WINTER 2001

Palo Alto Duck Pond and Byxbee Park 01-14-01 POSTED
Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake 01-27-01 POSTED
Arastradero Open Space Preserve 02-03-01 POSTED
Merced National Wildlife Refuge 02-10-01 POSTED
Joseph D. Grant County Park 02-16-01 POSTED
Coyote Hills Regional Park 02-24-01 POSTED
Princeton Harbor and Pillar Point 03-03-01 POSTED
Stanford Campus 03-10-01 POSTED

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



Stanford Campus 03-10-01

Our trip to Stanford Campus was a lot of fun. The format was somewhat different than usual in that I tried to let the group make as many of the identifications as possible. With few exceptions, all the birds on the list were entirely identified by the group with little or no help from me. Most of our sitings were in the combination oak/eucalyptus grove near the Mosoleum and Museum so future trips will concentrate on those areas. The weather was wonderful and our morning walk was full of great birds including a few individuals demonstrating breeding behavior such as full song or even nest material gathering.

Mallard
White-tailed Kite
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
American Kestre
Killdeer
Gull species (Ring-billed?)
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Band-tailed Pigeon
White-throated Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Selasphorus species
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Barn Swallow
Swallow species
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee
House Finch
Purple Finch



Princeton Harbor and Pillar Point 03-03-01

The weather was pleasant with even a bit of glare on the water from the sun. A few notable water birds were not present such as the hoped-for Long-tailed Duck or any other species of Scoter, but were were fortunate to see three species of Loon, with both the Common Loon and Red-throated Loons showing breeding plumage. Exceptionally close looks at Common Loon were also had by all when a winter-plumaged bird surfaced just a few yards below us on the dock. Excellent comparisons were made when we had Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel and Willet feeding side-by-side as well as six species of Gull on the beach. A group of four Brant was first seen by the boat dock and then reappeared at the Point giving us ample opportunity to view this small coastal cousin of the Canada Goose.

Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Eared Grebe
Horned Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brant's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Brant
Northern Shoveler
Cinnamon Teal
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Common Goldeneye
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Red-tailed Hawk
Black-bellied Plover
Black Oystercatcher
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Whimbrel
Marbled Godwit
Black Turnstone
Sanderling
Heerman's Gull
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Claucous-winged Gull
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bewick's Wren
American Robin
European Starling
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Brewer's Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch



Coyote Hills Regional Park 02-24-01

Our luck with the weather finally ran out. The morning was cold, windy and wet so our trip was cut short, but not without first finding a short list of good birds. Most notably, the Rough-legged Hawk, a rare wintering species, allowed us several distant, but reasonable views. For me, seeing this bird in difficult weather seems appropriate since its home the far northern tundra where a nice sunny day just seems wrong... As well, an immature Peregrine Falcon coursed over the same large field and we had several extended looks at Northern Flicker. On my way back home after the trip, I made a quick stop at the first pond just beyond the Dumbarton Bridge toll plaza and located the female Ruff (Reeve), a rare Eurasian shorebird that has been wintering in our area since December.

Pied-billed Grebe
Double-creasted Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon
Gadwall
Canvasback
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Ring-necked Pheasant
California Quail
American Coot
Greater Yellowlegs
Dowitcher (species)
Gull (species)
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
American Crow
Marsh Wren
American Robin
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch



Joseph D. Grant County Park 02-16-01

Once again, the weather cooperated for our trip to Grant Ranch in the San Jose Hills, though rain had been predicted for the entire weekend. There were no Wild Turkeys seen, but a good day otherwise. Highlights included an extended look at Red-breasted Sapsucker, a singing California Thrasher, a Bewick's Wren exploring a possible nest site beneath the stairs of a small wooden building, and a surprise Prairie Falcon which perched on a distant snag on the ridge above the Ranch House. It took off after being harrassed by a Yellow-billed Magpie. At the lake we were rewarded with views of a flock of roughly 20 Common Mergansers and a Ring-necked Duck as well as an unseasonalbe Violet-green Swallow.

Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
American White Pelican (flying over Hwy 101)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Canvasback
Ring-necked Duck
Bufflehead
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Prairie Falcon
California Quail (heard only)
American Coot
Killdeer
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Nuttall's Woodpecker (heard only)
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Violet-green Swallow
Yellow-billed Magpie
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Marsh Wren
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
California Thrasher
American Robin
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo (heard only)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
Californian Towhee
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch



Merced National Wildlife Refuge 02-10-01

Despite the heavy rain coming over the Pacheco Pass and the rain on the way home, our trip was blessed with dry weather. A small miracle... Perhaps it was also the weather that kept the huge numbers of Cranes and Geese from gathering at the refuge, but we were still able to log them for our trip though not as dramatically as previous trips. We were treated to their rattling calls as they flew in groups overhead. White-faced Ibis were easily seen as were four separate Great Horned Owls. Other highlights included innumerable Red-tailed Hawks, and Northern Harriers as well as extended looks at Loggerhead Shrike and Dunlin. The highlight for me was unfortunately outside of the refuge were we encountered a male Rough-legged Hawk on a phone pole. The bird allowed us to admire it for a few moments before moving down the road. We saw this rare northern hawk again on our way home as well as a large flock of perhaps 1000 Ross' Geese.

Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
White-faced Ibis
Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow Goose
Ross' Goose
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Accipiter Species (probably Cooper's Hawk)
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk (two miles before refuge)
American Kestrel
Sora
Virginial Rail (heard only)
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer (heard only)
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Long-billed Curlew
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Dowitcher species (checklist points to LBDO)
Common Snipe
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Belted Kingfisher
Black Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Yellow-billed Magpie (before refuge)
American Crow
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Northern Mockingbird
American Robin
American Pipit
European Starling
Loggerhead Shrike
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Californian Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird (before refuge)
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
House Sparrow



Arastradero Open Space Preserve 02-03-01

Once again we were fortunate with the weather and our trip to the preserve was pleasant, warm and clear. Highlights began immediately in the parking lot where we observed White-tailed Kites hunting over the field as well as an American Kestrel and a Red-shouldered Hawk. Western Bluebirds perched on the barbed wire fence quite close to our group allowing great views as well. Perhaps the best find of the day was a lone Lincoln's Sparrow which perced for a few moments and allowed us an uncommon opportunity to observe this shy species. Once in the park proper we spotted a Cooper's Hawk in a tree and continued to see Kites for the remainder of the day. Many species were detected but not all were seen, as often happens when birding in a wooded area, so we bushed up on some of our bird call recognition.

Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Mallard
Common Goldeneye (female only)
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
White-tailed Kite
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Kestrel
American Coot
Killdeer (heard only)
California Gull
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker (heard only)
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
Steller's Jay
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Wrentit (heard only)
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Californian Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Lesser Goldfinch
House Finch
Purple Finch



Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake 01-27-01

All week the weather was dismal and cold, but today the heavens were clear and sunny! The trip began with up to 5 Ring-necked Pheasants, one of which was crouched in a nearby bush and allowed us to view it clearly in the telescope. Other highlights included my favorite Black Skimmers, a "very rare or casual" Shoret-eared Owl which we watched at a distance while it was harassed by a White-tailed Kite, and extended looks at the secretive Green Heron--a bird often missed even in proper habitat. Barrow's Goldeneye failed to appear, but good looks at other diving ducks such as Surf Scoter, Common Goldeneye and Greater Scaup were had by all. Opportunities to compare Eared and Horned Grebes were numerous and while they did not show themselves, both Sora and Virginia Rail were heard.

Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
Western Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Great Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Mallard
Gadwall
Northern Pintail
American Wigeon
Canvasback
Common Goldeneye
Greater Scaup
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
White-tailed Kite
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Ring-necked Pheasant
Virginia Rail (heard only)
Sora (heard only)
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Marbled Godwit
Least Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmers
Mourning Dove
Rock Dove
Short-eared Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
American Crow
Common Raven
Bushtit
Marsh Wren (heard only)
Common Yellowthroat
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
House Finch
House Sparrow



Palo Alto Duck Pond, Yacht Club and Byxbee Park 01-14-01

Our first trip of the winter term was a great success. The weather was overcast in the morning, clearing by noon. Our large group meant that not everyone saw each of the species listed below, but good views of most birds were still possible. Highlights included an extended look at an immature Cooper's Hawk and close looks at several duck species, both Divers and Dabblers. We were informed part way through the trip of a "Eurasian" Green-winged Teal, which we were not able to find. Among the more interesting moments was when we had three species of Blackbirds as well as Eurasian Starling in a single group affording us ample opportunity to compare these similar looking birds.

Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant (flyover)
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Great Egret
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Mallard
Gadwall
Northern Pintail
American Wigeon
Canvasback
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
White-tailed Kite
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Least Sandpiper
Dowitcher (species)
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
Mourning Dove
Rock Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Black Phoebe
Common Raven
Western Scrub Jay
American Robin
Bushtit
Marsh Wren (heard only)
European Starling
American Pipit (heard only)
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-rumped Warbler
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch