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Blue Grosbeak still on Patterson Pass Road
Sun, 23 May 2004 08:39:59 -0700
From: Steve Huckabone

Yesterday afternoon on our way to Ripon for a birthday party, at the intersection of Durham Ferry Rd and Kasson Rd [near San Joaquin City in San Joaquin County] we saw approximately 50 Swainson's Hawks. The fields were being flooded driving up all kinds of prey items. The hawks where joined by a dozen Great Blue Herons, crows and Turkey Vultures. One of the Great Blue Herons had a huge gopher that it was trying to swallow.

Going over Patterson Pass Rd we saw the Blue Grosbeak in the area of the landslide.

Good birding.
Steve Huckabone
Alameda County
Livermore California

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Re: Hummingbird nestling in Berkeley
Sun, 23 May 2004 09:41:46 -0700
From: Tom Condit

Yesterday afternoon there were two little bills poking up from the hummingbird nest on Allston Way in Berkeley. This is more like it.

When you consider that the Anna's Hummingbird nesting season starts in December and that there are still display flights up in Strawberry Canyon, it's easy to see why we have so many of them.

Tom Condit

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Re: White-eyed Vireo in Dublin
Sun, 23 May 2004 10:23:28 -0700
From: Mike Feighner


Today, 23 May 2004, I arrived at Tassajara Creek Regional Park in Dublin in Alameda County, at 8:00 AM as Adam Winer was leaving and pointing me to the direction of the White-eyed Vireo in the willows at the north end of the right side of the bridge. This time I was able to get a 30-second look until it disappeared from sight, but it still called frequently. Next, Dave Weber of Milpitas, Luke Cole of San Francisco, and another birder arrived, and we followed it all around from the far west end to the far east end of the park. We had our last good views of the vireo at the far east end where the fence makes a right-angle bend to the north.

Other birds of note were Yellow Warbler and Wilson's Warbler, and Swainson's Thrush.

Directions to Tassajara Creek Regional Park:

From Hwy 580 in Dublin take the Santa Rita / Tassajara exit (exit #47). Go north on Tassajara Rd. Follow Tassajara Rd 1.4 miles to a little parking area on the left. Follow the path from the parking lot toward the big valley oaks. The trail turns down into the riparian area where there is a large foot bridge. The White-eyed Vireo was originally reported on 20 May 2004 from this bridge.

This is a first county record for White-eyed Vireo in Alameda County

Mike Feighner, Livermore, CA, Alameda County

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Mount Diablo State Park
Sun, 23 May 2004 14:51:57 -0700
From: Les Chibana

Yesterday, I took my Palo Alto Baylands birding class to Mt Diablo State Park where we birded from just outside the South Gate booth up to the summit. It was overcast all morning and the breezes in the exposed areas were very chilly. Had us wondering what state we were in and what month it was.

While the bird numbers were few, the quality of the sightings were quite high. We had a few up-close Sage Sparrows singing at roadside outside of the South Gate. A cooperative Rufous-crowned Sparrow also joined the serenade. Wrentits also curiously came in to check us out. We had a flyover falcon that was difficult to identify because of the glare in the overcast. Photo evidence from Rob Pavey shows that this was a Prairie Falcon. We had a previous sighting that we thought might have been a Peregrine Falcon, but the lighting was difficult and we didn't have a photo of that bird to check. Later in the day, we had another Prairie Falcon sighting. All of these large falcon sightings could well have been of the same bird.

Lazuli Bunting and Lark Sparrows sang at Curry Point. A White-tailed Kite hunted the slopes in the direction of the summit.

There was a Nuttall's Woodpecker nest at the Blue Oak picnic area and a pair of Western Bluebirds seen here could have had a nest, too.

At the summit, Cliff Swallows swarmed like bees on the leeward side of the peak. A single White-throated Swift cruised by and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was seen near the base of the observation building.

At the Sunset picnic area, another pair of Western Bluebirds was seen as well as Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Hutton's Vireos, and Oak Titmouse feeding young. A quiet, foraging Orange-crowned Warbler was the only warbler seen.

Mariposa tulips of two kinds (a yellow and a pinkish-white type) were found in several areas and Mt Diablo globe tulips were found at the Sunset picnic area. Foothill penstemon were still hanging on. California sisters were the main butterfly seen. At Rock City picnic area, there were some small, quarter-inch, green larvae with maroon and white diagonal markings on the backs dining on soap root plant blossoms.

For a map of the Park with place names:

Les Chibana, Palo Alto

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Upper San Leandro Reservoir, Valle Vista Staging Area, Moraga
Sun, 23 May 2004 17:19:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bob Power

Hi all:

Highlights at Valle Vista Staging Area of Upper San Leandro Reservoir off Canyon Rd near Moraga today were:

Good birding,
Bob Power

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A year bird for Skip
Sun, 23 May 2004 18:05:51 -0700
From: Dennis Braddy


Springer Spaniels are champion sulkers and Skip has been sulking ever since I went to the park without him two weeks ago and saw a striking pair of Western Tanagers, a species he wanted for his year list. It was no good explaining that Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve (BRRP) is now full of foxtails, nasty little things that invariably lodge themselves in Skip's throat. So I was relieved this afternoon when, only five minutes into our walk around the neighborhood, a pair of Western Tanagers flew directly in front of us and landed in the closest tree. (Hopefully this will get me out of Skip's doghouse.) A hundred yards farther along the greenbelt path a Northern Mockingbird was having a major disagreement with a Hooded Oriole. But even as an Anna's Hummingbird joined the fray, Skip's attention wandered. He stood staring straight ahead - a half-dozen drops of water falling from the tip of Skip's dangling tongue made a single growing dark spot on the pavement. It was time to go home. In response to Pat's congratulations on his year bird, Skip walked over and put his foot on his food dish. That's one thing I admire about Skip. He always knows exactly what he wants.

Dennis Braddy and Skip
San Ramon

P.S.  As of yesterday morning the Grasshopper Sparrows at BRRP were still singing on territory along the section of Red Tail Hawk Trail south of Gray Fox Trail and had spread to the uppermost 100 yards of the latter trail.

P.P.S.  Don't tell Skip I went to the park without him, again. He thinks I was in Dublin looking for the White-eyed Vireo.

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Mines Road, southeast of Livermore
Sun, 23 May 2004 22:10:01 -0700
From: Matthew Dodder


I led my Palo Alto Adult School group on the Mines Rd / Del Puerto Canyon loop this weekend. The weather was much cooler than expected, with heavy overcast skies until 11:00. Around noon it became warm and bird activity increased somewhat. Overall, species were scarce and difficult to locate, but we still found many of our targets.

Our first stop, Murietta Wells, produced good looks at American Kestrel on a nest, both Red-tailed Hawk and Red-shouldered Hawk as well as two White-tailed Kite. Other birds of note were Bullock's Oriole and Western Tanager, the first of several for both species. Yellow-billed Magpies were logged here too and were seen throughout the day. We were fortunate to find a few Barn Owl feathers clinging to a palm tree, but could not approach the bird or its apparent nest. No trespassing! This was frustrating at first, to know the bird was probably visible if we could only get closer, but rules must be observed.

We stopped before the Del Valle Rd junction to investigate a road kill. It was a beautiful male Barn Owl that had no objection to our close-up observation. We admired it for a few moments and nearby we could see telltale bleaching and owl pellets indicating a favorite perch. Directly above these clues, we found two more Barn Owls, these, were still very much alive. A moment later, they flushed from their hiding places and we watched them fly and land in full day light. This wonderful view more than made up for the private-property bird...

A bit farther, and after the Del Valle junction, the bridge where we usually find numerous flycatchers, swallows, orioles, and Phainopepla was relatively quiet and produced little in the way of new species. Conditions were very dry there and may partly explain the lack of activity. As we continued uphill we spotted a Greater Roadrunner from the road but lost it quickly up slope. Later we would see four more in Del Puerto Canyon, apparently a family. Before we reached the summit we stopped in a lush creek area to locate Yellow Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, several Bullock's Orioles and a singing Rufous-crowned Sparrow. Lark Sparrow as present in a few places, but was most easily observed below the summit.

[For the Santa Clara and Stanislaus County portions of this trip, see the full message on South Bay Birds.]

That's all for now,
Matthew Dodder

List for entire trip, including Del Puerto Canyon:

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