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Lake Merritt, Oakland
Sun, 2 Mar 2003 09:46:18 -0800
From: Bruce Mast

At Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland yesterday morning, the female Tufted Duck was still present, along with the Cattle Egret. About 15 Double-crested Cormorants have started occupying nests, Black-crowned Night-Herons were carrying nesting material, and four Great Blue Herons were showing a lot of interest in a dead pine tree where a pair nested last year.

Bruce Mast

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RFI: Goldeneyes in Martinez
Sun, 02 Mar 2003 18:35:10 -0800
From: Douglas Vaughan

I was at the Martinez Regional Shoreline this afternoon (an ebbing high tide), hoping to show a friend the Barrow's Goldeneyes that I've seen beyond the "schooner." However, no goldeneyes of either ilk were to be seen there. Does anybody know something of these birds' movements? Are they predictable at all?

Doug Vaughan

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Re: Indigo Bunting in Lafayette yard
Sun, 2 Mar 2003 22:16:55 -0800
From: Maury Stern

The Indigo Bunting returned briefly on Friday at 5 PM and today at 4:45 PM. He was not seen on Saturday the first of March.

Maury Stern, Lafayette

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Re: Goldeneyes in Martinez
Sun, 2 Mar 2003 22:40:47 -0800
From: Kirk Swenson

The Barrow's Goldeneyes in the Carquinez Strait, just west of Martinez, have been quite consistent for the past three winters. They show up at the end of November or beginning of December and their numbers reach their peak (usually about 135 birds) by mid-December. By the beginning of January their numbers are already decreasing, and they are essentially gone by mid-January with occasional stragglers into late-January. I haven't seen them for over a month, and I go by there on the train several times a week. The "schooner" goldeneyes may be on the same schedule.

Kirk Swenson
Davis, CA

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Moraga Country Club
Tue, 04 Mar 2003 13:24:56 -0800
From: Kitty O'Neil

I watched the birds at the Moraga Country Club pond while eating my lunch today. The Green Heron is very visible and active. Fun to watch. Also saw a female Hooded Merganser (didn't see any males but there are a couple of other ponds nearby). Other species: Mallards, Ring-necked Ducks, American Coots, a Bufflehead, and Killdeer. Plus a pair of noisy, frisky Western Bluebirds which came right up to my window in their chaotic display. Startled me!

Saw a Great Horned Owl at Briones Overlook off Bear Creek Rd by Briones Reservoir yesterday (EBMUD Trail Permit required).


Kitty O'Neil
Orinda, CA

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Great Egret in Berkeley yard
Thu, 06 Mar 2003 16:17:01 -0800
From: Judith Dunham

Hi EB Birders,

I sauntered out into our backyard in Berkeley this afternoon. We have a small pond, about four feet by six feet, which has a modest waterfall with pools where small birds drink and bathe. Standing on a large tuft of grass by one side of the pond was a Great Egret. The bird has been coming to the pond off and on for the last week or so, but this is the first time that I got close to it, within about four feet - though unwittingly. It was hard to tell who was more surprised - me or the marvelous creature whose wings made the loveliest sound as it lifted into the air. The pond is three feet or so at its deepest level, where the goldfish are seeking refuge. The Great Egret is clearly a large bird when observed at a distance, but up close, it is indeed great.

According to my journal of backyard birds, a Great Egret first came to the pond in March 1997, when it ate two fish, then moved on. A Great Egret has been seen every year at about this time, and my husband swears it is the same bird. Could this be possible?

Judith Dunham

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Great Egret lifespan and Orange-crowned Warblers in Tilden
Thu, 06 Mar 2003 17:32:45 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

Judith asked if it is possible that the same Great Egret has visited their yard for seven years. From records of banded birds, the greatest lifespan confirmed for a Great Egret is 22 years, 10 months. See

On Alan Kaplan's birdwalk at Tilden Regional Park Nature Area (Berkeley Hills) this morning, we heard Orange-crowned Warblers singing - the first he has heard this year. Among the other birds seen and/or heard were Varied Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Townsend's Warbler, and Fox Sparrow. Also Selasphorus hummingbirds.

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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