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Pair of Western Bluebirds
Sun, 16 Dec 2001 10:23:42 -0800 (PST)
From: Stewart Bolinger


Two Western Bluebirds outside my upstairs window in neighbor's pine tree, 1044 Clarendon Crescent. Talk about your armchair birding!

Stewart, Oakland

PS: Just joined you all at EBB - you are wonderful.

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Possible Snow Geese at Berkeley Aquatic Park
Sun, 16 Dec 2001 18:19:14 -0800 (PST)
From: Stewart Bolinger

Mystery geese - too far away and too late in the evening to know what they were - two large white (all white) geese. They were near the shore near the freeway and near the ski ramp. It appeared they had a flock of very black babies. Every way the geese swam several black figures followed. One adult flapped its wings, and I saw only white. I can't go in the morning so I thought I would raise the question.

I walk my dogs there very frequently, and I have never seen them before. Of course, I had left my binoculars at the house.

Stewart - Oakland

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Contra Costa CBC
Sun, 16 Dec 2001 21:34:35 PST
From: Steve Glover

Hello everyone,

The Contra Costa Christmas Bird Count was run Saturday and featured good weather and rather lackluster results. The lone highlights I can think of off the top of my head are Chipping Sparrow (6 - only the second record for this count), Swamp Sparrow (only the second for the count - same bird as last year) and Townsend's Solitaire. The preliminary total was 151 species, which is just a bit below our recent average.

Steve Glover

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Hayward CBC
Sun, 16 Dec 2001 21:39:28 PST
From: Steve Glover

Hello again,

The Hayward Christmas Bird Count was run today in wonderful weather and with good success. Highlights I know about were Glaucous Gull (1st winter at the Grant St area of Hayward Regional Shoreline), Surfbird, Black Oystercatcher (first for the count but overdue - 2 at Hayward's Landing at Hayward Regional Shoreline), Red-necked Phalarope, Barn Swallow, and a count-week Harris' Sparrow at a private residence. I believe the preliminary total was 173 species, which is about the highest yet for the count.

Steve Glover

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Re: Hayward CBC
Mon, 17 Dec 2001 11:40:02 -0800 (PST)
From: Vijay Ramachandran

I would like to add that on the Newark baylands portion of the Hayward Christmas Bird Count, my group saw a large number of Lincoln's Sparrows - at least 20. They were all over the place, very responsive to phishing, and very cooperative once out in the open. Other good birds were Common Snipe and Merlin.


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Dusky-capped Flycatcher in Alameda County
Mon, 17 Dec 2001 12:34:36 -0800
From: John Luther

This morning, December 17, at about 10 AM I refound the Dusky-capped Flycatcher found yesterday on the Oakland Christmas Bird Count. This is the first record for Alameda County. The bird is by Lake Merritt in Oakland. It was seen in and next to the botanic garden, which is across the street from the duck feeding area and Rotary Nature Center, which is just east of the municipal boathouse on Lake Merritt along Bellevue Ave off Grand Ave. This morning I first saw it along the fence with the green slats. This is the part of the fence closet to the nature center. It flew into the large leafless trees inside the fence and above the green city vehicles. I lost it for half an hour and refound it in the same area from which it flew into the botanic garden to be lost again for about half an hour. When Bruce Mast arrived, he refound it inside the garden. It was just south of the Redwood Trees and then flew back to the area where the green slatted fence mentioned above meets the fence of the botanic garden. Bruce was attempting to get some photos when I left about 11:30 AM.

John Luther

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Re: Dusky-capped Flycatcher in Alameda County
Mon, 17 Dec 2001 15:36:04 PST
From: Mark Rauzon

Scott Lambert and I saw the flycatcher around 2 PM. It was coming out of the botanical area to forage in the bare trees in the lawn area along the fence. It seemed that the bird is a juvenile judging from the amount of rufous in the tail and wings (according to Sibley). It's a birdy area and took me about an hour to find it. It may stick around. Good luck.

Mark Rauzon

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Re: Dusky-capped Flycatcher in Alameda County
Mon, 17 Dec 2001 17:53:58 -0800 (PST)
From: John Harris

The Dusky-capped Flycatcher was still in the garden area at Lake Merritt this afternoon between 2:30 and 3:00 PM. As in the previous report, I noted rufous outer edges to the outermost tail feathers, though the center of the tail was dark.

John H. Harris
Biology Department
Mills College
Oakland, CA

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Re: Dusky-capped Flycatcher in Alameda County
Mon, 17 Dec 2001 18:12:07 -0800
From: Bruce Mast

I pointed my camera at the bird and pushed the button a number of times. We'll see what comes out. The light was dim, I was shooting without tripod or flash, and the bird was never closer than 20 feet, so I'm not expecting magazine cover art. I was shooting slide film so it will take me a few days to report on the results.

During the time I was at the botanical gardens (maybe an hour?), the bird appeared to be working a regular circuit, feeding pretty actively. It would move through the gardens, from west to east (if I have my compass directions right), down to the trees at the southeast corner of the gardens, then disappear and then pop up again a little later on the western side of the gardens. The bird seemed to have a distinct preference for the midstory deciduous trees. It was usually between 10 and 25 feet off the ground.

I noticed a couple of feral cats that appear to live at the botanical gardens. It may be time to approach the staff about making the area more bird-friendly.

Bruce Mast
Oakland, CA

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