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White-tailed Kites nesting in Berkeley
Sun, 02 Feb 2003 11:01:16 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

I am forwarding this message to EBB for Linda Brownstein.

Sun, 2 Feb 2003 10:27:19 -0800

The kites that I contacted you about for the past two years returned yesterday for their third season of nesting. The year before last they successfully raised two nestlings and last year they successfully raised three nestlings. This morning my husband and I observed two kites, one other hawk, and several crows fighting for territory in the sky near the acacias.

In December the Berkeley Redevelopment Agency removed three huge eucalyptus trees and all the wild underbrush from a vacant lot just across the street. Although the kites built their nest in the acacia trees, they frequently perched in the eucalyptus trees. One very tall evergreen tree was left in the lot and yesterday a kite was observed perching in that evergreen, presumably checking out the acacias before moving in to build their nest.

Prior to the removal of the eucalyptus trees, the Redevelopment Agency did some preliminary trimming of the acacia trees and again stated their intent to remove them. Since it is not always possible to know what they are planning or when, I hope you can let everyone you know know that the kites have returned in case they would like to see them. Any assistance that can be given to prevent the removal of the acacia trees would be greatly appreciated.

Linda Brownstein
1600 block of Fifth Street

Posted to EBB by Larry Tunstall

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Long-tailed Duck at Martinez Regional Shoreline
Sun, 2 Feb 2003 12:05:03 PST
From: Denise Wight

Hello E. B. Birders,

There is a male Long-tailed Duck at the Martinez Regional Shoreline. He is just to the west of the bridges area with scaup and Surf Scoters. Lovely male, but I didn't see a long tail.

Denise Wight
Martinez, CA

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Bird driving
Mon, 03 Feb 2003 13:59:55 -0800
From: Beth Lucas

While zipping along Hwy 680 south near the intersection of Hwys 680 & 4, I spied a White-tailed Kite mobbing a Red-tailed Hawk over Walnut Creek (the actual creek not the city) ... I thought it was pretty exciting ... not sure how the hawk felt....

I need one of those "Caution: Bird Watcher" bumperstickers....


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Slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco in El Cerrito
Mon, 3 Feb 2003 16:48:06 -0800
From: Russ Wilson


Today was the second time within the past 10 days that I observed a slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco feeding on our patio along with about half a dozen Oregon Dark-eyed Juncos. They were enjoying the scraps that other birds had dropped from the suet feeder. Red-breasted Nuthatches and a pair of Downy Woodpeckers are also frequent visitors at the suet snack bar and, of course, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Steller's Jays, Western Scrub-Jays, California Towhees and Northern Mockingbirds. But the new kid on the block is the slate-colored junco.

Russ Wilson
El Cerrito

Subject Index

Mystery duck in Moraga
Mon, 3 Feb 2003 17:22:20 -0800
From: Ray Witbeck

Dear Birders,

This is my first time posting an inquiry - so go easy on me.

For the past two days I have noticed a single female duck in the ponds at Moraga Country Club which at first glance appears to be a Ring-necked Duck. I think it most likely is a Ring-necked Duck but it shares some peculiar features with a female Tufted Duck, namely, no eye-ring whatsoever and a completely uniform dark brown head. As there are other Ring-necked Ducks on the pond - both male and female - it is easy to compare. It also has no noticeable white vertical "spur" as Sibley calls it between the breast and the wing - not even faint or pale. As the bird is at extremely close range, I think we got a good look.

The pattern of the wings to the sides along the back matches the Ring-necked better than the Tufted as Sibley draws it. The bird also does have quite noticeable white feathers at the base of the bill and are clearly delineated from the rest of the face. Most tell-tale is no "tuft" no matter how hard we tried to see one.

The bird was swimming and diving with the Mallards (who were following the bird and dabbling) and not with the other Ring-necked Ducks.

I am sure that there is someone who can shed some light on this mystery. As the bird has been there the past two days perhaps someone else can get a good look at it. Of course, we felt that if we had to decide, it would be a Ring-necked, but we can always keep our hopes up! (e.g. Sibley does mention and shows a hybrid Scaup X Tufted Duck)

Other birds seen on the pond included Bufflehead, 1 female Hooded Merganser (saw 3 males yesterday!), Mallards, American Coot, and a Green Heron trying to blend in with the reeds.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Ray Witbeck
Orinda, CA

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Greater White-fronted Geese and Barrow's Goldeneyes
Tue, 04 Feb 2003 04:42:17 +0000
From: Bob Power

Hello all:

What a gorgeous day! I was able to bird around Hayward Regional Shoreline today where there were 6 Greater White-fronted Geese. Three were in the raised field southwest of the parking lot, and 3 were in the raised field northwest of the parking lot [presumably the lot at the end of W Winton Ave]. There certainly is the possibility that the first three moved, but they all seemed pretty sedentary.

At one point I estimated 1,000 Marbled Godwits on the wing. I don't think I spooked them, but couldn't find a Peregrine Falcon or other culprit.

I also had the chance to swing by Lake Merritt's Channel Park in Oakland, between 10th St and 12th St just north of 2nd Ave and just west of the main lake. I went to look for the Barrow's Goldeneye reported there and found 13 male and 2 female Barrow's along with many male and female Common Goldeneyes. They seem to be attracted to whatever it is the outlet flow is doing to the channel there.

Good Birding,
Bob Power
Oakland, Alameda County, CA.

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