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2005 Trip Reports

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park

December 28, 2005

Leader(s): Travis Hails and Hilary Powers

# of participants: 0

# of species: 37

It rained heavily and no participants showed up, but there were lots of birds so the two intrepid leaders looked around anyway, spotting at least two Phalaropes in the lake. They were probably Red Phalaropes, but were just too far out to be sure. Four Great Blue Herons were chasing each other. The heavy rain stopped by 9:30 and conditions improved. We finished in the sun.

Cache Creek

December 16, 2005

Leader(s): Rusty Scalf

# of participants: 11

# of species: 40

It was a great trip, if foggy at the start. We had a nice list of birds including Varied Thrush, Common Moorhen, Belted Kingfisher, Hutton’s Vireo, Bewick’s Wren, Tree Swallow (surprising!), and Lincoln’s Sparrow. The trip ended with a fascinating tour by a Southern Wintun woman of the garden featuring plants of economic value to Native Americans. They grow large stands of five kinds of native grasses as well as seeds gathered for food. There were plants for basket making such as a native sedge, and roots gathered for heavy-load baskets and also medicinal plants. The docent discussed harvest and utilization techniques, and described acorn gathering and preparation. She spoke of her grandmother, and the many details her grandmother left her for use of these plants.

Aquatic Park

December 11, 2005

Leader(s): James Sword, Park Ranger (substituting for Carol) Kiser

# of participants: 3

# of species: 26

We had a cold morning but were fortunate to ID a White-throated Sparrow as well as encounter the Common Loon that spends most winters here but usually eludes us on our bird walks. We also saw Pelagic Cormorant, Heermann’s Gull, Mew Gull, Hermit Thrush, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Gray Lodge and Sacramento Wildlife Refuges

December 10–11, 2005

Leader(s): Steve and Rene Margolin

# of participants: 11

# of species: 85

We had beautiful weather, especially compared with some years when we have been washed out on this trip. We saw massive numbers of wintering waterfowl as well as Sandhill Cranes and raptors including Bald Eagle. We had good scope looks at all the ducks and geese and also Wilson’s Snipe. Ring-necked Pheasant were abundant throughout the Sacramento refuge, despite hunting season.

San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum

December 4, 2005

Leader(s): Allan Ridley and Ginny Marshall

# of participants: 40

# of species: 36

The highlight of our trip was two Red-bellied Sapsuckers fighting and chasing one another in a Photinia berry tree. We also saw five California Quail, Mew Gull,

Glaucous-winged Gull, Pygmy Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Hermit Thrush, Warbling Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, and Pine Siskin.

Palo Alto and Charleston Slough

December 4, 2005

Leader(s): Harry Fuller

# of participants: 15

# of species: 63

We had perfect weather and were greeted by many ducks including Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, Surf Scoter, and Common Goldeneye. We also observed a group of American White Pelicans feeding. We observed seven gull species including Bonaparte’s Gull, Mew Gull, Herring Gull, and Glaucous-winged Gull, along with a good assortment of shorebirds.

Arrowhead Marsh Bicycle Trip

December 3, 2005

Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett

# of participants:

# of species: 48

From the bridge between Alameda and Bay Farm Island we biked down the trail of Shoreline Park in Alameda and saw lots of Surf Scoters and Eared Grebes in the channel, and then we rode back up the trail and around to Doolittle Pond to see the tide rushing in and a Cooper’s Hawk on the fence. It was cool and windy but thankfully sunny. We made a short stop at the Doolittle Staging area on busy Doolittle Drive, where we saw lots of Canada Geese on the lawn. Finally at Arrowhead, we found that the seasonal wetlands already have some water but not too many birds yet, although we found six Greater Yellowlegs in one group. Over the marsh a Northern Harrier was very actively searching for prey, and a Great Egret was hunting. The Clapper Rails raised the alarm when the harrier swooped over. Fortunately we observed no hunting success, but finally managed to see a clever clapper hiding under the viewing platform which juts into the marsh. After that we called it a day and rode the SF Bay Trail all the way to High St. Bridge and even found some Western Meadowlarks. It was a lovely 9-mile trip.

Berkeley Marina

November 26, 2005

Leader(s): Anne Hoff

# of participants: 25

# of species: 50

The morning was clear, windy, and chilly, and raptors were notably absent, except for a lone Red-tailed Hawk. We found one Brant behind the Seabreeze Restaurant with the coots. While we saw 50 species, it felt like we were working hard to do it. There were not large numbers of anything. We got good views of male Bufflehead and Red-breasted Merganser and a spectacular flyover of about 15 American White Pelicans.

Lake Merritt

November 23, 2005

Leader(s): Travis Hails, Hilary Powers, Ruth Tobey

# of participants: 15

# of species: 37

We had a warm, beautiful morning and walked east along the lakeshore to observe the ducks and grebes. We had great scope views to contrast Common Goldeneye and Barrow’s Goldeneye and good views of Eared Grebe. We also had good scope views of Brown Pelican. As usual, the Black-crowned Night-Herons were just a few feet away from our group and the scaup swam close to shore. We saw both Red-breasted Sapsucker and Nuttall’s Woodpecker, as well as Yellow-rumped Warbler and Townsend’s Warbler.

Eastshore State Park Clapper Rail Run

El Cerrito to Richmond

November 23, 2005

Leader(s): Bob Lewis, Dave Quady, and Elizabeth Sojourner

# of participants: 16

# of species: 4

Sixteen birders, perhaps looking for an escape from Thanksgiving preparations, took an evening walk along the Bay Trail from Point Isabel to Meeker Slough, in search of Clapper Rails. These birds are endangered in California, and we were interested to see if we could add them to the new Eastshore State Park bird list. Since the rails inhabit salt marsh areas with a lot of salicornia, it seemed likely that there might be some along the northern stretch of the park, where there is suitable habitat on both sides of the trail. The group started out slightly before dusk, and it wasn’t long before the keck-keck-keck! of a clapper was heard. Then Dave spotted a bird working its way along the shoreline, and all got reasonable looks at this elusive critter, even though the light was rapidly failing. Walking back, with the city sparkling in the west, we all agreed that this was a nice beginning to our Thanksgiving holiday.

Western Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
November 20, 2005
Leader(s): David Armstrong
# of participants: 15
# of species: 49

A group of 15 or so birders enjoyed the nice weather on our bird walk. Highlights were three continuing Wood Ducks on Lloyd Lake, a Varied Thrush at Middle Lake, a Say’s Phoebe at the Buffalo Paddock, and a Spotted Towhee at Bercut.

Redwood Shores to Foster City Bicycle Trip
November 19, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 5
# of species: 62

Starting about 9:30, we first rode along Marina Lagoon between Foster City and Belmont/San Mateo, venturing over to Port Royal Avenue to look for ducks in the lagoon by the condos. Then we rode along Belmont Slough in Redwood Shores around to the sewage treatment plant at the end of Radio Road and Steinberger Slough back to the San Carlos Airport, ending around 1:30. It was a beautiful, calm, sunny day and we saw 62 species. A dead Red-winged Blackbird was found in the parking area near Island Park, off Marine Parkway. We saw many ducks including Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Gadwall, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and Ruddy Duck. The area is also excellent for shorebirds; we saw Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Whimbrel, and Black Turnstone as well as Black Skimmer.

Arrowhead Marsh

Oakland

November 13, 2005

Leader(s): Pamela Llewelyn and Michael Butler

# of participants: 27

# of species: 49

On a sunny, breezy morning we were rewarded with excellent looks at Clapper Rails as well as a good assortment of ducks and grebes. Also American Kestrel, Belted Kingfisher, Wilson’s Snipe, American Pipit, and Common Yellowthroat.

Aquatic Park, San Francisco
November 13, 2005
Leader(s): Carol Kiser
# of participants: 3
# of species: 14

There were 2 or 3 Townsend’s Warblers greeting us at the cable car turnaround in Aquatic Park. We also saw Brown Pelican, Anna’s Hummingbird, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet as well as the Cherry-headed Conure flock flying overhead.

Valle Vista and Upper San Leandro Reservoir
November 12, 2005
Leader(s): Denise Wight
# of participants: 20
# of species: 61

Our morning walk started out cold and foggy, but gradually became a delightful, sunny and warm autumn day. A total of 20 birders encountered 61 species, including distant scope views of three Hooded Mergansers, fleeting views of about 20 skittish Wood Ducks in flight, and good views of Ring-necked Ducks.We also enjoyed woodland species such as woodpeckers, nuthatches, Brown Creeper, and Varied Thrush.

Strybing Arboretum

San Francisco

November 6, 2005

Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Helen McKenna, Ginny Marshall

# of participants: 30

# of species: 40

We had a foggy, cool, drizzly morning, but still saw a good number of species including House Wren, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Hermit Thrush, and Purple Finch.

Berkeley to Richmond on SF Bay Trail Bicycle Trip
November 5, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 7
# of species: 59

The weather was beautiful. We started at Aquatic Park and went north to Richmond Marina and back.We went into the Berkeley Meadow area, seeing a Cooper’s Hawk and Belted Kingfisher there. Ducks are returning, and we saw Green-winged Teal and Gadwall on Meeker Slough and American Wigeons on the bay. Also on the bay we saw an incredible number of shorebirds in huge flocks, including the largest group of Black-bellied Plovers ever. We saw Pelagic Cormorant, Red-breasted Merganser, and Black Turnstone.

Lake Merritt
October 28, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails and Hilary Powers
# of participants: 2
# of species: 38

Despite light rain, we found a decent number of species including Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Eared Grebe, Peregrine Falcon, Belted Kingfisher, Hutton’s Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Townsend’s Warbler.

Hayward Regional Shoreline
October 23, 2005
Leader(s): Michael Butler and Pamela Llewellyn
# of participants: 11
# of species: 59

We had a diverse array of birds with good comparisons of Horned Grebe and Eared Grebe, Western Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Lincoln’s Sparrow as well as White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrow. We also saw White-tailed Kite, Ruddy Turnstone, Black Turnstone, Sanderling, Horned Lark, American Pipit, and Western Meadowlark.

Aquatic Park, San Francisco
October 23, 2005
Leader(s): Carol Kiser
# of participants: 6
# of species: 15

We saw a Least Tern fishing at the Hyde Street Pier and four Canada Geese flying overhead. We ID’d Heermann’s Gull and Fox Sparrow and the Cherry-headed Conures also staged a fly-over. Unfortunately there were about five feral cats at the base of Fort Mason Hill at the foot of Van Ness Avenue.

San Leandro to Hayward on S.F. Bay Trail
Bicycle Trip
October 22, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 3
# of species: 52

It was a cold, foggy morning. We started off at low tide and the water was calm. Highlights included four species of grebe—Pied-billed, Eared, Western, and Clark’s— and Brown Pelican, Green-winged Teal, White-tailed Kite, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, and American Pipit.

Hawk Hill and Marin Headlands

October 16, 2005

Leader(s): Bob Power

# of participants: 18

# of species: 31

We had a gorgeous clear, warm morning observing the hawk and raptor migration. We saw Turkey Vulture, White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, and Peregrine Falcon. At the headlands we saw Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Brown Pelican, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, and Double-crested Cormorant.

Eastshore State Park-South Richmond Shoreline
October 14, 2005
Leader(s): Bob Lewis and Karma DeWitt
# of participants: 30
# of species: 44

Thirty birders showed up for the first of the bi-monthly field trips Golden Gate Audubon is sponsoring at the Eastshore State Park. We saw 44 species and over 1,000 individual birds. We began to learn where the shorebirds roost at high tide and enjoyed a few surprises, like Cooper’s Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, and Downy Woodpecker, as we walked from Point Isabel to Meeker Slough and back. The weather was warm at the start, but a lot cooler and windy at the finish. Among our number was a small group of Americorps folks led by Linn Jensen, and we were lucky to get a brief story from Martha Berthelsen of The Watershed Project on the work being done near Meeker Slough to improve the habitat there.

Arrowhead Marsh
Alameda County
October 12, 2005
Leader(s): Courtenay Peddle
# of participants: 18
# of species: 41

We had a beautiful, sunny, warm morning. The bay was like a mirror. A few immature Double-crested Cormorants floated offshore along with a Pied-billed Grebe, but the ducks are still absent. The highlight of our trip was spotting a Clapper Rail in the Restoration Area. We were also treated to a pair of male American Kestrels playing “King of the Hill” in the trees next to the road. We got good scope looks at the kestrels. Also Western Meadowlarks and American Pippits.

Año Nuevo State Reserve
October 7, 2005
Leader(s): Bruce Mast
# of participants:10
# of species: 51

Yesterday, 10 of us made the trip down the San Mateo coast to see what was stirring at Año Nuevo State Reserve. The short answer was a strong northwest wind and not much else—certainly no migrant flocks and very few raptors. At the pond, we found a couple pairs of Ruddy Ducks and a Ring-necked Duck pair, and a Coot that still has a fuzzy juvenile in tow. We also heard Virginia Rail. We found half a dozen Whimbrels on the beach below. The plateau area leading to the staging area was full of sparrows, mostly Song and White-crowned. We got unsatisfying looks at one Lincoln’s Sparrow. Our brief sea watch produced a Common Murre and some distant black dots that might have been Murrelets. The highlights were mammalian: Harbor Seals and Otters floating in the kelp beds. A Say’s Phoebe showed off for us in the dunes. At South Point, a large flock of Surfbirds and Black Turnstones was working over the kelp piled up on the beach. The tide was high at the Elephant Seal overlook so shorebirds were limited to a handful of Sanderlings, a couple Dunlins, and 4 or 5 Marbled Godwits. A single Red-Breasted Merganser was out on the cove in the direction of North Point. For extra credit, a few of us made a short detour up Gazos Creek on the way home.Our experience echoed those of other recent visitors, with action largely confined to a couple Townsend’s Warblers and a calling Swainson’s Thrush. Many thanks to Ranger Gary Strahan for permission to bird the restricted access areas around South Point. Park staff have been wonderful supporters of our GGA trips.

Arrowhead Marsh
Alameda County
October 7, 2005
Leader(s): Susan Groves
# of participants: 20
# of species: 21

We had a fine turnout of enthusiastic kids who spent part of the time in habitat restoration and part of the time looking for birds. We saw 21 species, including Brown Pelican, Clapper Rail, Bewick’s Wren, Common Yellowthroat, and Western Meadowlark.

Albany Plateau and Shoreline

October 4, 2005

Leader(s): Michael Butler

# of participants: 20

# of species: 47

Our entire group saw both a Peregrine Falcon and a Eurasian Wigeon. Many participants saw a close-up Pelagic Cormorant. We saw a Common Loon on the open water, two Spotted Sandpipers in the riprap at the edge of the Bay and two Black Oystercatchers as well as an Osprey and an American Kestrel. By far, the most numerous were the scaups and Ruddy Ducks.

Strybing Arboretum/ San Francisco Botanical Garden
October 2, 2005
Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Helen McKenna, Ginny Marshall
# of participants: 40
# of species: 38

Today was beautiful: clear, cool, and sunny after days of cold, blowing fog. We had a very birdy morning. The birds, especially White-crowned Sparrows, Golden-crowned Sparrows, and Fox Sparrows were singing songs or song fragments like it was spring. Hawks flew screaming overhead; the California Quail were foraging in good sight. We also saw Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and Townsend’s Warbler.

Hawk Hill
Marin County
October 1, 2005
Leader(s): Stephanie Arthur

It was pea-soup fog for the dozen or so intrepid birders who made their way up to Hawk Hill for our field trip at 10 a.m. While waiting for the sun to break through, we looked at various field guides, talked about the species of hawks, falcons, and eagles that typically fly over the hill and waited optimistically to put our knowledge to use. Unfortunately, the fog never cleared. At about 11 a.m. Allen Fish, director of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO), came up the hill and treated us to an entertaining and informative talk about thermals and raptor movement, migration, radio telemetry, GGRO, hawk ID, and everything else you ever wanted to know about hawks. At about 12:30, a GGRO docent arrived with a little male Sharp-shinned Hawk for a banding demonstration. When the sharpie was released, we finally got to see a hawk in flight!

Lake Merced
San Francisco
October 1, 2005
Leader(s): David Armstrong

A small group of birders braved the weather on this morning’s trip to Lake Merced and Fort Funston. Despite the heavy, drippy fog we did find a few flocks, with mostly common western stuff, and there were a few interesting sightings on the lake itself including Common Moorhen, Wood Duck, Gadwall, five warbler species and Bewick’s Wren. At the Canal we saw a Pacific Slope Flycatcher, Hutton’s Vireo, Warbling Vireo and Lincoln’s Sparrow (with a nice scope view). At Fort Funston we saw Say’s Phoebe, Western Tanager and the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was a nice surprise.

Point Reyes
Marin County
September 30, 2005
Leader(s): Bob Lewis
# of participants: 13
# of species: 59

There is a fair amount of construction going on at Point Reyes, and we were unable to go to the Fish Docks. We spent a little time at Drake’s Beach and saw several Barn Owls well, as well as a flock of about 100 Tri-colored Blackbirds, but the weather was just too good for many migrants. Five Brooks was busy early in the morning, with Townsend’s and Wilson’s Warblers, Winter Wren and Fox Sparrows singing, and about 100 California Quail busily foraging. A few of the group saw four River Otters at the White House Pond. We also saw Wood Duck, Common Moorhen, Belted Kingfisher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Common Yellowthroat.

Lake Merritt
Oakland
September 28, 2005
Leader(s): Hillary Powers, Ruth Tobey
# of participants: 11
# of species: 33

We had a warm, sunny morning. A small flock of Ruddy Ducks have returned to the lake, also Pied-billed Grebe and Horned Grebe. We had good scope views of a male Belted Kingfisher and excellent, extended observations of a Bewick’s Wren and a Fox Sparrow.

Aquatic Park
San Francisco
September 25, 2005
Leader(s): Carol Kiser
# of participants: 5
# of species: 11

The clear highlight of this trip was a Western Meadowlark by the cable car turnaround in the grass under some trees. We also ID’d Brown Pelican, Heerman’s Gull, Western Gull.

Bodega Bay Bicycle Trip
September 24, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 6
# of species: 59

At Bodega Bay we birded Doran County Park, Smith Brothers Road, Bodega Bay town center, Diekmann’s Store, Rail Ponds, West Side Road, Hole-in-the-head, Owl Canyon, and Bodega Head. Tropical Kingbird at Bodega Head and Red-necked Phalarope at Doran Park in the stream near the pond were both highlights. Marbled Murrelets off Doran Park in the bay were a treat. Other species included Pacific Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Ruddy Turnstone, Surfbird, and Common Yellowthroat.

Hayward Regional Shoreline – West
Winton Avenue
September 23, 2005
Leader(s): Bob Lewis
# of participants: 18
# of species: 42

There were migrants in the anise on the way to the shoreline, including a Willow Flycatcher and Yellow, Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers. Thousands of shorebirds were feeding in the mudflats on the way to Frank’s Dump, including a number of Red Knots. Swirls of Western and Least Sandpipers swept above hundreds of feeding Marbled Godwits, Willits, Black-bellied Plovers, and Sanderlings. At Frank’s Dump, three large and very separate flocks, one of American Avocets, one of Marbled Godwits, and the last of Willets loafed in the shallows.

Lincoln Park, San Francisco

September 18, 2005

Leader(s): David Armstrong

# of participants: n/a

# of species: 49

We missed all of the reported vagrants on this morning’s birdwalk, but we had a good assortment of western migrants. Highlights included one or two Chipping Sparrows in the East Wash, my first and second Northern Flickers of the fall, a fly-away Acorn Woodpecker at East Fort Miley (seen first by Dave Quady and then by some members of my group after the trip), a Red-breasted Nuthatch at Fort Miley West, and a Spotted Towhee on the plateau. Other species included Willow Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Brown Creeper, House Wren, Winter Wren, Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting.

Bicycle Trip

September 17, 2005

Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett

# of participants: n/a

# of species: 40

Our species list included American Wigeon, Spotted Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, Dunlin, Red-necked Phalarope, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Coyote Hills Regional Park

September 11, 2005

Leader(s): Michael Butler and Pamela Llewellyn

# of participants: 14

# of species: 52

The Willow Flycatcher was a clear highlight, as was the Great Horned Owl. Our very knowledgeable group helped with spotting other species, including Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Osprey, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Dunlin, Bewick’s Wren, Common Yellowthroat, and Fox Sparrow.

Mono Lake

September 10–11, 2005
Leader(s): Rusty Scalf
# of participants: n/a
# of species: 83

We had an outstanding list of birds seen on this trip, including wonderful views of Sage Grouse at Bodie, a surprise Long-eared Owl at Benton Hot Springs, and a fine Willow Flycatcher at County Park. Also Wilson’s Phalarope, Red-necked Phalarope, Bonaparte’s Gull, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Green-tailed Towhee, and Chipping Sparrow.

Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco

September 4, 2005

Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Helen McKenna, Ginny Marshall

# of participants: 37

# of species: 33

Hermit Warblers in the Monterey Pines in the John Muir area were a major treat; Western Wood Pewee and Willow Flycatcher by the Moon View Garden were also highlights.   Plus we saw many of the standard species such as California Quail, Red-shouldered Hawk, Anna’s Hummingbird, Allen’s Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Pygmy Nuthatch.   Also Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and Townsend’s Warbler.

Lake Merritt
August 24, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails and Hillary Powers
# of participants: 5
# of species: 25

Today’s trip had 5 participants, 4 of whom were not aware of the trip but joined the trip in progress. All but the original participant were beginners. As a result, we did not venture far from the start, as all birds were novelties, and much discussion revolved around basic concepts, such as molt and plumage variations. The juvenile Cooper’s Hawk was quite visible, and presented a show of Cooperism. The juvenile plumage of Cedar Waxwing also generated interest.

Lake Merritt
August 20, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails
# of participants: 4
# of species: 31

Under overcast skies, four people showed up for the bird walk. Most stayed the course, but one had to leave at 11 a.m. Highlights were the Peregrin Falcon and Cooper’s Hawk (juvenile). We also saw Green Heron, Caspian Tern, Belted Kingfisher.

Fort Bragg/Noyo Canyon Pelagic Trip

August 14, 2005

Leader(s): Alan Hopkins

# of participants: 36

# of species: 35

Mammals sighted were White-sided Dolphin, Northern Right Whale, and Humpback Whale. Birds included Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmar, Buller’s Fulmar, Pink-footed Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Buller’s Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Ashy Storm-Petrel, South Polar Skua, Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, Long-tailed Jaeger, Sabine’s Gull, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Cassin’s Auklet, Rhinoceros Auklet, and Arctic Tern.

Tilden Regional Park Birds and Butterflies

August 9, 2005

Leader(s): Bob Lewis

# of participants: 7

# of species: 24

We started in a cold fog and finished before it lifted, so the butterfly portion of the trip was a bit slow, with only a Painted Lady for our efforts. We had good looks at Hutton’s Vireos, Brown Creepers, and Wilson’s Warblers, and watched a sentinel California Quail on alert as a covey foraged below. Other species included Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Swainson’s Thrush, American Goldfinch.

Farallon Islands Pelagic Trip

August 7, 2005

Leader(s): Alan Hopkins

# of participants: 70

# of species: 27

The trip is mostly about seeing Tufted Puffins and the Farallon Islands. However, this year’s highlight was a group of killer whales on a kill. At one point the whales tossed a California sea lion into the air before eating it. We were up close and personal! Bird species included Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmar, Pink-footed Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Brandt’s Cormorant, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Cassin’s Auklet, Rhinoceros Auklet, and Tufted Puffin.

Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco

August 7, 2005

Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Ginny Marshall

# of participants: 25

# of species: 20

The trip started in fog, clearing as the morning progressed. Species seen included California Quail, Red-tailed Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, and Pygmy Nuthatch.

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park

Oakland

July 27, 2005

Leader(s): Travis Hails, Hillary Powers, Ruth Tobey

# of participants: 2

# of species: 26

We had excellent scope views of a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk calling to its parents. A Peregrine Falcon practiced take-offs and landings from a highrise apartment building, making wide circles in the sky. The Ross’s Goose had molted its flight feathers and is still tamely strolling with the Canada Goose group near the Nature Center. Three young Western Gulls begged for food from their parents and splashed in the lake shallows. We had good looks at a Brown Pelican and Mallards in eclipse plumage. Other species included Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Amiercan Coot, Caspian Tern, Forster’s Tern, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, and White-breasted Nuthatch.

Lake Merritt

Oakland

July 23, 2005

Leader(s): Travis Hails

# of participants: 3

# of species: 26

I had three participants, one a beginner. Once again the duck pond fascinated everyone, as it really sets the stage for “What is a Mallard?” and all the Mallards are in eclipse plumage now. Highlights: good scope looks at the juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, flyby of two Green Herons (it found a mate!), continued presence of the Ross’s Goose, three fledged Western Gulls on the first island. This is a surprise; I thought nearest colony for this species was Alcatraz. This seems to be one pair only, not a colony. Other species included Pied-billed Grebe, Herring Gull, and White-breasted Nuthatch.

Tilden Park

July 12, 2005

Leader(s): Bob Lewis

# of participants: 10

# of species: 30

The weather was clear and warm. Noteworthy were the many singing Swainson’s Thrushes. In addition to the birds, we saw 10 species of butterflies. Other birds   either seen or heard included California Quail, Red-shouldered Hawk, White-throated Swift, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Huttons’ Vireo, Bewick’s Wren, Wilson’s Warbler, and Spotted Towhee.

Strybing Arboretum

San Francisco

July 3, 2005

Leader(s): Ginny Marshall

# of participants: 13

# of species: 28

Major highlights were a beautiful male Magnolia Warbler singing in the willows by John Muir Pond as well as scope views of a male Hooded Oriole. We had both scope and close-up looks at a pair of California Quail and a fly-over of an Elegant Tern. Other species included Downy Woodpecker, Pygmy Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, and Purple Finch.

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park

June 22, 2005

Leaders: Travis Hails, Hillary Powers, Ruth Tobey

# of participants: 5

# of species: 34

An amazingly tame Ross’s Goose was hanging out with the huge group of molting Canada Geese. We had a surprisingly large bird count; we were expecting maybe a dozen to 20 species, but ended up with 34. Egrets, Black-crowned Night Herons, and Double-crested Cormorants were all working on new clutches. Other species seen included Brown Pelican, Caspian Tern, Violet-green Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Barn Swallow, Oak Titmouse, Bewick’s Wren, and Hooded Oriole.

Lake Merritt

Oakland
June 18, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails
# of participants: 2
# of species: 34

Under threatening skies, this trip attracted one participant, a man from Walnut Creek who had about three years of birding experience. We managed to stay dry, and had a few nice views. The Cooper’s Hawks fledged Monday or Tuesday this week, and at least one juvenile is present. The adult threatened us with an attack behavior. Scary!! Other highlights were the Ross’s Goose, Least Tern and one juvenile Bufflehead. Also saw Brown Pelican, Green Heron, Caspian Tern, White-throated Swift, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Oak Titmouse, Lesser Goldfinch.

Tilden Regional Park
June 7, 2005
Leader(s): Bob Lewis
# of participants: 8
# of species: 26

This was my first try at birding with a butterfly net. We heard many more birds than we saw, but a confiding Wrentit and two close Pacific-slope Flycatchers balanced the constant beautiful song of the Swainson’s Thrush. Our butterfly list didn’t get started until the sun began to warm us, and finally included 8 species- including many Painted Ladies. Other butterflies: Western Tiger Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Orange Sulfur, Common Buckeye, Common Ringlet, Common Woodnymph, Sachem Skipper.

Strybing Arboretum
San Francisco
June 6, 2005
Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Helen McKenna, Ginny Marshall
# of participants: 40
# of species: 32

We got close up views of juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk and also close views of Great Blue Heron. We saw nesting Bushtit, Raven and Black Phoebe. A California Quail pair were spotted with 8-12 babies (different reports). Plus two other Quail pair were seen, all in the succulent garden. A Purple Finch was singing at the entrance, and Fox Sparrows were still present.

Hayward Shoreline
Alameda County
June 5, 2005
Leader(s): Pamela Llewellyn
# of participants: 22
# of species: 46

Our highlights included many nesting birds; the Eared Grebe were particularly spectacular. Also Ruddy Duck, Snowy Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Barn Swall and Cliff Swallow. We saw a number of noisy Great-tailed Grackle, and got good looks at baby Coots and fast-growing Canada Geese babies.

Yosemite National Park

June 3-5, 2005

Leaders: Dave Quady, Bob Lewis

# of participants: 25

# of species: 65

Twenty-five birders enjoyed glorious weather and a fine selection of birds on our annual birding trip to the west side of Yosemite National Park. The 65 species were identified and seen or heard by at least one leader and one participant. These included six woodpeckers, six flycatchers, and seven warblers. We were disappointed to miss Great Gray Owl for the third year in a row, but the very fat black bear we saw in Chevron Meadow was a fine consolation. Better still, many participants saw an actively foraging Great Gray Owl in another meadow, some as they traveled to one of our rendezvous points, others later in the day. Our list included Mountain Quail, Northern Pygmy Owl, White-headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Cassin’s Vireo, Mountain Chickadee, American Dipper, Hermit Thrush, Nashville Warbler, Hermit Warbler, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Red Crossbill.

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park

Oakland
May 25, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails, Hilary Powers, Ruth Tobey
# of participants: 18
# of species: 24

The winter ducks have all departed, leaving the lake a bit on the quiet side. But nesting continues for the Great Egrets. We also had a Black Phoebe nesting on top of a light fixture at the maintenance shed. Perhaps it’s the second nesting, since we had seen a nest in the same location in March. We had really good looks at a very cooperative Downy Woodpecker. Black-crowned Night Herons continue to be in great abundance.

Aquatic Park, Upper Fort Mason
San Francisco
May 22, 2005
Leader(s): Carol Kiser
# of participants: 3
# of species: 12

Our birds were the usual seasonal regulars: Double-crested Cormorant, Snowy Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Western Gull, California Towhee. Unfortunately another common occurrence were the feral cats below Fort Mason hill on Van Ness Avenue.

Sunol Regional Wilderness

Alameda County
May 21, 2005
Leader(s): Bruce Mast
# of participants: 15
# of species: 49

We saw a number of nests: Red-shouldered Hawk, Warbling Vireo and Bullock’s Oriole. Also spotted Golden Eagles, California Quail, White-throated Swift, Northern Flicker, Cassin’s Vireo, Hutton’s Vireo, Bewick’s Wren, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler.

Garin Regional Park

Alameda County
May 15, 2005
Leader(s): Anne Hoff
# of participants: 7
# of species: 42

Nests were the major highlight of this trip, especially the Red-tailed Hawk with two chicks. A Nuttall’s Woodpecker was feeding its young at a nesthole. Other nesters included a Black Phoebe, Barn Swallow and American Robin. We also saw Yellow Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Bullock’s Oriole, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin.

Iron Horse Trail Bicycle Trip
Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
May 14, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 8
# of species: 38

We had excellent cycling weather for this 21 mile trip. A clear highlight was the Burrowing Owl in Dublin. A close second was the Green Heron in Danville. We saw four species of swallows: Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cliff Swallow and Barn Swallow. Also Bewick’s Wren, Western Meadowlark, Lesser Goldfinch.

Tilden Park

Alameda County
May 10, 2005
Leader(s): Bob Lewis
# of participants: 17
# of species: 35

We started in the parking lot near the Little Farm, seeking spring migrants and nesters. We saw a Pacific-slope Flycatcher carrying food back to a probable nest, a pair of Black Phoebes doing the same, a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers looking like they were thinking about domestic activities, and lots of song from Warbling Vireos, attempts at song by Hutton’s Vireos and gangs of Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Bushtits zipping about. The Allen’s Hummingbirds were all knockouts.

Glen Canyon Park

San Francisco
May 8, 2005
Leader(s): David Armstrong
# of participants:
# of species:

Highlights of today’s two hour walk were three vireo species, Lazuli Bunting, Bullock’s Oriole, Black-headed Grosbeak and Olive-sided Flycatcher.

Tilden Regional Park
Alameda County
May 8, 2005
Leader(s): Lewis Cooper
# of participants: 9
# of species: 34

Rain and threat of rain did not dampen our birding until about 10:45-11 when rain was moderately heavy. Wilson’s Warblers and Black-headed Grosbeaks were vocal but difficult to see. Highlights were two nests with sitting females: Anna’s Hummingbird in an alder at Jewell Lake (close view) and Warbling Vireo in a willow near the trail south of Jewell Lake (another close view). Other species included Ash-throated Flycatcher, Hutton’s Vireo, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Bewick’s Wren, Swainson’s Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Purple Finch.

Wildcat Canyon Regional Park
Contra Costa County
May 1, 2005
Leader(s): Malcolm Sproul
# of participants: 9
# of species: 52

The major highlight of this trip was a singing male Grasshopper Sparrow on a sunny grassy slope. He stayed cooperatively in plain sight while we got excellent looks through the spotting scope. Wild Turkeys were seen for the second year in a row. Last year there was one female; this year seven males were in the flock. We got a quick look at a large falcon, likely a Peregrine. Other species included Allen’s Hummingbird, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Cassin’s Vireo, Hutton’s Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler (singing repeatedly), Western Tanager, Lark Sparrow, Lazuli Bunting.

Strybing Arboretum
San Francisco
May 1, 2005
Leader(s): Ginny Marshall
# of participants: 43
# of species: 31

Today a pair of California Quail took a dust bath at our feet! A Pygmy Nuthatch scolded us from his nest hole in a century plant. We had a flyover of a Bullock’s Oriole and sighted both Anna’s and Allen’s Hummingbirds. Also Downy Woodpecker, Brown Creeper, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler.

Mines Road
Alameda, Santa Clara, San Joaquin Counties
April 30, 2005
Leader(s): George Bing
# of participants: 31
# of species: 65

Our loop drive covered 109 miles through the hills southeast of Livermore on Mines Road and Del Puerto Canyon Road. We saw a number of birds not usually easily found in the Bay Area, including: Lewis’s Woodpecker, Phainopepla, Sage Sparrow, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Canyon Wren, Roadrunner, Golden Eagle, Lawrence’s Goldfinch, Cassin’s Kingbird. We also spotted one coyote, but no Costa’s hummer or Grasshopper Sparrow this year.

Lake Merritt
Oakland
April 27, 2005
Leader(s): Hilary Powers and Ruth Tobey
# of participants: 4
# of species: 30

Our Tufted Duck remains at the lake along with the Greater Scaups. We saw one Surf Scoter, and a few Ruddy Ducks, but most of the winter visitors have gone. We had wonderful views of both Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets displaying in full breeding plumage. The Double Crested Cormorants are nesting and a few baby Canada Geese are already trailing after their parents. We got nice views of a Sharp-shinned Hawk perched in a tree, also Greater White-fronted Goose, Forster’s Tern, Cedar Waxwing.

Mitchell Canyon
Contra Costa County
April 24, 2005
Leader(s): Pamela Llewellyn and Michael Butler
# of participants: 31
# of species: 55

This was an excellent trip for observing nesting birds. We observed a busy Oak Titmouse coming and going from her nesting hole in a tree next to the parking lot. Further along we saw a Cooper’s Hawk, most likely the same bird using the same nest as last year. We had good looks at three Black-headed Grosbeak nests and also a nesting Nutall’s Woodpecker. Other species included Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Allen’s Hummingbird, Acorn Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Cassin’s Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Western Tanager, Bullock’s Oriole, Purple Finch.

Stevens Creek Trail, Mountain View Shoreline, Palo Alto Baylands Bicycle Trip
April 16, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 12
# of species: 53

The highlight for most of us was the Bullock’s Oriole at Shoreline Lake, and the nesting Snowy Egrets at the Duck Pond at Palo Alto Baylands ran a close second. The weather was beautiful: perfect for biking. Other Species included Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Common Moorhen, Semipalmated Plover, Whimbrel, Tree Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Common Yellowthroat.

Tilden Regional Park
April 12, 2005
Leader(s): Bob Lewis
# of participants: 25
# of species: 31

The morning was pretty cold, and things started slowly, but then it warmed up a bit and we saw a few more birds. There was a lot of bird song, and a number of migrants were seen well in full song, including Wilson’s and Orange-crowned Warblers, Warbling Vireo and Black-headed Grosbeak. Other species included Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Violet-green Swallow, Wrentit.

Redwood Shores, Redwood City Bicycle Trip
San Mateo
April 9, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 8
# of species: 63

A pair of American Pipits were seen on Steinberger Slough by the Dog Park at Redwood Shores. Many ducks are still present. Mallard ducklings are already here. Double-crested Cormorants are nesting on the high voltage towers. We saw Common Yellowthroat, thanks to Brad. Also Greater White-fronted Goose, Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Hooded Merganser, Osprey, American Kestrel, Whimbrel, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Brown Creeper.

Strybing Arboretum
San Francisco
April 3, 2005
Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Helen McKenna, Ginny Marshall
# of participants: 42
# of species: 31

We saw nesting Red-shouldered Hawks. In the Japanese moonview stream there were both Myrtle and Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warblers bathing.

Lake Chabot Park
Alameda County
April 2, 2005
Leader(s): Emily Serkin
# of participants: 4
# of species: 39

We viewed the Great Blue Heron rookery in which several birds were on nests. We had a lot of singing birds, including numbers of Orange-crowned Warblers, Lesser Goldfinches and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Also Sharp-shinned Hawk, Allen’s Hummingbird, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Hutton’s Vireo, Cliff Swallow, Bewick’s Wren, Townsend’s Warbler, Purple Finch.

Candlestick State Recreation Area
San Francisco
March 26, 2005
Leader(s): David Armstrong
# of participants: 16
# of species:

We walked two miles; highlights were breeding-plumaged Eared Grebe, Dowitcher sp, Yellow-billed Magpie, American Avocet and Black-bellied Plover in Alternate Plumage.

Lake Merritt
Oakland
March 23, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails and Hillary Powers
# of participants: 4
# of species: 36

We had an overcast morning. Red-breasted Mergansers were in the lake. Egrets were breeding early. We saw Ring-necked Duck, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, four species of Gulls: Ring-billed, California, Western and Glaucous-winged.

Aquatic Park, San Francisco

March 20, 2005

Leader(s): Carol Kiser

# of participants: 3

# of species: 13

Today was mostly cloudy, windy and cold with some rain showers. We saw both male and female Downy Woodpeckers on the lawn/bench area at lower Van Ness Avenue and a male Allen’s Hummingbird as well as a Yellow-rumped Warbler and Spotted Towhee.

Lake Merritt
Oakland
March 19, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails
# of participants: 4
# of species: 35

It was raining at 8 a.m. and raied steadily until 9 a.m. I had 4 hardy birders out in weather meant only for ducks, so we looked at the ducks for two hours. The tufted duck is still here. We also saw Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Cedar Waxwing, Oak Titmouse, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Townsend’s Warbler.

Coyote Hills
Alameda County
March 13, 2005
Leader(s): Michael Butler and Pamela Llewellyn
# of participants: 30
# of species: 54

On a cool, overcast morning we covered about 4 miles, and saw Ring-necked Pheasant, California Quail, Virginia Rail, Common Moorhen, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Tree Swallow, Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat, Fox Sparrow.

Honey Lake
Lassen County
March 12-13, 2005
Leader(s): Dave Quady
# of participants: 19
# of species: 77

Nineteen participants enjoyed wonderful weather on our weekend trip to Lassen County in search of displaying Greater Sage-Grouse and other winter specialties of northeastern California. Early Saturday morning we were entertained by about 40 grouse, including 25 males displaying on their lek. A nearby herd of Pronghorns caught our attention, as did the Black-billed Magpie that perched on several animals’ backs. Other highlights of the weekend included twenty species of waterfowl, at least eight Bald Eagles, four woodpecker species, three nuthatch species, several Mountain Bluebirds, and large foraging flocks of Cedar Waxwings and Evening Grosbeaks.

Quarry Lakes, Alameda Creek, Coyote Hills Bicycle Trip
Alameda County
March 12, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 14
# of species: 65

We covered 20 miles by bicycle. A first for this trip was a Red-shouldered Hawk seen on the Alameda Creek Trail. At Coyote Hills, due to the generosity of a birder with a scope, our group was able to see a Great Horned Owl skulking in the depths of a bay tree, and we also saw a pair of Red-tailed Hawks nesting. At Quarry Lakes we saw great rafts of Western Grebes. Many other ducks were present including Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal and Bufflehead. We heard a Ring-necked Pheasant and also heard a Sora. We saw Common Moorhen, Vaux’s Swift, Belted Kingfisher, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Common Yellowthroat.

Strybing Arboretum
San Francisco
March 6, 2005
Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Helen McKenna, Ginny Marshall
# of participants: 50
# of species: 37

Nesting birds were a highlight. Red-shouldered Hawks were mating and constructing a nest; Anna’s Hummingbird was sitting on a nest; Bushtits were finishing a beautiful hanging “sock” of lichens and spiderwebs. A Black Phoebe was nesting under the footbridge across the duck pond. Also saw Hooded Merganser, California Quail (two pairs), Red-breasted Sapsucker and Downy Woodpecker.
Berkeley Waterfront and Aquatic Park
Alameda County
March 5, 2005
Leader(s): Anne Hoff
# of participants: 17
# of species: 67

We had a beautiful sunny morning and were happy to discover a nesting Allen’s Hummingbird. Everyone loved the two Burrowing Owls. Other species included Gadwall, Surf Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Black-bellied Plover, Spotted Sandpiper, Black Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin, Northern Flicker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Western Meadowlark.

Presidio Bird Walk
San Francisco
February 27, 2005
Leader(s): David Armstrong
# of participants: 8
# of species:

Highlights included two Red-breasted Sapsuckers, a Red-necked Grebe and a Bullock’s Oriole. We walked seven miles through varied habitat from 8 a.m to 1:15.

San Leandro to Hayward Shoreline Bicycle Trip
Alameda County
February 26, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 5
# of species: 55

This was a great day to be bicycling and birding on the S.F. Bay Trail between San Leandro and the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center. Although overcast, it was not too cool or windy and many birds just posed for us really close up: Anna’s Hummingbird, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret and Snowy Egret. Wintering ducks were seen in abundance, especially the Canvasback. Starting soon after low tide, we were able to see many birds on the shoreline. On our return the rising tide had flushed them into ponds so we could marvel at their number. One of the highlights of the day was the large number of Marsh Wrens to be seen instead of just being heard.

Las Gallinas Sewage Ponds
Marin County
February 26, 2005
Leader(s): Bob Lewis
# of participants: 27
# of species: 49

The water treatment facility is very accomodating to birders. Among the almost 50 species sighted were 8 Cackling Geese (most with strong white neck bands suggesting the Aleutian race) with 10 Canada Geese in the fields near the parking lot. Also spotted by the group was a Merlin, the normal large group of Mew Gulls (some riding the water treatment merry-go-round), and a Barn Swallow, back from wintering in the tropics.

Lake Merritt
Oakland
February 23, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails, Hillary Powers, Ruth Tobey
# of participants: 16
# of species: 39

Today’s trip had a variety of participants; 4 rated themselves as beginners. One was visiting from Wisconsin, and therefore was a beginner with our birds. We had a productive time in Lakeside Park at the garedn center equipment lot when nearly half the birds on our list came flying into our viewing area. We saw Eared Grebe, Ring-necked Duck, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Cooper’s Hawk, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Oak Titmouse, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco.

Aquatic Park
San Francisco
February 20, 2005
Leader(s): Carol Kiser
# of participants: 4
# of species: 18

We saw a mixture of water and land birds, including Clark’s Grebe, Western Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Downy Woodpecker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Best of the Bayshore
Contra Costa and Alameda Counties
February 12, 2005
Leader(s): Bob Power
# of participants: 2
# of species: 97

This outstanding trip covered the East Bay from Miller/Knox Regional Park to Berkeley’s Aquatic Park. We sighted Greater White-fronted Goose, sixteen species of ducks, including Ring-necked Duck, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser and Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loon, five species of Grebe, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Black Oystercatcher, Ruddy Turnstone, Black Trunstone, Wilson’s Snipe, Burrowing Owl, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Black-throated Gray Warbler.

Lake Merritt
Oakland
February 12, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails
# of participants: 1
# of species: 39

No participants showed up for this trip, but the leader walked the area anyway and identified 39 species, including Ring-necked Duck, Tufted Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Cooper’s Hawk, Glaucous-winged Gull, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Oak Titmouse.

Sausalito to Larkspur Landing Bicycle Trip
Marin County
February 12, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 2
# of species: 36

It was a good day for weather and riding but the number of birds was not great. We covered 14.5 miles by bicycle. We saw Green-winged Teals and large groups of Crows (at least 40 to 50), also large groups of American Avocets. Also Whimbrel, Mew Gull, Herring Gull.

Arrowhead Marsh Family Trip
Oakland
February 12, 2005
Leader(s): Rene Urriola
# of participants: 30
# of species: 21

We had an enthusiastic and attentive group of children and parents. The trip was conducted bi-lingually in Spanish and English. We had field glasses and identification guides to loan. We were lucky to get a Clapper Rail in our spotting scopes. The kids loved watching the Snowy Egret (GREAT yellow feet!) and they were able to see several species of ducks, including Ruddy Duck, Canvasback, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, American Wigeon, Mallard, Greater Scaup and Surf Scoters. The kids also got to work on a marsh restoration project, to work off their excess energy. They were rewarded with snacks and drinks. The next generation of birders looks promising!

Strybing Arboretum
San Francisco
February 6, 2005
Leader(s): Ginny Marshall
# of participants: 30
# of species: 39

We saw our first Allen’s Hummingbird of the year and a female Anna’s Hummingbird on a nest. Sparring male Downy Woodpeckers were very entertaining and oblivious to our observation. One Western Tanager was feeding with a flock of warblers and Cedar Waxwings. Other species included Red-shouldered Hawk, Mew Gull, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin.

Hayward Regional Shoreline
Alameda County
February 6, 2005
Leader(s): Pamela Llewellyn and Michael Butler
# of participants:
# of species: 55

We saw Red Knots in partial breeding plumage. Also Surf Birds, Black Turnstone, Greater White-Fronted Goose, Osprey, Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Arrowhead Marsh Bicycle Birding Trip
February 5, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 8
# of species: 58

Blair and I arrived early at the Fruitvale BART Station and no one came. When we got to East Creek Trailhead by the High Street Bridge, we met Deb T. and Nancy and Varon S. There was really good birding all the way to Arrowhead Marsh, with Surf Scoters and Egrets main attractions. At Edgewater seasonal wetland on Damon Slough we saw the Northern Pintail and we were joined by Jocelyn, Juliette and Brigid, the young women who then spotted the Sora at Arrowhead Marsh. We didn’t see any Clapper Rails at Arrowhead but did see the Nelson’s Sharp-tail Sparrow as well as the Marsh Wren and the Common Yellowthroat. We rode down the channel of San Leandro Creek and by the seasonal ponds. We saw the Northern Mockingbird and the Loggerhead Shrike on the fence separating MLK Jr. Shoreline EBRP from the airport long-term parking lot, and it is so very clear that this is not the spot we want a casino. We shouldn’t even have a parking lot. Burrowing Owls were not seen at all, and it would seem that they are just not here since the parking lot went in. There is a lot to be said for undeveloped land as habitat. We also found the Common (Eurasian) Teal in the pond nearest the entrance road. It looks almost exactly like the Green-winged Teal, except that it doesn’t have the vertical white stripe just forward of the wing, and its under-tail coverts are a deeper yellow. Returning to Arrowhead Marsh for a second try at the rails, we followed the entrance road,.then the nicely paved trail back to Doolittle Dr. and back to Fernside in Alameda, using bicycle paths and lanes when available. Between 8 and 11 a.m. it became almost warm.

Merced National Wildlife Refuge
January 30, 2005
Leader(s): Mark Miller
# of participants: 0
# of species: 83

Highlights: many thousands of Sandhill Crane, Snow Goose, Ross’s Goose. Unusual were a single adult blue-morph Ross’s Goose (much rarer than the blue-morph Snow), and a Common Black-Hawk in Stockton. Rabbits at the entrance to merced NWR appeared to be Eastern Cottontails. I stayed at the meeting place from 8:00 to 10:00 looking for participants, but found none. Perhaps the dense fog kept people away. Fog cleared after 11:30. Also saw Common Merganser, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Virginia Rail, Common Moorhen, Wilson’s Snipe, Yellow-billed Magpie, Tree Swallow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Lincoln’s Sparrow.

Berkeley Aquatic Park to Richmond Bicycle Trip
January 29, 2005
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 13
# of species: 61

Blair and I arrived at Aquatic Park at 8 a.m. with Dan, David, Connie and Mike. The morning sun on the Common Goldeneye was spectacular and a Green Heron was greeting the sun from a spot in the reeds. Soon we were joined by Ruth, Nancy T, Don and Anne, then Nancy and Varon S and finally Peter. We spent quite a while at Aquatic Park because there were so many birds to see. Highlights were the trees full of Black-crowned Night Herons and the Hooded and Red-breasted Mergansers on the water. Then we went over the freeway and north on the SF Bay Trail. We were not able to go to the Berkeley Meadow area because the gate was locked “for restoration” and we did not catch site of the Northern Harriers nor did we get to bird the shoreline there. Western Meadowlarks were in abundance at Bay Meadows staging area, and Surf Scoters were spotted in the bay. Red-winged Blackbirds were chiming. We spent some time on one of the viewing platforms on Buchanan, spotting Avocets, Marbled Godwits, and Long-billed Curlews. American Wigeons were seen along the frontage road between Buchanan and Central. We stopped for a break at Pt. Isabel, then continued on to Richmond Marina Bay for lunch. We biked over to the old Ford plant hoping to see loons but didn’t. We biked streets to reach Canal and Sea Cliff and had good birding at the cove at the bottom of the hill where we saw a Spotted Sandpiper and Clark’s and Western Grebes. In Miller-Knox EBRP we saw a Great Blue Heron very close, and our only Western Scrub Jay of the day. Don, Nancy T and Ruth had gone back by this time, and David decided to catch the GG Transit bus to San Rafael and bike back home from there. The rest of us headed for Richmond BART Station. Blair and I rode one stop to Del Norte and then biked the Ohlone Greenway to Berkeley then home to Rockridge. It was good exercise but not good birding. We made our usual stop for a treat at Juicey’s near the Rockridge BART station before riding up the hill. It was just a gorgeous day.

Lake Merritt
Oakland
January 26, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails
# of participants: 2
# of species: 32

I waited for the rain to quit, standing where Hilary left me, under shelter at the Nature Center. It stopped raining in about 5 minutes, so I ventured forth. I found a birder, just leaving. She had not seen us under the eves of the building, and was about to leave. So with one client, we did the trip. We discussed barnyard / wild birds, then compared scaup. We walked to the east to look at the birds in the NE corner, and worked our way back to the Nature Center. We then went into the trees, staying on the pavement as much as possible as the lawns were squishy. We got to Fairyland, came back thru the gardens, and finished about 12:45PM. Species included Eared Grebe, Common Goldeneye, Cedar Waxwing, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Oak Titmouse, Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Cosumnes, Staten Island and Woodbridge Road
January 23, 2005
Leader(s): Bruce Mast and Travis Hails
# of participants: 30+
# of species: 7430+

Birders joined Golden Gate Audubon Society trip organizers at the Cosumnes River Preserve Visitor Center for a damp and chilly but productive day of Delta birding. The group explored the Cosumnes wetlands, toured Staten Island, and for extra credit, some hung around to catch the crane fly-in on Woodbridge Road. Collectively, the group logged 74 species, despite some key misses. Special thanks to Travis Hails, who stepped in to help lead the large group and logged sightings. Highlight of the day had to be the Eastern Phoebe, which has lingered for several weeks along Franklin Road. It provided cooperative scope views while nearby black Phoebes offered a useful comparison. The big pond along Willow Slough yielded half a dozen Common Moorhens and calling (but invisible) Virginia Rails. We pished up a Wrentit but dipped on the Winter Wren and Swamp Sparrow. Tree Swallows were numerous over the Boardwalk, joined by at least one Violet-green and one Northern Rough-winged Swallow. The Saturday scout trip also turned up a Barn Swallow. In the mammal department, we had a Coyote silhouetted along the railroad tracks and plenty of Beaver sign but we narrowly missed seeing the River Otters. After a hearty lunch at Wimpy’s Marina, we cruised the length of Staten Island. The pastures hosted hundreds of grazing Sandhill Cranes and Greater-White Fronted Geese. The rusting water tower concealed a roosting Great-horned Owl in the same location a Long-eared Owl had been reported just two days earlier. Wilson’s Snipes blended in with the corn stubble in the adjacent field. A couple birders reported quick glimpses of a large brown falcon in flight, consistent with 2 Prairie Falcon sightings on the scouting trip the previous day. A probable Sharp-Shinned Hawk staked out the trees next to the highway as we left. The Woodbridge Road duck pond turned up a Eurasian Wigeon and a Brown-Headed Cowbird was lurking around the DFG photo blind. Snow/Ross’s Geese flew over a couple times. Dusk brought small numbers of cranes to their evening roost near the photo blind, a quiet end to an exciting day.

Panoche Valley San Benito County
January 22, 2005
Leader(s): Chris Carpenter
# of participants: 15
# of species: 64

Highlights of our trip included two Bald Eagles, two golden Eagles, a Prairie Falcon, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Phainopepla and TEN Long-eared Owls (!) Also Ring-necked Duck, Burrowing Owl, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Loggerhead Shrike, Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Mountain Bluebird, Lark Sparrow, Tricolored Blackbird.

Valle Vista
Contra Costa County
January 22, 2005
Leader(s): Denise Wight
# of participants: 15
# of species: 43

Despite cold and heavy fog which prevailed all morning, we saw up to ten Wood Ducks and a good number of Ring-necked Ducks. A close California Thrasher sang for us, but kept out of view in the bushes.

Lake Merritt
Oakland
January 15, 2005
Leader(s): Travis Hails
# of participants: 8
# of species: 33

We saw a good selection of ducks including Common Goldeneye, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Canvasback and Bufflehead. Also Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Oak Titmouse and Yellow-rumped Warbler. This is an excellent location for close views of ducks and gulls.

Aquatic Park
San Francisco
January 9, 2005
Leader(s): Carol Kiser
# of participants: 2
# of species: 15

We had a very cold, mostly cloudy morning. The tide was very high: 7.2 feet, which inundated the beach. We saw Brown Pelican, Red-breasted Merganser, Mew Gull, Townsend’s Warbler, Fox Sparrow.

Strybing Arboretum
San Francisco
January 2, 2005
Leader(s): Allan Ridley
# of participants: 5
# of species: 23

We had five stalwart birders on January 2 in the cold pouring rain. We lasted an hour, seeing 23 species including Hooded Merganser, Pygmy Nuthatch, Hermit Thrush, Fox Sparrow.

Arrowhead Marsh
Alameda County
January 1, 2005
Leader(s): Bob Power
# of participants: 27
# of species: 66

We were treated to first-of-the-year looks at Clapper Rails, Eurasian Green-winged Teal, Greater White Fronted Geese and Cackling Geese. Also Brown Pelican, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Black Turnstone, Mew Gull, Say’s Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrike, American Pipit, Yellow-rumped Warbler.