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Byron and Brentwood, also Black-chinned Hummingbird in Martinez
Sun, 7 Jul 2002 19:06:15 PDT
From: Denise Wight

Hi E.B. Birders,

This morning Dorthy Furseth and I birded around Byron and Brentwood. Highlights included a flock of Horned Larks at the small stock pond just southeast of the intersection of Marsh Creek Rd & Camino Diablo. I counted at least 25 juveniles in this flock, none of which were being attended to by nearby adults, though some of the young birds were tagging along pretty closely. This pond is nearly dry, but still has areas lush green. We also saw a female Common Goldeneye at Clifton Count Forebay. Young Burrowing Owls were seen near the forebay, and 24 Least Sandpipers were at the Brentwood sewer ponds.

Also, there is an immature Black-chinned Hummingbird which has been visiting my feeder since June 29th. This is only the second Black-chinned Hummingbird I've seen at my feeder in the 18 years I've lived in Martinez.

All the Best Birding,
Denise Wight
Martinez, CA

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Albany and Berkeley waterfronts
Tue, 9 Jul 2002 20:51:44 PDT
From: Brian Fitch

Today at Albany, the summer camp birders had a 4-tern day as a single Elegant Tern joined the Caspian, Forster's, and Least Terns. They were above the pilings on the north side of the Albany Waterfront Park [otherwise known as Albany Bulb and Plateau], fishing the incoming tide.

No unusual sightings yet this summer, unlike last year, with the exception of a Common Myna flying eastward from the Berkeley Marina to the trees at the Seabreeze Market. I thought I was in Hawai'i for a moment. We've also seen American White Pelicans on almost every visit to the waterfront (four of five visits), including 40 in one flock on June 25th. Each sighting has been of flocks flying southward. There was a Green Heron at the marina on June 20.

Up in Tilden, Pygmy Nuthatches are now regular in the pines all around Vollmer Peak, whereas just a few years ago, they were a rarity there.

Warning note: Off-leash dogs and bellicose owners have become quite a problem at Albany waterfront - they especially seem to hate seeing children playing happily or studying nature. I found the park to be much safer when the homeless had the run of the place - at least they were sociable beings.

Brian Fitch

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Least Tern breeding colony at Alameda
Sat, 13 Jul 2002 08:51:03 PDT
From: Mark Rauzon

This is an update of the Least Tern colony at the former Alameda Naval Air Station, forwarded by Mark Rauzon.

The terns are winding things up

We conducted the last Type 1 survey this week. It resulted in one new nest (#325) which we believe will be the last one of the season. This one nest is the only nest with eggs and it doesn't appear to be attended so we might have all the chicks for the season. Some predation this past week resulted in the loss of several clutches, though there is a good chance these late nests would have failed because the colony is approaching their leaving date. After the colony leaves, stragglers lose their defense against predators. We have had good luck this week keeping the avian predators out of the colony, therefore increasing the number of fledglings. We had a total of 434 chicks known to have hatched with an additional 66 eggs with unknown fate, most of which were hatched chicks that we missed. Our highest count of fledglings seen has been 104, but that isn't the number of fledglings. That'll be calculated in the next few weeks. This week most of the terns have moved to a site next to the Bay where some fledglings are being fed and some have started foraging on their own. A small handful of parents are returning to the colony to feed the remaining chicks. Only a few more chicks left but they haven't been forgotten.

Rachel Hurt
Wildlife Biologist
San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex

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Mike's Northern California wish list - day 1
Sat, 13 Jul 2002 22:43:31 -0700
From: Darrell Lee

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions and tips to help Mike find life birds during his visit to Northern California. There were too many of you to thank individually, but all of your contributions were extremely useful, and Mike and I thank you all. Our week-long birding adventure has begun.

My friend Mike arrived about noon in San Jose. We birded Sunol Regional Wilderness for an hour and got him 4 of his lifers. They were California Towhee, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and Warbling Vireo. The biggest disappointment was not seeing Yellow-billed Magpie. We also saw a family or families of Wild Turkeys with poults of varying sizes, too.

Then we went up to Livermore and drove Mines Rd most of the remainder of the afternoon. We planned to drive to the intersection of San Antonio and Del Puerto Rds, but got the target bird, Lawrence's Goldfinch, earlier. Mike also added Oak Titmouse and California Quail to his life list on Mines Rd. I pointed out Wrentit calls at a chaparral area, and thought we had a California Thrasher there for a while, but it turned out to be a California Towhee. Mike wouldn't count a "heard only" bird, so he didn't add the Wrentit. On the way back, just outside Livermore, he added his life Yellow-billed Magpie. Birding in the middle of the day, we hit the midday doldrums, but still tallied about 45 species. In addition, we also saw a coyote and four blacktail deer. Best non-lifers were 10 Great-tailed Grackles at the Shell Oil Spill Mitigation Site [McNabney Marsh] in Martinez, southeast of the Marina Vista exit off Hwy 680.

Darrell Lee
Alameda, CA

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