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Difficult to find Dusky-capped Flycatcher at Lake Merritt
Sat, 22 Dec 2001 06:31:23 -0800
From: Mike Feighner

East Bay Birders:

Yesterday I spent nearly 3 hours looking for the Dusky-capped Flycatcher in the Lakeside Botanical Garden near the duck-feeding area at the north end of Lake Merritt (Oakland, Alameda County). I repeatedly checked and re-checked all areas: area fenced in with the green fence, bonsai garden, area south of the redwoods, composting area, etc. At 12 noon Florence Bennett saw the Dusky-capped Flycatcher very briefly in the bare tree where the green fence meets the Lakeside Botanical Garden fence. Then at 1:13 PM I found the Dusky-capped Flycatcher in the nearly dead conifers above the compost piles. It was very easy to view for a long duration of time.

The Cattle Egret was a much easier find ... took no time at all.

Mike Feighner, Livermore, CA, Alameda County

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Location of Main Lawn at San Pablo Reservoir
Sat, 22 Dec 2001 08:38:28 -0800
From: Pat Matthews

Yesterday I wrote about a Greater White-fronted Goose on the Main Lawn at San Pablo Reservoir. Larry Tunstall wrote:

I'm just curious. When you talk about the "Main Lawn," are you referring to something at the north or the south end of the reservoir, or somewhere in between?

I'm sure that there are many EBB subscribers who, like myself, have never explored the reservoir, so we know only its general position on the map. It would be good in future to give a little more specific description of location, especially since maps of the reservoir and surrounding area are not routinely distributed at many locations (like the EBRPD maps, for example).

Sorry about the cryptic description. I guess I'm too used to the Ranger "shorthand."

San Pablo Reservoir is stretched out to the east of San Pablo Dam Rd between El Sobrante and Orinda. The Main entrance is closer to El Sobrante, and that's where the boat rental facilities are plus the concession and tackle shop and the Main Lawn. The one long canyon that runs to the east is called Scow Canyon and is opposite the Main area. The Boat Launch entrance is closer to Orinda and ends at the launch ramp, which is opposite the Sather Canyon hillside. This part of the res is more wind-sheltered and, because this is the upstream end where San Pablo Creek widens to create the res, the shores are gentler with a lot more mud flats. Plus people are not allowed shore access south of the launch area, so our resident waterfowl nest on the flats in relative peace.

For a good general map of the surrounding areas that has topo plus shaded relief, check out the Olmsted Brothers "Rambler's Guides." There is one for Marin, one for the Berkeley/Oakland-hills-to-Lafayette-to-Hwy-24 area called the "Northern Section," and another that covers from Hwy 24 to Castro Valley, called the "Central Section." His original intention was to create another "Southern" map that extended toward San Jose, but it has never appeared. Any decent bookstore should have them. REI does, plus other outdoors stores of its ilk.

Hope this helps some.

Ranger Pat
San Pablo Reservoir
7301 San Pablo Dam Road
El Sobrante, CA 94803

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Dusky-capped Flycatcher calls
Sat, 22 Dec 2001 16:59:09 PST
From: Brian Fitch

On Friday, around 1:45, Rio Wight and I found the Dusky-capped Flycatcher by its consistent calls. I wouldn't have added to all the other postings, but I've heard no mention before of the bird being audible. It was just inside the Botanic Garden's boathouse-side entrance, to the right in some birch-like trees. After several minutes of calling and flycatching, it flew to the southeast, deeper into the garden.

On Wednesday morning, I stopped briefly at the Albany waterfront. A Merlin flew in from the north, swept over the 'plateau' and off over Golden Gate Fields (racetrack), making a point to harass every lightpole-perched gull anywhere near its path.

Brian Fitch

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Dusky-capped Flycatcher at Lake Merritt
Sun, 23 Dec 2001 23:09:48 PST
From: Steve Glover

Hello all,

Today I went and saw the Dusky-capped Flycatcher at the Botanical Gardens at Lake Merritt, Oakland. It took me about 45 minutes to find the bird, and once I did it roamed from one end of the place to the other. Like Brian, I heard the bird call several times but not the typical loud, distinctive call I am used to but rather a whispered version.

Good luck,
Steve Glover

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Eastern Contra Costa County Christmas Bird Count
Sun, 23 Dec 2001 23:18:00 PST
From: Steve Glover

Hello all,

On Saturday we conducted the second Eastern Contra Costa County CBC. The weather, as you may have noticed, was miserable. Cold, windy and raining most of the day. The preliminary count was just 128, down fifteen species from last year. The highlights were a Barn Swallow at Marsh Creek Reservoir found by Don Lewis's group (perhaps only the second in winter for the county) and an immature Brown Pelican at Los Vaqueros Reservoir found by David Wimpfheimer and his wife. A great bird inland! Other interesting things included 3 Barrow's Goldeneyes, 3 Black Rails at Ironhouse Sanitary District in Oakley, and over 300 Sandhill Cranes at Holland Tract (most flying south late in the afternoon, probably a new county high).

Kudos to Jimm Edgar and Maury Stern for putting together another great count and to the teams of birders who slogged through the mud and rain at Los Vaqueros and Round Valley!

Good birding,
Steve Glover

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