SPRING 2002

Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake 03-30-02 POSTED
Arastradero Open Space Preserve 04-06-02 POSTED
Coyote Hills Regional Park 04-27-02 POSTED
Alum Rock Park 05-04-02 POSTED
Joseph D. Grant County Park 05-11-02 POSTED
Natural Bridges State Park 05-18-02 POSTED
Stevens Creek Park 05-18-02 POSTED

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



Stevens Creek Park 05-18-02


This was our last excursion for the term and while we did not log all the expected (or hoped for) species on our final list, we did have a very colorful day with plenty of examples of breeding behavior and song. An early treat was a large Falcon which eluded final identification, but we assume it was either Peregrine or Prairie. Other highlights included two species of Oriole, Western Tanager and Black-headed Grosbeak. The real star of the day, however, was found right in the parking lot as we prepared to leave the area--a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers feeding three hungry chicks.

Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Mallard
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk (heard only)
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Falco species Large (Peregrine or Prairie)
California Quail
Caspian Tern
Rock Dove
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Vaux's Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Selasphorus species
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Western Wood-pewee
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Western Bluebird
American Robin
Wrentit
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo (heard only)
Warbling Vireo
Orange-crowned Warbler (heard only)
Wilson's Warbler
Western Tanager
Black-headed Grosbeak
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Hooded Oriole
Bullock's Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch



Natural Bridges State Park 05-18-02

As always, during the field trip I felt our count was pretty low, but upon typing up the list I find again that we did rather well. No rareties, but some rewarding looks at common species. Two new species of Cormorants presented themselves for comparison with the more familiar Double-crested Cormorant. All three were perched side-by-side on a large rock. Later observed Western Gulls and a few Brandt's Cormorants sitting on nests, blue gular pouches fluttering and all! In the beach area, we found several more species of Gull, and a few Pigeon Guillemots just off shore. The swelling waves made it difficult for us to get extended looks, but we did note the large white wing patches on the otherwise black birds. In the Dell area (Butterfly Trail) we encountered a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers, at least two Western Tanagers, a male and female, Pacific-slope Flycatcher and Wilson's Warbler. Many other species were detected by voice alone including the glorious song of Swainson's Thrush. Two nice surprises were several flyover Vaux's Swifts and extended looks at Allen's Hummingbirds.

Western Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Mallard
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk (heard only)
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
California Quail (heard only)
Killdeer
Heerman's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Caspian Tern
Pigeon Guillemot
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Vaux's Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Western Wood Pewee (heard only)
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Pygmy Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo (heard only)
Warbling Vireo (heard only)
Wilson's Warbler
Western Tanager
Black-headed Grosbeak (heard only)
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Bullock's Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch

Continuing north on Hwy 1, Brian,Kelly and I added a few other species to the day's list. The Pacific Loons were flying north off shore and large groups of 20 or so birds. Black Oystercatchers and Pigeon Guillemots were easily seen at the lighthouse and many Band-tailed Pigeon were sitting on phone wires by the side of the road.

Pacific Loon
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Gadwall
Northern Harrier
American Coot
Black Oystercatcher
Forster's Tern
Band-tailed Pigeon
Acorn Woodpecker
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Lesser Goldfinch



Joseph D. Grant County Park 05-11-02

We had absolutely perfect spring weather for our trip to this beautiful location. Bird activity was high with nest building and plenty of singing for us to practice recognizing species by voice alone. Several colorful birds were logged, including Bullock's Oriole, Western Tanager, and Black-headed Grosbeak. Other highlights included several singing Grasshopper Sparrows, a rare species in the county. Repeated attempts to view the birds were finally rewarded albeit only briefly. Lawrence's Goldfinches seemed to be everywhere, offering many opportunities to view this rare species and also wrap up our Goldfinch quota for the term! The best bird of the day however was a Yellow-breasted Chat which we identified by song and later viewed. Rare in the county, this is on of the top five "best birds" found on our field trips.

Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Mallard
Gadwall
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
California Quail
American Coot
Killdeer
Forster's Tern
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird (on nest)
Acorn Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker (heard only)
Northern Flicker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Western Wood-Pewee
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Ash-throated Flycatcher (heard only)
Western Kingbird
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Steller's Jay (heard only)
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch (heard only)
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Western Bluebird
Swainson's Thrush (seen by one)
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo (heard only)
Warbling Vireo
Orange-crowned Warbler (heard only)
Yellow Warbler (heard only)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler (heard only)
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Western Tanager
Black-headed Grosbeak
Lazuli Bunting
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Grasshopper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Bullock's Oriole
Purple Finch (heard only)
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
Lawrence's Goldfinch
American Goldfinch



Alum Rock Park 05-04-02

This was a day of perfect weather and beautiful colors! Almost immediately upon arriving in the Rustic Lands parking area were treated to several brilliant male Bullock's Orioles and jubilant Black-headed Grosbeaks that foraged overhead in the large eucalyptus trees. After we recovered from that excitement, we located a male Hooded Oriole high in the same trees as well as a male Western Tanager! It was a great start to a perfect day. Other highlights included several pairs of nesting House Wrens, Orange-crowned, Black-throated Gray and Wilson's Warblers, Hutton's and Warbling Vireos and a pair of Great Horned Owls perched in a small oak tree against the rocky cliff area. There was also the indescribably blue Lazuli Bunting along the North Ridge Trail that took a while to locate but finally appeared and amazed us with its colors. WOW, what a sight! Not all of us were able to see every species however, but the season is really under way and the next few trips offer more chances to catch these colorful spring birds.

Mallard
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Kestrel
Wild Turkey
California Quail
Band-tailed Pigeon
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Selasphorus species
Vaux's Swift
Northern Flicker
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Ash-throated Flycatcher (heard only)
Black Phoebe
Western Wood Pewee (heard only)
Olive-sided Flycatcher (heard only)
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Common Raven
American Crow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Wrentit
House Wren
Bewick's Wren
California Thrasher
American Robin
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Orange-crowned Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Bullock's Oriole
Hooded Oriole
Western Tanager
Black-headed Grosbeak
Lazuli Bunting
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Purple Finch (heard only)
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch



Coyote Hills Regional Park 04-27-02

Beautiful spring weather inspired breeding behavior, including nest building and much singing among the birds. Several species of Warblers were heard only, but easily recognized. Common Moorhen was seen building a nest with its mate, and a Brown-headed Cowbird was harassed while trying to lay in a Song Sparrow nest. We concentrated primarily on the woodland area around "Hoot Hollow" and were treated to a Great Horned Owl on the nest with one or two young. Raptor numbers were down overall, but a large Falcon (most likely a Pergrine), was briefly seen overhead near the Owl. Waterfowl was hard to find as well, but on the Bay portion of our walk, we found many Greater Scaup on the open water. Other highlights included many Dunlin in breeding plumage and a Lesser Yellowlegs near the levy trail. Perhaps the best bird of the day was one of the smallest. Among the many difficult to observe Passerines in the trees we located two Hermit Warblers. This species has not been seen on any of our class outings before and was a lifer for most members of our team.

Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
American Wigeon
Greater Scaup
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Peregrine Falcon (probable)
Ring-necked Pheasant
California Quail
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Willet
Marbled Godwit
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Phalarope species (near toll plaza on Dumbarton Bridge)
Forster's Tern
Rock Dove
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great-horned Owl
White-throated Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Selasphorus species
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Tree Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Steller's Jay (heard only)
Western Scrub Jay
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing (flyover)
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler (heard only)
Yellow Warbler (heard only)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Hermit Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler (heard only)
Spotted Towhee
California Tohwee
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow (heard only)
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Bullock's Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow



Arastradero Open Space Preserve 04-06-02

This woodland area offered many new species for the term especially some exciting neotropic Passerines. Weather began overcast and slightly cool, warming and becoming sunny and wonderful by noon. We had many "heard only" species, allowing us ample opportunity to sharpen our ears. Among these were two species of Vireo and and two species of Warbler. Visual highlights included some great raptors such as White-tailed Kites and Red-tailed Hawks in courtship display flights, as well as a Sharp-shinned Hawk and a stupendous Golden Eagle high overhead. We also saw Western Kingbird and got brief looks at Blue-gray Gnatcatcher as well as singing House Wren. Probably the most noteworthy "seen" bird was a seasonally late drake Ring-necked Duck on the pond. This species is considered "very rare to casual" this time of year. Big misses were the Orioles. Perhaps on our next trip...

Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Canada Goose
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Golden Eagle
California Quail (heard only)
American Coot
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Selasphorus species (heard only)
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (heard only)
Pacific-slope Flycatcher (heard only)
Black Phoebe
Western Kingbird
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (heard only)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Western Bluebird
Hermit Thrush (heard only)
American Robin
Wrentit
Cedar Waxwing
Hutton's Vireo (heard only)
Warbling Vireo (heard only)
Orange-crowned Warbler (heard only)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Wilson's Warbler (heard only)
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Purple Finch (heard only)
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch



Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake 03-30-02

Absolutely gorgeous weather graced our first field trip of the term! We began our visit to the area with lengthy observations of a beautiful male Ring-necked Pheasant followed quickly by a fly-by Green Heron. We also had exceptional looks at some seasonal waterfowl, most notably the Green-winged Teal (the lighting was just perfect to see all the glorious irridescence on the males). A few Common Goldeneyes remained at Shoreline Lake offering one of our last opportunities this season to see this wintering species. A real treat was the breeding plumages of both Eared and Horned Grebes as well as Black-bellied Plovers, which we usually see only in their winter drabs. We had a few fortunate surprises, like a singing Fox Sparrow (primarily a winter species in our area) and 4 Common Moorhen (typically we see only one per visit to this area). We also admired the nest building of both Cliff Swallows and Marsh Wren.

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