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50+ on my 50th
Sun, 04 Jan 2004 07:15:12 -0800
From: Dennis Rashé

After spending the last four days in bed with the "flu," or whatever, I wasn't going to spend my 50th birthday inside. I decided to go out and get 50 different species on my birthday. I had to make two trips to do it, but I did.

Most of the species were found at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton. Along with Common Goldeneyes, Red-shouldered Hawk, and a Say's Phoebe as pleasant sightings, the most special was a lone Ross' goose in the middle of the grass picnic area, along with 100+ Canada Geese.

After leaving the park I went home to rest up a bit and total my sightings. To my dismay I had only 46. So, I gathered up my wife, who is also ill, and went for a drive up Mines Rd and quickly got my final four: a Yellow-billed Magpie, American Kestrel, Red-winged Blackbird, and a covey of California Quail.

On the journey back home I detoured and drove up Tesla Rd and cut across Cross Rd to Patterson Pass Rd where I spotted a Loggerhead Shrike and a Western Meadowlark to end my day.

I then went home, put on my jammies, wrapped up in blankets, and watched "Winged Migration" on DVD, which was a present from one of my daughters. All-in-all a nice way to celebrate my 50th.

Take care,
Dennis Rashé, Livermore

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Hooded Merganser at Berkeley Aquatic Park
Sun, 4 Jan 2004 15:02:12 -0800
From: Phila Rogers

Yesterday I saw the male Hooded Merganser at Berkeley Aquatic Park at the pond to the north of the road joining Hwy 80. The female may have been there too but I didn't see her. The bird did not have its crest raised but it is still a stunning bird. I initially identified the bird by what Sibley calls "two black spurs" just in front of the wing - to me the most distinguishing mark.

On this clear bright day, parking spaces were hard to come by because there were a number of parked trucks and cars with a single man behind the wheel, none of whom appeared to be bird watchers. Not a completely comfortable situation for a bird watcher alone.

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House Wren near Garin Regional Park, Hayward
Sun, 04 Jan 2004 15:18:57 -0800
From: Debbie Wong & Tadd Ottman

All,

Today (January 4) around 11:00 AM, we had the House Wren in our yard again. The last observed sighting was December 16. (We saw a House Wren in the month of November also.)

This House Wren may have come to our yard more often without our noticing. When it comes, it often shows up with a flock of White-crowned Sparrows and Golden-Crowned Sparrows. The sparrow flock comes to our yard multiple times per day. It would be interesting to see if this House Wren stays in the area throughout the winter.

We live near Garin Regional Park in Hayward.

Debbie and Tadd

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Odd Surf Scoter near Emeryville
Sun, 4 Jan 2004 18:03:41 -0800 (PST)
From: Peter Diegutis

Good Evening

I saw something interesting close off Emeryville Peninsula this weekend. It was a lone Surf Scoter - not remarkable in itself, but this one had 6 inches of shiny black wire sticking up out of its tail. I'm certain it was not a snag, and I learned this morning of a website dealing with sea duck ecological surveys that focus on Surf Scoters in particular. These studies involve surgical implantation of satellite radio telemetry devices. I assume that this bird was a "volunteer" in such a survey. Either that or its a remotely controlled duck-bot. We may never know.

Have a nice day.
Cheers
Peter

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Hayward Regional Shoreline
Sun, 4 Jan 2004 23:27:22 PST
From: Bob Richmond

Today at Hayward Regional Shoreline -

Good Birding
Bob

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RFI: Bald Eagle locations
Sun, 04 Jan 2004 23:56:25 -0800
From: Bob Hole

I've been asked several times in the last couple of weeks where Bald Eagles have been seen near central Contra Costa County.

I've been referring people to Lafayette Reservoir because I've seen that bird mentioned here - but is there a bird or birds at Lake Del Valle, or anywhere else around this winter? Many inquiring minds would like to know.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Bob
Robert B. Hole, Jr.
www.biologybase.com  

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