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Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
Mon, 21 Jun 2004 08:50:52 -0700
From: Debbie Viess

There were no coyotes, but plenty of birds at this wonderful Bay Area resource yesterday. As I geared up with pouch, water, binoculars and digital camera, I considered strapping on my bird book as well. Nah, I thought, I've seen all of these birds before, who needs the extra weight? Well, me, as it turned out. Big roosts of Black-necked Stilts, the odd duck and ducklings (Cinnamon Teal, Gadwall, Mallard and Ruddy Duck), Canada Geese large and small, Forster's Terns and Northern Harriers over the marsh, and American White Pelicans to the east, but what the heck were those brightly colored shorebirds at the eastern edge of the marsh? I had never seen any quite like it ... they were slender and slender-billed, very colorful, and much smaller than the adjacent stilts. They walked along the edge of the mudflat with an odd stretched posture. I was clueless. I did a quick sketch for later, then my brain started kicking out some of its old info-storage and I thought, could it be a phalarope? I had only seen these guys in winter plumage, spinning on water. Sure enough, my National Geographic guide back at the car produced a match ... Wilson's Phalarope. There were three of them, and next time I'm taking the bird book.

Another very lovely sighting was the nesting Tree Swallows along the north side of the marsh. Nest boxes put up by local schoolchildren were reaping colorful rewards ... I had never seen Tree Swallows so closely; the dark-teal plumage on their heads was a most exquisite color.

Nice to stroll through such a bird-friendly place, although the cattails are over-running the marsh, and the boardwalks are breaking up. Too much deferred maintainence, and no money to fix it. Sure looks like a place crying for some talented volunteer action...

Debbie Viess
Oakland

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Martinez area
Mon, 21 Jun 2004 20:26:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: Patrick King

I made the rounds at my favorite water areas in Martinez and found the following:

At Hidden Lakes Park, the far eastern lake includes Green Heron and Belted Kingfisher, both of which have been there for awhile and are probably nesting. One of the Green Herons appears to be a fledgling.

At the Martinez Estuary, it seems a great time to see Common Yellowthroat, which are abundantly singing and sometimes flush up, especially toward the west end of the trail. Just off shore were seven American White Pelican and one Clark’s Grebe. One (possibly two) Caspian Tern were present which are uncommon here.

At McNabney Marsh [Waterbird Regional Preserve], the far north end of the marsh along the road included the Egyptian Goose, a Great Blue Heron, and the sounds of Marsh Wren filling the air. Around the viewing platform were Great-tailed Grackle and Loggerhead Shrike. With the scope, I saw one Common Moorhen patrolling the mud and a medium-sized sandpiper-like shorebird with markings that I couldn’t place. The usual duck species, Killdeer, Black-necked Stilts, gulls, and egrets (lots of egrets) were present with a dozen-or-so American White Pelican.

No hawks seen.

Patrick King
Martinez / Berkeley

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Eaglets at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Oakland Hills
Mon, 21 Jun 2004 20:50:58 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alan Howe

Hi, all.

I visited the Golden Eagle nest in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve (Oakland Hills) this afternoon for the first time in 3 weeks or so. My, how they have grown! One was climbing and hopping around in the branches of its tree. It's obvious from the way it was using its wings that it doesn't quite have the hang of using them yet. I got some good looks at it from directly underneath the nest tree.

Its sibling was sleeping in the nest for quite a while, but got up quickly when mom (I assume) arrived for a couple of minutes. It proceeded to do some wing stretching and hopping, catching a little air. A bit later, it was dinner time, with both birds eating heartily in the absence of mother.

It looked like the parent was teasing (or should I say encouraging?) them to try taking wing a couple of times - flying by low or lighting briefly beside the nest before sailing again through the trees. It was pretty exciting to watch all this action and see how the young ones have matured. All of this was a bit more poignant for me personally - having just returned from my oldest son's college graduation.

I really don't know eagles well enough to guess on how much longer till they fly, but I would imagine that if anyone wants to see them before they leave the nest, they should visit fairly soon.

(It was fun meeting a couple of other list members at the site.)

Cheers,
Alan Howe

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Cormorant counts
Tue, 22 Jun 2004 15:23:08 -0700
From: Larry Tunstall

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

Tue, 22 Jun 2004 09:11:00 PDT

Hi all:

My Point Reyes Bird Observatory colleagues and I did a survey of the Double-crested Cormorants at the bay bridges on June 18, 2004, the standard day for one-count censusing in recent years. We counted 723 nests on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and 482 nests on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, plus 107 at Lake Merritt in Oakland. PRBO also reports about 300 Least Tern chicks are now present at the Alameda colony.

Mark Rauzon

Posted to EBB by Larry Tunstall

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Point Edith and McNabney Marsh, Martinez
Thu, 24 Jun 2004 15:47:01 -0400
From: Denise Wight

Hi East Bay Birders,

I took a class to the Martinez marshes between 6:30 and 8:30 PM Wednesday evening. Although we didn't spot any unexpected species, at McNabney Marsh [Waterbird Regional Preserve] we saw a male Blue-winged Teal, Great-tailed Grackles, and had close overhead views of White-throated Swifts. At Point Edith, on the levy road, we heard a nearby Virginia Rail calling, which we were unable to see, but we got to watch three fledgling Marsh Wrens chasing one another. The sunset was amazingly vibrant and beautiful.

If you plan to bird Point Edith, make sure you bring your personal identification. They are checking everyone's identification. The guards at the refinery gate turned away one of my students because she wasn't driving and hadn't brought her ID. They also checked under our hood and in the trunk of each of our cars. We were warned that if the U.S. went on "high alert" we would not be allowed to pass through, so plan your birding to this area accordingly. I must say, though, once we got in, we felt incredibly safe!

All the Best Birding,
Denise Wight
Moraga, CA

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