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First Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season
Tue, 11 Sep 2001 08:10:29 -0700
From: Rebecca Freed

This morning I spotted a Ruby-crowned Kinglet sitting (!) on a telephone wire, clutching a rather large winged insect in its mouth. It looked like it didn't know what to do next.

Also, Ohlone Park along Hearst Ave in Berkeley seems to be bustling with bird activity this morning, especially between McGee and Grant Sts. I couldn't stop, but I heard a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and several unidentified chip notes (plus the usual Nuttall's Woodpecker and Red-breasted Nuthatches). I'm planning to get out there early this evening.

Rebecca Freed
Berkeley CA

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Two late-night birds
Tue, 11 Sep 2001 14:08:05 -0700
From: Richard Mix

I haven't been getting much sun lately, but have been working on a Western Screech-Owl at St Luke's on San Miguel in Walnut Creek. It often gives a single call (almost always between 1 & 2 AM) when I finish practicing organ, and the other week I tried answering. It kept up the duet for a good half hour after flying to the treetop overhead by the parking lot lamp, but did not approach any closer or switch to the "sleepy towhee" scolding that my Sawwhet used to close in, nor did it pursue when I moved off still whistling.

I returned two nights later with Ann Callaway and flashlights, but heard nothing but a quite distant Great Horned Owl, and struck out the next few moonlit nights too. Thursday we both heard it call once, but it ignored my imitations, perhaps because of the Great Horned Owl that we heard closer by. Moon and larger owl would explain most of our strikeouts, but I also wonder how large a territory such a bird covers. The initial calls have always been from the same oak.

I was rewarded on the way home with a goatsucker on the ramp from Hwy 680 to Hwy 24: two large yellow eyes on a tiny head too large for a tinier body. I've stopped for similar apparitions on Mosquito Ridge Rd which turned out to be Common Poorwills, but cant rule out Common Nighthawk, which I have only seen on the wing. Of course, under the driver of a moving vehicle rule, it wasn't countable anyway.  ;-)

Good birding,
Richard Mix

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Eared Grebe at Arrowhead Marsh, Martin Luther King Shoreline
Tue, 11 Sep 2001 19:16:06 -0700
From: Courtenay Peddle

Hello folks,

I saw my first Eared Grebe of the season in San Leandro Bay yesterday, about 100 yards toward Arrowhead Marsh from Garretson Point at Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline. It was in basic plumage, struggling to eat a still wriggling aquatic worm.

Good birding!
Courtenay Peddle

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Hayward Shoreline
Tue, 11 Sep 2001 22:03:01 PDT
From: Bob Richmond

Today at the afternoon high tide, the following was seen at Frank's Dump West:

Surfbird - 10 (they have been increasingly common in the last 6 years)
Least Tern - 2 (very late)
Snowy Plover - 60+
Sanderling - 1 (mainly seen here in fall)

Good Birding

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Female Western Tanager in North Berkeley
Wed, 12 Sep 2001 09:12:47 -0700
From: Rebecca Freed

This morning while walking my dogs I spotted a female Western Tanager feeding with a flock of American Robins in a pyracantha tree in a yard on Lincoln at the corner of Grant. Also in the area were California Towhees and goldfinch sp. (probably Lesser Goldfinches).

Rebecca Freed
Berkeley CA

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Red-winged Blackbirds and starlings in northwest Berkeley
Wed, 12 Sep 2001 11:35:31 -0700
From: Tom Condit

Yesterday I was down at my storage space in northwest Berkeley (at the north end of 2nd St, between the freeway and the solid waste center). There was an enormous flock of European Starlings setting up their screeching noise in the area, but I was able to see many flashes of red shoulder epaulets among them. Do these two species normally comingle?

Tom Condit

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Re: Red-winged Blackbirds and starlings in northwest Berkeley
Wed, 12 Sep 2001 13:01:26 -0700
From: Kay Loughman

When we lived in Watergate, down in Emeryville, I used to see big mixed flocks of European Starlings, Red-winged Blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds, and Brown-headed Cowbirds on the grassy parking strips down near the marina.

Kay Loughman

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Common Terns at Alameda
Wed, 12 Sep 2001 19:29:34 -0700
From: Lillian Fujii

Today, Steve Hayashi attended Jean-Marie Spoelman and Anna Wilcox's Golden Gate Audubon field trip to Alameda south shore, where the highlights were 2 Common Terns, 1 Snowy Plover and 2 Red Knots. Common Terns are quite regular on this trip in the Elsie Roemer Bird Santuary area at the south end of Crown Memorial State Beach.

Lillian Fujii

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Pipefish in Lake Merritt?
Wed, 12 Sep 2001 23:08:02 -0700
From: Rusty Scalf

Today at lunch I walked along Lake Merritt in Oakland and watched some Double-crested Cormorants foraging. They had commendable success, coming up with fish perhaps 60% of the time. The fish were of two types: One a classic baitfish (your basic sardine/anchovy style) that I presume are Topsmelt; A second that looked a lot like Pipefish. These were thin, wiry, obviously armoured and quite wriggly. Indeed the cormorants had difficulty swallowing them, unlike the first type fish which the cormorants swallowed easily.

Any ideas? Am I right about Topsmelt in Lake Merritt? Am I right about Pipefish?

Rusty Scalf

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