WINTER 2006


Princeton Harbor and Venice Beach Saturday, January 14 POSTED
Merced/San Luis Wildlife Areas Saturday, January 21 POSTED
Coyote Point Museum and Redwood Shores Saturday, January 28 POSTED
Panoche Valley Saturday, February 04 POSTED
Alum Rock Park Saturday, February 11 POSTED
Gray Lodge/Sacramento NWR (weekend!) Saturday, February 18+19 POSTED
Joseph D. Grant County Park Saturday, March 04 POSTED
Moss Landing and Elkhorn Slough Saturday, March 11 POSTED

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






Moss Landing and Elkhorn Slough 03-11-06

Sometimes things work out unexpectedly well. The weather is forecast to be rainy and cold, with hail and wind, and it then turns out to be sunny and beautiful. Today was just such a day. True, it was cool, and the hills visible from the coast were dusted with snow, but the coast... oh, the coast was beautiful! Our little group gathered at Moss Landing Beach on Jetty Road where the tides were higher than anticipated. Perhaps the heavy rain the night before contributed to that. But, because of the lack of exposed mudflats Shorebirds were in small supply. Swimming birds however were abundant. Cinnamon Teal, Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Mergansers, Common and Red-throated Loons, Eared and Horned Grebes were all logged with ease. We also identified two species of Cormorant and a Common Goldeneye as we walked toward harbor mouth. Overhead dozens of Swallows passed in waves--new spring arrivals! Violet-green was the most frequently seen, but Tree Swallows were also counted as well as a single Cliff, our first of the season.

We worked the Gull flock also, practicing our skills on the confusing array of immature birds which were all brown and mottled. One by one we identified them. Western, Herring, Ring-billed were easily picked out, but Mew, Glaucous-winged and Thayer's were also seen. Then a giant, lumbering gull joined them from somewhere near the rocks. As it landed heavily among them it was obvious the wingtips were completely pale and set off against the ivory of the body. It came to rest with the others, simply dwarfing the Ring-bills and Mews and then we noticed the telltale pink bill with black tip. It was indeed a first cycle Glaucous Gull and quite rare in the area. That last great bird bumped us to eight Gull species in a single group. We also visited the beach where four Snowy Plovers were found quickly. They all wore brightly colored bands on their legs and we watched them roll up and down the sand, feeding and going about their business. Off shore a huge flock of Surf Scoters were being buffetted around in the waves. As many as six Black Scoters were among them. Overhead the Osprey we had seen in the harbor was now scanning the open water for prey.

The decision was made to visit Moonglow Dairy in search of the Vermilion Flycatcher. The entrance road was muddy but passable. No brilliant red bird was found however, unless you count a breeding House Sparrow. From there we scoped the creek across the street. Greater White-fronted, Canada and Cackling Geese were in attendance as well as a single white bird way off in the distance. We suppposed it was the recently reported Snow Goose, but of course we couldn't confirm it. Numerous Horned Larks fed on the lawn, as well as our first Killdeers and Green-winged Teal. Hungry now...

We dined at our traditional spot, Phil's Fish house, or whatever it's called. I love chowder after a morning of birding on the coast! We discussed what to do next. Elkhorn Slough seemed like a good stop, so we made our way up to the preserve after lunch. There we heard our only Woodpeckers of the day, Hairy and Downy were both logged by voice, as were Bushtit and Chestnut-backed Chickdee. California Towhee was actually seen. Most enjoyable was a short hike down to the barn where the rangers said we could find a family of Barn Owls. Sure enough, when we were outside the building we could see a huge puffball in one of the nest boxes. As we focused our scopes on the buffball in the box the chick's face alien face came into focus.

Finally, those that remained at this point joined me at the tiny Moss Landing Wildlife Area back on Hwy 1. There we located our final Cormorant, the Pelagic, our last Plover, the Semipalmated, and a face full of wind. It was now bitterly cold and the wind came at us full force from the Pacific... It wasn't the 5-8mpg kind that the National Weather Service had foretold either. This was the kind of wind that makes you happy it's time go go home.

Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Brandt's Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow/Ross' Goose (too distant to tell)
Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
Brant
Gadwall
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Green-winged Teal
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Black Scoter
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Snowy Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Whimbrel
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Least Sandpiper
Dowitcher species
Mew Gull

Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herrring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Glaucous Gull
Forsert's Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpeckere (heard only)
Hairy Woodpecker (heard only)
Downy Woodpecker (heard only)
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Stelle'rs Jay
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (heard only)
Bushtit

Marsh Wren (heard only)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (heard only)
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch





Joseph D. Grant County Park 03-04-06

The snow of the previous night made for a gleaming crystaline morning at the foot of Mount Hamilton. Cool conditions allowed the frost to linger on the newly sprouted, bright green grass until mid-morning when the sun warmed the valley just enough to remind our group of spring. Dozens of drivers, eager to reach the snowy summit, and having ignored the two signs that warned of the road clousure, found themselves turned away at the park entrance. We didn't mind however. It was the park we had planned to visit and the snow of the peak was quite visible from where we stood. First seen was a large group of 15 or so Wild Turkeys. The females foraged on the left of the entrance road while two large males displayed on the right. The two gobbled loudly and postured with great conviction until we continued along our way. The females suddenly burst into full flight and disappeared into the forest while the males remained behind. All morning we observed Tree Swallows as they swirled overhead and occasionally investigating possible nest holes. Trees made up the bulk of the Swallow species, with perhaps two dozen of them being seen both at the farmhouse and by the lake. Only two Violet-greens, one Barn and one Northern Rough-winged were seen, all by the lake. As walked along the creek by the farmhouse we watched Spotted Towhee and California Thrasher rifle though the dried leaves near Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows. Western Bluebirds were abundant in the open areas and several were utilizing the nest boxes. As we toured the line of trees that lead from the creek up toward the campground we spotted a Red-breasted Sapsucker in the upper branches and beside it were several European Starlings performing flawless imitations of American Robin and Yellow-billed Magpie. It was quite incredible and very convincing! We continued toward the campground, finding a nesting pair of Red-tailed Hawks. They called loudly to eachother and one seemed to be carrying a food offering. It landed in the thick branches of a large tree, deposited a few branches and then took flight again. We then returned to the farmhouse where all three Goldfinches were found. The Lawrences was detected first by voice and then viewed briefly in the conifers by the footbridge. As we passed through the teasel choked area by the large picnic area, we saw several Yellow-billed Magpies against the hills. Perhaps it was because fo the snow higher uphill driving them into the valley, but we saw more Magpies on this trip than any previous visit. At the farmouse, in the orchard, by the lake and along the road we had a high count of about 15 individuals. Considering the impact West Nile Virus has had on the species, we felt fortunate to see so many. Eventually we made our way to the lake, where we hoped to add a few species to our list. As expected, we logged a few Waterfowl such as Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Bufflehead and Ruddy Duck. There were also Double-crested Cormorant, Pied-billed Grebe and American Coot. In the chaparral we heard Wrentit and by the water's edge we spotted our only Song Sparrow of the day. The lake was crowded with fisherman, some of whom were trampling the recovery area by the trail. I considered speaking with them about it, but decided against it. We continued our walk paused near the wooden bridge and after finding a Great Egret and Great Blue Heron on the far shore, we retreated. We made our way back to the cars where we would break for lunch. Toward us came the three fisherman that had been stomping through the bushes. "Hey, is that a Bald Eagle?" the leader asked as he pointed behind us. We turned to see where he pointed and indeed he was right. Close to where we had paused an adult Bald Eagle was making slow circles above the water, apparently focused on something. "Yes, that's an Eagle alright!" we said, now quite embarrassed that three guys with fishing poles had to point out a huge bird to group of birdwatchers... "It is an Eagle. Thanks! That's a great bird," we said. "What a great bird!" we said again, as they walked past us toward the bridge. We continued to watch it as the bird made a low pass over the water again. Finally it touched the surface and snatched a Pied-billed Grebe. The tiny prey was dispatched quickly and as the Eagle flew off toward a large tree we could see the Grebe's lobed feet dangling beneath it. We watched as the predator flew away with its meal. It was an exciting way to finish the day.

Canada Goose
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
White-tailed Kite
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel (Mt. Hamilton Road)
American Coot
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
White-throated Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Hermit Thrush (heard only)
American Robin
Varied Thrush (Mt. Hamilton Road)
Wrentit (heard only)
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
Lawrence's Goldfinch
American Goldfinch






Gray Lodge/Sacramento NWR/Cosumnes River Preserve 02-18+19-06

This was our second-annual excursion to the northern central valley, where we hoped to see the last great gathering of Waterfowl before their long return journey to the breeding grounds. As the weather has been unseasonably mild recently, migration was already well underway and numbers were down a bit from last year, but this was not entirely unexpected. Despite rain during an ungodly 5-6 hour drive to the Best Western in Yuba City, conditions on Saturday and Sunday were pleasant but chilly. Those who arrived on time dined at Sopa, a Thai restaurant in town. Cricket and we late unfortunately, but we were able to have some delicious leftovers.

Saturday morning we gathered in the hotel parking lot at 7:15 and caravanned to Gray Lodge. After a quick drive north on Hwy 99 we turned west on Pennington and we could concentrate on the many roadside birds. Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, a Merlin that flew by quickly, multitudes of American Crows, a few Yellow-billed Magpie, American Pipit and a great swirling flock of various Blackbirds. Atop a large tree by the farmhouse, which borders an orchard, we spotted a nesting Great Horned Owl and were able to get a few photographs. We then moved on toward the Gray Lodge entrance and found Sandhill Cranes and numerous Greater White-fronted and Snow Geese in the flooded fields along the road. Among them also were a few Willets, Killdeer and Greater Yellowlegs.


Photo: Phil Leighton

We stopped briefly at the registration building where many trailers and pickups were gathered for some hunting event. The first of our many Yellow-rumped Warblers and Dark-eyed Juncos sounded from the nearby trees, and a small group of White-faced Ibis flew overhead. We continued into the preserve.

From Lot 14 we walked along the entrance road toward the kiosk. Ashutsosh and Ken had radioed that an American Bittern was standing in the adjacent marsh. Our group approached cautiously and found the bird as they had reported. Many photographs were taken of the bird and as we crept closer a second bird that had been hiding in plane view, flushed away and landed a few yards away from the first bird. We presumed them to be a breeding pair. After we had fully appreciated the two and their beautifully camouflaged golden-olive coloration we made our way along the wetland trail. All around us, the constant rattling and buzzing of amorous Marsh Wrens could be heard and Common Moorhen were simply everywhere we looked, displaying an uncharacteristic level of comfort at being so exposed. Belted Kingfisher and Red-shouldered Hawk were also detected along this riparian corridor. Further out, as we neared the observation platform, Fox Sparrow, some showing a vibrant red coloration, appeared in the underbrush. A pair of House Wrens worked busily around a moist sag pond, and the male even sang a bit, making for a nice comparision with the more numerous Bewick's Wrens that were also present. From the platform we got brief looks at a small group of Wood Ducks, but of course they got away before everyone had a chance to see them. As we made our way back toward the lot, we spotted an adult Bald Eagle perched on a distant tree. Eventually a second bird appeared, sending the large group of Snow Geese into a frenzy. A Northern Mockingbird sang from the blackberry tangle, apparently concerned with defending his territory. He flashed his wings and escorted us out of the area...


Photo: Phil Leighton




We broke for a delightful lunch beneath the trees. Our picnics are increasingly fun, and this was no exception. While we ate, we examined the menu for Salut, the restaruant where we would have our group dinner. Jody then called in everyone's dinner choices, which greatly pleased the restaurant staff.

After lunch we walked the marsh trail where activity was beginning to slow. We managed to get brief looks at Virginia Rail in the reeds, called forth with the help of the iPod again. We became familiar also with some of the species' other vocalizations as well, some resembling the loud croaking of the Common Moorhen but perhaps softer. As we paralleled the creek, a group of 7-8 Wood Ducks lifted up and flew over the marsh. We noticed their unique profile--a boxy head drooped below the shoulders and a long squared tail. We also happened onto a very large group of more than 10 Wood Ducks that had been swimming in channel beside the levy trail. They flushed as expected, but several of us got good scope looks just before they lifted off and flew away. Several times along this trail we saw Bald Eagles, both immature and adult pass overhead. New since last year were two observation blinds which afforded sheltered views of the ponds. They were nice additions and will be very helpful when Waterfowl counts are at their highest.















There's a strange kind of color-world I've noticed at Gray Lodge. The wetland trail is all about green. Green aquatic plants coating the surface of the channels. Green, well watered grass, ready to burst forth with spring blossoms. It's alive and vibrant. The marsh trail on the other hand, at least when it winds its way throught the central ponds is characterized by an intense, slightly spooky, high contrast color scheme. The dried rusty tule contrasts with the twisted black trunks, giving everything a brooding sort of quality. The slate-colored sky amplifies this feeling. Then, as you find yourself among the trees along the edges, everthing appears ashen. It's lovely and relaxed. Gray, and tan, subtle fawn tones with bits of purple or lime green as the tiny buds tint the tangled mist of distant branches... I wish I could describe more adquetately how startlingly beautiful it all is.

The auto loop produced a few new species for the day. Eared Grebes were on one of the larger ponds, and Herring and Ring-billed Gull, Long-billed Dowitcher and Black-necked Stilt as well. After that, we headed back to the hotel. We stopped at a particularly attractive almond grove to take photos. Having birded all morning and after lunch we were all a bit tired. Finding ourselves in this beautiful setting, with all the almond trees blossoming white and pink flowers was simply heaven. We wandered among the grayish trunks and fallen petals that looked rather like snow just soaking it all in. Joan then called out a Western Bluebird, which foraging among the trees. It was a nice bit of color and one of the last birds of the day. Now it was time to rest back in our rooms.





Dinner was spectacular as expected. Cricket handed out the remaining chocolate kisses as tokens for birds spotted by the group. The largest of which went to Ashutosh for his exceptional discovery of the Bittern. We made a few plans for the following day and went to bed early. We'd leave the hotel at 7:30 and head to the second major destination, Sacramento National Wildlife Area.

Everyone checked out and was ready to make the drive as planned. We made our way past Gridley along Hwy 99 to the crossover at Hwy 162. There we paused to scan the huge group of Waterfowl, but found they all flushed as soon as we lifted our binoculars. The hoped-for Eurasian Wigeon seemed to have elluded us this time... The drive west was jerky. We slowed, and stopped and began again. Each time looking for something in the wide fields. The detour north on Z Road failed to produce any Tundra Swans as the fields were completely drained, however we did come across another few Wood Duck, many Loggerhead Shrike and our only Black-crowned Night Heron of the trip. All of these were spotted from the cars as we drove through last year's Swan habitat.

Continuing west on 162 we stopped at the granery. This is the traditional location for Yellow-headed Blackbirds and indeed they were present. Ashutosh was the first to spot them so we got out and scanned the area as a group. Several birds, probably young males and females, appeared among the many Red-winged and Tricolored Blackbirds. It was striking how inconspicuous the Yellow-heads were as they fed on the ground. Only when they lifted their heads could the color be seen. One or two Brown-headed Cowbirds were present as well as a partial albino Red-wing with an entirely white head. The weather at this point was bitterly cold and a bit windy, but so beautiful! The sky was clear and thin sheets of ice melted away from around the edges of the puddled fields.

At Sacramento NWR many Wilson's Snipe flushed from nearby on several occasions. Some groups numbered close to 20 individuals and their synchronized zig-zagging flight was performed with great precision. Before we began the auto tour we hiked the marsh trail where activity was pretty slow. The most numerous and vocal birds were a large group of Red-winged and Brewer's Blackbirds. When an immature Peregrine Falcon passed overhead though, they silenced immediately and resumed their noisy calls only after the danger had passed. Bushtits foraged in great groups along side Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Along the auto tour we could only make one really good stop. It was at the platform about midway along the loop that we spotted our first American White Pelican, Canada Geese, Least Sandpiper and American Avocet. Other birds included elevated numbers of Ring-necked Ducks. Great excitement occurred when an enormous bird was spotted over the road, perched in a tree. It was a mottled white immature Bald Eagle and we watched it first in the tree and then as it took off directly over us. It's wings made an audible "woof, woof, woof" as it flapped perhaps only 40 feet above. Not long after that, a large group of Cackling Geese appeared in a nearly perfect V formation, as they made their way toward the ponds. Our caravan continued along the trail, which now led through the trees where the ponds were slightly more sheltered. The only flock of Ross' Geese seen over the weekend were found here. Most individuals were asleep, but the few that raised their heads revealed their identity.


Photo: Phil Leighton

Finally, after we had completed our visit to the preserve, a few members of the group accompanied us to Consumnes River Preserve, just south of Sacramento. We managed to add a few last species here. Included were Cattle Egret (along Hwy 5), Common Goldeneye, Sharp-shinned Hawk and Sora. We made the long drive home then, having a hard time deciding what really was the best part of our second annual Gray Lodge excursion. We can't wait until next year, but perhaps we'll schedule it a week or two earlier so we get the full Waterfowl effect!

Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret (I-5, Williams)
Black-crowned Night Heron
White-faced Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow Goose
Ross' Goose
Canada Goose
Cackling Goose (SNWR)
Wood Duck
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup (SNWR)
Lesser Scaup

Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye (CRP)
Ruddy Duck
White-tailed Kite (I-5, Lodi)
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk (CRP)
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin (Pennington Rd, Live Oak)
Peregrine Falcon (SNWR)
Ring-necked Pheasant
Virginia Rail
Sora (CRP)
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet (SNWR)
Greater Yellowlegs
Long-billed Curlew (Hwy 162, Butte City)
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin (SNWR)
Long-billed Dowitcher (SNWR)
Wilson's Sniipe
Ring-billed Gull (SNWR)
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove (Yuba City)
Barn Owl (8 deceased along I-5)
Great Horned Owl (Pennington Rd)
White-throated Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker (SNWR)
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird (Almond Orchard Rd)
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
American Pipit
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Hwy 162, Butte City)
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
House Sparrow





Alum Rock Park 02-11-06

Some trips are special not because of a huge variety of birds or for an enormous list of species, but for a single family focus. Today was just such a trip and in this case the family was the Piciiformes, or Woodpeckers, that were well represented. Five species were all easily locasted and well observed. We also had many opportunities to practice identifying these birds by sound, which was a topic we had covered in class last week. Red-breasted Sapsucker and Hairy Woodpecker were perhaps the most favored. In addition to this group, we had somewhat of a specialty bird, the American Dipper, which was foraging cooperatively in its preferred habitat, the cold rushing water of the Penitencia Creek, which includes large rocks on which the bird can perch between its many short dives. Overall the day was quiet, with cloudy overcast conditions until after 10:00. The trail up to the mineral springs was chilly, perhaps explaining the reduced activity. Strangely, very few Sparrows were seen and in light of how nice the weather has been for a week or so, it seems possible that migration north has already begun. Within a short time, we can expect locations like Alum Rock to be loud with spring songs and new arrivals.

Mallard
Wild Turkey
California Quail (heard only)
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Hutton's Vireo (heard only)
Western Scrub Jay
Steller's Jay
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch (heard only)
Brown Creeper
Bewick's Wren
American Dipper
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Wrentit (heard only)
California Thrasher (heard only)
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Lesser Goldfinch (heard only)





Panoche Valley
02-04-06

We met outside of Hollister, at the junction of Hwy 25 and J1 (Panoche Road), finding the Paicines Reservoir somewhat quieter than usual. The air was cool and the sky was a low ceiling of slate. As we made our way along the tour, we passed through patches of intermittent drizzle as well, but generally conditions were reasonable for winter. On the revervoir and around the edges we found our waterbirds for the day, as well as our first of Golden Eagle and Ferruginous Hawk. Other Raptors present were Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks. Sadly, we were not rewarded with any Bald Eagles, despite an earnest search. We heard from Clay Kempf's Santa Cruz Audubon group later, that two Eagles arrived after we left. Oh, well. That happens...

We set out on J1 and stopped at the muddy escarpment where we have seen Great Horned Owl on occasion. Again, we were not successful with our stated goal, but we were treated to wonderful looks at a Canyon Wren that popped up and down repeatedly in the boulders along the dry creek. Against the flat gray background, it's rufous coloration appeared especially intense. Numerous Lark Sparrows foraged across the street, allowing lengthy views of their striking facial pattern and wide, white-tipped tails. Later we met up with Clay again, whose group did not locate the Wren but did report a Greater Roadrunner just beyond the bridge. As our day progressed, we would encounter his group several more times, and each meeting allowed us to compare notes. It was as if we were one large group, broken into two teams, both working together.

We stopped also at the rocky outcropping where Golden Eagle have nested. The nest appeared to be unoccupied at the moment, but an adult Eagle did make an appearance as it flew over the ridge. These rocks also have a history with Prairie Falcons, so it's worth scoping all the little caves that can be seen from the road. We added a few voice-only species here too, such as White-breasted Nuthatch, Wrentit, Hutton's Vireo and California Thrasher.

Onward. The road climbed into the rocky hills where above us there seemed to be perfect habitat for Rufous-crowned Sparrow. We saw dry, widely spaced chaparral and oak but alas, no Sparrow. Below us was much the same, but with fewer trees and scattered broken rocks and a winding creek cluttered with the debris of recent storms. Over the sound of the river, we could faintly hear another Canyon Wren and a Northern Flicker. We added Bewick's Wren which oddly enough, came out of hiding to investigate the recorded Rufous-crowned Sparrow I was playing on the iPod.

The road dropped in elevation slightly, where we made a productive stop just beyond a homestead. I don't recall the name of this area exactly, but we have twice seen Lewis' Woopecker here. Today, we had Nuttall's and Acorn Woodpeckers, as well as a brilliant Red-breated Sapsucker. All three species appeared in a single tree! The highlight of this area was of course the Phainopepla that allowed us to admire it at length and, as expected, mistletoe was in vast supply in every direction.

The road led back up into the hills where the many pines grow close together on the steep slopes, forming a tight forest. I believe this area is called Tres Pinos. We continued until we arrived at a turnout wide enough for our six cars and explored this new habitat. California Towhee was the first new bird to be seen. Another California Thrasher, this time singing in full view and with great gusto! The hills were densely forested, but the dried creekbed, loose rocky slopes and sparce cover near the road looked perfect for Rufous-crowned Sparrow. Sure enough, after playing the song a few times, a male responded and eventually came into full view.

Heading toward Panoche Pass, we also made a couple of stops in the wide plateau where the terrain changes dramatically. The hills roll lazily off into the distance and there is much grassy space between the short, twisted oaks. This area is the Antelope Valley, I believe. Patches of denser chaparral provide shade for multitudes of Golden-crowned Sparrow to hide beneath, while the White-crowned prefer the tops of bushes. Still higher up, the Lark Sparrows choose to seek shelter in the tree branches, while all three feed on the ground. No Lewis' here as hoped, but we did maintain our "minimum-one-new-bird-per-stop" mission by spotting a Turkey Vulture in the distance.

We descended into Panoche Valley proper, speeded by our collective appetite for lunch. Shortly before arriving at the Panoche Inn, we spotted a Prairie Falcon on a phone pole and a dark female Merlin on a fence post to our left.
The Inn itself produced several more birds, such as Tricolored Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch and House Sparrow. Clay's group was eating lunch as well and we shared our discoveries with eachother. It seemed none of us had seen Lewis' Woodpecker.

We continued on J1 past the junction with Little Panoche Road finding little of note, save for a second Merlin, this time a male, perched not far from the school. The weather was now turning dark and dismal so we returned to the junction and headed toward Shotgun Pass. A brief stop on this long straightaway produced a probable Vesper Sparrow that was mixed in with a much larger flock of Savannah's. This uncertain bird appeared streaky like the nearby Savannahs, but larger and with conspicuous white outer tail feathers. No other species seems to fit, but our look was fleeting at best.

We stopped briefly also at the base of Shotgun Pass. Nothing new was seen and the intense cold and drizzle made it obvious we should get to Mercey Hot Springs in a timely manner. Upon arriving we paid our $5 fee and were told by Larry the owner where we could look for the Long-eared Owls. Within minutes we had found 4 birds, rather evenly spaced along the stand of tamarisk trees. Eric, Jody and Ken had meanwhile been searching the far end of the property near the delapidated white building. They used the radio to report an additional 5 Long-eared Owls within the grove, as well as a Barn Owl. We walked into the grove as well as around it and found at least two more birds visible from the outside. It was truly amazing! Clay and his group rolled up, they reported a Cassin's Kingbird on Recalde Avenue, beyond the school on Norton where we had decided to turn around.

Elsewhere on the property we had a single Spotted Towhee, another Rock Wren, this one easily observed beneath a trailer, and a spectacular Ferruginous Hawk that soared over the campground like a predatory ghost. The sun, or at least its dim glow barely discernable behind the slate-colored sky, appeared to be dropping. The afternoon was quiet and cool. Ahead of us though, lay our last major campaign of the day. We pulled out of Mercey and headed down the road toward the famous BLM Road. This rugged trail leads up into the Panoche Hill, providing spectacular views of the valley, and reasonable chances at uncommon species like Mountain Bluebird, Sage Thrasher and Sage Sparrow. Well, as luck would have it (and with no great surprise), none of these birds were found. Instead, we had prolonged looks at Rock Wren, which was appreciated by those who had missed it at the campground. We also had a small group of Lark Sparrows at the top. Heard constantly in the not-too-distant hills were the frequent cracks of shot guns. I think it made us all a little uneasy...

Finally, we returned to Little Panoche Road, where we decided what to do next. A recent accident on I-5 involving a cargo truck carrying a toxic chemical made the decision easy. I-5 between 165 and 152 was completely closed to traffic. As a result, we opted not continue toward the Little Panoche Reservoir. We reversed our course and headed homeward instead. Light was dropping quite fast now, and while we did not reach in Paicines in time to find the Bald Eagle, we did have Great Horned Owl fly over our parade. It was the last bird of the day, a day that despite some missed targets also included some remarkable hits--views of uncommon birds like Canyon Wren, Long-eared Owl and my personal favorite, the Rufous-crowned Sparrow.

Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Turkey Vulture
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback
Ring-necked Duck

Bufflehead
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Merlin
Prairie Falcon
California Quail
Wild Turkey
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
Forster's Tern
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl
Great Horned Owl
Long-eared Owl
Acorn Woodpecker
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Hutton's Vireo
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Rock Wren
Canyon Wren
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Wrentit
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Phainopepla
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow (probable)
Sage Sparrow (BLM, possible)
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow





Coyote Point Museum grounds (San Mateo) and Radio Road (Redwood Shores) 01-28-06

This was a two-part field trip with both portions being new destinations for our group. As is typical for the season, the weather reports were sobering--mostly cloudy with possible rain. We were fortunate however, and had only a few sprinkles and the even lighting made bay watching relatively easy.

We began in the parking lot by the museum where we detected Pygmy Nuthatches, Yellow-rumped Warbler and American Robin in the trees overhead. Leonie also reported a Nuttall's Woodpeckeer, the day's only Piciiforme, before our full whole group arrived. Excited by the possibility of locating the resident Harlequin Duck, or recently reported Long-tailed Duck, we opted to tour the harbor and marsh trail first. In doing so we sacrificed some of the Passerine activity in the eucalyptus grove but it seemed like a good decision as the tide was to peak around 10:30 and Rail viewing might be productive.

As we walked out toward the bay we observed a Fox Sparrow in the shrubs, a Peregrine Falcon on a distant power tower, and two similar looking Grebes, Eared and Horned in the harbor, close enough to allow good comparisons. We also saw several female Goldeneyes and briefly entertained the idea that one might be a Barrow's but decided eventually they were all Commons. The usual suspects--the two "Crowned" Sparrows, Common Yellowthroat, and Marsh Wren were all logged quickly, as well as Savannah, and Lincon's Sparrow. A Clapper Rail then made a dramatic appearance as it struggled to find cover from the rising water. Later we would see three more Clappers as well as three Soras.

At the end of the trail, we scanned the rocks and bay from the bench. The high water was quite smooth and there were few areas for birds to perch. Great numbers of Shorebirds gathered on the remaining exposed rocks by the point as a result of the tide and among them we spotted Black-bellied Plover, Black Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Sanderling, Western and Least Sandpipers. One Common and one Red-throated Loon were present farther out, but Surf Scoters, Greater Scaup, Buffleheads and courting Clark's Grebes were positively abundant. We waited to see if they would engage in a full display, but apparently they weren't fully in agreement.

After we secured the area (as much as possible without locating the Harlequin or Long-tailed Ducks), we retreated to the high ground, finding a couple of Hermit Thrushes along the way. The sheltered bay below the old Castaways Restaurant offered nothing new for the species list, but the climb up to the plaform overlooking the jetty produced our first Dark-eyed Juncos and a small flock of cooperative Pygmy Nuthatches that came down from the trees to investigate the recorded versions of their calls. Better looks of these little birds could hardly be found! Twice one bird flew directly at Boyce's head, apparently believing him to be a good perch... He is pretty tall.

We had our lunch in the picnic area and then caravanned to the famous Radio Road water treatment pond in Redwood Shores. The flocks of Marbled Godwits, Dowitchers (both) and Willets were truly astonishing. We watched as they lifted in together, responding to some intra-species general alarm. Perhaps there was a Falcon nearby, keeping the thousands of birds in a state of constant anxiety. The mass swarmed and swirled, and seemed perfectly sculpted in air as it shaped itself into some kind of defensive cloud. It divided and rejoined, some parts flashing the pale undersides of individual birds while the other banked away, appearing all dark. Then the group landed again. As the birds descended onto the pond, they reacquired their separage identities and chattered busily, the group was now comprised of individual birds and the synchronicity brought on by the alarm was less obvious. I suddenly realized that in flight they had been very nearly silent. Strange, especially in light of last week's encounter with the Geese in Merced, where the group response to danger is cacophonous and scattered.

In the flock we also found 4-6 Red Knot, a first ever for our class outings. There were also Forster's Terns and Mew Gulls perced on the small islands, both new for the day, but Waterfowl made for the single largest increase in species. Cinnamon, Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, American Wigeon and Hooded Merganser were all easily located and study of the many similar females of these species was productive.

Not seen at either location were any Blackbirds, such as Red-winged, Breweres or Cowbird, which seems very unusual. Ruby-crowned Kinglet, usually ubiquitous on our winter trips, was not detected. Raptor turnout was limited and save for the one pre-trip Nuttall's, no Woodpeckers were found. Still, the combined list for both locations was good, and worth doing again. Several people commented that Coyote Point might make a good destination for a spring or fall trip, when migrant numbers might be high.


Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
Gadwall
American Wigeon (RS)

Mallard
Blue-winged Teal (RS)
Cinnamon Teal (RS)
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal (RS)
Canvasback
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser (RS)
Ruddy Duck
Red-tailed Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Clapper Rail
Sora
Common Moorhen (RS)
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black Oystercatcher
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Willet
Spotted Sandpiper
Whimbrel (RS)
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Red Knot (RS)
Sanderling
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Dowitcher species (prob. both)
Mew Gull (RS)
Ring-billed Gull (RS)
California Gull (RS)
Herring Gull
Wesetern Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Forster's Tern (RS)
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow (RS)
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Pygmy Nuthatch
Marsh Wren
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
American Pipit (heard only)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler (heard only)
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow (RS)
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Western Meadowlark
House Finch
House Sparrow







Merced/San Luis Wildlife Areas 01-21-06

Weather on the Peninsula was questionable in the morning, and our drive to the Central Valley was considerably wetter than the NWS had led us to believe. As often happens however, we rolled into the gravel parking area at Merced and conditions stabilized. For the remainder of the day it was chilly and overcast, but at least rainless.

In the fields and overhead the loud rattling of the Sandhill Cranes called to us. Merced has always seemed as much a sound world as a visible world and I have only to hear the Sandhills, Snows or White-fronts to imagine the scene completely. Thankfully though, there was no need to imagine the spectacle today. It was all stretched out before us, quite visible from the platform. After viewing the marsh from the wooded structure, where we admired the foraging Cranes, White-faced Ibis, Greater White-fronted and Snow Geese, various Ducks, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier and a few Shorebirds, including Wilson's Snipe, we were able to coax out of the reeds a Sora and two Virginia Rails using the ipod. Long, uncommonly good looks were had of these two secretive birds.

Then we worked the willow trees along the creek. Yellow-rumped Warblers dominated the area, but there were several Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a pair of drumming Nuttall's Woodpeckers and an intersting Northern Flicker. This last bird differed from the other Flickers we had seen by having a red nucial patch. We supposed it to be a "Yellow-shafted" intergrade which seemed plausible because the color on the underside of the wings was also not the rich salmon we usually see on the "Red-shafted", but slightly faded, perhaps even orangey. As we retreated from the grove, we had a brief look at a bright yellowish bird, which I thought might be an early Yellow Warbler. Very surprising. Later we saw a second unexpected bird, a duller greenish Orange-crowned Warbler. I chose to include only this second bird on the final list, because the first one got away too quickly to identify with certainty.

Somewhere across the marsh there was a predator. Not a Red-tail, not a Harrier, not even a Coyote could generate this kind of reaction from the birds. This was something greater. We could see the wide trail of fear it left as the rising flocks of Waterfowl grew. Something was lifting a cloud of white, containing thousands of criss-crossing birds, all reeling and crying frantically. The sound would have been deafening up close--like an enormous yelling, shouting, clapping audience. It makes my heart rush every time I hear it. I'm not sure why. Maybe I imagine what the birds are feeling. The urgency. The restlessness. Hunger and fear. A few moments later the birds settled down again, relaxed as much as they could, and waited. Keep your head down. Blend in. Don't separate from the others... The danger will pass eventually.

Our caravan set out on the auto loop. We saw dozens of American Pipits walking along the road, Yellow-rumped Warblers hawking for insects from any available perch, and every shrub provided cover for a nervous group of Golden-crowned Sparrows that would resume their roadside feeding when we had passed.

We made a brief stop at the first major turn out and slowly got out of the cars to set up our scopes. The pond was filled with all the same Waterfowl we had already seen, as well as a few Black-necked Stilts and Black-bellied Plovers. Then we saw what had inspired such fear in the many birds of the marsh. An adult Bald Eagle glided in on its great dark wings and as it flapped the surrounding hoards were thrown into flight like scattered leaves. The Eagle seemed uninterested in feeding at the moment however, and continued toward the trees on the edge the marsh. From there it would be able to watch the flock for weak or injured birds. It would browse the menu for a while and make its choice later... We observed the bird from there and saw it again several more times during the tour, including once when it was clearly making a kill. It passed a portion of the distant marsh, passed again, dropped out of view for an instant and then rose heavily with a Coot in its talons. The surrounding birds would be safe, at least for a while... They could relax and return to the business of feeding.

We continued around the loop, stopping to investigate the large flock of white Geese. In the group we saw Ross' and Snow side by side, as well as a "blue-morph" Snow. Least Sandpiper, Dunlin and Greater Yellowlegs were now being seen more frequently as we neared the second platform. In the interest of time we opted to skip the second platform and go directly to the Meadowlark Trail. We found in place of last month's Barn Owl, a family of three Great Horned Owls that flew several times and then called from the trees. At one point the sky contained several raptors, mostly Red-tailed Hawks, but also Cooper's Hawk and a Prairie Falcon. The underbrush provided our only Fox Sparrow of the day, as well a Licoln's Sparrow.

Lunch hour, only slightly late, was held at the entrance. We had spectacular looks at Wilson's Snipe as they foraged close to the cars. When we were all done with our sandwiches we drove to the San Luis NWR. Only a few additional birds were located there, but among them were Ferruginous Hawk, Tundra Swan, Ring-necked Duck, Belted Kingfisher, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Tricolored Blackbird. We all observed the bird activity was slower than at Merced, but it remains a better location for Swan than any of the other facilites.


Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
White-faced Ibis
Tundra Swan (SL)
Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow Goose
Ross' Goose
Cackling Goose
Wood Duck
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Ring-necked Duck (SL)
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk (SL)
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
Ring-necked Pheasant
Virginia Rail
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
California Gull
Herring Gull
Mourning Dove
Barn Owl (deceased)
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher (SL)
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (including "Yellow-shafted" intergrade)

Black Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Yellow-billed Magpie (Los Banos)
American Crow
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren (heard only)
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
American Pipit
Loggerhead Shrike
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird (SL)
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle (Hwy 165/Henry Miller)
American Goldfinch





Princeton Harbor and Venice Beach "Gull roost" 01-14-06

I should know better than to proceed with a coastal fieldtrip when the National Weather Service forecast is for an all-day downpour, possible isolated thunderstorms, occasional hail and offshore winds of up to 40 mph... But I don't. I'm just that way. I guess I feel that if you can get there, it must be worth staying... (Newcomers should know, I never cancel an outing unless the predicted weather is of "biblical proportions"... What I didn't realize was that the NWS prophesies were correct. I simply failed to heed them on Friday night.) To our group's credit, 10 minutes after arriving at the rendez vous we were all witness to exactly the kind of weather that would discourage a lesser group, but instead of canceling on the spot, we persevered for an hour-and-a-half like the fools we are, until it became overly-obvous the elements were winning this particular contest. Those of who decided to stay home are hereby recognized for their wisdom, while those crazy few who dared to attend are commended for their conviction and sense of adventure! And what an adventure it was!

After picking off a few species of Waterfowl, most notably Common Goldeneye, a few Shorebirds like Whimbrel and Black-bellied Plover, and various expected Gulls in the sheltered Princeton Harbor we opted to go directly to the Venice Beach "Gull roost" and search for the recently reported "Slaty-back". In this case it was reported to be an adult Gull, and I convinced myself it would be relatively easy to locate. Everyone was familiar, or nearly so, with the relevant features, and we forged on like birding warriors, ready to identify. But when we arrived at Venice Beach the weather worsened and the mixed flock of Gulls was unexpectedly large. I estimate there were close to 10,000 Gulls sitting there on the beach, stretched out before us like an avian million-man-march for something like a quarter mile. More birds than usual were seeking shelter from the harsh winds and rain so our search flock was also larger than usual. The winds drove in from the southwest, throwing rain at us and the Gulls at a contant rate. Occasionally, as the waves swept over the beach, the whole group took to the air, peeling up ahead of the froth, and raising in a pure chaos of slapping wings and wind-muffled cries. Few Gulls wished to fly in the face of that wind, I expect, so the they quickly descended upon the beach again when the waves retreated. Minutes later, the water would rush over their area and they would fly again, all noise and beauty. It was wonderful to see. A massive spectacle of life!

The rain was intense. We made a hurried search through the thousands of Gulls, hoping against all odds to pick out a lone bird, maybe darker and more "Goose-like" than the others. Perhaps we could also see that it had shorter legs and a pale iris. Maybe also it was pot-bellied. Unlikely though... our binoculars, scopes and eyeglasses were completely covered in salt spray and rain. The birds on the beach seemed like a massive, moving gray-and-white blur. The driving wind brought the rain in from the side and our view was severely challenged as if something didn't want us to succeed. We looked then for a relatively easy target. Perhaps we could locate a bird paler than the others? Maybe it would have a pink bill with black tip?? A Glacous Gull maybe... It was useless though. We were cold, thoroughly soaked and ready to go home. I made the announcement finally. We were scrapping the mission. The group was dissappointed, but I also heard in the collective voice a kind of satisfaction. We had all stood in the face of a wonderful storm and survived! Now we could rest.

Cricket and I were saddened by the need to abbreviate the trip, but relieved also that people would be going home, getting warm and dry. Perhaps having some tea by the fire. We drove back to the harbor thinking maybe we'd see something through the windows of the car. Maybe it would stop raining for a while and we could set up the scope and scan the jetty. But then we called the Rare Bird Alert and our next adventure began...

Common Loon
Eared Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crrested Cormorant
Greater Scaup
Surf Scoter
Common Goldeneye
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Kestrel
White-tailed Kite
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Whimbrel
Willet
Marbled Godwit
Mew Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Western Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Common Raven
Western Scrub Jay
European Starling
California Towhee
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
House Sparrow