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More Barn Swallows
Mon, 24 Dec 2001 17:55:14 PST
From: Denise Wight

Hi EB Birders,

I saw a pair of Barn Swallows over the marsh at Point Edith in Martinez today at about 3:00 PM. I don't recall seeing them in prior years at all in late December. Small et al. (California Birds, their status and distribution, page 173) list them as very rare visitors in the Sacramento Valley from December to February, but this is at least the third sighting I've heard of in the last 2 week. Anyone else seeing them?

There was also a Peregrine Falcon harassing birds at Point Edith. About 35 Tree Swallows, and at least 5 White-throated Swifts were flying over McNabney Marsh [former Shell Marsh, just east of Martinez].

Denise Wight
Martinez, CA

Editor's Note: Point Edith is in the marshy area east of Martinez, not accessible by public road.

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Yard birds in Berkeley
Tue, 25 Dec 2001 12:41:14 PST
From: Helen Green

I was surprised to see, in the yard on Yolo St in Berkeley, a Lincoln's Sparrow yesterday, December 24th, in time for Feederwatch. I have only 4 other records of this bird, all in early October. The White-throated Sparrow is still hanging around. Also unusual were 2 Purple Finches. These used to be regular in winter around here but not for the last 10 years.


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Dusky-capped Flycatcher at Lake Merritt
Tue, 25 Dec 2001 16:55:43 -0800
From: Johan Langewis

Sorry, a little slow getting this message out. I saw the Dusky-capped Flycatcher yesterday, December 24, at about 10:35 AM, in the trees by the cyclone fence with the green slats across the street from the Nature Center at Lake Merritt in Oakland. The flycatcher was fairly active, not sitting still very long. After about 5 minutes it flew off in the direction of Grand Ave. This was my third attempt at finding this bird, the other times during lunch on two other days, about one hour each time. On the 24th I was fortunate, and it took about 5 minutes to find it. Third time's the charm, I guess. The Cattle Egret was also seen, adjacent to the big cage near the Nature Center. Another birder I ran into last week predicted that the flycatcher would spend the winter there at the Botanical Gardens. It seems to be becoming an accurate prediction. Happy hunting,

Johan Langewis

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Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Sun, 30 Dec 2001 15:40:37 -0800 (PST)
From: Vijay Ramachandran

Today (December 30), at around 11 AM, I was able to find the Dusky-capped Flycatcher, in the vicinity of the bonsai garden across from the nature center at Lake Merritt in Oakland. It was in trees near the wire fence, foraging briefly before flying inside the gardens.

good birding,

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Osprey and Bald Eagle at Lafayette Reservoir
Mon, 31 Dec 2001 13:33:07 -0800
From: Don Lewis

This morning there was an Osprey at the far end of Lafayette Reservoir and a Bald Eagle in its old place in a bare tree on a ridge to the southeast.

Don Lewis
Lafayette, CA

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Varied Thrush in Canyon
Mon, 31 Dec 2001 15:07:53 -0800
From: Win Kryda

A Varied Thrush was seen in Canyon (Contra Costa County) on Sunday 23 December at 7:30 AM flying across the road. When I took Pinehurst Rd down from Skyline Blvd through Canyon to Moraga as I passed through the darkest and dampest areas near the Post Office one flew across the road.  :)  Lovely sight.

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Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline
Mon, 31 Dec 2001 19:58:07 -0800
From: Sheila Junge

Late this afternoon I took advantage of the break in the rain to get in a little year-end birding at Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline in Oakland.

My first stop was at Damon Slough (at the end of Edgewater Dr). The seasonal pond is once again full of water. Highlights were 2 male Blue-winged Teal and a baker's dozen of glowing male Cinnamon Teal in Damon Slough. 15 Black Turnstones flew in. I got there around 3:30 PM - the mudflats were still a bit covered. The area was full of ducks, shorebirds, and a few grebes.

I then went to Arrowhead Marsh. The entrance road is still closed and looks like it will continue to be closed for quite a while. I parked on Pardee Ln - the street parking is a bit ambiguous here, so parked in the lot of one of the office buildings - and walked in from there. A Peregrine Falcon was perched on a log in Mitigation Marsh. Highlights were numerous Common Goldeneyes, Bufflehead, Green-winged Teal, and 4 (Eared, Horned, Pied-billed and Western) out of 5 of the expected grebe species. Black Turnstones were seen here also. Several Clapper Rails were heard but not seen. Mudflats were fully exposed between the island and the path and around the boardwalk. It was not nearly a birdy here as it had been at Damon Slough.

Good birding!
Sheila Junge
Hayward, CA

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