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I-80 landscaping
Wed, 05 Jan 2000 13:36:32 -0800
From: Tom Condit

I got caught in a traffic jam going onto I-80 from Powell St today, and had a chance to contemplate the landscaping preparations which seem to be going on on the edge of the Emeryville Marsh. There is an extensive area which appears to have been graded from the mouth of Temescal Creek to the point where the marsh comes right up to the roadway. It is liberally festooned with green-topped surveyors' stakes, and sprinkler heads are in rows both along the freeway and out at the marsh side of the area. This seems to me to be an indication that some sort of exotic greenery is being planned. Anyone know anything about this?

The large tree which was the favorite perch of White-tailed Kites has been removed.

Tom Condit

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Alvarado Area, San Pablo
Thu, 6 Jan 2000 16:14:49 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

Only a handful of us on Alan Kaplan's East Bay Regional Park District birdwalk this morning at the Alvarado Area of Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. However, we had some nice birds, and entertaining accounts of the history of the area from Alan. It was a fairly quiet morning, perhaps because it was still too cool to produce much mobility in the insect population.

We began by walking east on Wildcat Creek Trail, then heading up the hill on the first (unnamed) fireroad/trail to the left after the eucalyptus grove. Here we watched flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons wheeling overhead - there were at least 40 of them, moving in flocks of 25 or less. We also saw a Northern Flicker with orangish tail, between the pure red and yellow, but without the black moustache.

Then we walked back to the Alvarado Area, where we saw a Brown Creeper near the trail, and several Varied Thrushes and about 40 Cedar Waxwings feeding on berries with American Robins.

After the walk, I made a brief stop at the Visitor Center in Tilden Regional Park Nature Area, where a Belted Kingfisher was at the ponds below the Little Farm. Then stopped by the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, where a few Golden-crowned Kinglets were in the tree just outside the front door of the Visitor Center - one popping out to look at me from a couple of feet away at eye level!

Here's my list for the Alvarado/Wildcat Canyon walk:

Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)
Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)
Wrentit (Chamaea fasciata) - heard only
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) - heard only
California Towhee (Pipilo crissalis)
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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Snow Geese at Hayward Shoreline
Fri, 07 Jan 2000 16:26:10 -0800
From: Tom Condit

Friday, 7 January 2000, mid-day.

There were four Snow Geese (3 apparent adults, 1 immature) in with a flock of Canada Geese at the Hayward Regional Shoreline. They were on the hill just north of the first construction road you cross going north of the San Leandro Trail from the creek at the end of West Winton Ave.

Other birds seen:

Northern Harrier
Horned Larks
Savannah Sparrows
Song Sparrows
Great Egret
Great Blue Heron
Clark's Grebe
European Starlings
House Sparrows
California Towhee

Another birder I met reported seeing a Short-eared Owl fly over the second bridge north of the Interpretive Center earlier in the morning, and a Eurasian Wigeon in the Bay.

Tom Condit

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American Redstart
Fri, 7 Jan 2000 17:26:51 -0800
From: John Luther

Today in Alameda Steve Rovell and I saw the American Redstart that Rusty Scalf found on the Oakland Christmas Bird Count Dec 20. I have not heard of any reports since then, but perhaps no one has looked for it. The bird is along Mecartney Drive on Bay Farm Island. To get there take High St off Hwy 880 in Oakland and go west about 2 miles to Otis Dr. Turn left onto Otis, go across the bridge and immediately after the bridge turn right onto Island Dr. Go about a half mile to Mecartney Dr and turn right onto Mecartney. In about 100 yards you will see tennis courts on your right. At the west end of the courts turn into the small parking area for the tennis courts and park here. Look in the pine trees and shrubs around the courts. The bird also moved to the shrubs on the other side of the pine trees by the condos and may even have gone into the gardens. A Wilson's Warbler was also seen here on the Christmas Count, but we did not see it.

John Luther

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Re: Snow Geese / Hayward Shoreline
Fri, 07 Jan 2000 19:03:18 PST
From: Peter Dramer

The Snow Geese have consistently been west of the radio towers at the end of West Winton Ave for two weeks. One should always look closely at the "Snow Geese" at Hayward Shoreline as Ross' Goose is the more prevalent white goose there.

Moving further north to the bridge that spans the breach to the new Oro Loma Marsh - for over a month, there have been a male and female Eurasian Wigeon right at the bridge, early each day. Perhaps, the closest looks you will get with American Wigeons nearby for comparison. If flushed the birds will relocate to the next stream north (Bockman Channel) where it empties into the Bay. Another male Eurasian Wigeon has been in the same channel.

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