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Black-and-white Warbler at Lake Merritt, Oakland
Thu, 05 Feb 2004 05:47:53 -0800
From: Travis Hails

Yesterday Jeffrey Black and I went looking for the Black-and-white Warbler, the Black-throated Gray Warbler, and the Tufted Duck at Lake Merritt in Oakland.

We located the Black-and-white Warbler in the trees over and around the Purple Mushrooms, in a mixed flock about 9:15 AM, and had excellent views as it foraged on the roof of a building in Children's Fairyland.

We did not find the Black-throated Gray Warbler or the Tufted Duck, however.

There was a Red-breasted Sapsucker in the large oak immediately across the path (north) from the Purple Mushrooms.

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Gulls in North Richmond
Thu, 5 Feb 2004 12:02:26 -0800 (PST)
From: Bob Power

Hi all:

Once every few months I get the opportunity to stop by the ponds at Richmond Pkwy & Pittsburg Ave in North Richmond. The ponds have yet to yield anything too notable, but yesterday, I noticed (conservatively) 3,000 gulls to the west of the ponds on the landfill (refuse dump?) maybe a mile or so in the distance.

I haven't ever explored around there, and I didn't have time to yesterday, but I'm wondering if anyone knows the ins and outs of that area. The Thomas' Bros map shows a potential route by turning west on Parr Blvd and then wandering back (south) across San Pablo Creek, but is there a good spot to view this area? Or a special permission process?

The sheer quantity of gulls causes me to think rarer species would be attracted to this area.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Bob Power

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Re: Gulls in North Richmond
Thu, 5 Feb 2004 12:18:33 PST
From: Steve Glover

Hi all,

We have always known there to be huge numbers of gulls at the Richmond Dump, and in the past the dump people have been approached for access but with no success. It has been a long time, though, since anyone has tried, so if someone would like to give it a shot, then go ahead. As far as I know, though, there is no way to get much closer without permission.

The Richmond Sewage Ponds, though, do attract a lot of gulls in winter and I think the turnover is pretty high as birds come in to bathe and loaf and then fly back out again. You just have to stand along a very busy highway and withstand motorists and truckers yelling at you and honking their horns.  :-)

Steve Glover

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Peregrine Falcon at Arrowhead Marsh, Oakland
Fri, 06 Feb 2004 06:06:10 -0800
From: Tim Howe

Ever since a Peregrine Falcon sighting at Arrowhead Marsh (Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline, Oakland) was announced a few weeks ago, I've been trying to see same. Yesterday 5 February about 4:30 PM I saw one. Perched on top of the H-2 sign in the new parking lot was a large, beautiful Peregrine Falcon!


Tim Howe
Oakland, CA

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Hooded Mergansers at Hidden Lakes Park, Martinez
Sun, 8 Feb 104 16:26:56 PST
From: Patrick King

There are four Hooded Mergansers at Hidden Lakes Park, Morello Ave & Chilpancingo Pkwy in Martinez - one adult male, two adult female, and one first-spring male. They are in the smaller of the two lakes, the round one that is the most "hidden" and farthest to the east. The birds tend to be on the east side of this pond, coming in and out of thickets on the southeast side of the bank. Judi Sierra reported a pair of Hooded Mergansers on the west side of the park three months ago.

Also, Red-shouldered Hawks are regularly seen here this year at either end of the park.

Patrick King
Martinez / Berkeley

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Male Tufted Duck still near Lake Merritt, Oakland
Sun, 08 Feb 2004 18:54:45 -0800
From: Judi Sierra

I easily found the male Tufted Duck today at Laney College's Channel Park (south side of 7th St, south of Lake Merritt in Oakland) among Greater Scaup. The tuft is small. I probably wouldn't have seen it except the bird was preening itself and it popped out. The best part about this location is no scope needed for a close look.

Judi Sierra - Oakland

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Chipping Sparrows in Martinez
Mon, 09 Feb 2004 12:17:06 -0800
From: Denise Wight

Hi E. B. Birders,

I had the opportunity to briefly bird my old "patch," Hidden Lakes Park in Martinez on Saturday. At least 3 Chipping Sparrows were with White-crowned Sparrows and Golden Crowned Sparrows in a scrub oak next to the paved trail, between the eucalyptus grove and the dilapidated, closed bridge at the west end of the park.

I did not find Chipping Sparrows on the Contra Costa Christmas Bird Count this year, but I would guess they over-wintered here again this year as they have for the past few winters.

All the Best Birding,
Denise Wight
Moraga, CA

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Birdwatching in an El Sobrante yard
Mon, 09 Feb 2004 17:41:43 -0800
From: Steven Gnu

Interesting bird day around the yard in El Sobrante last Tuesday morning (3 February).

I have a large deck with a flat railing (2x4) and three feeders available. Two feeders have mix, and a third is thistle seed.

In addition, I sprinkle seed along the railing, near where a couple of trees are close to the deck. The birds happily perch in the tree, and hop down onto the railing to feed. There is also spill onto the deck, where the birds on the railing will "skritch" and spread the seed, and spill to the ground as well.

The morning finds Oregon Dark-eyed Juncos and House Finch crowding the feeders, along the railing, and on the deck. The finches squabble and fuss, coming and going on the six perches on one of the feeders. The juncos also swarm, with an occasional pair taking chase off into the trees.

There are several Chestnut-backed Chickadees also flitting back and forth, picking out their choice morsels.

Two Red-breasted Nuthatches also are going back and forth, with seed flying as they dig vigorously for the sunflower seeds they prefer.

Three California Towhees come and go. They will hop down onto the railing and greedily peck seed. Often they will gulp a few seeds quickly, then flick off back into the trees and brush around the yard.

"Ka Ka Ka Ka" yells the Steller's Jay. One will swoop down into the tree, then hop right onto the railing, sending all the other birds in all directions. Except for a lone Mourning Dove, calmly pecking and pecking and pecking (and pecking).

Several White-crowned Sparrows, and a couple of Golden-crowned Sparrows also joined in the general fun.

The thistle feeder attracted at least five Lesser Goldfinches.

In the front yard in the afternoon, a couple of Black Phoebes would flit down above the lawn, hover, then flit back to a perch in the tree.

The most dramatic moment was looking up, and seeing what appeared to be a juvenile Cooper's Hawk perched in the plum tree in the afternoon. After a few minutes, it took off, flying somewhat erratically, up into the 60-foot pines that crowd around in the neighbor's yards.


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Predation in the Oakland Hills
Mon, 09 Feb 2004 21:03:54 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

I am forwarding this message to the list for Mark Rauzon:

Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 17:00:59 PST
Subject: predation

Sad day here. Our "pet" Chukar that suddenly appeared on our street and adopted us in October was nabbed by a Great Horned Owl today off the neighbors' roof. Two nights ago an owl showed up in the redwood hooting a couple of times. We tried to scare it off by turning on the porch lights. It stopped calling. Yesterday the Chukar was actively calling in predawn, looking for a mate no doubt, as this behavior was increasing, while evidently the owl studied his behavior patterns. This 5: 30 AM the briefest commotion was heard and then no more morning Chukar calls, no feeder visits.

Last Wednesday I was hiking near Chabot Space & Science Center because a friend reported he heard the Pileated Woodpecker again. I saw or really half-saw a streak of an intercepted flight. As I ran to a small rise, I saw a Peregrine Falcon shaking out its feathers as it looped out of its stoop with its songbird prey.

good birding -
Mark J. Rauzon
Oakland, CA

Posted to EBB by Larry Tunstall

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