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Yellows everywhere
Sat, 08 Sep 2001 12:56 -0700
From: Rusty Scalf

Today was a day of shopping and errands and I won't leave the flats of south Berkeley.

Yet it is apparent that a big push of Yellow Warblers is happening. There were six in Strawberry Creek Park and at least that many more feeding in residential foliage in the local neighborhood. One Orange-crowned Warbler as well.

Hmmmm.... Wonder what's going on at Pt. Reyes.

-Rusty Scalf

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Baird's Sandpiper, Brewer's Sparrow
Sat, 8 Sep 2001 13:11:26 PDT
From: Steve Glover

Hello all,

This morning I birded Piper Slough at the north end of Bethel Island in eastern Contra Costa County. In a subsequent posting I will discuss a new access problem out there, but I want to have that as the feature of the email so that I might get as much response as possible.

Migrants this morning were fewer than a few days ago. Today there were only 4 Willow Flycatchers (low for this time of year), 10 Yellow Warblers, 4 Wilson's Warblers, a single Black-throated Gray Warbler that seemed to be the same bird present a few days ago, a Dark-eyed Junco (unusual here), 4 Pine Siskins (very unusual here), a Lesser Goldfinch (unusual here), and a continuing family of Blue Grosbeaks. Small groups of Tree Swallows were heading west all morning.

The new pond at the south end had a Baird's Sandpiper, a Semipalmated Plover, 23 dowitchers (1 Short-billed heard), a Western Sandpiper and 30 Black-necked Stilts. On the way back to the car I found a Brewer's Sparrow, a first for this site. The Baird's Sandpiper, the Semipalmated Plover and the Short-billed Dowitcher were also new for the site, thanks to the new pond.

I stopped at Cifton Court Forebay on the way home in hopes of finding a Sabine's Gull or Long-tailed Jaeger but no luck. Of 16 Sterna terns the only 2 close enough to identify were Forster's Terns. There were also 2 Red-necked Phalaropes and a scaup that may have summered.

Good luck,
Steve Glover

Subject Index

Access to Piper Slough / owner's rights
Sat, 8 Sep 2001 13:23:21 PDT
From: Steve Glover

Hello all,

This may be slightly off topic so I apologize ahead of time if it is. This morning I visited Piper Slough at the north end of Bethel Island in Contra Costa County, a pretty well-known site for Bay Area birders who are searching for Blue Grosbeak, Yellow-breasted Chat, Black-chinned Hummingbird, etc. This morning I was told by a man who says he is the landowner that I was on private property and that I would have to leave. He was extremely sarcastic, though I have to admit I was as well. My understanding in the past was that these levees were public property even though the land behind the levee wasn't. We have been visiting the site for well over ten years and have talked with several different people claiming to the the landowner as well as workers from the city of Bethel Island and have never had a problem. Fishermen have always been kept out, I think primarily because they damage the rip-rap but perhaps also because they have apparently planted marijuana out there in the past.

Anyway, I know this issue came up recently when the Smew was in nearby San Joaquin County. I'm hoping someone can provide me with good answers as to public access to levees or direct me to who it would be most helpful to contact. In the meantime I suppose it would be best for birders not to enter the property until we can establish whether the landowner does indeed have the rights he claims to have.

Perhaps it would be best to contact me privately [send e-mail to] and if there are no complaints about this post being too off-topic I will post the results if anyone is interested.

Thanks in advance,
Steve Glover

Reply #1    Subject Index

Re: Access to Piper Slough / owner's rights
Sat, 8 Sep 2001 21:03:44 PDT
From: Denise Wight

Steve and EBBirders,

Yes, please post any concrete information you find that will let EBBirders know whether we will henceforth be excluded from the levee area beyond the gate at the end of Bethel Island Road. I stopped taking classes there after I was asked to leave by a man driving a tracker who claimed to be related to the landowners.

I will be representing Contra Costa County for the PRBO Bird-a-thon next Saturday. Blue Grosbeaks and Black-chinned Hummingbirds can be found in other locations, but this is one of the only places I know where I can regularly find Yellow-breasted Chat. Does anyone know any other reliable Yellow-breasted Chat spots in Contra Costa?

Denise Wight
Martinez, CA

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Alameda Point
Sat, 8 Sep 2001 21:22:14 -0700
From: John Luther

Hi All,

Today there was a Common Murre in Alameda County north of the USS Hornet at Alameda Point at the end of Atlantic Ave in the city of Alameda. This is in waters that will be part of the Alameda National Wildlife Refuge so probably a first for the refuge, but visible from outside the refuge. Black Oystercatchers now seem to be fairly regular in this area (north, south, east and west of the Hornet) along the various rocky levees. I saw them in the area yesterday and today. I believe that they nest on the breakwater.

Also today while leading a trip to train docents for teaching elementary students about the refuge and the Least Terns that nest there I found four Baird's Sandpipers in the wetland part of the refuge that is in the city and county of San Francisco. The land that will become the refuge is not yet open to the general public, but thought others would enjoy knowing about this sighting in San Francisco of the east bay.

John Luther

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Probable Pectoral Sandpiper at Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline
Sat, 8 Sep 2001 23:38:26 -0700
From: Mike Ezekiel

This evening at Arrowhead Marsh in Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline near the Oakland airport - the Mitigation/New Marsh area - I saw what was almost certainly a Pectoral Sandpiper at some distance out in the marsh. Even at 60 power, and fairly clear, but windy, conditions, I am not absolutely certain. If you are birding there in the next little while, look out for it.

What initially drew my attention to the bird in a group of Western Sandpipers was an apparently longer tailed bird, seemed slightly bigger and with a solid, buffy streaked chest cleanly demarcated from a white breast. All of these marks, especially the last, are right for a Pectoral Sandpiper, but it was a small bird quite far out in the midst of many thousands of shorebirds which I would have liked to seen a little better. If that is what it was, hope someone else can find it closer in.

Also, at the Marsh were at least 7 Elegant Terns. Neither a birder named Tim (sorry, didnt quite catch last name), nor I, could remember seeing any in that area before - has anyone seen them in the New Marsh?

Lots of other shorebirds, probably 5,000 or more - the tide was quite high at about 6:00 PM and stayed so until I left shivering at 7:30 - forgot my sweater and it was nippy there.

probable Pectoral Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs
Marbled Godwit
Black-bellied Plover - lots
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Semipalmated Plover
Long-billed Curlew
Black-necked Stilts
American Avocet
Snowy Egret
Western Gulls
Ring-billed Gull
Caspian Tern
Forster's Tern
Elegant Tern
Red-winged Blackbirds
American Crow
European Starlings
Red-tailed Hawk
Turkey Vulture

No Red Knots, nor were Burrowing Owls seen.

Mike Ezekiel

Subject Index

Brown Pelican at Shadow Cliffs
Sat, 8 Sep 2001 23:56:34 PDT
From: Kathy Robertson

Hello all,

This afternoon I birded Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area east of Pleasanton for a few hours. The male Wood Ducks in the far pond are now mostly back to their gorgeous breeding plumage (just a little over a month ago they were in eclipse). There was still a Great Egret feeding two (huge) chicks on a nest.

The big surprise, however, was a Brown Pelican flying over the main lake as I was headed back to my car around 7:30 PM.

Good birding,
Kathy Robertson
Hayward, CA

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