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Piper Slough
Wed, 3 Feb 1999 13:00:43 PST
From: Steve Glover

Hello East Bay Birders,

Long time no talk. I must admit that I finally did what I never thought possible. I got burned out on birding Contra Costa all of the time. Between doing a county big year last year and spending so much time on the breeding bird atlas I pretty much just burned myself out. I think i'm back, however, and today I went out to my favorite spot which is Piper Slough at the north end of Bethel Island.

I was hoping for geese. I found them. Across the slough from Bethel Is. are a couple of islands that have traditionally been attractive to cranes, geese and ducks. You cannot really see the surface of the island because a levee blocks the view but if something flushes the birds you can scope them in flight. They seem to be doing some kind of work out there, probably levee strengthening, and when a truck drove by on the levee they all went up at once. My best but inadequate estimate was 14,000 white geese and 7500 Greater White-fronted Geese. One group came in close enough that I could seperate Snow from Ross's but the other 13,900 stayed too far away. Even from a distance this many geese are a pretty amazing spectacle.

On the slough itself were high numbers of Pied-billed Grebes (145) and Double-crested Cormorants (209). Other birds in the area included Sora and Virginia Rails, Belted Kingfisher, Tree Swallow, Common Raven, Lincoln's and Fox Sparrows. An adult Western Gull was my first at this rather inland location. There were 6 Cattle Egret at the intersection of Cypress Rd. and Seller's Rd and 13 more on Byron Highway.

Steve Glover

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Oakland CBC count addendum
Wed, 3 Feb 1999 20:08:59 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

The following were accidentally omitted from my transcription of the Oakland CBC results:

1277 Golden-crowned Sparrow
1123 White-crowned Sparrow

Sorry 'bout that, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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