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Re: ... an oriole question
Tue, 18 May 2004 08:12:20 -0700
From: Tom Condit

Phila Rogers wrote:

Can anyone tell me where I can go locally to see nesting Hooded Orioles?

They don't seem to be terribly consistent on where they nest. In the past, the palm trees at the San Francisco Zoo have been good (especially the ones you can look down on from the walk at the primate cages), but I don't know if they still are. People who are better with their ears than I seem to find them fairly regularly - they're pretty secretive, and you're more likely to hear them than to see them.

Tom Condit

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Southwestern Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley Hills
Tue, 18 May 2004 23:31:49 -0700
From: Larry Tunstall

Tuesday morning, a good-sized group gathered for Alan Kaplan's early morning birdwalk in Tilden Regional Park, at the trailhead on Golf Course Rd just east of Grizzly Peak Blvd. Phila Rogers, who lives not far away, showed us some of the birds she visits regularly.

To the north on the Selby Trail, near the top of the first ridge, a pair of pine snags were home to a wide variety of birds. Pygmy Nuthatches were coming and going from a hole near the top of one snag, while a European Starling brought nesting material to a hole in the other. A Northern Flicker was working at a hole, and a House Wren was busily singing from various spots in the territory around the snags. A Common Raven perched up in nearby pines watching for a snack opportunity, while Steller's Jays flitted about. A pair of Western Bluebirds were perched nearby enjoying the morning sunshine. A fledgling Black-headed Grosbeak was calling somewhere nearby, while calls of Hairy Woodpecker and Nuttall's Woodpecker indicated their presence as well (Phila says they nest in the vicinity also). Orange-crowned Warblers, Spotted Towhees, California Towhee, Song Sparrows, Bewick's Wrens, Wrentit, and Lazuli Bunting were all singing in the area. An Anna's Hummingbird was displaying. Dark-eyed Juncos were foraging with youngsters, and Chestnut-backed Chickadees were working in the grove of Santa Lucia fir. California Quail was calling in the distance. Mourning Doves were perching on wires and flying over.

As we returned to the cars, a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a pole, and a Western Scrub-Jay was in the brush near the parking area.

Seems very birdy for a spot little noted by most birders. Thanks to Phila for pointing it out to us.

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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Del Valley Regional Park, Livermore
Wed, 19 May 2004 22:40:12 -0700
From: Phil Maynard

EBBirders: we recently had a very nice birding and camping stay at Del Valle Regional Park near Livermore. While in the campground a large white-headed bird flew above, cool Bald Eagle. Of course there were lots of beautiful Yellow-billed Magpies, and we enjoyed frequent visits of the Oak Titmouse and a European Starling family that had its nest in a tree hole near the table.

But what confused me was a large white bird that flew at night (all night) making the strangest clicking sound. I had seen owl boxes in the campground and asked the park staff if they knew my mystery bird. I decided to send a query to East Bay Regional Park District and got a prompt nice reply identifying my mystery bird as a Barn Owl.

"You are right in your guess on the barn owl. They do have odd calls, not what one would expect from an owl. The clicking and clattering calls are communicative calls they use as they fly around. I am not sure if the nest boxes are currently being used but we have had great success with them at other parks (i.e. Contra Loma in Antioch). We installed the boxes so that the owls would help control the nocturnal pocket gophers who are damaging the turf areas. This also reduces our use and cost of pesticides."

Our other favorite campground bird this year was at Pinnacles National Monument where frequent sightings of the re-introduced California Condor made it a life-list trip. Thumbs up to both campgrounds.

Phil Maynard

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Salt Ponds and Least Terns
Thu, 20 May 2004 10:25:08 -0700
From: Tom Condit

These items are from the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory:

SFBBO was hatched on the salt ponds of South San Francisco Bay. SFBBO has been working steadily,looking at the birds of the salt ponds for more than twenty years.

SFBBO continues to grow this legacy with its newest involvement in the future of the ponds. Cheryl Strong, Birds of the Baylands Biologist, is a member of the new South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Plan Extended Science Team. The Science Team helps to advise the project management team (headed by the California Coastal Conservancy, California Dept. of Fish and Game, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) on the best available science to restore and enhance wetland habitats, improve public access and recreation, and provide for flood management. For more information on this incredible, landscape-level restoration project (exceeded in size only by the Everglades!), see:

SFBBO will be participating in this year's Return of the Terns festival on June 13th! This is your chance to explore the California Least Tern's nesting area in Alameda on a 1 hour bus tour with a wildlife biologist (reservations required). Can't make it on the bus tour? Just drop by the Crab Cove Visitor Center to check out the SFBBO table and all the other activities.

For more information or to make reservations,

Tom Condit

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White-eyed Vireo in Dublin
Thu, 20 May 2004 18:14:27 -0700
From: Steve Huckabone

Today around 12:30 I had a White-eyed Vireo at Tassajara Creek Regional Park in Dublin. The bird was singing its very distinctive song and gave me great views at close range. The bird was working the oaks just above the foot bridge and was still there at 1:00 PM when I left to get back to work.

Steve Huckabone
Alameda County
Livermore California

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Re: White-eyed Vireo in Dublin
Thu, 20 May 2004 19:08:10 -0700
From: Andy Shell

How do I get to Tassajara Creek Regional Park? I would like to go see the White-eyed Vireo.

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Re: White-eyed Vireo in Dublin
Thu, 20 May 2004 20:56:55 -0700
From: Steve Huckabone

Sorry I didn't include more information.

Going west on Hwy 580, take the Santa Rita / Tassajara exit. Go north on Tassajara Rd. Follow Tassajara Rd about 1.5 to 2 miles - on the left there is a little parking area. Follow the path from the parking lot toward the big valley oaks. The trail turns down into the riparian and onto the foot bridge. I watched the bird from the middle of the foot bridge. It's a little tiny park, maybe 50 acres. It is East Bay Regional Park District land. No fee. I work nearby and go there almost everyday for lunch break.

The bird was far brighter than any of the field guides, great yellow spectacles, yellow on the flanks with white underside. The song is very distinctive. When I heard it this afternoon I knew it was nothing I'd ever heard around here. Good luck and good birding.

Steve Huckabone
Alameda County
Livermore California

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