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Gyrfalcon in Solano County
Mon, 10 Dec 2001 07:22:52 -0800
From: Roger Hartwell

For your information, here is a report about the Gyrfalcon seen near Hwy 113 in Solano County. The book Robin refers to is a newly published Best Birding Areas of Napa and Solano Counties. There are several interesting birds other than the Gyrfalcon mentioned in his report below.

Roger Hartwell
Fisheries & Wildlife

Gyrfalcon around Hwys 113 & 12
Sunday, December 09, 2001 11:24 PM

Hi Napa Solano Birders,

Just a short note to tell you more about the Gyrfalcon.

Tim Fitzer told us that Dave Feliz saw the Gyrfalcon on Thursday December 6 when Dave Takeuchi, Harold Conner, Uzelle Williams and I tried for it on Friday December 7. We did not see it, but it was seen by someone on the same road that Tim and our car was on just a few minutes before. We met a few birders there. They told us of an adult Bald Eagle at the jog in the road at Hwy 113. We saw two dark morph Red-tailed Hawks and two dark morph Rough-legged Hawks, immature Golden Eagle on Olsen and Birds Landing, a Merlin on Flannery and Hwy 113 and many (perhaps 8) Ferruginous Hawks and two Prairie Falcons. We also sold 3 Best Birding books.

On Saturday I decided to go back out there to find the bird, but principally to sell Best Birding and look for the Mountain Plovers. It was like old home week, John Boyd was with Keith Gish, Tony Battiste and his wife Julie and Carol King were in another car. I just missed the Mountain Plovers that Luke Cole told me about, but had a beautiful dark morph Rough-legged Hawk do aerial acrobatics high above me in good light. I sold 15 books that day. No one saw the bird on Saturday.

Today, Sunday, after I showed Uzelle her new Benicia Christmas Bird Count area, we went out to try for the bird in the afternoon. I wanted to check for the Mountain Plovers and the dark morph Ferruginous Hawk that Harold saw at Goosehaven and Creed the day before. Well, we saw 210 to 300 Mountain Plovers off of Robinson Rdd. To get there take Flannery Rd east of Hwy 113. Turn left onto Robinson, and where Robinson turns left, go straight over the cattle guard and follow it to the end where the road makes a 90 degree turn to the left and drive about a quarter mile. The birds were in a green field to the south. This is where I saw that dark morph Rough-legged Hawk the day before. We did not see Harold's dark morph Ferruginous Hawk, but did run into Dave Takeuchi who was going to try for the Gyrfalcon and the Mountain Plovers ... we just missed Tony who was out there with his grandson Nicholas. He reported to me tonight that they saw the Mountain Plovers in the same field that we saw them. Other sightings include a immature Bald Eagle at the Hwy 113 jog in the road and another by Shilo eating a lamb carcass. We sold 7 more books.

Summarizing in 3 days we sold 25 Best Birding books. It was a tough way to make $100. The Gyrfalcon was the best advertising that we had. I hope it stays for six weeks like the one we had last time at Midway and Levee Roads in 1982. By the way, you know that our distribution is good when you run into people that have purchased the book. On Sunday we ran into 4 people that already had our book.

Hope you get lucky,
Robin Leong

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Editor's Note: Further discussion of the Gyrfalcon belongs on the North Bay Birds list unless the bird crosses the strait into Contra Costa County.  However, I left this message in our archives because the bird is so close to our area. Remember that you can check recent postings on all the California lists without subscribing at  --Larry

Lake Merritt this morning - Cattle Egret present
Mon, 10 Dec 2001 11:12:29 -0800
From: Mike Ezekiel

Walked at Lake Merritt in Oakland for about half an hour. The Cattle Egret was near the duck pond posing on a railing.

There was no sign of a Tufted Duck.

Also in the trees along the path were Townsend's Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Downy Woodpecker, and Bushtits.

Mike Ezekiel

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A flock of flickers?
Mon, 10 Dec 2001 13:16:58 -0800
From: Kay Loughman

I've seen Northern Flickers more often in my Berkeley neighborhood this winter than at any time I can remember. Typically for woodpeckers, the birds have been seen one at a time, though a couple of times I've seen two in the same tree. But this morning I looked out to a neighbor's leafless locust tree and saw four flickers all together, clearly interacting. (It would be interesting to know the sexes, but I didn't think of that until after they'd flown.) Any speculation on what might be going on: a late family group, early courtship, or ...?

Kay Loughman
above the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley

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Band-tailed Pigeons in Oakland Hills
Mon, 10 Dec 2001 17:45:55 -0800
From: Win Kryda

Saw a flock of Band-tailed Pigeons (30 to 50) over my house and behind in trees above Larry Ln (off Ascot Dr, northeast of Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland) yesterday and today.

Win Kryda

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