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West Nile Virus and corvid roosts
Fri, 5 Mar 2004 12:51:26 PST
From: Phil Gordon

Hello EBB'ers,

The Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District needs to know locations of large assemblages of American Crows and/or Common Ravens. They are participating in a statewide program to track the spread of West Nile Virus. Dying corvids can be one of the earliest signs of the disease, and monitoring flocks or roosts makes good sense. Please contact William (see below), so he can create a map of corvid roosting in Alameda County. Thomas Brothers map coordinates would be a good way to start collecting the data.

If you find a dead corvid (or sparrow, or raptor) please call the California Department of Health Services "Dead Bird Hotline" phone number: 877.WNV.BIRD (or 877.968.2473).

They will walk you through a series of questions to see if the bird is suitable for testing. Basically, they want a bird that has been dead less than 24 to 48 hours, is not decomposing, and does not have maggots or ants on it. They will then contact Mosquito Abatement, who will collect the specimen for lab testing.

William (info below) would also appreciate a "heads-up" on any bird that is collected for testing. He thanks you in advance!

Also, reduction of opportunities (standing water locations) for breeding mosquitoes is something we can all practice. More information on this is found at the web site below (includes links to WNV status).

William Hamersky
Environmental Specialist
Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District
Telephone: 510.783.7744

Phil E. Gordon
Hayward, Alameda County

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Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow refound at Arrowhead Marsh, Oakland
Fri, 05 Mar 2004 13:25:07 -0800
From: Kay Loughman

This morning at Arrowhead Marsh (in Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline, Oakland), the Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow was refound by Bob Battagin at 11 AM, in the same area where it has been seen on several previous days: from the boardwalk, look toward the concrete rubble. The bird was in the Grindelia (yellow-flowered gum plant) near a piece of red-colored debris. The bird was also seen by one other person.

In general, this bird has been seen at high tide on days when the tide was 6 feet or more. Other days this month which have a 6-foot tide during daylight hours are March 6 and March 17 and 18.

Kay Loughman

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Re: Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow at Arrowhead Marsh
Fri, 05 Mar 2004 14:35:58 -0800
From: Mike Feighner

East Bay Birders:

According to the tidal charts for Alameda and Oakland Airport at
the high tide on 6 March 2004 will be 6.7 feet at 12:15 PM.

On the 17th of March the high tide will be at 6.9 feet at 9:08 AM, while on the 18th it will be at 6.9 feet at 10:05 AM.

Mike Feighner, Livermore, Alameda County

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Re: Snow Bunting at Clifton Court Forebay
Fri, 5 Mar 2004 16:28:31 -0800
From: Don Lewis

The Snow Bunting continued today (Friday) between 11:30 AM and noon at Clifton Court Forebay near Byron. It was at the first big bend in the levee, a couple hundred yards out along the main levee from the parking lot, right at the water's edge.

Don Lewis
Lafayette, CA

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Hayward Regional Shoreline
Fri, 5 Mar 2004 16:33:46 -0800
From: Debbie Viess

I was out at the Hayward Regional Shoreline this morning, field-testing my new binoculars (four days back from the factory, I dropped my beloved Bushnells and they broke in half!!!). It was a calm and limpid day, with perfect light and great birds. Notables: 70+ slope-billed Canvasbacks, floating and displaying on the Bay; American Avocets awash in brilliant rust as they came into their breeding plumage, and many Savannah Sparrows on territory, singing their thin songs and displaying their beautiful yellow lores. Hey, sometimes even small and mundane is beautiful.

Ah, spring.
Debbie Viess

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Re: Snow Bunting at Clifton Court Forebay
Fri, 05 Mar 2004 18:55:06 -0800
From: Bob Brandriff

East Bay Birders:

Barbara and I also saw the Snow Bunting today at the same time and chatted with Don briefly. I posted some digiscoped photos here:

Bob Brandriff
Berkeley, CA

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