Previous Message

Richmond Marina Bay and Meeker Slough
Thu, 16 Nov 2000 18:34:24 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

We had beautiful weather (neither cold nor windy) for this morning's walk at Richmond Marina Bay. The birds were fairly abundant too - more in variety than in numbers. Highlights were a Say's Phoebe right in Shimada Friendship Park at the start of the walk, a small group of Pelagic Cormorants just inside the mouth of Marina Bay, and three Spotted Sandpipers exploring the waterline at various points inside Marina Bay.

We walked from Shimada Park out to the end of Vincent Park, around Marina Bay, through the Rosie the Riveter monument, along the creekside trail at the west edge of the housing development, a short distance out along the Bay Trail toward Point Isabel, and then back to Shimada Park. A full morning with lots of bird variety. Here is my list (numbers are very approximate):

Common Loon - 3
Pied-billed Grebe - 1
Horned Grebe - 1
Eared Grebe - 6
Western Grebe - 5
Clark's Grebe - 1
Brown Pelican - 2
Double-crested Cormorant - 9
Pelagic Cormorant - 4
Snowy Egret - 9
Turkey Vulture - 3
Canada Goose - 50
Gadwall - 4
American Wigeon - 10
Mallard - 28
Green-winged Teal - 2
Redhead - 1
scaup sp. - 500
Surf Scoter - 30
Bufflehead - 50
Ruddy Duck - 800
Red-shouldered Hawk - 1
Red-tailed Hawk - 2
American Coot - 100
Black-bellied Plover - 10
American Avocet - 13
Greater Yellowlegs - 2
Willet - 75
Spotted Sandpiper - 3
Long-billed Curlew - 10
Marbled Godwit - 40
Sanderling - 15
Western Sandpiper - 100
Least Sandpiper - 80
Dunlin - 75
dowitcher sp. - 8
Ring-billed Gull - 40
California Gull - 2
Western Gull - 30
Glaucous-winged Gull - 1
Forster's Tern - 1
Rock Dove - 50
Mourning Dove - 6
Anna's Hummingbird - 5
Black Phoebe - 1
Say's Phoebe - 1
American Crow - 4
Chestnut-backed Chickadee - some heard
Bushtit - 12
Marsh Wren - several heard
Northern Mockingbird - 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 1
California Towhee - 10
Savannah Sparrow - 1
White-crowned Sparrow - 40
Golden-crowned Sparrow - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 8
Western Meadowlark - 3
Brewer's Blackbird - 4
House Finch - 10
Lesser Goldfinch - 6
House Sparrow - 6

Thanks to everyone who came and helped out with the spotting and IDs. And remember that if you want to host an East Bay Birders Circle birdwalk, just let me know the time and place and I'll put it in the calendar.

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

Subject Index

Puffin in Martinez
Thu, 16 Nov 2000 19:03:30 PST
From: Richard Mix

Sorry I'm a bit late getting to a computer, but yesterday (Wednesday) I came home to a phone message from Ann Callaway on a cell phone aboard the train to Davis. She sounded very excited and unfortunately lacked the presence of mind to pull the emergency brake, but did get a four-second view of a grey tufted bananabeak just this side of the Martinez Shoreline Park! Her description was of a solitary prehistoric looking bird about 30 feet offshore, smaller than a goose and floating quite high, with a dark grey body, an off-white stripe from eye down the back of the neck a good way, and a huge puffin-shaped bill, more grey than yellow. This was at 4:20 PM on November 15; I'm hoping it will hang around.

She also saw cranes overhead in the delta of a ghostly white color, though of course lacking the black primaries of the Whooping Crane. Is the pale illustration of Sandhill Crane in the ABC guide more representative of western birds?

This morning we had nice looks at Ring-necked Duck and Red-breasted Sapsucker at Lake Anza in Tilden Regional Park (Berkeley Hills, Contra Costa County), but missed the White-throated Sparrow. The Pied-billed Grebes were very vocal, doing both the yodel and a peeping noise that at first had me looking around for stilts.

Reply #1    Reply #2    Subject Index

RFI: Hills above UC Berkeley campus
Thu, 16 Nov 2000 20:20:03 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

Request for Information:

Patty Donald of the Shorebird Nature Center at the Berkeley Marina would like to get in touch with anyone who is familiar with nesting and migratory birds in the hills between the University of California Berkeley campus and the Lawrence Hall of Science, and that general area.

Please call her at 510.644.8623 or e-mail her at

Thanks for your help, Larry

Subject Index

Robins in Oakland
Thu, 16 Nov 2000 20:28:58 PST
From: Mark Rauzon

I found this bit of local bird lore in the Lake Merritt Naturalist files and thought it might be of interest:

Palo Seco Canyon in Oakland's Joaquin Miller Park used to be a winter home to thousands of migrating American Robins. Beginning in the mid-1950s until 1970, winter roosting numbers ranged from several hundred to 35,000. In 1968, heavy storms in late December and record low temperatures and snowfall in the Pacific Northwest, drove "phenomenal flocks" of robins in the area. On the afternoon and evening of January 1, 1969, Paul Covel and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Overmire observed migrating robins from Skyline Blvd. and estimated 450,000 had passed on their way to the Palo Seco roost. Fred Barnes, stationed below the roost observed 6000 coming up from the metropolitan area. About 500 Band-tailed Pigeons used the area as well as flocks of 10,000 European Starlings. Recoveries of banded robins were from Oregon, Waghington and British Columbia. (Incidently, a similar roost used to occur in Lakeside Park. On 10 January, 1932, 165,000 robins were counted in the trees in the park.)

Mark J. Rauzon
Oakland, CA 94602

Subject Index

Re: Puffin in Martinez
Sat, 18 Nov 2000 21:08:03 -0800
From: Darrell Lee

A friend and I went looking for the reported puffin November 18 about 9 to 10 AM from Martinez Shoreline Regional Park and didn't see it. Met Denise Wight there, and she hadn't seen it either.

Darrell Lee
Alameda, CA

Original Message    Next Reply    Subject Index

Next Message