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Hawks at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
Wed, 19 Sep 2001 11:40:30 -0700
From: Marian Whitehead

Yesterday I went walking at noon in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve [Oakland Hills, Contra Costa County] and saw 5 distinct raptors in one half-hour. A Cooper's (or Sharp-shinned?) Hawk flushed out of the woods while I was walking up the trail from the parking lot. He sat on a tree branch so I had a good look at his tail.

Then, as I was walking on the main road where there is good soaring I flushed a little raptor, female Kestrel, that flew ahead to a Monterey Pine. There she was chased out of hiding several times by a male Northern Harrier, until she finally sat on the top of the tree and refused to move. Once she was knocked off. Watching this action was another brown harrier. Floating past and ignoring everything was a large Red-tailed Hawk.

I was told by a passer-by that he has seen 5 harriers, 3 of them smaller, apparently a family nesting nearby.

If the Golden Eagle had been around, it would have been perfect.

Marian Whitehead, a fascinated observer.

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Pectoral Sandpiper at Arrowhead Marsh
Wed, 19 Sep 2001 17:28:48 PDT
From: Collin Murphy

Dear EBBers,

This afternoon the Arrowhead Marsh bird counters (Bonnie Strand {a guest from New Jersey}, Marian Whitehead, and I) saw what appeared to be a Pectoral Sandpiper in the old marsh area just south of the pier, walking along the shore of the small island there among the grass and weeds. It had a clearly streaked breast demarcated from its white underbelly and a very richly mottled brown back and a brownish head. From the Sibley guide, it appeared to be a juvenile. We did not see it fly.

Since none of us had ever seen this species previously, we hope someone else can confirm it.

Thanks and happy birding,
Collin Murphy

Editor's Note: Arrowhead Marsh is in Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline near the Oakland Airport.

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Alameda Least Terns
Wed, 19 Sep 2001 21:39:25 -0700
From: Meredith Elliott


I have been monitoring the Least Terns breeding at Alameda Point (the former Naval Air Station [and future wildlife refuge]) for the past two years. For those of you who are interested, there were a total of 275 nesting attempts this year (which is down from the 312 attempts in 2000). Despite the lower number of nesting attempts, fledgling production was up this year; approximately 350 fledglings were produced this year, and approximately 200 fledglings were produced last year. Hatching success was also much better this year than last.

Meredith Elliott
Staff Biologist
Marine Sciences Program
Point Reyes Bird Observatory

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Re: Alameda Least Terns
Thu, 20 Sep 2001 09:43:23 -0700
From: Lisa Viani


Was the increased fledgling success due in any way to predator control? (Just curious.)

Lisa Viani

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Re: Alameda Least Terns
Thu, 20 Sep 2001 16:44:31 -0700
From: Meredith Elliott


Yes, the predator control program certainly aids in the fledging success of the terns. Other factors (food availability, disturbance, disease, etc.) also aid/inhibit fledging success.


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Re: Pectoral Sandpiper at Arrowhead Marsh
Thu, 20 Sep 2001 19:46:22 -0700
From: Mike Ezekiel

Dear Collin and other EBBers,

Regarding your Pectoral Sandpiper, I also fairly sure that I had a Pectoral Sandpiper at Arrowhead on September 8 which I described as follows:

was an apparently longer tailed bird (in the Mitigation Marsh area), 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.

It was out in the middle of a great mass of birds - at the edge of what my scope could resolve at 60 Power - but I am fairly certain it was a Pectoral - I have seen them before at least once and possibly more.

However, I went out today to Arrowhead and did not see anything close to a Pectoral in about 1.5 hours walk around the Mitigation Marsh between 11 and 12:30 at a fairly high, but receding tide. The New Marsh had a lot of water, but was not the lake it has been in recent weeks at high tide. Did not see anything of particular significance, but did see lots of good birds:

Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Marbled Godwits - lots
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Double-crested Cormorant
Black-bellied Plover
Whimbrel (1)
Long-billed Curlew (7 - more then I have seen here before)
Western Sandpipers
Least Sandpiper
Black Turnstone
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
American Coot
Pied-billed Grebe
Canada Geese
Turkey Vulture
Say's Phoebe
Black Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird

I also went to the Oakland Zoo - nothing much there except Sharp-shinned Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, and Red-shouldered Hawks.

Mike Ezekiel

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Re: Alameda Least Terns
Thu, 20 Sep 2001 20:56:10 PDT
From: George McRae

Dear Merideth and Lisa,

As regards predators, what seems to be the biggest threat? My first hunch would be feral cats. Besides feral cats my second guess is raccoons and or skunks, all three being urban life fostered. Any data to support? Reason I ask is that feral cats, raccoons and skunks seem to the bugaboo of a lot of wildlife rehab efforts especially in the urban areas... Thoughts?

George McRae

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Re: Alameda Least Terns
Thu, 20 Sep 2001 21:05:51 -0700
From: Lisa Viani

I thought red foxes (and feral cats) were the problems at Alameda?


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Berkeley waterfowl and Eastshore State Park
Thu, 20 Sep 2001 22:14:28 -0700
From: Deb Golata

Eastshore State Park Planning Meeting - Sept. 24

A proposal that concerns me is the suggested use of several acres at the northwest corner of the Berkeley Meadow "to support kayak launching" and "rowing or sailing facilities," and a rowboat and kayak launch on the North Basin Strip along the frontage road between Berkeley and Albany. Hundreds and hundreds of migrating waterfowl use this area of water and would surely be disturbed by this traffic, not to mention the shore birds, the egrets, the great blue, the ever present kingfisher, and the burrowing owl I saw near the concrete slabs. I've been birding down there for ten years and would gladly give up my almost daily dog walks along the "old dump" road to keep the impact low on this area. There will be a meeting to plan the future of the Eastshore State Park on Monday, Sept. 24, 7 PM on the second floor of His Lordship's Restaurant ant the Berkeley Marina.

Thank you,
Deb Golata

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Re: Alameda Least Terns
Thu, 20 Sep 2001 23:08:26 -0700
From: Meredith Elliott

Feral cats have not, thankfully, been a problem in the last two years, although they have been a problem historically. Most problem predators are raptors (hawks, harriers, kestrels, etc.). Mammalian predators (skunks, opossums, and the occasional raccoon) have been trapped in areas away from the site and are presumably not a problem to the terns.

Red foxes have not been trapped or sighted on the former airfield complex, where the terns nest. However, one grey fox was captured this year.

And thankfully, human disturbance to the colony has been kept to a minimum in recent years as well.

Thanks for the inquiries!

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