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Ponds (SWPCP) along Caribbean Drive where we found Green Heron, Sora and Virginia Rail in the tule, Peregrine Falcon on the power tower, a single White-faced Ibis (in the Lockheed ponds west of the hill) and one, possibly two, Eurasian Wigeon (in the large "west" pond). There were several small flocks of American Pipits but we were not successful in relocating the recently repored Lapland Longspur. As I scan my in-box, I also notice a report of Red-throated Pipit near Gilroy... apparently, those flocks of Pipits we often gloss over have a history of harboring rarities... It might be worth keeping a closer eye on them in the weeks to come.

We ate our lunch at the pavilion in Alviso, where the water level in salt pond A-16 seems to be having a profound effect on things. Enormous groups of loafing Gulls have taken to roosting on the exposed earth, while swimming birds such as Ducks and Grebes were harder to find. As the water gets still lower, we may find a spike in Shorebirds numbers, which would be good especially during migration. Today, the increasing wind kept many birds from showing themselves, and there was a surprising lack of Shorebirds along the entrance road. We did, however, find the Barn Owl sleeping in its box near the creek.

Canada Goose
Gadwall
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Aechmophorus species
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
White-faced Ibis
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Virginia Rail
Sora
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plovere
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Willet
Marbled Godwit
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Banaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
American Crow
Common Raven
Barn Swallow
Bushtit
Marsh Wren
European Starling
American Pipit
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lessser Goldfinch







Andrew Molera State Park/Carmel River 10-13-07

Home of the Big Sur Ornithology Lab, Andrew Molera State Park has a long history of capturing interesting birds especially during migration, when many unexpected birds show up. The weather for the previous two days was nearly ideal. It had rained, which meant we might see some increased activity with the morning's clear weather, but the wind was northnorthwest... So, it was hard to guess what we might find. Anyway, we hoped to find a few of these migrants, perhaps some uncommon eastern Warblers moving south, or some less-frequently Sparrows such as one of the Spizellas. We began by hiking through the campground toward the headlands trail. Activity was patchy, but we had several areas with significant movement. Both Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows were conspicuous throughout the day, with less abundant birds such as Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Townsend's Warbler showing up occasionally. The field provided us with good looks at Say's Phoebe and in a large eucalyptus tree at the far end we spotted a flock of Cedar Waxwings foraging in the upper branches. Not far from them were several Purple Finches. Passing through the eucalyptus grove we located both Nuttall's and Downy Woodpecker, as well as at least 2 Hermit Thrush, in the tangled branches of low willow trees. Surprisingly, a House Wren also appeared; it scolded it repeatedly...

The long walk thought the basin of chaparral was less productive, at least on the way out! We passed along the river, finding a small group of teenage Anseriformes which included Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal and Gadwall, a motley crew indeed! The trail was beautiful, but overgrown and we had to pass over a fallen tree at one point before we could head up the Headlands trail. Again, there was not much activity here, except for groups of Zonotrichias crossing ahead and behind us. The cliff gave us a chance to scour the rocky shores for anything interesting. Among the discoveries here was a flock of Black Turnstone and 1 (perhaps two) Spotted Sandpiper. The Gulls present were mostly Heerman's and California, with good numbers of Western as well. When we finally reached the open water, we had wonderful looks at a pair of Peregrine Falcon perched on the offshore rocks. On other rocks we observed many Cormorants, most apparently Brandt's, but several Pelagics were seen flying nearby. The Double-crested Cormorants were outnumbered by far. Very few swimming birds beyond the many Cormorants were found. One or two Surf Scoters, 3 Eared Grebes, and a distant Western Grebe were about it.

Returning the way we came we located a Warbler with a pale yellow breast, faint streaks and an obvious supercilium. It was a Palm Warbler, and while it appeared only briefly, we noticed enough of the tail-pumping behavior and other features to be confident with our identification. It paused on the trail once or twice, but generally seemed eager to be alone. We continued to watch the area because there was a lot of movement, but nothing seemed to stand still long enough to get a good look at...

Hoping still to find something rare, we kept our eyes on the trail as we passed through the chaparral basin. A medium sized bird, perhaps a Kingbird, alighted on the wires near the pump house and once we got it in the scope it was obviously a Tropical Kingbird! We got everything we needed, notched olive tail, greenish back and yellow belly continuing up to the throat. Classic! As we approached the campground we kept looking for something to show up with the many Zonotrichias. Finally we caught glimpses of a very unseasonable Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, but it got away too quickly for us to be fully satisfied. Further up still, very close to the eucalyptus grove, we scanned the Sparrows foraging on the ground. At length we managed to get better looks at Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and a surprising "Western" Flycatcher.

We had a pleasant lunch at the picnic tables, and sang "happy birthday" to Eric, who just turned 25. After lunch we made short work of the American Dipper by the footbridge that leads over the river. No additional birds were located here, but who cares. Kat got her lifer, a bird that she'd searched for many times before!

We then left the park and caravanned 15 miles or so north on Hwy 1 to Carmel River State Beach. Along the way, Eric and I spotted a small Falcon perched on the cliff. The size and general shape convinced me it was a Merlin, but we could not stop to confirm. At the beach itself, we saw no sign of the many Elegant Terns or single Red-necked Grebe he and I had seen several hours earlier. We did however, find a few new species such as Common Loon, Common Murre and Pigeon Guillemot. So after a few minutes of birding to a sound of a beach wedding accompanied by bagpipes, we moved on to the riverbed. A short drive up the road to our launch and we were pulling on our boots. We marched down to the "dry" river the turnout, and hiked out to the mouth with high expectations. Deciduous trees leaned over the dry river, and the shadowy edges were filled with dark water, often coated with a thin layer of tiny green leaves. It was very beautiful and peaceful. Several of us continued the hike which first led us through the ankle high water, and then much deeper water, almost to the tops of our knee high boots. There ahead of us, standing in a beam of sunlight, pointing his huge camera into the upper branches of a dogwood tree, was Scott Terrrill. He had just seen famous Great-crested Flycatcher. After almost a week of tantalizing reports on the internet, it appeared our small group was about to see this rare prize in person. Sadly, Scott no longer had the bird in sight. It had flown just before we arrived, but we waited nonetheless. According to reports the birds often returned to the same dogwood after making a broad circle around the area. After several minutes of standing in shin-high water, I spotted the bird downstream. A moment later, our whole group was on the bird, noting the large head, yellow belly, and most importantly, the telltale white-edged tertials! As it flew, we also saw the bright rusty tail, which is subtly different from Ash-throated in that the rust extends all the way to the tip! The short-booted members of our group, the ones who couldn't join us in the deep water section, could see us signal, but they were prevented from joining us. They could not see the bird from where they stood either. It was a satisfying search and recovery effort; among the rarest birds we have seen as a group, and certainly a class first! Sad not everyone could be there for the recovery, but there's always another day.

Canada Goose
Cackling Goose "Aleutian"
Gadwall
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Green-winged Teal
Surf Scoter
California Quail
Common Loon
Red-necked Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin (probable)
Peregrine Falcon
American Coot
Killdeer
Willet
Spotted Sandpiper
Marbled Godwit
Black Turnstone
Heerman's Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Elegant Tern
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
"Western" Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Tropical Kingbird
Great-crested Flycatcher
Loggerhead Shrike
Hutton's Vireo
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Brown Creeper
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
American Dipper
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Hermit Thrush
Wrentit
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Palm Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Purple Finch
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch







Point Reyes (Ranches, Drakes Beach, MCI Towers) 10-06-07

The goal was to practice our Warbler skills by searching for a few fall vagrants in one of Northern California's birding hotspots... the famed outer reaches of Point Reyes. While we may not have had the amazing results of last year's excursion, we did make some nice discoveries. The weather was partially to blame, I suppose; it was clear both today, and the two days prior to the trip. We also had a northwest wind. These two forces combined (apparently) to push the more unusual birds both inland and further south. So it goes...

We began at the Inverness Store, where off the beach we sorted through a few winter Waterfowl, including Greater Scaup and a single Black Scoter. In the reeds we could hear the simple scolding call of Common Yellowthroat, and Song Sparrow, and flying between small trees were both Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows. At one point we had a Northern Flicker fly toward us over the water and land in the trees behind us. What was remarkable about this was the bright yellow underside of the bird, suggesting that this was at least an intergrade between the eastern and western color extremes. The bird disappeared into the greenery, so we never got to evaluate the other features that might help identify the bird positively. The occasional twittering of a roadside Black Phoebe had me thinking Tropical Kingbirds for a moment, but only a moment. We were on our way shortly after that. No time to waste.

We proceeded as a caravan to the pullout near Johnson's Oyster Farm. There we spotted an ambiguous Accipiter on a wire. It displayed features of both Sharp-shinned and Cooper's, and since we never saw it fly, we had to leave it unidentified. In the marsh itself, I briefly heard a House Wren and Leonie was able to view our first Lincoln's Sparrow. A few Willet, Least Sandpiper and Long-billed Curlew were seen far out on the marsh.

At Mendoza Ranch, we had the first glimpse of what Point Reyes in fall can be like. Almost immediately we discovered a Barn Owl sleeping quietly over the road, while over the cattle enclosures several Eurasian Collared Doves moved back and forth between perches. We scanned the cypress trees near the pond, in the hope of finding some interesting Passerines. Brewer's, Red-winged, and Tricolored (which sound like cats in heat) Blackbirds were noisy and numerous, and we supposed they might be responsible for keeping smaller birds away. Still, several Yellow, and Yellow-rumped Warblers were found. After sufficient time had passed, and we were getting antsy, Mary Ann spotted a strange Orange-crowned Warbler in the fennel. At first glance, that's what we though at least, it must be a brightly-colored Orange-crowned... When it flew from the fennel to the cypress branches over us, we could see that the undertail was indeed completely white. With an undertail like that it couldn't be an Orange-crowned! I began to think really out-of-the-box, and considered Arctic Warbler... After some field guide consultation, we came to a reasonable conclusion: It was a Tennessee Warbler! It was probably our rarest bird of the day. Sal Salerno, another birder and his group agreed with the identification, which was reassuring. That's what Point Reyes is about... Long periods of nothing, sudden bursts of uncertain excitement and friendly consultation with nearby, equally excited and uncertain birders. It's wonderful. Also present were many House Finches, a species we often miss on field trips, and a Budgerigar. We supposed it to be an escapee... seems pretty doubtful it flew all the way from Australia. As we were about to leave a flock of 10 White-winged Scoters flew overhead toward the Estero.

At Nunes Ranch we encountered more Yellow Warblers, 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, as well as a previously reported Western Wood Pewee. There was also a beautiful male Western Tanager, and a handful of crowned Sparrows. Generally it seemed to be quieting down, but it didn't keep us from looking at every small bird that flew into the branches or alighted on the fence. We were on the look out for anything! We'd already found Tennesse Warbler, so who knew what we might find next!

The lighthouse cypress trees were where we had our best single flock of Warblers. The active group kept us busy for quite some time, and we sorted through Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Orange-crowned, and Townsend's Warbers, as well as Common Yellowthroat. A nice discovery was a few Red-breasted Nuthatches that were also working the area. Overhead was a veritable Raptor spectacle with at least a dozen Accipiters (both Sharp-shinned and Cooper's), Northern Harrier, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, all flying in wide, lazy circles. Offshore we noticed both Aechmophorus Grebes, Eared Grebe, Common and Pacific Loons, Surf Scoters, Brandt's and Pelagic Cormorants, Brown Pelicans, etc... In the "oven", the tangle of low branches at the end of the first grove of cypress trees, we hoped to find the oft-reported Ovenbird. No luck with that, but there were several Swainson's and Hermit Thrushes sneaking around in there.

After lunch we stopped at the Fish Docks near Chimney Rock we did not locate the Bobolink that had just been reported by others, but we did have some other exciting birds such as Lincoln's Sparrow and bright yellow-lored Savannahs. By this time of day things were slowing down considerably, but we did have an additional Black Scoter, as well as Common and Pacific Loons. On the rocks by the crab nets was a small flock of Black Turnstones and at the base of the cypress grove, were found our first-of-season (FOS) Fox Sparrow, which feed Towhee like in the shadows!

Drake's Beach provided our only Pied-billed Grebes of the day, located on the pond with many Heerman's, California and Western Gulls. A few Ring-billed Gulls were also in attendance. A lone Greater Scaup was swimming on the opposite side. On the beach we noticed a few more Gulls, including a Glaucous-winged, while beyond the waves we found another Pacific and several Common Loons. The sandy beach had no new birds, but quite a few Willet at close range.

On our way out of Point Reyes, we stopped in at the MCI towers along Sir Francis Drake. We managed to flush a Barn Owl but the only Warblers we found were Yellow-rumped. There were several Western Bluebirds and a Say's Phoebe in the field. Finally, at Olema Marsh we heard a Virginia Rail, and found our only Cinnamon Teals of the day. The trail closure prevented us from going through the weedy patch, where undoubtedly we would have discovered our own Bobolink, or Dickcissel, or whatever!

Gadwall
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
California Quail
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Virginia Rail
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Willet
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Black Turnstone
Least Sandpiper
Heerman's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Red-breasted Nutthach
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Swainson's Thrush
Hermith Thrush
American Robin
Wrentit
European Starling
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Western Tanager
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow








SFBBO Fall Challenge with "Team DeDUCKtions" 09-29-07

Team DeDUCKtions’ primary goal was to match the generous $3000 challenge grant offered by Leonie Batkin for SFBBO. While all the contributions are still flowing in, it appears we have been successful. The second goal was to exceed last year’s species tally, and we definitely managed to do that. The third goal, or maybe it was actually the first goal, I’m not sure, was to have a good time, and YES that we did that, no problem! The team was made up of the following people: Craig Cummings, Patty McGann, Pati Rouzer, Lori Cuesta, Kay Matthews, Leonie Batkin, Joan and Phil Leighton, Ashutosh Sinha, Eric Goodill, Grant and Karen Hoyt, Kelly and Matthew Dodder, and special guest Caitlin Robinson (world-famous Snowy Plover researcher and KQED personality!) Final tally was 127 species.

Thanks to EVERYONE who helped with this great event successful! Friendly birders on SBB whose frequent reports helped us enormously, SFBBO planners and organizers, generous financial supporters and sponsors, and the many helpful well-wishers who couldn't contribute financially... what a great day you've ALL helped make possible! THANK YOU!!

We began at 8:00 pm on Friday night with a brief Owling effort that produced a very cooperative Western Screech Owl along Old Pagemill Road. The bird called reapeatedly in the oaks near the back entrance to the quarry. We parked across from the gate and walked back a few hundred yards to where the bird was heard and were able to get it in our lights. We were not rewarded with Great Horned or Barn Owls, but we have found them here on previous occasions.

After a few hours of fitfull sleep, as Kelly and I anticipated the 6:30 am start, the team met at Twin Creek’s Sports Facility and walked into Sunnyvale Baylands Park. We located a large flock of Warblers which contained Yellow-rumped, Yellow, Townsend’s, and Orange-crowned Warblers, as well as Bushtits, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Elsewhere in the park we found Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Say’s Phoebe, both White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows, as well as Lincoln’s and Song Sparrows. The open field produced Say’s Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrilke, Western Meadowlark, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Canada Geese… We were off to a good start!



Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann

The next area we visited was CCFS (Coyote Creek Field Station) where SFBBO has its bird banding station. The entrance road brought into the station beside willows and other low trees. We found several Fox Sparrows in this area, as well as Lesser and American Goldfinch, House Wren and Bewick’s Wren. Overhead we saw quite a few Violet-green Swallows with a few Cliff Swallows mixed in. At one point we also spotted a Vaux’s Swift. At the banding station we bumped into Rita Colwell, who held a Hermit Thrush in her hand. She pointed out a few important features that would help us recognize a hatch year individual should we see on again. Well, that was the ONLY Hermit Thrush we saw, so unfortunately, it couldn’t be counted… Still, it was exciting to see that one, as well as a Fox Sparrow she was also preparing to release. The area around the station was relatively quiet, except for the occasional calls of Western Scrub Jay and one Pacific-slope Flycatcher.


Photo: Pati Rouzer (L to R: Leonie Batkin, Ashutosh Sinha, Matthew Dodder, Eric Goodill, Hermit Thrush, Rita Colwell at CCFS)

The Shorebird ponds at CCFS had some new birds to offer. We counted our first Gulls, California and Ring-billed. We managed to identify several Long-billed Dowitchers among the group of Shorebirds, as well as Greater Yellowlegs, Willet, Least Sandpiper, American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt. Suddenly, a small Falcon sped overhead toward the bay and we were able to identify it as a Merlin! Cooper’s Hawk was also found, as well as more Red-tailed Hawks.

Next we made our way to Alum Rock Park where we hoped to pick up some woodland species for the count. In retrospect, perhaps this was a planning error. We did not find Calfornia Thrasher, Rufous-crowned Sparrow or Hairy Woodpecker, three species I assumed would be easy… Oh, well. We did find White-breasted Nuthatch, Oak Titnouse, Band-tailed Pigeon, Brown Creeper and Spotted Towhee and a brilliant Wison’s Warbler. On the dry uphill hike we found several more Vaux's Swift, as well as White-throated Swift AND two Golden Eagles. The only Great Horned Owl of the day was being held by a member of the park staff, so once again, it wasn’t countable.


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Pati Rouzer (L to R: Karen Hoyt, Lori Cuesta, Caitlin Robinson, Grant Hoyt. "Incoming Sharp-shin!")


Photo: Pati Rouzer (L to R: Lori Cuesta, Phil Leighton, Joan Leighton, Caitlin Robinson crouching, Kay Matthews,
Craig Cummings. We're receiving the SFBBO offical event t-shirts!)



Photo: Pati Rouzer (L to R: Leonie Batkin, Kelly Dodder. Oooh... Leonie is handing out official Team DeDUCKtions chocolate bars!)


Photo: Pati Rouzer (L to R: Ashutosh Sinha, Eric Goodill, Katy Matthews, Caitlin Robinson, "tall guy" Grant Hoyt, Leonie Batkin, Craig Cummings, Lori Cuesta, Karen Hoyt, Joan Leighton, Patty McGann, Phil Leighton, Matthew Dodder, Kelly Dodder)


Photo: Patty McGann (L to R: Pati Rouzer, Matthew Dodder, Caitlin Robinson, Leonie Batkin)

After a nice lunch beneath the eucalyptus trees at the Rustic Lands picnic area, we continued up Sierra Road. We stopped at the summit by the cattle enclosure, finding Yellow-billed Magpie immediately, and after a while we were able to admire several Horned Larks at close range. One bird appeared to be an immature, the others adults with rufous shoulder patches and clean dark facial patterns. Further along the road we found our only American Pipit of the day. We came down the hill, passing the entrance to Ed Levin park and spotting our ONLY Wild Turkey of the day, as we drove at 40mph to the bottom of the hill.


Photo: Pati Rouzer (L to R: Kay Matthews, Lori Cuesta, Grant Hoyt, Caitlin Robinson, Matthew Dodder,
Craig Cummings. We're looking for Horned Larks on Sierra Road)



Photo: Pati Rouzer (L to R: Lori Cuesta, Joan Leighton, Craig Cummings, Karen Hoyt, Matthew Dodder)


Photo: Patty McGann

San Jose/Sunnyvale water treatment plant had, as previously reported, a small group of Long-billed Curlew foraging on the lawn. We didn’t even stop because we were eager to get to the EEC.

We parked at the small gravel turnout next to the sign for the Don Edwards EEC and walked back along the road to the train tracks. A Red-necked Phalarope and a male juvenile Ruff were foraging in the first big beside the road. The Ruff is still as beautiful as it was last week, when Patty McGann took here fantastic photographs, although perhaps slightly less colorful than before. Still the star of the day! We watched it for several minutes before walking along the tracks. Along the way we flushed up a Burrowing Owl, picked up Western Sandpiper, but nothing else new. The “Stilt Sandpiper Pond” appeared to be pretty dead, although a small group of birders told us they had found Dunlin. We opted not to continue, because we thought we’d find them elsewhere… That decision cost us our Dunlin though… we never encountered any others the rest of the day unfortunately.


Photo: Pati Rouzer (L to R: Matthew Dodder, Kelly Dodder, Ashutosh Sinha looking through scope, Grant Hoyt partially hidden, Caitlin Robinson partially hidden, Karen Hoyt, Joan Leighton, Craign Cummings, Lori Cuesta, Patty McGann, Phil Leigton. We've just seen the Ruff!)


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann

Back at the EEC headquarters we investigated the Barn Owl box and sure enough saw 1, possibly two birds asleep inside. At Salt Pond A-16 we located the adult and juvenile Black Skimmer, and a Herring Gull among the many Western, California and Ring-billed Gulls. Pied-billed Grebe and Double-crested Cormorant seemed to be the only swimming birds in the area. Along the boardwalk we sorted through the large number of Larids, finding all the same species as before plus a single Mew Gull.

After some afternoon tea and ginger snaps and a short progress report we made plans for the remaining daylight hours. We oped to skip the Alviso Marina. There just wasn’t enough time to locate the birds we though might be found there. No Brown Booby or Vesper Sparrow, no Parasitic Jaeger or Pelagic Cormorant for us today…

We did stop at State and Spreckles however and refound our Ruff. Next to it were both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. There was also a Wilson’s Phalarope, more Least and Western Sandpipers. Some member had to leave at this point to feed their cats, dogs, birds of prey… etc. They would rejoin us in a while.

A short drive to the Jubilee Christan Church got us our only Peregrine Falcon of the day. It was perched on the ground, perhaps eating one of the nearby Rock Pigeons. We also found another 3 Burrowing Owls. All were quite visible from the back corner of the parking lot.

It was getting late. We rushed to Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control ponds. There we found Green Heron very quickly as well as Black-crowned Night Heron. We walked toward the radar station and stoppped at the reedy marsh. We found both Sora and Virgina Rail here. Some people even saw the Sora as it scurried back into the reeds for cover. Over the marsh we also found Barn Swallow. We reversed our course and scanned the the big pond, from the hill. The vast majority of Waterfowl was Ruddy Duck, with small groups of Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon and both Lesser and Greater Scaup among them. Our only Green-winged Teal of the day, a female, was in the marshy pond on the far side of the hill. On the large pond we also found 4 Clark’s Grebe.

Getting dark now. We hoped to explore the L’Avenida portion of the Stevens Creek trail, but a concert at Shoreline Park made both major access points, Inaccessible… Traffic was backed up for a mile and moving extremely slowly. Too slowly for birding! We opted instead to visit Charleton Slough via San Antonio Avenue. We parked at the end of Terminal Way and rushed to end of Shoreline lake. Forster’s Terns were foraging noisily over the water, and on the far shore we spotted a female Belted Kingfisher. Easily located were two Surf Scoters.

The slough itself did not produce any new birds but the Mountain View forebay afforded us good looks at both Sora and Virginia Rail, as well as a completely new bird for the day, Cinnamon Teal! Black-crowned Night Herons were flying out to of the marsh insearch of dinner, and so that’s what we did as well. We made our way back to the cars, finding or rather hearing, Wilson’s Snipe, within the marsh.

We ate dinner at Thai City on El Camino Real, in Palo Alto and did the count. We ended up with 127 species, a full 11 birds beyond our last year’s count, even with the surprising misses. NO Semipalmated Plover, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Hairy Woodpecker, Cedar Waxwing… No American Robin. Maybe next year, OR tomorrow.

Thanks again, everyone. Until next year!

Canada Goose
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Surf Scoter
Ruffy Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Clark’s Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Virginia Rail
Sora
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Willet
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Ruff
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson’s Snipe
Wilson’s Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Western Gull
Forster’s Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl
Western Screech Owl
Burrowing Owl
Vaux’s Swift
White-throated Swift
Anna’s Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall’s Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Say’s Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Hutton’s Vireo
Steller’s Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Violet-green Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Bewick’s Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Wrentit
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson’s Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer’s Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow






Moss Landing/Moon Glow Dairy 09-22-07

Today was filled with firsts! To begin with, in an effort to make the best of the incoming tide we started our trip one hour earlier. The goal was to bird the mud flats and search for Shorebirds before the rising waters pushed them out of the harbor and somewhere else. I know it was not everyone’s first choice to get up so early, especially since it was raining... but it did improve our chances at several Shorebird species, so thank you all for being good sports. The rain and drizzle persisted until almost noon, but we managed to see a nice variety of birds. The mud flats along Jetty Road contained many common species, as well as 5-6 Ruddy Turnstones. Although not hard to find, the many Western and Least Sandpipers allowed us to examine them closely and compare their various structural differences. A few Short-billed Dowitchers also demonstrated many of the subtle features, including their flattened backs, streamlined shape and tiger-stripe tertials, which allowed us to identify them with confidence. Strangely, we did not encounter any Long-billed Dowitchers... Over the harbor we saw many Elegant Terns feeding and diving, as well as a few Forster’s Terns. In both cases, we had ample opportunities to compare both their relative shapes and features. Our first Eared Grebes of the season were present near the harbor mouth, and along the beach we encountered our first Say’s Phoebe of fall! The many White-crowned Sparrows we located were likely the resident race, not the migrants. As we strolled the beach, Elegant Terns continued to call off shore. We searched for any seabirds blown inland by the storm, such as Parasitic Jaeger, but none were found, but we did have many chances to examine Common Murres that had washed up onto the beach. A single Pigeon Guillemot was located this way and identified by its bright red feet. With a little more work we were able to find a few Snowy Plovers on the upper portions of the beach. They provided a nice comparison to the Semipalmated Plovers we had seen a few minutes earlier on the flats.

We then moved to Moon Glow Dairy for the last half or our trip. The entrance road was quite muddy, but passable. A couple of birders were just leaving the eucalyptus grove and they reported finding 2 Pectoral Sandpipers in pond 1, the first pond at the base of the hill. We marched out with great expectations. Along the way we found at least 2 Yellow Warblers, 2 or 3 Common Yellowthroat, a Marsh Wren and a first of season Lincoln’s Sparrow. Further out we scoped the muddy shores of the pond finding a great many Red-necked Phalaropes, Least and Western Sandpipers, but no Pectorals... Our first Dunlin of the season, and a basic-plumaged Spotted Sandpiper however were nice consolations. Suddenly, overhead a flock of 7 White-faced Ibis appeared. They made one great circle over the dairy before heading out again. To be fair, there’s no way of being certain they were not Glossy Ibis, except for the extreme unlikeliness of that! The best bird at this stop was probably a single Common Tern which we followed for a few minutes. The dark upper wings, which included a black carpal bar, were good field marks and most everyone was able to see them. On the banks of the slough we were able to get good, although distant views of both the recently reported Brant and Long-tailed Duck. We left the area after that because the continued rain made me worry about our exit strategy. Perhaps I was overcautious, but at least no one got stuck in the mud!

The fields across Dolan road were not terribly productive, except for a single Loggerhead Shrike, perhaps the same one we usually find here. We searched without success for Short-eared Owl. Another first was our lunch destination. Today we dined at The Whole Enchilada, which specializes in Mexican seafood. Simply wonderful food, and I believe everyone had a good time. The last birding for the group was at the small wildlife preserve directly across Hwy 1 from Jetty Road. There we found more Shorebirds, including better looks at Dunlin. We also had another look at Common Tern, which came and went quickly, but at least gave us good looks before it disappeared.

We said our good byes and made our way home. Our car decided to make a quick stop at Zmudowski State Beach where we added Violet-green Swallow, another Lincoln’s Sparrow and a few more American White Pelican. After that we stopped at Harkin’s Slough off of Hwy 1. There were many Gulls, mostly California and Western, but a single Merlin female appeared. This uncommonly pale bird, a “Prairie” Merlin (F. c. richardsonii) is rare away from the central valley. It chased Starlings for a moment before coming to rest in full view across the slough. We left it there after a few minutes, perhaps for the next birders to discover.

Canada Goose
Brant
Gadwall
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Long-tailed Duck
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowne Night Heron
White-faced Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Snowy Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Spotted Sandpiper
Whimbrel
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Black Turnstone
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Short-billed Dowitcher
Red-necked Phalarope
Heerman's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Elegant Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot (dead)
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Western Scrub Jay
Steller's Jay
American Crow
Violet-green Swallow
Barn Swallow
Bushtit
Marsh Wren
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow







Coyote Point Marina/Redwood Shores 09-15-07

For our first fall outing, we visited Coyote Point, primarily in search of Shorebirds. We began however, by working the eucalyptus grove around the museum where we easily located a group of Pygmy Nuthatches. A small group of Band-tailed Pigeons were also seen as they flew into the canopy near the overlook. Both Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers were present, the latter of which came quite close and allowed us to look at every subtle detail of its plumage. As expected, it foraged along the smaller, even tiny, outer branches of the tree.


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann

We then proceeded the small marsh near the PG&E substation. Little was in evidence here, although we did find 2-3 Song Sparrows, a Bewick's Wren and a small flock of Lesser Goldfinches. At one point we also had some American Goldfinches fly over as well, but they did not land. In the next few weeks, I expect this marsh will fill with various Dabbling Ducks and possibly Wilson's Snipe or other Shorebirds...

From the trail overlooking the bay we began to see good numbers of Shorebirds. Black-bellied Plover, Marbled Godwit and Willet were the most conspicuous, but smaller birds such as Least and Western Sandpipers were also visible. Upon closer inspection we also Semipalmated Plovers moving with stops and starts among the other birds. The sandbar served as a roost for lingering Elegant Terns as well as many Forster's. No Common Terns were found despite a thorough search. Farther out along the trail we located small numbers of Black Turnstones and one or two Black Oystercatchers. The Wandering Tattlers unfortunately were not located, nor were the Surfbirds or resident Harlequin Duck. Still, we had many opportunities to observe interesting behaviors such as the delicate, dry-footed "picking" of the Least Sandpipers, the more aggressive wet-footed probing of Western Sandpiper, and the stalking T.Rex-styled stalking of the Black-bellied Plovers. We even saw swimming/spinning Red-necked Phalaropes.


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann

After securing the harbor area we returned to our cars and caranned to Radio Road in Redwood Shores. There the Waterfowl numbers were shockingly high, as were the dense batches of Shorebirds. The appeal of the control ponds here is the ability to see many birds up close. And so Long and Short-billed Dowitchers, although jumpy, allowed us to approach and admire. Among other interesting birds seen here were a family of Black Skimmers, including a juvenile, our first Glaucous-winged Gulls of the season, as well as a lone Mew Gull. It should be a great fall season!


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Canada Goose
Gadwall
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback

Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Aechmophorus species
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer
Black Oystercatcher
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Spotted Sandpiper
Whimbrel
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Black Turnstone
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Red-necked Phalarope
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Elegant Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Pygmy Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow