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Snow Geese on Albany Mudflats
Thu, 4 Jan 2001 21:23:09 PST
From: Brian Fitch

A belated report of two immature Snow Geese at sunrise Wednesday morning at the mouth of the creek at the Albany Mudflats. This is at the northwest corner of the intersection of Hwy I-80 and Buchanan St, I believe in Alameda County.

Brian Fitch

Editor's Note: The Albany Mudflats (also known as the Albany Crescent) are between Golden Gate Fields racetrack in Albany and Point Isabel in Richmond. Cerrito Creek, which flows just north of Albany Hill and out onto the mudflats near the midpoint, is the boundary between Contra Costa County and Alameda County. However, Brian says that the Snow Geese were at the mouth of the "creek" that flows out from under Buchanan St near the freeway (this is actually a modification of the mouth of an old slough that drained Codornices and Marin Creeks near the present race track), and that location is definitely in Alameda County. --Larry

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Richmond Marina Bay
Thu, 04 Jan 2001 23:11:40 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

On Alan Kaplan's East Bay Regional Park District birdwalk this morning at Richmond Marina Bay, we had a nice selection of species, though nothing really unexpected.

One highlight was watching at close range as 4 Black Turnstones turned stones, including some as large as their bodies. Another was a flock of hundreds of Dunlin on the breakwater at the mouth of Marina Bay (Vincent Park) around 8 AM (falling tide at about 5.5 feet).

We walked from Vincent Park [south end of Marina Vista Pkwy] to Meeker Slough, covering both the harbor and bay sides of the peninsula. Here's the list for the group as best I could record it:

3 Pied-billed Grebe
12 Eared Grebe
10 Western Grebe
2 Clark's Grebe
2 Brown Pelican
20 Double-crested Cormorant
4 Snowy Egret
2 Turkey Vulture
3 Canada Goose
13 American Wigeon
8 Mallard
10 Green-winged Teal
15 Canvasback
30 Lesser Scaup (some may have been Greater)
25 Surf Scoter
20 Bufflehead
15 Ruddy Duck
1 Northern Harrier
75 American Coot
15 Black-bellied Plover
3 Greater Yellowlegs
20 Willet
40 Long-billed Curlew
10 Black Turnstone
25 Sanderling
5 Western Sandpiper
75 Least Sandpiper
500 Dunlin
5+ Ring-billed Gull
10+ Western Gull
8 Forster's Tern
12 Rock Dove
4 Mourning Dove
1 Anna's Hummingbird
4 American Crow
1 Marsh Wren (heard only)
1 Northern Mockingbird
5 California Towhee
2 Savannah Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
20 White-crowned Sparrow
2 Golden-crowned Sparrow
10 Red-winged Blackbird
4 Western Meadowlark
10 Brewer's Blackbird
10 House Finch
1 American Goldfinch
12 House Sparrow

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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Interesting winter birds for Contra Costa County
Fri, 05 Jan 2001 18:46:24
From: Jim Tietz

The first sighting to report is a Hermit Warbler that showed up in my parents' yard in Lafayette (between Old Millstone Ln and Phillips Rd) on December 22 and then again on December 24. It appears to be an immature female with no black in the throat, but I'm not certain of this. I separated this bird from Townsend's Warbler by the all yellow face without a black mask and the absence of any significant yellow or dark streaking to the underparts. I have not seen this bird since December 24th.

And also on January 4, on a walk with the Mt Diablo Audubon Society led by Elizabeth Dickey to the San Pablo Reservoir, we encountered 68 species. Most noteworthy was a flock of at least 5 Pygmy Nuthatches in the pines at the southeast corner of the reservoir. Also in the same area a male Rufous or Allen's Hummingbird was heard near the eucalyptus grove and 2 Golden Eagles were seen flying overhead.

Today, January 5, there is a white-striped White-throated Sparrow at 838 Las Trampas Rd. There is also a sparrow there that appears to be a Golden-crowned Sparrow, but the head has no streaks and no gold coloration. The crown has black flecking all across it. I don't think at this point that it is a Harris' Sparrow because the bill did not look pink and there was no black on the face, chin, or throat. The underparts were not pure white, but gray with blurry streaks like on a Golden-crowned Sparrow. I could not see this bird well because of the vegetation that it was in, but I plan on seeding an area near by where it would be more visible.

Jim Tietz

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Need a BirdBox transcriber replacement for 1 week
Fri, 5 Jan 2001 20:31:11 -0800 (PST)
From: David Armstrong

Apologies as usual for the multiple postings.

As you are all probably aware the Northern California BirdBox is back live and operational. My travel schedule has not allowed me any time to do a transcription since it came back up, and I will be on the road again all of next week and into the weekend.

I am soliciting volunteers to transcribe the tape for since it went back live at the end of December through till next Sunday. Whoever answers first with a yes is elected and I will give you instructions via e-mail. All you will have to do is transcribe the tape in the typical format and e-mail it to me so I can post it to BirdWest. Thanks in advance to whoever can assist with this.

David Armstrong

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Arrowhead Marsh
Sat, 6 Jan 2001 20:19:14 -0800
From: Sheila Junge

I stopped by Arrowhead Marsh [in Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline near the Oakland Airport] today around 4 PM. Mitigation marsh was empty except for one Burrowing Owl on one of the mitigation mounds. A second owl was seen nearby on the west side of the entrance road. It was about low tide -0.3 feet. There weren't large numbers of ducks in the immediate vicinity of Arrowhead Marsh but what was there was pretty interesting. Two male Blue-winged Teals were near shore to the left of the fishing pier. They were still there when I left 45 minutes later. A Cinnamon Teal and numerous Green-winged Teals provided a good opportunity for comparison of the three species. Just about every expected duck species was present. I counted at least (conservatively) 30 Common Goldeneyes. Also noteworthy: 40 to 50 Black Turnstones. There were few other shorebirds: Willets, Dowitchers and several Greater Yellowlegs. A couple of Clapper Rails were seen in the distance.

I've been visiting Arrowhead about once a week - usually around this time of day. There's almost always something interesting to see. The birds seem pretty acclimated to the presence of humans so you get good close looks.

Good birding!

Sheila Junge
Hayward, CA

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