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Rose-breasted Grosbeak near Moraga
Mon, 28 Jun 2004 09:29:11 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bob Power

Sorry about the late post, folks. My computer was not interested in cooperating yesterday. Bob

Hi all:

Michael Butler and I participated in a Valle-Vista "Big half-day". Well, it was a big 3.5 hours. Well, we got together and went birding. [Sunday, June 27, at Valle Vista Staging Area of Upper San Leandro Reservoir, off Canyon Rd just west of Moraga. An EBMUD trail permit is required.]

Coming back from beyond the horse corral, we were in the pine forest and I thought a woodpecker flushed into a tree above us. I looked up and wondered what a woodpecker would be eating to get blood all over it's chest? Then there was the black head and the beak and I'll be darned, it was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The grosbeak was in the last couple of pines on the south side of the trail before you get to the access road and the bridge over Moraga Creek.

Other highlights:

Good Birding,
Bob Power

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Eaglets - one flown, one holding
Mon, 28 Jun 2004 21:24:11 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alan Howe

Hi again, everyone.

The Golden Eagle nest at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in the Oakland Hills isn't empty yet, but it's halfway there. I just missed the big maiden flight of the first chick this afternoon.

I heard the young bird making a racket and saw an adult swoop through the trees down (southwest?) and across the road from the primary viewing point. It turns out that I should have headed to the top of Round Top instead of spending time checking the nest. I was told by a couple of folks a few minutes later that the adults had been coaxing the young one to fly. Apparently they first brought something for the chick to eat and then flew close to its perch, chirping once. The chick responded with all the noise I had heard from down the hill. But then it did take to the air and fly off with its parents.

Soon after all this, one of the adults flew in to the nest with a rabbit or something in its talons and left right away. I stuck around for another hour or so, but didn't see the adults or fledgling again. I did hear one adult-like chirp a ways off, but that was it.

The remaining nestling walked/hopped around the nest, stretched its wings and flapped a little, then settled down. It didn't feed on whatever the adult brought, but appeared to go to sleep. If I didn't know better, I'd think it was feeling lonely and forlorn. It was still resting when I left.

Talk about close, but no cigar! But at least I know that one of the chicks weve been watching since they were small, white and fluffy has successfully flown. I'm not quite a proud papa, but pleased a great deal.

Since I don't know when I may get back to check on things, the remaining nestling may be gone by the time I do. If anyone gets up there, please let me know what you see.

In other news, I checked out Berkeley Aquatic Park yesterday and saw the Pied-billed Grebes - at least 3, maybe 5 - but didn't manage to find the nest. Cute little birds. I spotted a couple of Green Herons, too. I also noticed a grey, relatively large, heron-like bird on a support under the old ski-jump ramp, but couldn't get close enough to see markings. It seemed pretty territorial, chasing off - on foot - another bird (I didn't notice exactly what) that tried to land under the ramp. If anyone know what this ramp bird is, I'd be interested in hearing.

Alan Howe

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Of sparrows and eagles
Thu, 01 Jul 2004 19:42:48 -0700
From: Judi Sierra

It was a good luck, bad luck kind of day. Two of us went to Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve. We were greeted in the staging area by a vocal Northern Mockingbird high atop a tree. But no portapotty or maps! We were joined on the way up the trail by a South Bay birder and found the Grasshopper Sparrows in the previously described spot. Although a scope would have been nice, no one brought one and were quite relieved they hadn't had to lug it up that hill. We decided to take the gentler Stream View Trail on the way back and we were not disappointed. We saw a Winter Wren. Later we puzzled over a repetitious monotonic call, gave up and walked on. A little further down the trail we heard it again with some chatter and watched a gorgeous male Bullock's Oriole for quite awhile with the sun lighting up the orange coloring. We returned to the parking lot 3 hours later with the mockingbird in the same spot still singing away.

In the afternoon I went to Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve to try and locate the Golden Eagle nest. Even with Alan Howe's directions in hand, I couldn't find it. I walked past the sign a few times, up many faint paths with many fallen logs, and looked up in many likely trees close to and away from the road, from many different angles, but no luck. Also no sign of eagles although it was foggy and windy when I was there. Not good soaring weather.

Judi Sierra - Oakland

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