Oakland Christmas Bird Count finds 177 species December 17, 2012

Posted by Ilana DeBare in Birding, Golden Gate Audubon

Sunday December 16th was Golden Gate Audubon’s 72nd annual Christmas Bird Count in Oakland. About 200 volunteers fanned out in a 15-mile circle, from the Oakland Airport in the south to Point Isabel in the north, and from Lafayette Reservoir in the east to Treasure Island in the West. Here is the initial report by Dave Quady, who organized the count with Bob Lewis. They will have a final report in several weeks.


By Dave Quady

About 200 birders covered the Oakland CBC count circle yesterday in far better weather than predicted a few days earlier, and they recorded 177 species (preliminary count), right around our recent average.

For the first time that I can recall we missed NO regularly occurring species on count day.  But we’re still interested in hearing about any unusual species found within the Oakland CBC circle during count week (Thurs Dec 13 through Wed Dec 19).  Please send me an email with details if you see, or have seen, a noteworthy species.

Arrowhead Marsh team discusses a rail sighting / Photo by Ilana DeBare

On Sunday, observers reported these unusual species:

  • Snow Goose: near the soccer fields along the frontage road at Eastshore State Park, Berkeley
  • Ross’s Goose: one on the infield at Golden Gate Fields, and one at Arrowhead Marsh

Ross's Goose at Arrowhead March / Photo by Ilana DeBare

  • Long-billed Dowitchers: at San Leandro Bay, identified by call
  • Short-eared Owl: one near the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza, and presumably a second bird at Arrowhead Marsh
  • Tree Swallows: a few over Lafayette Reservoir were the only swallow species reported
  • Black-and-white Warbler: between Albany Hill and the Ranch 99 (Pacific East Mall)

Black-and-white Warbler / Photo by Alan Krakauer

  • Hermit Warbler: one visiting a feeder on Yolo Street in Berkeley, one in the Tilden Park Botanical Garden, and one on Vollmer Peak
  • Clay-colored Sparrow: at a feeder on Deakin Street in Berkeley, photographed when it appeared about a week ago and also on Count Day.  At the compilation dinner it was chosen as the count’s Best Bird.
  • Swamp Sparrow: at Lafayette Reservoir near the visitor center, as George Griffeth reported to EBB Sightings yesterday

    Lafayette Reservoir team / Photo by Ilana DeBare

Mountain View Cemetery team / Photo by Ilana DeBare

I understand that there were recent reports of Red Crossbills and Evening Grosbeaks in Tilden Park. Neither species was found yesterday; if they were confirmed during count week, I’d appreciate receiving details.  A Tropical Kingbird seen in recent days at Garretson Point, confirmed by a description and by photographs, was not found on count day.  But we did find one ‘regularly occurring’ rarity — a male Tufted Duck, at Lake Merritt.  It was in the northeast part of the lake, which also held a female Redhead — scarce in recent years, seen between the shoreline and the island.

Alameda team compiles notes over lunch / Photo by Ilana DeBare

Great Horned Owl at Alameda Point, apparently the first ever documented there / Photo by Richard Bangert

Eurasian Collared-Dove, celebrated (after a fashion) as being new to the count last year, became just another ho-hum, don’t-even-need-a-rare-bird-report, widespread species this year.  No species new to the count were reported last night.

My co-compiler, Bob Lewis, joins me in thanking everyone who took part in this year’s count.

Please plan to join us on December 15, 2013 for the 73rd Oakland Christmas Bird Count.


Next up: Our San Francisco Christmas Bird Count on Thursday December 27th. (Sorry — registration for the count is now closed.)

For lots more photos of birds and birders from the Oakland CBC and the dinner after the count, click here to see the album on our Facebook page.

You can read the San Francisco Chronicle story on the Oakland CBC here, and the Contra Costa Times/Bay Area News Group story here

CBC volunteers finalize tallies and prepare to celebrate over dinner / Photo by Ilana DeBare

Bob Lewis and Dave Quady, co-compilers of the count / Photo by Ilana DeBare

Tags: Bay Area birds, birding, Black-and-white Warbler, CBC, Christmas Bird Count, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Great Horned Owl, Oakland birds, Oakland Christmas Bird Count, Ross's Goose.


  1. Joe Kelly
    March 22nd, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    I was walking around Lafeyette resevour yesterday. On the backside I saw a large bird of prey. It was a mottleted white, with gray and brown. At least a 4 ft wingspan. could it have been a young eagle? Or what was it?

  2. Joe Chaney
    May 1st, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Saw what looked like a Golden Eagle on the morning of April 30 on the east side of Cesar Chavez Park. Looked like a juvenile as it wasn’t particularly large and didn’t seem to be phased by my presence.