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Townsend's Solitaire in Moraga
Mon, 17 Feb 2003 16:27:07 -0800
From: Nat Weber

Hello EBB birders

I saw the Townsend's Solitaire this afternoon at 4:15 PM. I did not see it all this week till now. It was perched at the top of an evergreen on Rheem Blvd in Moraga. It was calling, not singing. I've scouted the area for juniper berries and found many sources.

Nat Weber
Moraga, CA

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Bald Eagle in Lafayette
Tue, 18 Feb 2003 11:21:09 -0800
From: Tim Daly

On Saturday morning we stopped in at Lafayette Reservoir and had the good fortune to find the Bald Eagle sitting on his favorite roost in the northeast corner of the lake. We watched him for more than an hour from around 11 AM to 12 noon. Link to photos:

http://www.strandnet.com/birds/baldy.html

By the time we walked around to get a closer look, the air temperature had warmed up and he took off and circled very high above the lake, then headed off in the direction of the San Pablo and Briones Reservoirs. One of the East Bay Municipal Utility District staff said that two Bald Eagles have been spotted together recently at San Pablo Reservoir.

One of the locals we talked to said she thought that the Bald Eagle was seldom seen after the end of February.

tim

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César Chávez Park, Berkeley
Wed, 19 Feb 2003 11:58:15 -0800
From: Tom Condit

I went down to César Chávez Park at the Berkeley Marina on Tuesday to look for the Burrowing Owls. I didn't see them, but I did see:

The Savannah Sparrows were busily proclaiming that it's Spring as far as they're concerned. A great chance to familiarize yourself with this song - in fact you won't have any choice if you go down there now.

One of the Red-tailed Hawks was involved in two peculiar confrontations. First, three American Crows perched themselves in a triangle around nothing in particular I could discern (certainly no site for a nest) and attacked the hawk whenever it came near their little territory. A while later, the same Red-tail went flying over the meadow, where a male Northern Harrier stationed itself above and followed its movements. Both of these were absolutely inexplicable to an outside observer.

Tom Condit

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Spring in Lafayette
Wed, 19 Feb 2003 14:01:45 -0800
From: Don Lewis

This morning on my Lafayette deck I saw my first Allen's Hummingbird (male) of the year and my first White-throated Sparrow of the year. The latter was resident in or near my yard last year from January 1 to March 20 (at least two individuals at separate times), and appeared for ten days last November. On the way north already?

My pair of Bewick's Wrens were carrying sticks starting February 14 and yesterday a pair of Oak Titmice were carrying gobs of moss into a pine tree. A flock of a dozen Cedar Waxwings is careening around and there are American Robins everywhere (although not like last year!).

Isn't it a nice time of year, not even counting the daffodils and fruit trees?

Don Lewis
Lafayette, CA

PS. Actually, only one titmouse was carrying moss. Its mate was watching closely and commenting continuously.

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Re: Burrowing Owls at Berkeley Marina
Wed, 19 Feb 2003 14:41:19 -0800
From: Wen Hsu

I followed the directions provided by Jane Dang, and saw all three Burrowing Owls at the northeastern corner of the park around 4 PM on Monday February 17. They were on the rocks, fairly close to the trail. A lot of people without binoculars saw them, and a few kids walked up to one owl that was just steps away from the paved path. It was alert, but never flew away.

Wen Hsu
Berkeley

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Directions to César Chávez Park
Wed, 19 Feb 2003 15:52:58 -0800
From: Wen Hsu

I have been asked how to get to César Chávez Park at the Berkeley Marina. It's also called Berkeley Meadow by some birders who post to the list. [But see next message.] From Hwy 80 South, take the Univeristy Ave exit, and drive toward Berkeley Marina (west). [But from Hwy 80 North, you will need to take the Powell St exit, go under the freeway and get on the frontage road by the bay, and drive north to University Ave, then turn left on University.] The park is to the north of the Berkeley Marina. From University, turn right at a stop sign before reaching the Marina [onto Marina Blvd] and follow the sign to the park.

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Berkeley Meadow and César Chávez Park
Wed, 19 Feb 2003 16:46:49 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

César Chávez Park and the Berkeley Meadow are not actually the same places, so I thought I'd better correct the record, before people get too confused.

The Berkeley Meadow is the undeveloped area (former landfill) just west of Hwy 80, north of University Ave, and east of Marina Blvd. Most of this area is to be retained as natural habitat in the new Eastshore State Park, and it is rich in birdlife.

César Chávez Park is the peninsula of former landfill north of Spinnaker Way. Much of it is now high lawn, but full of Savannah Sparrows.

Other names: The North Basin is the area of water between César Chávez Park and the freeway, and north of the Berkeley Meadow. The South Basin is a name I've never heard used, but it is on old maps as the name of the partially enclosed water area south of University Ave.

The little land area near the Seabreeze Market (University Ave & Frontage Rd) has been used for soil products storage for years, but probably will have a designed function and a name when the Eastshore Park is finished. Some plans call for redirecting Strawberry Creek to a new, more natural mouth here, but others say those plans are not workable.

Berkeley Marina proper of course is the enclosed area of piers and docks, but the name also is applied to the entire landfill peninsula west of the freeway. South of University Ave near the Berkeley Pier (also called the Municipal Pier, Fishing Pier, or old Ferry Pier) is the Shorebird Nature Center and the surrounding Shorebird Park, as well as the Adventure Playground.

The aerial photo map at

http://www.berkeleyyc.org/BYC-MarinaMap.html
shows most of these features, but doesn't name the Berkeley Meadow or the basins.

Good birding and exploring, Larry

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Re: Berkeley Meadow and César Chávez Park
Wed, 19 Feb 2003 17:21:06 -0800 (PST)
From: Peter Rauch

More of the tangle of birding place names:

To the east of North Basin is "North Basin Strip." The plans of the city of Berkeley Waterfront Commission are still aggressively pushing for heavy boating activity in the North Basin, regardless of that site's value as wintering waterbird habitat and as general bird habitat for other species throughout the year.

"The little land area near the Seabreeze Market (University Ave & Frontage Rd)" would be the "Brickyard." And, on the south/southeast of the Brickyard proper is "Brickyard Cove," a tidal mudflat that is to be preserved for its habitat values.

There is an expectation that the outfall of Strawberry Creek will be enhanced for its tidal-mudflat, environmental values.

Also, for the outfall of Schoolhouse Creek, at the southeast corner of North Basin, there is a plan to "daylight" the mouth of that creek and to enhance the environmental values there.

Peter

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