WINTER 2004


Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant 01-10-04 POSTED
Alum Rock Park 01-17-04 POSTED
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex 01-24-04 POSTED
Panoche Valley 01-31-04 POSTED
Elkhorn Slough and Moss Landing 02-07-04 POSTED
Pescadero 02-21-04 POSTED
Joseph D. Grant County Park 02-28-04 POSTED
Point Reyes National Seashore 02-06-04 POSTED

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



Point Reyes National Seashore 03-06-04

This was an amazing trip! As we've seen in winters past, the weather was absolutely stunning. We met at Bear Valley Vistors Center and birded the familiar grove area around the compound and strolled a bit in the dense woodland at the far end of the field. We had excellent views of Townsend's Warbler, White-breasted Nuthatch and of course, the Acorn Woodpeckers. As well, we witnessed an exciting show from the American Kestrels, a fly-over Osprey and the territorial Allen's Hummingbirds. One of the most fulfilling birds of the morning was the Golden-crowned Kinglet, of which we saw several, as they flitted about in the conifers. Winter Wren and Hermit Thrush sang several times during our time there, but we were not able to see either species. Because of the poor viewing conditions at Olema Marsh recently, we bypassed it and went directly to Inverness store to survey the bay for waterfowl. As well as Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, and Ruddy Duck, other swimming species were located such as Western, Clark's, Horned and Eared Grebes, Red-throated Loon and Double-crested Cormorant. A Belted Kingfisher dove for fish several times right off the shore and we watched it bang its catch and swallow it whole. Across the bay, on the platform we observed two Osprey on nest, and overhead another Osprey appeared and dove for fish just out of our view. After securing the bay, we relocated to Drake's Beach for a pleasant picnic by the willow's accompanied by White-crowned and Song Sparrows, Common Raven and Western Gull, each hoping for some handouts. We boarded the shuttle to Chimney Rock where the real fun began. The walk along the cliffs to the rock produced some exciting birds we don't often see. We managed to find 2 Red-necked Grebes, all three species of Scoter, three species of Loon and three species of Cormorant. Not bad! As well we saw a distant Pigeon Guillemot, a nearby Common Murre and a line of Brant a few hundred yards beyond the rocks. The most wonderful bird, perhaps of the day, was a first-for-the-class Northern Fulmar! At least a dozen of these stiff-winged pelagic Tubenoses criss-crossed the waves and fed close enough for us to get great looks. Several different color morphs were among the flock, some dark gray, others tannish or strongly marbled, some almost white and a few with pale Gull-type gray mantle and white undersides. The long walk back to the bus did not produce Peregrine Falcon or any additonal Waterfowl but it hardly seemed to matter. We had been to the rock, which has got to be one of the best views in California and returned with a lifer form most members of the group!

Common Loon
Pacific Loon
Red-throatd Loon
Red-necked Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Northern Fulmar
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Canada Goose
Brant
Mallard
Greater Scaup
Black Scoter
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Bufflehead
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
White-tailed Kite
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Wild Turkey (San Geronimo Valley)
California Quail
American Coot
Marbled Godwit
Willet
Glaucous-winged Gull
Western Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
California Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Mew Gull
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Acorn Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Black Phoebe
Violet-green Swallow
Tree Swallow
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Common Raven
American Crow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Wrentit (heard only)
Winter Wren (heard only)
Bewick's Wren (heard only)
Marsh Wren (heard only)
American Robin
Hermit Thrush (heard only)
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hutton's Vireo (heard only)
Townsend's Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-cowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Western Meadowlark
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch



Joseph D. Grant County Park 02-28-04

We enjoyed perfect weather for this, one of my favorite locations. Birds were active and easlily seen, but our species list was more modest than compared to previous winter trips. Much of our work was done in the familiar riparian corridor and farmhouse section where we found many of the expected species such as Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hutton's Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Western Bluebird and Red-breasted Sapsucker. In addition to these we had an unexpected House Wren in the coyote bush just outside the lower gate below the farmhouse lawn. We also had distant views of a Golden Eagle pair from this area, but we found them again much closer as we walked across the large field and picnic grounds. Next we birded the area near the overnight campground. There we had fantastic looks at White-breasted Nuthatch, Yellow-billed Mapgie, Acorn Woodpecker (on top of one of the picnic tables), and our one-and-only Nuttall's Woodpecker. Northern Flickers abounded and were easily seen throughout the day. The highlight of this less familiar section was the Raptor display, with Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks absorbed in loud courtship displays overhead. Some members also observed a Red-shouldered Hawk nest in the oaks above the road. The lake produced additional species (mostly Waterfowl), but Common Merganser and Ring-necked Duck were not located. The most interesting bird found in this section was a single Violet-green Swallow among the many Tree Swallows over the lake but the Yellow-rumped Warblers were impressive and impossible to miss here, including some in nearly complete breeding plumage. Some other species were conspicuous in their absence during the walk such as Wrentit or any Shorebirds at the lake, but high water level and lack of mudflats might account for that. Lots of singing could be heard, combined with two early migrants suggests spring is right around the corner!

Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Canvasback
Scaup (species)
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel (Mt. Hamilton Road)
Wild Turkey (heard only)
California Quail
American Coot
Killdeer
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher (heard only)
Acorn Woodpecker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird (Mt. Hamilton Road)
California Thrasher (heard only)
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch



Pescadero 02-21-04

Overnight rains and dark clouds made for questionable conditions along the coast. As it turned out, our group experienced only a few sprinkles and generally pleasant temperatures during the trip. There were even some occasional patches of blue sky! We began by birding the gardens at Phipp's Ranch where activity was slow, but eventually we were rewarded with good looks at a Red-breasted Sapsucker, several Townsend's Warblers, and a "Slated-colored" form of the Dark-eyed Junco. An exciting sign of Spring was found in a female Anna's Hummingbird on her nest in the Wild Garden area. After making a few purchases at the vegetable stand we drove to the coast to bird Pescadero Beach. There we located several rock-loving Shorebirds immediately, namely Surfbird, Black Turnstone and Black Oystercatcher. Numerous Gull species and all three Cormorants were present as well. An unexpected group of Snowy Egret was perched on the rocks just off shore and a small flock of Whimbrel flew by for some high speed fly-by identification. Relocating the cars to the parking area just north of the junction, we viewed the ocean again and saw several Red-throated Loons, a flock of Western Grebes and accessed the Pescadero Marsh where distant Waterfowl, such as Cinnamon Teal, Gadwall and Northern Shoveler helped round out our list. At one point a female Northern Harrier flew quite close to a number of Greater Yellowlegs, scattering them around the pond before they regrouped in the same spot. Several of us then stopped at Duarte's Tavern for a great lunch of artichoke and green chili soup. Before leaving the coast, our car visited the Pigeon Point Lighthouse and added White-winged Scoter and Brown-headed Cowbird to the day.

Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Great Egret
Green-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Mallard
Gadwall
Canvasback
Scaup (species)
White-winged Scoter (Pigeon Point)
Surf Scoter
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
California Quail
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black Oystercatcher
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Whimbrel
Marbled Godwit
Black Turnstone
Surfbird
Sanderling
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern
Mourning Dove
Rock Pigeon
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker (heard only)
Northern Flicker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Wrentit (heard only)
Hutton's Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
California Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed "Oregon" Junco
Dark-eyed "Slate-colored" Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird (Pigeon Point)
House Finch
House Sparrow



Elkhorn Slough and Moss Landing 02-07-04

The weather was stunningly beautiful and birding was pleasant and relaxed. We began at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve visitors' center where we picked up a few new people who had hoped to go with the regular staff docent. He had called in sick, so we allowed them to accompany us. I hope they enjoyed being a part of our group as much as we enjoyed their sharp eyes (and extra telescope!) We began by walking the North Marsh Trail near the visitors' center and proceeded counterclockwise (birding the woodland first). Highlights in the mixed oak and eucalyptus section included Oak Titmouse, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Bushtit, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Bewick's Wren and a cooperative Winter Wren. Woodpeckers were conspicuous and numerous but most Passerines were difficult to observe. Passing through the eucalyptus grove just before Hummingbird Island afforded us good looks at Yellow-rumped Warbler and a lone Orange-crowned Warbler. The most frustrating bird of the day was also detected here, a seasonally rare Black-headed Grosbeak that several of us heard clearly. In the open areas leading back toward the lot we saw several Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, a pair of American Kestrel and two individual Merlins. Not a single Northern Harrier was seen which surprised many of us as the habitat was perfectly suited. Generally, bird activity was lower than expected. High tides until after lunch prevented our finding many of the shorebirds considered common for the area, such as Black-necked Stilt or American Avocet. As a consolation though, we had exceptional looks at a Spotted Sandpiper from a clearing in the woodland section of the North Marsh trail and an extended view of a lone Whimbrel from Hummingbird Island. Gulls were numerous overhead for much of the morning, but only a few were close enough to identify satisfactorily. After a delicious group lunch at Phil's Fish Market a few of us continued birding at Moss Landing Beach (ML) where we added some much needed Shorebird species. Highlights there included new day-birds such as Horned Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Surf Scoter, Forster's Tern, Ring-billed and Mew Gull, Black-bellied and Snowy Plover.

Red-throated Loon (ML)
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe (ML)
Eared Grebe
Aechmophorus species (ML)
American White Pelican
Brandt's Cormorant (ML)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
Gadwall
Mallard
Canvasback
Lesser Scaup
Surf Scoter (ML)
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
White-tailed Kite
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover (ML)
Snowy Plover (ML)
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Spotted Sandpiper
Whimbrel
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Sanderling (ML)
Western Sandpiper (ML)
Least Sandpiper (ML)
Dunlin (ML)
Wilson's Snipe
Mew Gull (ML)
Ring-billed Gull (ML)
California Gull
Herring Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Selasphorus species
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
Winter Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Wrentit (heard only)
European Starling
American Pipit (heard only)
Orange-crowned Kinglet
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee (heard only)
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Black-headed Grosbeak (probable, heard only)
Red-winged Blackbird (along Dolan Road)
Western Meadowlark (along Dolan Road)
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird (along Dolan Road)
Purple Finch
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch (heard only)



Panoche Valley 01-31-04

We met in Hollister and drove first to Paicines. After birding the reservoir where we easily found the 3 wintering Bald Eagles and Tundra Swan, we continued along J1 (Panoche Road) stopping at various roadside locations for targeted birds. Wilson's Snipe, Phainopepla and Greater Roadrunner were the highlights but Yellow-billed Magpie and Loggerhead Shrike were also seen. After descending into the valley proper we took a lunch break at Panoche Inn (population 6) and finished up with home made cookies. A short drive beyond the junction with Little Panoche, up toward New Idria, produced some distant looks at Prairie Falcon but little else. We then retraced our path to the junction and proceeded up Shotgun Pass toward Mercy Hot Springs where we were rewarded with fantastic looks and photo opportunities of three different Long-eared Owls. The rough ride up BLM Road turned up a small flock of Mountain Bluebirds, a lone Horned Lark and a small group of Sage Sparrows. Finally, a brief stop at the Panoche Reservoir added a few waterfowl that had not been logged earlier, consistent with the day's pattern of no-stops-without-birds... Indeed, it was a long and exhausting day, but I can't remember having more fun with the group. Thanks everyone!

Pied-billed Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Aechmophorus species
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback
Ring-necked Duck
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
White-tailed Kite
Bald Eagle
Accipiter species
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
California Quail
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Wilson's Snipe
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Long-eared Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Red-breasted Sapsucker
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
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit (heard only)
White-breasted Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren (heard only)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Wrentit (heard only)
California Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Phainopepla
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Lark Sparrow
Sage Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow



San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex (San Luis and Merced Units) 01-25-04

Overnight rains and dismal conditions in the morning made for a worrisome drive over Pacheco Pass and down into the central valley. Once at the rendez vous however, the weather began to improve. It never climbed much above 50 and remained overcast all day with some occasional drizzle... but we managed just fine. We toured the San Luis Unit first, a reverse of our usual itinerary, and were rewarded with breathtaking views of Sanhill Cranes, Tundra Swans and flocks of Snow, Ross' and Greater White-fronted Geese. We began at the south entrance of the unit near the kiosk to work the marsh. There we had good views of a male Wood Duck, Marsh Wren and Common Yellowthroat, but a few birds escaped detection in the reeds, namely American Bittern and Black-crowned Night Heron. After that we followed the auto loop and saw numerous Red-tailed Hawks and Northern Harriers in the open areas as well as a pair of Great Horned Owls hiding in the tangled branches of a tree. Other raptors were scarce and none of the rarer species were logged (Rough-legged and Ferrugionous Hawks, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon or Bald Eagle). In several places Wilson's Snipe and American Pipit allowed close views, as did Western Meadowlark, and the two crowned Sparrows. We observed Loggerhead Shrike occasionally as well. The woodland area leading out to the observation platform produced some additional species such as Downy and Nuttall's Woodpecker, Spotted Towhee and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Following lunch, we caravanned to the Merced Unit where we had the famous Waterfowl show. Thousands of white geese, mostly Ross' were gathered by the entrance road, making the nearby field appear completely white, as if covered in fresh snow. We admired the spectacle for a few minutes before entering the refuge proper, finding a similar situation in the main pond. We picked out three species of Geese from the parking lot and even identified a few "Blue" morphs Snow Geese. After leaving the parking area we drove the loop to Willow trail. There, or shortly beyond, we located Black-bellied Plover and Dunlin in the large pond and saw another, our fourth Great Horned Owl of the day. On our way home Cricket and I, followed by Ashutosh, located a Ferruginous Hawk along Sandy Mush Road and a small flock of Cattle Egrets as it flew over Hwy 152 in Los Banos. A great day!

Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret (Los Banos)
White-faced Ibis
Tundra Swan
Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow Goose (White and Blue)
Ross' Goose
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Green-winged Teal
Northern Pintail
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Canvasback
Ring-necked Duck
Scaup species
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk (Sandy Mush Rd)
Golden Eagle (seen by 2)
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon (seen by 1)
Ring-necked Pheasant
Virginia Rail (heard only)
Sora
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Long-billed Curlew
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Northern Mockingbird
American Pipit
Loggerhead Shrike
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird (heard only)
House Finch
American Goldfinch



Alum Rock Park 01-17-04


The weather was cool and overcast for the first couple of hours, becoming warm and sunny by noon. Expectations were very high for this trip particular because of the possibility of some hard-to-find species, namely the two targets: American Dipper and Rufous-crowned Sparrow. Recent reports of the Dipper along the creek fueled our anticipation, but I never expected to come away with the results we did. We managed to locate both of the target species, bringing "life-birds" for several members of the group! The Dippers were found just beyond the bridge near the last parking lot and were very nearly the first birds we saw after stepping out of our cars. The ease with which we found it was almost comical. I only wish it could always be that instantly gratifying... The Rufous-crowns were a bit more of a challenge. They were eventually seen on higher ground as we walked among the chaparral and were well observed by most members of the group. As well, we saw good numbers of Band-tailed Pigeon, a Hairy Woodpecker and some unseasonable Swallows, both Barn and Tree, along the North Rim trail. Other highlights included a high-flying Golden Eagle and a large group of White-throated Swifts. While the number of species was not remarkable the combination of chaparral and rocky creekside habitat provided good looks at some birds we may not see again this term. Baffling was our inability to locate Hermit Thrush, Dark-eyed Junco or White-crowned Sparrow. Oh, well... I can't wait to visit this area in spring when we're likely to find two species of Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeak and Western Tanager along the lush riparian corridor. Until then we're just going to have to content ourselves with a pair of Dippers, a first ever for our group! Be sure to check the gallery section for some images from the trip.

Mallard
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Wild Turkey (feathers only)
California Quail (heard only)
Killdeer (heard only)
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
White-throated Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch (heard only)
Bewick's Wren
American Dipper
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Wrentit
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
European Starling
Hutton's Vireo
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch



Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant 01-10-04

Our first field trip of the term was a great success. Because of its vast pools, it has long been a favorite location for wintering Anseriformes and Larids. Charadriiformes are never numerous because of the absence of mudflats, but Ciconiiformes are conspicuous. The weather on this day was very pleasant and warm with clear skies and no wind. We began by strolling up the grassy hill toward the now famous Sage Thrasher location and scanned the distant ponds for Waterfowl. The vast numbers of Ducks made it difficult to do a thorough job of identification, and most likely we missed a few species. Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Ruddy Duck and Canvasback were in great supply but no Redheads or Buffleheads were observed. We then climbed a bit higher on the hill were Western Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow were easily located. From the top we had great views of the shallow marsh and added Cinnamon and Green-winged Teal to the list. Black-crowned Night Herons were also seen hiding in the reeds at water's edge. We returned to the junction and began our journey out to the dam, where hopefully we would be able to sort through the Gulls. On our way, we flushed a Green Heron out of hiding but lost it quickly in the reeds. Bonaparte's Gull was conspicuous near the dam as well as five other species of Larids. From this area we were able to view the flotilla of Ducks again and managed to pick out a male Eurasian Wigeon among the crowd of Americans! Unfortunately, not everyone got to see this rare Old World counterpart to our Wigeon, but a few managed to get a glimpse. Some other highlights of the day included numerous Common Moorhen, generally a secretive species, a swimming Sora, a Say's Phoebe, a single Loggerhead Shrike and stupendous "last-of-the-day" Merlin! For those that stayed until very end, this bird was a nice way to wrap up an already good day. We even got a few grainy digital pictures of the bird, which I'll post in the gallery. I'd like very much to visit this place again with the group in late fall when the birding is also productive. Perhaps we'll locate some additional Waterfowl or an American Bittern.

Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Canada Goose
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
Eurasian Wigeon
American Wigeon
Canvasback
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
Merlin
Ring-necked Pheasant
Sora
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Killdeer (heard only)
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Dowitcher species
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Black Phoebe
Says's Phoebe
Barn Swallow
Western Scrub-Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Marsh Wren
Northern Mockingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird (hear only)
House Finch
House Sparrow