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Mystery "peep" in San Leandro
Mon, 12 Jan 2004 19:28:14 PST
From: Gail DeLalla

Foraging alone among the rocks at the low tide line this morning at San Leandro was a small sandpiper unfamiliar to me. It was approximately 6 or 7 inches with bright orange legs and feet. The lore, chin, breast and belly were white with the exception of a dusky central spot on the belly. The back was a mix of brown, and black and looked fresh rather than worn. Eye was black.

My best guess is it's either a rarity not in a North American field guide or a Least Sandpiper with mixed-up genes. (Note: it was too small to be a Spotted Sandpiper.)

If anyone wants to search for it:
Take Hwy 880 to Marina Blvd West. Go west and road curves south toward Monarch Bay. Continue to last parking lot on right by traffic circle at end of road. Park and walk west onto the peninsula. Follow the trail north and when it curves toward the west opposite the farther north area with the restaurants and piers, look down along the rocks. The bird was right at the water line and was not visible from the paved trail.

D. Gail DeLalla

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Re: Early Selasphorus hummingbird arrivals
Mon, 12 Jan 2004 19:49:49 -0800
From: Les Chibana

I thought that this report on the Monterey list would be applicable to the Allen's Hummingbird discussion.

Les Chibana, Palo Alto

Date: Mon Jan 12, 2004 1:55:00 PM US/Pacific
Subject: Allen's Hummingbirds return to La Selva

Two displaying male Allen's Hummingbirds were in the drainage that flows along the northern margin of the town of La Selva this morning. The long term average for first reported arrivals in Santa Cruz County is Janurary 19 11 days (n = 47 years), but the average for the most recent 15 years is January 9 5 days. Anyway, I loved watching them buzzing around.

David L. Suddjian
Capitola, CA
Santa Cruz Bird Club Bird Records Keeper
Santa Cruz Bird Club website: www.santacruzbirdclub.org

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Some thoughts on Allen's Hummingbirds
Mon, 12 Jan 2004 20:05:35 -0800 (GMT-08:00)
From: Rusty Scalf

Per Allen's Hummingbirds, their arrival dates and possible "overwintering" (for this species, overwintering means September through December), I have a couple of questions:

I have heard that one can actually identify these birds at window feeders, especially feeders where the bird must hover to feed, although I have never done so myself. The National Geographic guide shows the differences in their outer tail feathers. Feeding birds do occasionally fan their tails. As I have only Anna's Hummingbirds at my feeder :( I can't test this out. Has anyone on this list tried distinguish Allen's/Rufous Hummingbirds at window feeders using the outer tail feathers? Do you consider this to be reasonably easy? Challenging? Impossible?

And a second question: I imagine that the early arrival dates of Allen's Hummingbird must correspond to flowering times of plant species native to the coast where they occur. Could it be that selective pressure against early arrivals has been removed by blue gum eucalyptus and other exotics? Eucalyptus produce prodigious quantities of nectar (they are bird pollinated in Australia). Could it be that the reward of arriving early (first pick of territories) no longer carries the liability of jumping the gun on nectar sources?

Any thoughts appreciated.

Hummingbird tail photos at the bottom of this page:

http://birds.cornell.edu/crows/rufous_hummingbird.htm

Rusty Scalf

p.s. I predict that in 10,000 years there will be a descendant of Yellow-rumped Warbler with a long decurved bill. It will be called the Yellow-rumped Honeycreeper. Any bets?

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