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Lesser Nighthawk
Wed, 1 Jul 1998 11:25:26 PDT
From: Steve Glover

Hello everyone,

Back from vacation and decided to go out owling this morning to Morgan Territory. I shouldn't have even bothered as the wind made it nearly impossible. I heard a grand total of 2 Screech and saw one Great Horned. I then rushed over to Clifton Court Forebay to look for Lesser Nighthawk. Between 5:30 and 6 AM I watched one flying around the entrance road just beyond the houses and near some large mounds of dirt. This is the same area where they were reported by John Sterling in April and where I found them in 1995. In 1995 there were up to 10 birds present. They are surely breeding here somewhere but unfortunately I rarely get out there during prime nighthawk hours.

To reach Clifton Court Forebay: From J-4 south of Byron turn onto Clifton Court Road. It can sneak up on you and the traffic is very dangerous in this area. Watch for a large sign for the Lazy M Marina.

Good birding,
Steve Glover

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Indigo Bunting
Mon, 6 Jul 1998 12:54:56 PDT
From: Steve Glover

Hello everyone,

This morning I went out to Piper Slough at the north end of Bethel Is[land] to do a little atlasing. The male Indigo Bunting was still singing away where its been for well over a month. His persistent singing seems to be in vain, however, as I have not been able to find a female of either species in the area. To find the bird walk up onto the levee and turn left. In a couple of hundred yards or so walk down the dirt road to the left. Continue walking in the same direction as before, paralling the levee only at a lower level. Go around the left turn and in a few hundred more yards you will see another dirt road coming in from your left. The bird is normally singing at this intersection but then flushes down the dirt road.

I was finally able to confirm Blue Grosbeak this morning thanks to a female carrying food. Everything else was the normal summer residents including several singing chats. As those of you who are atlasers already heard, Bob and Barbara Brandriff confirmed nesting of Spotted Sandpiper at San Pablo Res[ervoir]. The only known nest location prior to this is the PG&E plant at Pittsburg. FYI - this is also the only nest site for Least Terns in the county. About 3 pairs normally nest there.

As reported on the Bird Box there are again Black Skimmers nesting at the Hayward Reg[ional] Shore[line]. This year there are actually 2 pairs. The Arctic Tern is also around for it's sixth straight summer.

Good luck,
Steve Glover

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Masked Lovebirds
Fri, 10 Jul 1998 11:54:18 -0700
From: Mike Feighner

South and East-Bay-Birders:

Yesterday morning, 9 July 1998, before leaving home I heard at least one MASKED LOVEBIRD, and this morning I saw one MASKED LOVEBIRD calling from the top of the roof across the street where I live in Livermore in Alameda County.

This is odd. I haven't seen or heard any around since December 1997. I first discovered these critters in my neighborhood on 9 July 1997....and what was yesterday?!? At one time last year I had counted as many as 10.

I wonder if someone is releasing these or what? And just a reminder last Christmas there was a report on the bird box of a Northern Cardinal in Livermore. Another release?

Mike Feighner
Sunnyvale CA (work)
Livermore CA (home)

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Breeding Bird Atlas, Coyote Hills Regional Park
Mon, 13 Jul 1998 20:29:53 PDT
From: Bill Scoggins

Hello East Bay Birders,

I have just joined your group and would like to post yesterday's report on the breeding bird atlas going on at Coyote Hills Regional Park. Even though the Alameda County Atlas has ended, we have decided to continue on for another 5 years (10 years total) at Coyote Hills. Previous bird reports are available on the Quail at Coyote Hills web site listed below.

Here are the Highlights for the 12 July 1998, Coyote Hills Park Breeding Bird Atlas.

In the marsh at 7:30 AM: This morning the nesting pied-billed grebe,reported last time, was still sitting on her eggs at the boardwalk. We also watched as three baby pied-billeds climbed upon their mother's back for a sail across the pond near the DUST marsh. Adults tree swallows were feeding three juveniles which were perched near the nest box that has been active this spring and summer. Song sparrows and marsh wrens fed youngsters too.

The three juvenile white-tailed kites continue to be seen on the DUST trail (see previous report for location). Also seen on the DUST trail were one Downy and two Nuttall's woodpeckers and a nest containing 3 common moorhen chicks and one adult. Earlier we had seen one juvenile common moorhen swimming in the pond near the gravel parking lot at the visitor center.

Black-crowned night-heron, green heron, double-crested cormorant, white pelican, American coot with young, and juvenile red-winged blackbirds gave us a lot of viewing pleasure! Our listening pleasure included the voices of three common yellow-throat warblers, virginia rail, American goldfinch, black-necked stilt, and two amorous bullfrogs.

At Hoot Hollow at 9:45 AM: Species seen include two singing northern mockingbirds on two different hilltops, Allen's and Anna's hummingbirds, American robin, nesting barn swallows, four pairs of California quail (no chicks yet...), two juvenile Bullock's orioles, a singing California thrasher, California towhee, european starling, adult & juvenile house finches, Nuttall's woodpecker, mourning doves, ring-necked pheasant, turkey vulture flying overhead, a Stellar's Jay and one juvenile and two adult western scub jays.

At the visitor center near the front door we saw a female black-headed grosbeak gathering spider web material; she made two trips--could she be building a nest this late in the season?! Has El Nino effected her behavior? (See the link below for more information on the effects of El Nino on bird nesting.) We have been seeing black-headed grosbeaks all season, but it has been difficult to get confirmation of their breeding status. Have you seen this bird or the Cal thrasher nesting at the park? Let us know if you have, thanks.

Thanks to Bonnie Marzo; she e-mailed the following information about the black-headed grossbeak nest:

According to Colin Harrison, in A Field Guide to the Nests, Eggs and Nestlings of North American Birds, the nest is "a loose, bulky cup, of thin twigs, weed stems and rootlets; lined with fine grasses, stems and rootlets. Built by female in 3-4 days." "Nest in a tree or shrub usually 6-12 ft. up, in a twig fork."

Your reports of breeding birds in the park are very valuable; so thanks for continuing to share those sitings with us!

Birders for the Atlas this morning included Bonnie Marzo, Bev Drollman, Annetta Jones, Marty Morrow, Kay and George Bloom, Bill Scoggins, Joice, and Betty.

See you at Coyote Hills.

Happy birding to you all, Bill N. Scoggins

P. S. The annual Birding Parks Partners meeting will be held on Sat., 8 August 1998, from 9 AM to 2 PM with a potluck lunch. Join us if you think you might like to join our Coyote Hills birding volunteers.

The Quail At Coyote Hills web site has three new articles including a gallery of photographs of wildlife at the park. One article deals with the effects of El Nino on bird reproduction and the other is discusses the results of the annual butterfly survey completed at SF Bay National Wildlife refuge and Coyote Hills Park.

Go to the web site and click on "Coyote Hills Activities". Have fun!

Quail at Coyote Hills  or

One more note. I have also added three more Hot Links that are valuable to birders; look for them on the "Wild Bill's Favorite Web Sites" page. One link is a county by county list of birding resources for California; a wonderful web site, just packed with information for us bird lovers. California County Geographical Birding Resources. Go to...

Bill's Favorite Web Pages  or


I just received this delightful e-mail from Bev Drollman about today's birding Atlas and more. Read on.

Subj:  Re: Coyote Hills Birds
Date:  8-07-12 18:10:32 PDT

Exciting news! Betty and I returned to our cars and on the way back we viewed the mother grebe on the nest and THREE BABIES , maybe 1 to 2 weeks old, being fed by another grebe with a smaller head than the mother-father, brother, sister, friend? He/she was feeding crayfish to the babies-one was really greedy, but the feeder was a speedy fisher. Then the babies crawled on top of mother and the feeder nudged the babies and made soft sounds.The mother grebe didn't stir. Do you suppose there are more eggs? It was wonderful!

Then, we went to work at the wildlife refuge plant nursery and there spied a red-tailed hawk on the pole being harassed by a mockingbird. The teenage(?) hawk then flew down and stayed under a table while we worked around it. He stayed there over an hour. Betty didn't like the water he was drinking ,so she gave him water in a pan and was within three feet from him. He worries me-he's too unafraid and I hope he's not sick. After he drank the water the second time he also took a bath in it and then flew to the top of the table , spread his wings, dried his feathers and tiptoed around the plants on the table and eventually flew to a higher perch. Thought you might be interested.

I appreciate your efforts and e-mail of events. Thanks.

Beverly Drollman

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Hayward Shoreline
Mon, 13 Jul 1998 22:31:13 -0700
From: Larry Tunstall

Enjoyed your update on Coyote Hills, Bill. Welcome aboard!

I was at Hayward Shoreline (near Johnson's Landing) on Sunday around noon. Saw small chicks of both American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt, and one stilt just west of the Interpretive Center appeared to be sitting on a nest (at least, it didn't change position during the couple of hours we were out on the trail). Apparently, breeding activity is still ... er ... active.

Had good looks at the Black Skimmer pair. Other birders at the site said that they have two young birds, but they weren't visible while I was there. It was warm, and one of the adults was lying at full length on the ground with mouth wide open. Perhaps they were shading the young rather than cooling off in the water.

The other birders pointed out the Arctic Tern, which also posed for some good looks on a post in the water, as well as spending a lot of time chasing the other terns. Although the distinguishing characteristics of the Arctic Tern were clearly visible once I knew what to look for, I certainly would have missed this bird in a casual binocular scan of the island! It's always nice to have other birders around to educate us.

I saw a male Canvasback and a pair of Surf Scoters in the bay just off Johnson's Landing, as well as considerable numbers of shorebirds on the mudflats (Willets, Long-billed Curlews, Marbled Godwits, both Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitchers, and a lot of peeps that I think were Western Sandpipers). Looks as if the fall migration is well underway.

Earlier at Arrowhead Marsh, a Clapper Rail actually came out of the vegetation to spend a minute or more walking on the mudflat, as much as 10 feet away from the grass. Denis Hahn's EBRPD birdwalk was there to observe it and get good looks through a scope - not something that happens too often! A pair of Ruddy Ducks with the male in gorgeous breeding plumage (though the bill was getting a bit pale) provided a nice show also, as well as a female Mallard with 8 or so ducklings who followed her across the mudflat and the water in a tight cluster that appeared glued to her behind.

Good birding,

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