SPRING 2000

Palo Alto Duck Pond and Yacht Club Area 04-08-00 POSTED
Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake 04-15-00 POSTED
Coyote Hills Regional Park 04-22-00 POSTED
Arastradero Open Space Preserve 04-29-00 POSTED
Joseph D. Grant County Park 05-06-00 POSTED
Pescadero Area 05-13-00 POSTED
Point Reyes National Seashore 05-20-00 POSTED
Mines Road and Del Puerto Canyon 05-27-00 POSTED

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



Mines Road, San Antonio Valley Road and Del Puerto Canyon Road 05-27-00

On a reconnaissance trip to the Mines Road area, just outside of Livermore, a friend and I found the following birds. The weather was wonderful, although it got pretty hot in the afternoon. The region is characterized by open oak woodland, some wide grassy hills and chapparel covered rocky slopes, in other words, pretty varied and distinct from the immediate Bay Area. The best single bird was a singing Black-chinned Sparrow. Other good sightings included Lawrence's Goldfinch and a singing Rock Wren. I look forward to taking a group to this wonderful spot, which is traditionally most productive in Spring. Perhaps next time we will have better luck with some of the target birds like Lewis' Woodpecker, Cassin's Kingbird and Costa's Hummingbird.

Great Blue Heron
Wood Duck
Mallard
Turkey Vulture
Golden Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Kestrel
California Quail
American Coot
Killdeer
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
White-throated Swift
Vaux's Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Downey Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Western Wood-Pewee
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Rock Wren
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Western Bluebird
Northern Mockingbird
Wrentit
Phainopepla
European Starling
Cassin's Vireo
MacGillivray's Warbler
Black-headed Grosbeak
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Black-chinned Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Bullock's Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Lawrence's Goldfinch
House Sparrow



Point Reyes National Seashore and Olema Marsh 05-20-00

For much of the day, the weather was absolutely splendid. But as we drove out to Drakes Beach we had to abort plans to visit the Outer Point because of heavy fog and so headed back toward Bolinas Lagoon. The birds were active, but as expected, our species count was not terribly high. Fall and winter are traditionally the best seasons to visit the area. Highlights included a very rare Northern Parula, a Golden-crowned Kinglet and an exciting display of diving Caspian Terns. Also there were perhaps 3 adult Osprey with one on the nest and several Brant!

Pied-Billed Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Western Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Canada Goose
Brant
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Wild Turkey (San Geronimo Valley)
California Quail
American Coot
Killdeer
Willet
Marbled Godwit
Sanderling
Ring-billed Gull
Western Gull
Forster's Tern
Caspian Tern
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Western Wood-pewee
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
Steller's Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Pygmy Nuthatch (heard)
Violet-green Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Marsh Wren
Bewick's Wren (heard)
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird (while driving on Sir Francis Drake)
American Robin
European Starling
Northern Parula
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
California Towhee
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow


Some additional birds I noticed back in San Francisco in the Presidio were the following:

Brandt's Cormorant
Black Oystercatcher
Common Murre
Rock Dove
Allen's Hummingbird
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Swainson's Thrush



Pescadero Area 05-13-00

We really couldn't have asked for better weather! We began, as usual, at Phipp's Ranch and had good luck with migrant birds such as Western Tanager, Wilson's and Yellow Warblers, Purple Finch and best of all loads of Black-headed Grosbeaks. One male BHGR was seen sitting and singing from the nest! After securing the Natural Garden area we moved along Cloverdale Road for a brief stop on a country road were we had good looks at Allen's Hummingbird. Finally we took Gazos Creek Road to Hwy 1 and drove north to Pigeon Point where we concentrated on rock-loving shorebirds like Black Oystercatcher, Wandering Tattler and Surfbird. From the lookout many birds were visible beyond the surf, some of which I didn't discuss because they were moving too fast or were too far out. Those species are indicated with an asterisc (*).

Pacific Loon
Common Loon *
Clark's Grebe
Sooty Shearwater *
Brown Pelican
Brandt's Cormorant
Surf Scoters *
Black Scoter *
Brant
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
California Quail
Killdeer
Black Oystercatcher
Whimbrel *
Wandering Tattler
Surfbird
Western Gull
Pigeon Guillemot
Cassin's Auklet *
Rock Dove
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Selasphorus Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Downey Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher (heard)
Western Wood-pewee (heard)
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Violet-green Swallow
Barn Swallow
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren (heard)
Swainson's Thrush (heard)
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Warbling Vireo
Yellow Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Western Tanager
Black-headed Grosbeak
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Purple Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow


Some additional birds I noticed in various stops along the coast after our group walk were the following:

Mallard
Northern Harrier
Forster's Tern
Caspian Tern
Say's Phoebe
Cliff Swallow
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Wrentit
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch
House Finch



Joseph D. Grant County Park 05-06-00

What a magic day! The weather was perfect for our trip to this open mixed woodland habitat. We had many spring migrants to identify. Our day was filled with Bullock's Orioles, Western Bluebirds and Violet-green Swallows. Highlights included a stunning Western Tanager, singing Lazuli Bunting, and Yellow Warbler. Other fun species included Western Kingbird and Ash-throated Flycatcher. But the star of the show would have to be the pair of Lawrence's Goldfinches that came to drink at the small stream by the farm house! Some surprising no-shows were Wild Turkey and Yellow-billed Magpie.

Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Mallard
Gadwall
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Killdeer
Forster's Tern
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Western Wood-Pewee
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Western Bluebird
American Robin
European Starling
Warbling Vireo
Orange-crowned Warbler (heard)
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Wilson's Warber
Western Tangager
Black-headed Grosbeak (heard)
Lazuli Bunting
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow (heard)
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Western Meadowlark
Bullock's Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
Lawrence's Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

Some additional birds I noticed before and after our group walk were the following:

Cooper's Hawk
American Kestrel
Northern Mockingbird
Yellow-billed Magpie
Loggerhead Shrike
Dark-eyed Junco
House Sparrow

On a side trip to Ed Leven County Park (east of Milpitas) characterized by wide open grassy hills and a willow-lined lake I came across the following additional birds. The hillside above the lake has a small grove of sycamore trees which produced some good species:

White-tailed Kite
White-throated Swift
Rufous Hummingbird
Northern Mockingbird
Blue Grosbeak
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
House Sparrow



Arastradero Open Space Preserve 04-29-00

Another wonderful trip! The weather was glorious and we even saw some good birds. The area, characterized by open oak woodland and some accompanying dry grassy hills, is home to many species that differ from those in the Baylands so we concentrated on these. We saw a few neotropic migrants such as Ash-throated Flycatcher and four species of swallow. Our raptor show was really good with Red-shouldered Hawk battling first with a Red-tailed Hawk and then a White-tailed Kite. Way overhead we saw an adult Golden Eagle cruising toward the Stanford Dish. And to my chagrin, since I had just finished proclaiming that this area wasn't good for herons or egrets, we had at least two Green Herons flying over the trail! Notably absent were Western Bluebirds and Western Meadowlark. Oh, well...

Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Mallard
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
American Coot
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
White-throated Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker (heard)
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Pacific-slope Flycatcher (heard)
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
Steller's Jay (heard)
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
American Robin
California Thrasher
European Starling
Wrentit
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Bullock's Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch



Coyote Hills Regional Park 04-22-00

We had very cooperative weather until the last hour when it began to get chilly and drizzly. We ended a little early, but still had a very good day. Our focus was mainly on passerines around Hoot Hollow and the picnic area, but we also looked around the pond for a few water birds. Highlights of the day included a small flock of Band-tailed Pigeons, a dozen Cedar Waxwings, perhaps four Bullock's Orioles and a few White-throated Swifts. The most fortunate find of the day was a Bewick's Wren AND a California Thrasher sitting in the same tree for several minutes, allowing good long views of these often frustrating birds. We were also treated to the breeding display of a male Ring-necked Pheasant as he posed atop a rock on the ridge above us.

Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Cinnamon Teal
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-necked Pheasant
American Coot
Killdeer
American Avocet
Black-necked Stilt
Forster's Tern
Mourning Dove
Band-tailed Pigeon
White-throated Swifts
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Tree Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Marsh Wren
American Robin
California Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwings
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Bullock's Oriole
House Finch

Some additional birds I noticed before our group walk were the following :

Red-necked Phalarope (Dumbarton Bridge)
Western Kingbird
Orange-crowned Warbler
American Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow



Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake 04-15-00

The menacing rain clouds that rolled in the night before never produced rain during our field trip, and actually made water bird observation easy because of less glare. Most of the expected birds were present, with the exception of Black Skimmers. Oh, well... Maybe next time. Nice surprises included both Eared and Horned Grebes in full alternate plumage, a courtship dance by a pair of Western Grebes and close-up views of Cliff Swallows constructing their mud nests. As well, the female Hooded Merganser remains on the small waterway just before the pump house.

Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Horned Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Gadwall
Northern Pintail
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Canvasback
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Ring-necked Pheasant
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Marbled Godwit
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Dowitcher (species)
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern
Rock Dove (pure white)
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
Violet-green Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Common Raven
Marsh Wren
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Some additional birds I noticed before our group walk were the following :

Semi-palmated Plover
Black Skimmer
Western Scrub Jay
Northern Rough-winged Swallow



Palo Alto Duck Pond and Yacht Club Area 04-08-00

The weather was partly cloudy in the morning and was clear by 11:00 for a beautiful day of birding. Our first trip concentrated on ducks and other smimmers, but we had some other nice surprises such as Bonepart's Gull and Burrowing Owl. The day before had some additional birds listed in the news portion of this site.

Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night-heron
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Gadwall
Canvasback
Greater Scaup
Ruddy Duck
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Clapper Rail (heard)
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Bonapart's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
Common Raven
Marsh Wren
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch (heard)
House Sparrow

Some additional birds I noticed before and after our group walk were the following (CS=Charleston Slough, SLL=Shoreline Lake):

Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
Turkey Vulture
Surf Scoter (SLL)
Common Goldeneye (SLL)
Hooded Merganser (CS)
Redhead (CS)
Common Moorhen
Black Skimmer (CS)
Willet

I also took a little walk at Arastradero Open Space Preserve and the following additional birds made an appearance:

Red-shouldered Hawk
Allen's Hummingbird
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Blue-gray Gnatchatcher
Violet-green Swallow
California Thrasher
Western Bluebird
Cedar Waxwing
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Bullock's Oriole
Lesser Goldfinch