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Smew expedition Saturday
Thu, 27 Jan 2000 12:10:34 -0800
From: Rebecca Freed

Hey East Bay birders,

If the Smew is still reported in Tracy tomorrow (please, please....) I'm going for it on Saturday. I can take 3 other people in my car if anyone's interested in going with.

I live in central Berkeley, if that influences your decision-making process, and I'm planning to leave very early.

Becca Freed
(510) 549-3235

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Smew news
Thu, 27 Jan 2000 21:13:46 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

If you want to keep up with the latest reports about the Smew near Tracy, the best source seems to be the CalBird list, with archives at

Or check out the Northern California BirdBox at (415) 681-7422.

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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Smew Review
Thu, 27 Jan 2000 22:21:45 PST
From: Steve Glover

Hello everyone,

Just a note about the Smew. This bird is really hard to find. Be prepared to spend lots of time looking for it and be prepared to fail miserably. The bird was not seen Tuesday. It was seen three times all day on Wednesday. It was seen by one person today and he was several miles downstream. I have spent over 20 hours the past 3 days with no luck. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to its movements other than the fact that the slightest noise seems to send it flying off and out of sight. Also note that it hasn't been seen from the actual bridge since Monday. If at all possible I would suggest going tomorrow as I see the potential for a lot of people there over the weekend and this bird most definitely does not like people. At the very least get there very early. A boat or kayak is definitely the best bet and I would try to the west first. If there is any pattern it is that it is most often first found just around the bend at the wildlife area that we no longer have foot access to. After that it could flush anywhere.

Hope some of this helps and that I haven't been too discouraging but it is tough as I am extremely discouraged at this point.

Steve Glover
Dublin, CA

When an Anglican bishop asked the famous biologist J. B. S. Haldane what biology had shown him about the designs and predilections of the Creator, Haldane is purported to have replied, "An inordinate fondness for beatles."

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Backyard Bird Count
Sat, 29 Jan 2000 15:37:06 -0800
From: Martha Lowe

Hey birders,

Looking for something fun to do in your spare time? The National Audubon Society and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology partner up to sponsor the Great Backyard Bird Watch, taking place from February 18 to 21. This will be their third year of using data supplied by ordinary people like you and me to detect and track changes in winter bird populations nationwide. Scientists analyze all the data that comes in and produce distribution maps, etc. I think this is a truly important effort and, in the long term, will provide a way to obtain lots and lots of data to monitor bird populations, as well as involve the general public in science. Up until their programs the main source for bird population and distribution information has been (as I am sure you all know) the Audubon Christmas Bird Count and Breeding Bird Surveys, both of which have provided a lot of useful information. But, the more information the better the science. They have other similar projects going on, as well as ways to get schoolkids involved.

For further details check out their website at:

Looks like fun,

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Martin Luther King Shoreline update
Mon, 31 Jan 2000 16:51:04 -0800
From: Courtenay Peddle

Hello folks,

On Monday, January 31, an adult female Merlin was at the Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline in Oakland. It perches on a Monterey Cypress at the Hegenberger Rd end of the Oakland city yard.

Three times last week, I saw a Red-shouldered Hawk on the power poles that parallel San Leandro Creek.

When it comes to raptors, you never know what you might find at this great birding spot.

Last Saturday, I heard my first Song Sparrows' territorial songs of the season.

Also a Say's Phoebe has been hanging out on the Mitigation Marsh fence (on the San Leandro Creek side), and I hear that Red Knots have been seen in the Marsh recently.

Good birding!
Courtenay Peddle

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