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Purple Martins at Shadow Cliffs Recreation Area
Thu, 3 Jun 2004 17:33:13 -0700
From: Don Lewis

Today, Thursday, Bingham Gibbs' group saw at least one and probably three or more Purple Martins at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton. Perhaps for folks who regularly bird there, this may not be news but we were surprised, not having seen martins in Contra Costa County.

The birds were easily seen among the many soaring swallows both near the western end of Island Pond (the farthest pond, about a quarter-mile from the east end of the parking lot) and also as we walked the main, straight road above the western end of the parking lot, half a mile west of the first place. There is an East Bay Regional Park District map which makes clear all the trail alternatives (and there is an entrance fee, of course).

Don Lewis
Lafayette, CA

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Eaglets at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Oakland Hills
Thu, 3 Jun 2004 18:27:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alan Howe

I'm brand new to the Circle, so I don't know how well known the Golden Eagle nest in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve is. (I checked the last few months of messages, but saw no mention.)

I've been watching the nest sporadically for the past couple of months and watching the 2 chicks grow. They're quite big now and have lost all of their down, except, perhaps, on their heads. (It's hard to tell in the shadows with a few twigs in the way.) I wouldn't be surprised if they begin flight school soon.

The nest isn't the easiest to spot. [Details omitted on website]

Alan Howe

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Tilden Regional Park Nature Area, Berkeley Hills
Thu, 03 Jun 2004 20:45:43 -0700
From: Larry Tunstall

We had a good morning on Alan Kaplan's early birdwalk today at Tilden Nature Area in the Berkeley Hills.

At least three Swainson's Thrushes were singing along Wildcat Canyon between the parking lot and Jewel Lake, and we had good looks at one singing from an elevated perch uphill from the Upper Packrat Trail. The Winter Wren was singing near Wildcat Creek and seemed to be moving along the creek below us.

The Yellow Warbler was seen singing high in the trees around the intersection of Loop Road and Laurel Canyon Road (both are fire-road trails). Selasphorus hummingbirds (presumably Allen's Hummingbirds) were active around this area. Uphill from Loop Road north of the paved driveway up to Wildcat View Group Camp, we saw an Olive-sided Flycatcher singing and heard Western Wood-Pewee and Pacific-slope Flycatcher.

Wilson's Warblers were singing and many of them visible everywhere, and we also heard Orange-crowned Warbler. We also had good looks at a singing Purple Finch and heard Black-headed Grosbeak and Warbling Vireo singing. A Red-shouldered Hawk was calling near the Little Farm. There were families of Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Bushtits, Dark-eyed Juncos, and Black Phoebes (the latter on the lawn behind the Visitor Center).

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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Clark's Grebes breeding at San Pablo Reservoir, near Orinda
Sun, 6 Jun 2004 11:21:04 -0700
From: Rusty Scalf

This morning I ran my Breeding Bird Survey Route (50 three-minute stops, 25 miles).

Stop 2 again had a Grasshopper Sparrow (across from the Valle Vista staging area of Upper San Leandro Reservoir in Moraga)

Stop 26, along San Pablo Dam Rd, I could see a small flock of Aechmophorus grebes on San Pablo Reservoir. To my amazement I saw first one downy youngster, then two smaller downy youngsters. I couldn't identify them at the time as I didn't have my scope and there was glare from the water. After the survey I returned, went down to the water's edge, then hiked to where the grebes were. I saw 17 adults on the lake: 13 Clark's Grebes and 4 Western Western. The two small chicks belonged to Clark's Grebes. As I watched, one of the parents came in with a small fish and fed a baby. These were quite small. I looked around for the single larger chick, but without success.

Stop 30 at the entrance to Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area, I was astonished to watch a Sharp-shinned Hawk fly into an opening in a very dense live oak with a Steller's Jay in its talons (I would guess "her" talons, but I don't know that - just thinking of the size of the hawk relative to the size of the jay). At first it looked like the hawk magically vanished into solid, dense foliage. I eventually saw the shading of an opening. The hawk made that entry awfully fast. I waited for a short while, and the hawk never came out. I imagine there is a nest in that tree. I had to move on to complete the survey route.

I just logged in to the Contra Costa County Breeding Bird Atlas web page and see no mention of Clark's or Western Grebe. Does anyone know of breeding on San Pablo Reservoir before this?

Rusty Scalf

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Nighthawks and owls near Byron
Sun, 06 Jun 2004 13:15:04 -0700
From: Dennis Braddy


We spent the hour between 8:00 and 9:00 PM last night at the wastewater treatment plant at the east end of Camino Diablo near Byron. Mostly we watched the aerial acrobatics of half a dozen Lesser Nighthawks. We also had 20 other species including Blue-winged Teal, Wilson's Snipe, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Northern Harrier, and Black-necked Stilt. As we were about to leave a Burrowing Owl landed on a nearby power line. We watched it take off, hover, drop onto prey, carry its prey to a fencepost next to road, then to the middle of the road, then to the fence on the opposite side of the road, and finally out of sight. In the first half mile after leaving the water treatment ponds we heard a Short-eared Owl barking, saw another Burrowing Owl, and watched as an unwary Barn Owl almost landed right next to a Great Horned Owl. The Barn Owl pulled up at the last second and flew off into the dark with the Great Horned Owl in (apparently half-hearted) pursuit.

Dennis and Patricia Braddy
San Ramon

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Wood Ducks at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area, Pleasanton
Sun, 6 Jun 2004 13:57:36 -0700
From: Akira So

Earlier today I briefly birded at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton. At midday under the hot Sun, the only "notables" I saw were a couple of Black-headed Grosbeaks and two Wood Ducks.

The Wood Ducks were both males, one in the adult breeding plumage and the other one in the adult non-breeding plumage. They were seen in the water near the western end of the park. (Walk into the park through the walk-in-only entrance 0.19 mile west of the main entrance along Stanley Blvd. Walk 0.06 mile, then turn right at the T-junction. At the Y-junction 0.11 mile away, look down at the water and the ducks were in the shadowy area underneath the cliff, to the left where there is a lot of vegetation. You can get a much better look at this area if you walk about 0.03 mile further.)

The ducks were very well camouflaged among the vegetation. I wouldn't have noticed them if I didn't decide to use my scope on a nearby Great Blue Heron.

Good birding,
Pleasanton, CA

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MacGillivray's Warbler in Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley Hills
Sun, 06 Jun 2004 16:34:40 -0700
From: Michael Butler

Howdy all,

I was on the Meadow Canyon Trail in Tilden Regional Park (Berkeley Hills) this morning at about 10:00 AM and was lucky enough to encounter a singing MacGillivray's Warbler. It was about 15 minutes walk up from the trailhead at the big bend in the shady spot under the oaks and bay trees, the bird was on the downhill side and I had some great looks and he sang quite a bit.

Also of interest was a hen Wild Turkey with 6 to 8 youngsters very near the trailhead.

Good Birding, Michael Butler

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Northern Shoveler breeding at Hayward Regional Shoreline
Sun, 6 Jun 2004 20:22:16 -0700
From: Steve Huckabone

Today in the Turk area of the Hayward Regional Shoreline, John Harris and I found Northern Shoveler male, female, and brood. The birds were in the channel behind the Hayward wastewater treatment plant. Good birding.

Steve Huckabone
Alameda County
Livermore California

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