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Tufted Duck at Berkeley Aquatic Park
Sat, 1 Jan 2000 15:36:30 PST
From: Denise White

Hi EB Birders,

This morning at the middle lake of Berkeley's Aquatic Park, Rusty Scalf, David Bradley, and I saw a male Tufted Duck. This bird lacks pure white sides, but has a distinctive tuft (transition plumage?). There was also a male Redhead in the south pond.

Denise Wight
Martinez, CA

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White-throated Sparrow in Berkeley
Sat, 1 Jan 2000 16:10:03 PST
From: Collin Murphy

Dear EB Birders,

My New Year's got off to a great start with a beautifully-marked White-throated Sparrow (white-striped morph) that came to my yard in Berkeley for a snack.

Best wishes to all for a good birding year!

Collin Murphy

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Selasphorus hummers at UC Botanical Gardens
Sat, 01 Jan 2000 17:28:56 -0800
From: Tom Condit

There are at least two Selasphorus hummingbirds at the UC Botanical Gardens in Berkeley. One is at the Mesoamerican Hill, the other is in the South American (Peru, Chile, etc.) section above the New Zealand section. Plenty of flowers still to keep them there. Also, lots of Anna's Hummingbirds.

Also seen:

a pair of very noisy Common Ravens
two red-shafted Northern Flickers
many American Robins
Steller's Jays
Dark-eyed Juncos
Song Sparrow

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Berkeley Aquatic Park, Point Emery
Sun, 2 Jan 2000 21:36:38 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

This morning, like several other birders, I went out to Berkeley Aquatic Park to look for the Tufted Duck. We covered all the ponds quite thoroughly without finding it (or the Hooded Merganser). However, though things were quieter than I've seen it recently at Aquatic Park (high water level in the ponds, very low tide in the bay), we did come up with a fairly nice selection of birds to start off a new year's lists.

I started off with a mystery hawk that definitely looked like a buteo, with smooth brown color on head and chest, and reddish belly with horizontal darker streaks. It looked most like the "intermediate" Swainson's Hawk in the ABC "All the Birds" guide, but the "dark form" Red-tailed Hawk also comes close. The brown on face and chest was a bit lighter (more golden brown), and the "eye shadow" was very dark and prominent. Unfortunately, every time it flew, it went off behind the tree where I couldn't get a look at the wing patterns. By the time other birders showed up, it had vanished. Later we saw an adult Red-tailed Hawk on the radio tower, and an immature redtail on the east side of the big lagoon, but neither was the bird I had seen earlier.

In early afternoon, Karen Peterson and I spent considerable time puzzling over a light-colored shorebird working the rocks at Point Emery (foot of Ashby Ave). It didn't bob like a Spotted Sandpiper, definitely wasn't a Black-bellied Plover or a yellowlegs, didn't seem to be a Wandering Tattler. For a time we thought it might be a Red Knot, but eventually decided that it looked most like a Sanderling. The small flock of Sanderlings was working the nearby beach, and the bird did look very much like one of them. Do Sanderlings sometimes spend time poking around on rocks by themselves when there's a nice low-tide beach with a Sanderling flock nearby?

We did encounter a pair of birders who told us that they had seen a female Hooded Merganser and a Eurasian Wigeon in and near the pond at Miller/Knox Regional Park in Richmond.

Here's my combined list for Aquatic Park and Point Emery:

Common Loon (Gavia immer)
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Clark's Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii)
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Great Egret (Ardea albus)
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
American Wigeon (Anas americana)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Redhead (Aythya americana)
Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
American Coot (Fulica americana)
Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americanus)
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)
Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)
Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala)
Sanderling (Calidris alba)
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
dowitcher (Limnodromus sp.)
Bonaparte's Gull (Larus philadelphia)
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
Rock Dove (Columba livia)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon)
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)
California Towhee (Pipilo crissalis)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

Good birding and happy almost-the-new-millenium,

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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Re: Great Horned Owls
Mon, 03 Jan 2000 13:05:35 -0800
From: Tom Condit

Juvenile great horned owls, I suspect younger than what Les Chibana calls "branchers," have a godawful screech for a begging call. In June or July you can hear them at night in Big Sur and down on the Kern River (and I assume just about any other suitable habitat as well). I thought it must be a bobcat the first time I heard one.

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