Ogier Ponds / Coyote Valley 01-12-13 POSTED
Gray Lodge Weekend 01-19+20-13  
Panoche Valley (Team 1) 01-26-13  
Panoche Valley (Team 1) 02-02-13  
Pescadero / Cascade Ranch 02-09-13  
Chase Day (Location TBD) 02-16-13  
Bodega Bay 02-23-13  
Joseph D. Grant Park 03-02-13  
Chase Day (Location TBD) 03-09-13  

: Trip reports for each of the above outings will be posted on this site before the next class meeting.

Ogier Ponds / Coyote Valley 01-12-13

It was cool and clear in the morning and as expected, Gulls were abundant and diverse. Without much delay, we hiked to the large raft located on the northwestern pond, finding seven species. We were not able to relocate the recently reported Glaucous Gull, but had fun trying. Most target Anseriforms were located, with the exception of Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser. A few sharp eyes among us spotted a lone Golden Eagle over the ridge across Hwy 101.

After securing the ponds, we made a quick tour of the model airplane portion of the park, where we found Western Bluebird in the short grass, but were not rewarded with Say's Phoebe. As is often the case in winter, small numbers of Tree Swallows were seen patrolling the creek.

Next was Coyote Valley where we hoped to find a few high-stakes Raptors. Sure enough, a pair of Golden Eagles were found over the foothills at the end of Palm Avenue, and passed quite close overhead. Northern Harrier was seen here as well as America Kestrel. A short time later, we were on Richmond where the oft-reported Ferruginous Hawk was our target. Two individuals of different ages were circling the alfalfa field and even resting on the ground. Great looks were had by all!

Photo: Brooke Miller

Photo: Caroline Lambert

The Ferruginous Hawk show was incredible from where we stood. But, I ask you now... Is the behavior shown below appropriate for birders or photographers? These two birders marched out into the field (privately owned, by the way) and got within a few feet the bird. You can see the Ferruginous Hawk in the grass on the right. In cases like this, I wonder if the two shown realize they were setting an example for others. I want to remind them they have the choice to be a good influence or a bad one. They've made their choice this time, but what will they do next time? Remember guys, we are supposed to care about the welfare of birds, and consider how the public views our birding and photography interest. Shouldn't we observe at a distance and encourage others to do the same? Or should we just worry about the shot...?

Now, as has been known to happen, a great bird was waiting to be found elsewhere. Several folks opted to drive to Monterey after the scheduled trip, including car 1, for the Arctic Loon in Monterey. About an hour's drive, provided those who made the effort, to see one of the rarest birds in the Lower 48. With less than a dozen accepted reports in the contiguous states, this species is perhaps nearly as rare as the Ivory Gull. Other bird, including Northern Fulmar were added to the day's list. Not bad at all!

Canada Goose
American Wigeon
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Heared Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Common Gallinule
American Coot
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Barn Owl (primary feather)
White-throated Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Oak Titmouse
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Post field trip, several members of class sped down to Monterey Bay to search for the Arctic Loon.
That and a few other birds were easily added to the day's list:

Surf Scoter
Horned Grebe
Arctic Loon
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Northern Fulmar
Brown Pelican
Pelagic Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Black Oystercatcher
Black Turnstone
Common Murre