WINTER 2000

Palo Alto Duck Pond and Byxbee Park 01-22-00 POSTED
Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake 01-29-00 POSTED
Arastradero Open Space Preserve 02-12-00 POSTED
Joseph D. Grant County Park 02-27-00 POSTED
Pescadero Area 03-04-00 POSTED
Don Edwards San Francisco NWR 03-11-00 POSTED
Point Reyes National Seashore 03-25-00 POSTED

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



Point Reyes National Seashore 03-25-00

The weather reports made me skeptical about taking the group to this area, but what do you know? The weather reports were wrong! The weather was perfect, warm and sunny with very little wind! We met at 10:00 at the Bear Valley Visitors Center, birded the woodsy area near the headquarters where we had Varied Thrush, Townsend's and Wilson's Warblers, Allen's Hummingbird, Downey Woodpecker and Purple Finch among other birds. Next we went to Olema Marsh where we started by seeing many Tree Swallows, along with Marsh Wren, Osprey and Virginia Rail. Some interesting ducks were here as well such as Hooded Merganser and Ring-necked Duck. We proceeded to the little town of Inverness to pick up sandwiches and scan the Tomales Bay where we found many Greater Scaup and Red-breasted Mergansers. Drake's Beach, where we ate our lunch, is also where we bought our stuttle tickets out to the Lighthouse area. At the Lighthouse, which was a little windy, we saw dozens of Common Murre, a few Pelagic Cormorants, Common Loon and Black Scoter. Finally we went to Chimney Rock where we had our best bird of the day: Red-necked Grebe. As well we found more Black Scoter, White-winged Scoter, Common Loon, Glaucous-winged Gull, Brandt's Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot and Clark's Grebe. All in all, I'd say our day was a huge success, and I look forward to making the journey again, perhaps during the Spring quarter.

Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Brown Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Egret
Brant
Cinnamon Teal
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
White-winged Scoter
Surf Scoter
Black Scoter
Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Northern Harrier
California Quail
Virginia Rail
American Coot
Willet
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Glaucous-winged Gull
Western Gull
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Allen's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Downey Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Varied Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Townsend's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin

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

Western Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Harlequin Duck (female)
American Kestrel
Wild Turkey (San Geronimo Valley)
Sora
Killdeer
Greater Yellowlegs
California Gull
Ringbilled Gull
Herring Gull
Band-tailed Pigeon
Rock Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Western Wood-Pewee
Violet-green Swallow
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Pygmy Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Bewick's Wren
American Pipit
Hutton's Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Dark-eyed Junco
Tri-colored Blackbird
House Sparrow



Don Edwards San Francisco National Wildlife Refuge 03-11-00

What a wonderful day! We had perfect weather, cloudy in the morning, so the glare was not too bad over the water, clearing to sunny skys by noon. Generally it was warm and while we didn't see very many of the target species, we had some nice surprises. Good looks at Bonaparte's Gull, Common Yellowthroat and several Clapper Rails. We had a nice opportunity to compare two species of grebe, Western and Clark's, in rapid succession. The best bird was probably a female Merlin as we walked back toward the parking lot.

Pied-billed Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
Canvasback
Greater Scaup
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Clapper Rail
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Long-billed Curlew
Bonaparte's Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Anna's Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Northern Mockingbird
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow

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

Eared Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Ring-necked Duck
Common Goldeneye
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
Killdeer
Ring-billed Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Mourning Dove
Allen's Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
Barn Swallow
American Crow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bewick's Wren
European Starling
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
Dark-eyed Junco
House Sparrow


Pescadero Area 03-04-00

While the weather decided to cooperate for a change, and it was a very pleasant day along the coast, very few species presented themselves. Highlights included a brief look at an Allen's Hummingbird as it fed in a bottle brush tree, a large flock of Pine Siskins and a Townsend's Warbler in the Natural Garden at Phipp's Ranch. At Pescadero Beach we had good looks at Black Oystercatchers and Surfbird, but Bird Rock was essentially empty. This particular beach is normally good for all three species of cormorants, rock-loving shorebirds, loons, grebes and an occasional alcid fly-by. Oh, well...

Pied-billed Grebe
Western Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Mallard
Green-winged Teal
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Greater Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Killdeer
Black Oystercatcher
Surfbird
Greater Yellowlegs
Sanderling
Mew Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Townsend's Warbler
California Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Purple Finch
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Other birds in the area I noticed during lunch at the Pescadero Cemetary, later along Coverdale Road and near Pigeon Point Lighthouse were:

Surf Scoter
California Quail
American Kestrel
Black-bellied Plover
Herring Gull
Band-tailed Pigeon
Downey Woodpecker
Say's Phoebe
Steller's Jay
Oak Titmouse
Winter Wren
Varied Thrush
Western Bluebird
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Western Meadowlark


Texas Coast and Rio Grand Valley 02-18-00 to 02-26-00

A full report of my vacation trip can be viewed by clicking here. An abbreviated itinerary is included and non-Northern California species shown in red. At some point in the future, I would like to take a small group to the Texas Coast and/or the Rio Grande, so this trip and the previous one were for the purpose of researching the area. If you would like to receive information about a possible future trip to find some of these Texas specialties, please feel free to email me, and I will update you on plans as they develop.


Joseph D. Grant County Park 02-27-00

This trip was actually cancelled by a classmember, who was weather monitor while I was in Texas for the week. But on the off chance someone did not receive the email from Tony, I decided to visit the area and bird in the rain. One person showed up and we had a pleasant time birding in the wet weather. An unexpected treat was a brief tour of the Grant Ranch House, by a weekend docent who seemed eager for the company.

Wild Turkey
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Turkey Vulture
Mourning Dove
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Western Scrub Jay
Oak Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin
Western Bluebird
European Starling
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Lesser Goldfinch

Other birds in the area which I found on the 9:00 am scouting visit were:

California Quail
Cooper's Hawk
American Kestrel
Anna's Hummingbird
Downey Woodpecker
Steller's Jay
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Northern Mockingbird
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Western Meadowlark
White-crowned Sparrow
House Sparrow


Arastradero Open Space Preserve 02-12-00

The weather decided to cooperate (for the most part) and we only got a little rain, but the preserve was pretty muddy from a week of showers. We had good numbers of raptors, woodpeckers and sparrows as well as a few ducks on the Arastradero Lake. The most exciting part of the day I think, was when we strolled up the hill and had several species of raptors visible at one time--a Red-shouldered Hawk antagonizing a Sharp-shinned Hawk, with White-tailed Kites, a Northern Harrier and several Turkey Vultures visible further up the hill. A nice surprise was a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches foraging quietly on an oak tree.

Pied-billed Grebe
Great Egret
Mallard
Greater Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Bufflehead
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Kestrel
California Quail
American Coot
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Western Scrub Jay
White-breasted Nuthatch
Wrentit
American Robin
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
California Towhee
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark

Other birds in the area which I found on the 9:00 am scouting visit were:

Killdeer
Say's Phoebe
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Song Sparrow
American Goldfinch


Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake 01-29-00

We had beautiful weather for this trip which was geared toward finding long-legged waders such as herons, egrets and the like. We did fairly well with these birds, but did not get very close to most of them. As well we had quite a few new diving ducks and most of the dabblers we saw on our previous trip. A memorable moment for me was seeing two male goldeneyes perform their courtship dance for the nearby females. Thanks to the sharp eyes of another couple of birders we were able to view the very rare Eurasian Wigeon. These beautiful birds show up in small numbers each winter in our area and are worth looking for. Those who did not get a look at the bird, can refer to the news section of this website for reports of other EUWIs in our area. Grebes were in abundance, giving us nice opportunities to compare similar species. We had good looks at an unexpected Say's Phoebe and a brief glimpse of a Green Heron as it fled the scene. Several Black Skimmers were present on their normal winter island roost.

Western Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Pied-billed 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
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Canvasback (female)
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Common Goldeneye
Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser (female)
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Dowitcher (species)
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Say's Phoebe
Bushtit
Northern Mockingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
California Towhee
Western Meadowlark
House Finch

Other birds in the area which I found on the 8:00 am scouting visit were:

Barrow's Goldeneye
American Kestrel
Willet
Mew Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Western Gull
Herring Gull
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Goldfinch


Palo Alto Duck Pond and Byxby Park 01-22-00

On our first outing for the new quarter we concentrated on ducks, of which there were quite a few! The weather was very pleasant and while we had no rarities, we got good looks at most of the ducks we expected. We had a brief and unsatisfying look at a Barn Owl as it flushed from the palm trees near the pond. A side trip to Byxby Park yielded no Burrowing Owls, but hopefully next time we'll have better luck. For those who remained in the area we had good looks at Clapper Rail along the board walk near the Interpretive Center.

Clark's Grebe
Canada Goose
Mallard
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Canvasback
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Bufflehead (females only)
Ruddy Duck
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Great Egret
Clapper Rail
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Killdeer
Marbled Godwit
Willet
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Turkey Vulture
American Kestrel
Barn Owl
Common Raven
Marsh Wren
European Starling
Western Meadowlark