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Pied-billed Grebe nest at Berkeley Aquatic Park
Sat, 26 Jun 2004 09:06:15 -0700
From: Rusty Scalf

There is an active Pied-billed Grebe nest at Berkeley Aquatic Park, directly across from the old bird rehab building. Look for the Monterey pine that drapes down to the water. The grebe nest is below a low-hanging pine bough, a bough that actually touches the water surface. The nest itself is an island mound of algae, aquatic vegetation and small sticks. I could see one egg.

The place is quite busy, and I'm guessing the birds are a tad stressed from the car and foot traffic on weekends. Please don't approach too closely.

The big surprise for me is seeing Pied-billed Grebe nesting in a brackish-water environment. I thought they were strictly freshwater birds during nesting season.

An immature tern next to the boat house had quite a strong carpal bar. June 26 seems like an early date for Common Tern.

Rusty Scalf


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Grasshopper Sparrows at Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve, San Ramon
Sat, 26 Jun 2004 13:26:20 -0700
From: Dennis Braddy


I counted 7 Grasshopper Sparrows along a half-mile stretch of Red Tail Hawk Trail (RTHT) at Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve near San Ramon this morning. Grasshopper Sparrows have been on territory at this location for at least 8 weeks. Two perched sparrows, one of them singing, shared a single thistle plant (and the same spotting-scope field of view) near the intersection of RTHT and Grayfox Trail. Also along RTHT, a hundred feet north of where a spur trail heads off to the west, 3 more Grasshopper Sparrows, again one of them singing, perched together atop a small clump of poison oak.

See for directions and a map. The Grasshopper Sparrows are along RTHT from its southeast terminus at the park boundary to the spot on the map adjacent to the "H" in "Hawk". Note that the intersection of RTHT and Stream View Trail is not marked and is easy to miss. For best results go early, scan the tops of the thistle and poison oak well ahead for perched sparrows, and listen for their song.

Dennis Braddy
San Ramon

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