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White-throated Sparrow, etc
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 10:07:43 -0800
From: Mike Feighner

East-Bay-Birders:

Yesterday morning I finally made it to the south end of Harbour Way in Richmond in Contra Costa County. There were not many birds there. As far as sparrows go, there were only two: one, a White-crowned and the other, the first-winter White-throated Sparrow. Both were some distance from the "yellow bulldozers". As a matter of fact they were just inside the fence behind the blue handicapped parking sign. This White-throated Sparrow still has very dark facial feathering making the lores very difficult to see. I have read that all first-winter White-throateds are tan-striped. I wonder what this one will end up as.

Next I birded the Martinez Shoreline Regional Park where Denise Wight had the Barrow's Goldeneye and Tufted Duck last week-end. There were still lots of scaup and canvasbacks but no goldeneyes of either kind and no tufted. I had trouble finding the burned-out ship. I asked a guy there walking his dogs about the burned-out ship. I was standing right next to it and didn't recognize it. I took it for a burned-out pier.

Regarding Red-naped Sapsuckers: they are, different from White-throated Sparrows which are semi-regular, not regular. I remember seeing one on Mount Diablo back in 1990 and one in Berkeley in 1993 with the departure of a Williamson's Sapsucker at the same location. Another one was in Piedmont in 1994 or 1995. All were reported over the Northern California Birdbox.

Mike Feighner, Livermore, CA

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Berkeley waterfront
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 15:52:36 -0800
From: Graham Etherington

Hi Birders,

I've been spending most of Valentines Day with my first love - birds! The best thing I saw today was a flock of 25 Surfbirds at around 2 PM. They were along the frontage road that runs south from Berkeley Marina, towards Emeryville Marina. They were on the edge of the first bit of water that you come to after leaving Berkeley Marina, south, and then later on they were flying around the rocks a bit further to the south. Other bits and bobs that I saw today included Red-throated Loon at Point Isabel and a male Allen's Hummingbird at Berkeley Marina. It consistently returned to lefthand branches of a pine tree directly to the left of the entrance to Berkley Yacht Club, when viewed from the car park.

Anyway, must dash as my girlfriend is making me a special Valentines Day dinner - life is good!

Good birding,
Graham Etherington
UC Berkeley

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Re: Allen's Hummingbird
Mon, 15 Feb 1999 17:25:11 PST
From: Joseph Morlan

On Thursday, Steve Glover wrote:

Are there some oaks buried amongst the eucs up there? Are Oak Titmice and Hutton's Vireos resident there?

Yes. We get both species there. There is a fairly respectable stand of native oaks, bay, poison oak, etc on the north side. Larry has already described this area, but I covered it for many years on the Oakland Christmas Bird Count and thought I'd add a few comments.

For some reason I had never considered that there might be more than just eucs. What other species are resident there? Are there breeding Nuttall's Woodpeckers or Creepers?

I don't recall seeing Nuttall's there but we do get creepers in the winter. The riparian stretch includes some flowering German Ivy which harbors Orange-crowned Warblers, and often House Wrens in winter. There is a grassy slope with sparrows we have had White-throated Sparrow in with the Golden and White-crowns on several occasions.

I mention these because I was surprised to find them resident in the euc. forest at Pt. Pinole.

We usually don't have time to cover the euc. forest and concentrate on the oak side. A pair of Great Horned Owls can often be found in the eucalyptus.

I have, on the other hand, always suspected that at least some vagrants must appear there in fall since the clump is so close to the bayshore and so prominent. If someone decided to adopt it as one of their "patches" I bet that with effort you would turn up interesting birds.

I agree. Unfortunately the construction along the riparian corridor apparently made access questionable, and some of the best tangles have reportedly been destroyed according to the people that did this area for the Christmas Count this year.

One year, a member of our team saw a Red-naped Sapsucker in the oaks (hypothetical on the count). Varied Thrush is often there in winter and Red-naped Sapsucker was reported once.

On another topic, Robbie Fischer and I stopped by the Laney College Estuary in Oakland and saw about 30 Barrow's Goldeneyes from the car without having to get out in the rain.

Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA 94044
California Birding; Mystery Birds:  http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~jmorlan/
California Bird Records Committee:  http://www.wfo-cbrc.org/cbrc/

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Contra Costa 2/14
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 17:41:06 PST
From: Steve Glover

East Bay Birders,

Today I went out into northern and eastern Contra Costa County with Kent VanVuren. We started by missing the Tropical Kingbird at Hidden Lakes Park in Martinez and the Tufted Duck at Martinez Regional Shoreline. There were at least 1500 scaup there with both species well represented. While there, an adult Franklin's Gull flew east along the river, approximately over the Contra Costa / Solano Co. line. It appeared to be an adult molting into alternate plumage and had a mostly black hood. I think this is the fourth Contra Costa record. Kent also saw a female White-winged Scoter in with a small flock of Surf Scoters.

At Iron House Sanitary District in Oakley we saw one of the wintering Swamp Sparrows. One of the sewage ponds had 3 female and 1 immature male Barrow's Goldeneyes and we heard a Black Rail. For directions to Iron House Sanitary Dist, please see my site guide on Joe Morlan's great website at

http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~jmorlan/

The Swamp Sparrow can be found by walking the trail east past the sewage ponds all the way to the outhouses on the right. Here bear left and when you very quickly reach the point where you have gone as close to the river as possible look for the sparrows. They made no noise and were very tough to find so it may take some patience. This is a 15 to 20 minute walk.

Scoping from the north end of Bethel Island Rd we saw 2 White-faced Ibis across the slough, a hard-to-find bird in the county. There were also small numbers of Snow, Ross's, and Greater White-fronted Geese flying around. We heard 2 Winter Wrens in the willows.

At Holland Tract at the east end of Delta Rd near Knightsen we saw 52 Sandhill Cranes. This is the best spot in the county for this species. If anyone wants anything more specific let me know.

Steve Glover

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Upper San Leandro Reservoir on 2/14
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 18:43:00 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

Here's the report for the second section of Albany Adult School birding class students visiting the north end of Upper San Leandro Reservoir on Sunday, forwarded to us by Rusty Scalp. I assume that Bob Lewis led this group, but I'm not sure. It's interesting to compare this list with the results for the Saturday group to see how the count of birds observed can differ in the same location on two successive days.

Sunday's group was smaller (11 students, compared to 28 on Saturday). The weather was cool and overcast. "Wonderful day. The walk through the Monterey Pine woodland was exceptionally birdy. A single mixed feeding flock kept us rapt for 25 minutes. It was a six woodpecker day! And we had great looks at all six."

1 Double-crested Cormorant, 20 Mallard, 3 Gadwall, 40+ Ring-necked Duck, 7 Bufflehead, 40+ Ruddy Duck, 5 Turkey Vulture, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 2 Red-shouldered Hawk, 3 Red-tailed Hawk, 1 American Kestrel, California Quail heard, 50+ American Coot, 3 Killdeer, 5 Mourning Dove, 2 Band-tailed Pigeon (distant), Great Horned Owl heard, 4 Anna's Hummingbird, 1 Red-naped Sapsucker, 3 Red-breasted Sapsucker, 3 Nuttall's Woodpecker, 1 Hairy Woodpecker, 1 Downy Woodpecker, 15 Northern Flicker, 2 Black Phoebe, 4 Western Scrub-Jay, Steller's Jay heard, 20 Chestnut-backed Chickadee, 1 Oak Titmouse, 30 Bushtit, 3 Brown Creeper, 2 Winter Wren, Bewick's Wren heard, 20 Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 3 Golden-crowned Kinglet, 3 Western Bluebird, 60 American Robin, 3 Varied Thrush (fleetingly), 2 Northern Mockingbird, 20 European Starling, Hutton's Vireo heard, 1 Townsend's Warbler, 2 Yellow-rumped Warbler, 4 Spotted Towhee, 6 California Towhee, 2 Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow heard, 7 White-crowned Sparrow, 35 Golden-crowned Sparrow, 10 Dark-eyed Junco, 4 House Finch, 2 Lesser Goldfinch.

Posted to EBbird by Larry Tunstall.

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Grizzly Island
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 20:31:25 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

On Sunday, Feb 14, a large group led by Robin Leong visited Grizzly Island (just across Carquinez Strait from the East Bay!) on a Golden Gate Audubon Society fieldtrip. Weather was overcast but pleasant. We couldn't go to Joice Island because of a pig hunt, and we didn't go into the main Wildlife Area. However, we had lots of ducks, a great day for raptors, and 3 of the 4 hoped-for owl species. Shore birds that Robin said had been abundant the day before were missing. Highlight of the day was great looks at Ferruginous Hawk and Prairie Falcon along Lambie and Flannery Rds east of Fairfield. Other great moments included Great Horned and Barn Owls swooping over our picnic tables during lunch at Rush Ranch, and a stunning view of four birds lined up at regular intervals along a fence nearby: Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, and White-tailed Kite, looking as if they were posing for a magazine cover. The group was so big that I probably missed some species seen by some people along the way, but here's what I wrote down:

Pied-billed Grebe, Clark's Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, American Bittern, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Canada Goose, Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveller, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Canvasback, scaup, Common Goldeneye, Barrow's Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Turkey Vulture, White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, Prairie Falcon, Ring-necked Pheasant, Virginia Rail (heard), American Coot, Killdeer, American Avocet, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Forster's Tern, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Burrowing Owl, Anna's Hummingbird (heard), Northern Flicker, Black Phoebe, swallow, American Crow, Common Raven, Marsh Wren, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Loggerhead Shrike, European Starling, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow (mostly Suisun race), Lincoln's Sparrow (atypical individual, ID uncertain), Golden-crowned Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Harris' Sparrow (1 person was sure they saw it), Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Brewer's Blackbird, House Finch, American Goldfinch.

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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