Sun, 2 Jul 2000 12:58:08 PDT
From Bob Richmond
Today at the shoreline -
Black Skimmer - 1
Arctic Tern - 1
Northern Shoveler - female with 8 ducklings
Blue-winged Teal - 5 males, 3 females
Lesser Scaup - female with 9 ducklings (8 scaup, 1 adopted Mallard/Gadwall)
Lesser Scaup - female with 1 duckling
UC Botanical Garden, 30 June
Sun, 02 Jul 2000 13:01:27 -0700
From: Tom Condit
The UC Botanical Garden is swarming with hummingbirds. There were at least 20 Selasphorus (both species) hummers at the Mesoamerican hill alone on Friday, June 30.
A White-throated Swift was cruising back and forth on the hillside north of Centennial Drive across from the playing fields near Gayley Road. This is my first for Berkeley, and a very low altitude certainly made identification easier.
Peeps are back
Mon, 03 Jul 2000 14:00:58 -0700
From: Courtenay Peddle
If it's July, the peeps must be back.
On Sunday morning I saw two small flocks of peeps flying around at Mitigation Marsh, Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline in Oakland. I was able to see only one close enough to identify as a Western Sandpiper, but I've no doubt the Least Sandpipers are back too. On Saturday 1 July, I saw my first dowitchers of the season.
Of interest also at Arrowhead Marsh is that reliable observers have seen Clapper Rail chicks in the past month. It had been thought that the rails didn't breed there but only wintered, so to see chicks is a big deal. (I haven't been lucky enough to see them myself, darn it!)
Here's my list of sightings Sunday:
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)
Great Egret (Ardea alba)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris)
American Coot (Fulica americana)
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)
Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus)
Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri)
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)
American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
California Gull (Larus californicus)
Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)
Rock Dove (Columba livia)
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
Reply #1 Subject Index
Tern & rail breeding
Mon, 3 Jul 2000 20:18:39 PDT
From: Brian Fitch
This morning I observed a single Least Tern chick at the Albany mudflats. It was on the west end of the westernmost shellmound on the Central Ave side. It was alone for 8 to 10 minutes before an adult flew in to feed it. While alone, it pecked sporadically at the ground and walked a little around a small area, but mostly it stood next to some plant debris as shelter. It was nearly of adult size, only the primaries and bill were still a bit short. It showed no effort to fly, only the wing flutter of begging when the adult finally approached. After the adult left, the nearest nest-sitting adult stood up and went after the chick, chasing it down the berm side before returning to her nest. It was hard to count nests because of the constant comings and goings, but it appeared that 10 adults were still incubating eggs; I saw no movement beneath them. There was also an avocet chick at the edge of the flats, and a very aggressive stilt went after 4 crows who dared to invade its airspace, successfully chasing them off.
In reply to the previous message, I was leading a field trip last July 19th at Arrowhead Marsh when Rio Wight, who was amongst the group, discovered 3 Clapper Rail chicks near the adult the rest of us had been watching. They were very new, and walking the slough edge just west of the boardwalk/dock. I didn't know until tonight that breeding hadn't yet been confirmed there.
Original Message Subject Index
Contra Costa Atlasing
Tue, 4 Jul 2000 14:41:49 PDT
From: Steve Glover
I have spent the last two days atlasing in Contra Costa County, generally in areas that are seldom or never birded.
Yesterday I stayed in San Ramon. I first birded that riparian strip at the north end of Dougherty Rd near the intersection with Crow Canyon. This turned out to be an interesting area. Here I was able to confirm nesting Song Sparrow, Northern Mockingbird, California Quail, House Wren, and Tree Swallow. Except for the mockingbird, these are all pretty local species in San Ramon proper. There is a trail through here, as well as plantings that I assume were mitigation for the development. As the area matures it should get even better here.
I then birded Westside Dr in west San Ramon. I had never been up there, which isn't surprising since there wasn't a road there until very recently. This just squeezes into the oaks. Near the intersection of Westside and Chaparral Ct there is a small pond with cattails and willows. Here were nesting Western Scrub-Jay, Western Kingbird, Bullock's Oriole, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Oak Titmouse, Song Sparrow and Nuttall's Woodpecker. Six of these were new confirmations for this block.
Today I ventured further east to the very edge of the Diablo Range. At Marsh Creek Reservoir there were at least 7 families of Wood Ducks, most about three-quarters grown I would guess. An Ash-throated Flycatcher was feeding fledglings in a patch of coyote brush, and a White-breasted Nuthatch was feeding a fledgling in a walnut tree. Other water birds included a fledgling Green Heron and a few adults, an adult night-heron, a Black-necked Stilt, and a lone female Ruddy Duck. We still do not have an atlas confirmation for Ruddy Duck!!! Heading north I birded along Deer Valley Rd, taking side trips on Briones Valley Rd and Chadbourne Rd. This area is almost exclusively grassland with some savannah. The most common birds were Western Meadowlark, Loggerhead Shrike and Western Kingbird. There were 35 Western Kingbirds along a mile or so of Chadbourne Rd alone, many of them young birds but old enough to fly about. Northern Mockingbirds were also particularly common in the area, even in blue oak forest on Empire Mine Rd.
Near the north end of Empire Mine Rd. there was a two-thirds-grown Wood Duck in the company of a family of Mallards, also about two-thirds grown. No sign of an adult Wood Duck but this bird clearly was born here. This is at least the fifth block we have confirmed Woodies in, which is more than I would have guessed. Right now nearly all of the nesting activity is fledglings. Many of the young birds look a lot like adults and are quite mobile so be very careful using fledgling codes, particularly if you are close to a block boundary. Have a great holiday!
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