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2007 Trip Reports

Sweeney Ridge

December 26, 2007

Leader(s): Eddie Bartley

# of participants: 4

# of species: 29

The California Thrasher was a clear highlight of today’s trip. We had a good variety of scrub birds: Bewick’s Wren, Hermit Thrush, Wrentit, Spotted Towhee and others. The habitat also offers an excellent study of the San Andreas fault line.

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park

December 26, 2007

Leader(s): Hilary Powers and Ruth Tobey

# of participants: 20

# of species: 38

Two Wild Turkeys surprised our group as we neared the lawn bowling green; they were a first-ever sighting for our monthly walks. We had four species of Grebe and great views of mature and immature Black-crowned Night Herons. Greater and Lesser Scaup are in great abundance with excellent close-up opportunities to study the differences.

 

Arrowhead Marsh Bicycle Trip

December 23, 2007

Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett

# of participants: 14

# of species: 56

Starting from East Creek Point Trailhead near the High Street Bridge with cool but sunny weather, we rode south to Arrowhead Marsh and returned via Doolittle Dr. and Fernside Blvd. The trail and its amenities are better than ever and still being improved. Surf Scoters were out in the channel as were Common and Barrow ‘s Goldeneyes; a Eurasian X American Wigeon was seen among a group of American Wigeons on Damon Slough (Zhone Way access). A Red-Tailed Hawk and a White-Tailed Kite were also seen in this area. At the viewing platform at Arrowhead we were able to see two Clapper Rails in the gum plants, and a Long-billed Curlew and Black Turnstone among the Willets and Marbled Godwits on the end of the platform. A circuit along San Leandro Creek and by the seasonal ponds turned up Meadowlarks, a Loggerhead Shrike and a Say’s Phoebe. Near the Plover picnic area we found a Northern Flicker. From Doolittle Drive we saw a couple of Black-bellied Plovers.

 

Coyote Hills and Alameda Creek Bicycle Trip

December 8, 2007

Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett

# of participants: 8

# of species: 67

We had a wonderful day, bicycling 25 miles and seeing 67 species between 9 am and 3 pm. We started by seeing a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks in the large dead tree by the pond near the Fremont BART Station. We stood a long time on Alameda Creek just above the BART overpass, seeing an incredible number of birds including a Spotted Sandpiper and some Wilson’s Snipes. As we entered Coyote Hills on the Alameda Creek Trail we began to see White-tailed Kites and Northern Harriers and could see American White Pelicans in the marsh.

We left the Alameda Creek Trail to follow the DUST and Chochenyo Trails, seeing some red-shafted Northern Flickers near the Ohlone Shellmound. We then went directly to the Quarry Staging Area (aka the first parking lot) in hopes of seeing the Barn and Great Horned Owls seen on Wednesday, which we did not; they were probably at the Visitor’s Center, where we did not go. All during our lunch a Loggerhead Shrike posed for us. We headed out the No Name Trail to the Shoreline Trail and had a great circuit back to the Alameda Creek Trail. This area west of the Bay View Trail of Coyote Hills EBRP is part of Don Edwards SF Bay NWR. The sun was out and the wind was just about nonexistent, but the bicycle tires got muddy. Bicyclists wishing to avoid the mud could go out to the end of the Alameda Creek Trail, which is paved, and still see a lot, although if it doesn’t rain for a few more days that should not be a problem. Many of the species we saw only in the NWR area, e.g. the Red-necked Grebe, Common Goldeneye, American Pipit, Savannah Sparrow, and almost all of the shorebirds.

Jewell Lake, Tilden Park

December 7, 2007

Leader(s): Phila Rogers

# of participants 30

# of species: 62

Only two participants showed up for our regularly-scheduled Friday field trip at Jewel Lake. Unfortunately the November Gull had the wrong date — December 2 instead of December 7. Hopefully not too manydisappointed people showed up on Sunday.

After the good rain (almost an inch) falling the night before, the lake was brimful and spilling over the dam in a noisy cascade. Our first bird of the morning was a Red-shouldered Hawk sitting atop a conifer at the parking lot, glowing cinnamon in the early sun. Wet leaves pave the path to the lake. The air was rich with heady brew of willow resins, decaying leaves, and wet earth. Though the species count was low, we three were happy to be out on such a fresh, exhilarating morning at one of the East Bay’s loveliest spots in any season. The female Hooded Merganser continues to hang out with the resident Mallards and several Bufflehead.

Now it’s on to the annual Christmas bird count — a wonderful way to celebrate the Holidays!

San Francisco Botanical Garden

December 2, 2007

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

# of participants: 40

# of species: 39

 

Notable is the lack of California Quail sightings (or “hearings”) for the third month in a row – word is that they have moved to the hill to the east of the handball courts where folk put out lots of seed. This location is also a good place to see White-throated Sparrow and Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks. The Arboretum has posted no feeding wildlife signs throughout the gardens this year. This has resulted in a large drop in waterfowl variety and numbers in at the big pond (formerly known as the “duck pond”). I wonder if they will return to breed in the succulent garden area this year?

This trip had good scope views of Varied Thrush in the Japanese Moon Viewing Garden and we sighted three Orange-crowned Warblers.

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park

November 28 2007

Leader(s): Hilary Powers and Ruth Tobey

# of participants: 18

# of species: 46

Today we had a photographer from the San Francisco Chronicle following our group in connection with the release of the national “watch list” of seriously declining species. We were fortunate to find Oak Titmouse, Nuttall’s Woodpecker and Clark’s Grebe, which are on the list, on our walk this morning.

Foster City Bicycle Trip

November 24, 2007

Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett

# of species: 59

Highlights were a large group of Hooded Mergansers on Marina Lagoon where the bicycle trail is adjacent to highway 101, and the shorebirds at high tide on the bay south of the San Mateo Bridge . The trip started at E. Hillsdale Blvd. and Beach Park Blvd. and followed the S. F. Bay Trail around to Port Royal Ave, then the lagoon trail north to follow Beach Park Blvd. and Shell to Leo Ryan Park and back to E. Hillsdale Blvd. A Spotted Sandpiper was seen on the lagoon trail, as was a Belted Kingfisher. A large group of Western Meadowlarks was seen far up Belmont Slough. Dogs were a problem on the bay near Beach Park Blvd. and Gull Ave. where the shorebirds seek a place to rest at high tide were disturbed, and on Belmont Slough, where an off-leash dog chased a jack rabbit.

Berkeley Marina, Meadow, Pier

November 23, 2007

Leader(s): Anne Hoff

# of participants : 31

# of species: 43

This trip took place about ten days after the big oil spill in the Bay. Fortunately we found only one lightly oiled spot on one gull and oil spots on one rock. We saw Common Loon, five species of Grebe, Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, White Pelican, Brown Pelican and a fine variety of ducks and shorebirds.

San Leandro to Hayward Bicycle Trip

November 11, 2007

Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett

# of participants

# of species: 55

Starting from the San Leandro Marina at 10:30, we soon encountered a Greater Scaup seemingly affected by oil contamination; it was on the beach at the 3/4 mile mark and pecking at its back. At Johnson’s Landing, on the bay near the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, a Surf Scoter was on the grass, a sight not seen by Judi Sierra and me before; it was there at least an hour later as we returned after lunch. But the rocks showed no oil, and the other birds we observed seemed quite normal. At Frank’s Dump at the intersection of the SF Bay Trail and the paved trail leading to West Winton Ave we saw American Pipits, Horned Larks and Savannah Sparrows. The tide was high and it was windy, so great numbers of shorebirds were huddled away from the bay in the numerous bodies of water on the seven miles of waterfront covered.

Napa River

November 11, 2007

Leader(s): Bob Lewis and Dave Quady

# of participants 30

# of species: 62

This trip was aboard the Delphinus, and went up the Napa River from Vallejo

to Napa . We enjoyed spectacular weather and saw a fine number of birds. Especially notable were the large number of White-tailed Kites, the great looks at Peregrine Falcons and the large raft of Surf Scoters.

Hayward Shoreline

November 11, 2007

Leader(s): Bob Lewis (for Rusty Scalf)

# of participants 9

# of species: 51

Hundreds of shorebirds in flocks both large and small, heading along the shoreline, coupled with circling ducks, cormorants and pelicans overhead against a bright blue sky made for a delightful day. We found about 50 Greater White-fronted Geese and huge numbers of Northern Shovelers and Ruddy Ducks.

 

Jewel Lake, Tilden Park

November 2, 2007

Leader(s): Phila Rogers and Dave Quady

# of participants 13

# of species: 28

A baker’s dozen of us gathered at the Jewel Lake parking lot this morning for the monthly Audubon walk to Jewel Lake. The morning began cool with heavy dew on the lawn but warmed to shirt-sleeve weather when we reached the lake at mid-morning.

In a mostly-bare willow tree along the road at Big-Leaf picnic area (just south of the intersection of Canyon Drive and Central Park Drive), we had long looks at a Sapsucker which was definitely not the common Red-Breasted Sapsucker, and because it showed a yellowish belly, a red throat and lacked the red nape of the Red-naped Sapsucker, we decided it was most likely a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Unfortunately, Dave Quady couldn’t join our group until we were back at the northwest corner of the parking lot looking for warblers in the oaks and sparrows feeding at the margin of the lawn and the brush, so our consensus couldn’t be confirmed (or refuted) by the expert.

At the lake, we were treated to two male Buffleheads, and a young Double-crested Cormorant successfully fishing close to the shore directly in front of us. Across the lake, mostly in the shadows, a female Hooded Merganser was hanging out with several resident mallards. The local Kingfisher arrived on the scene and a Great Blue Heron flew the length of the lake on its broad silvery-blue wings, and then reversed its course flying the length again assuring that everyone had a chance to fully admire this common, but always elegant, bird.

This morning, as we have had on other occasions, a young birder joined us — a four-year-old with his grandmother. He was interested, growing in knowledge, never bored — a heartening sign for the future of birdwatching. The road to the lake also worked well for one of our group with his motorized wheelchair.

And again a special thanks to Dave who joins us when he can, and for the information he always imparts about the finer points of bird observation.

Lake Merritt

October 24, 2007

Leader(s): Hilary Powers

# of participants 6

# of species: 37

Today we were treated to watching a feeding frenzy. 100 plus cormorants, at least a dozen Brown Pelicans, assorted gulls and whatnot were barreling around the lake in pursuit of a big school of fish. Our first Buffleheads arrived at the lake; they are new since Sunday the 21st. The Tufted Duck is back. We found both Townsend’s Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Corona Heights

October 17, 2007

Leader(s): Brian Fitch, Lew Ellingham and Charlie Hibbard

# of participants 12

# of species: 35

Today we found the first House Wren in a long, long time! Also, grazing goats in the north forest are now engaged as part of the natural areas habitat restoration project.

Coyote Hills Regional Park

October 13, 2007

Leader(s): Anne Hoff

# of participants 14

# of species: 40

All ponds across from the visitor’s center and behind the hill are still dry mud. The Vaux’s Swifts were a treat. Many raptors (6 White-tailed Kites, 6 Northern Harriers-Male and Female, 6 Red-Tailed Hawks including juveniles). The waterfowl are all behind the hill across the ponds from the Visitor Center. We saw many Hermit Thrushes!

San Francisco Botanical Garden

October 7, 2007

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

# of participants

# of species: 48

A beautiful Indian Summer morning! Yellow-rumped Warblers, American Robin, Fox Sparrow and Golden Crown Sparrows are back in numbers. Several Cooper’s Hawks and a Sharp-Shinned Hawk were present and hunting. An unusual sighting: a Red-tailed Hawk being mobbed by two Ravens, complete with flips and other evasive moves by the Red-tail, when a Red-shouldered Hawk came in to join the action and together the two hawks discouraged the Raven pursuit. Other good birds included Hutton’s Vireo, House Wren, Hermit Thrush and Nashville Warbler.

Jewel Lake, Tilden Park

October 5, 2007

Leader(s): Phila Rogers

# of participants 24

# of species: 24

It couldn’t have been a finer morning — partly because of the enthusiastic, good-natured group of birders, a cool morning that warmed quickly, and the presence of birder-extraordinaire, Dave Quady, who not only identified many of the birds but provided enriching information. And to top it off, Alan Kaplan who had the nerve to retire as head-naturalist from the park a couple of years ago, was with us (how else would we have known the meaning of all that shredded bark on a small oak? (answer: a deer rubbing its antlers).

It was wonderful welcoming back so many of our winter residents: Seen and/or heard: Northern Flicker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Fox Sparrow, and the lovely Lincoln Sparrow identified by Dave. We also had glimpses of perhaps the last of the migrating Yellow Warblers. But nary a Golden-crowned or White-crowned Sparrow (abundant now most places). Still to arrive: the Varied Thrush

Altogether we saw or heard 24 species with one in doubt — was that a Red-shouldered Hawk or a Stellar’s Jay up to its old tricks?

Lake Merritt

September 28, 2007

Leader(s): Hilary Powers and Ruth Tobey

# of participants 2

# of species: 30

We had a beautiful morning with good scope looks at mature and immature Brown Pelicans on the buoys off-shore. A few Black-crowned Night Herons are back at the lake. A nice group of Ruddy Ducks have also returned. We found a fine Bewick’s Wren in the garden area and finally found the Nuttall’s Woodpecker that was calling from a dense tree.

Jewel Lake, Tilden Park

September 7, 2007

Leader(s): Phila Rogers

# of participants 22

# of species: 29

Today’s walk was a chance to see some of Summer’s birds before they migrate south. Our day list included Allen’s Hummingbird, Hutton’s Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Bewick’s Wren, Swainson’s Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, and Western Tanager.

San Francisco Botanical Garden

September 2, 2007

Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Ginny Marshal and Helen McKenna

# of participants

# of species: 33

There were two Red shouldered Hawks in the big Torry Pine by the greenhouse. The lower one had some feather trouble on top of its head. The higher bird had what looked to be a severe injury to its lift eye. Somehow both birds of this pair seemed to have run into trouble. A member of our group took a good photo of an albinistic (and juvenile) Scrub Jay – white primaries!

 

Merrie Way/Land’s End

August 26, 2007

Leader(s): Harry Fuller

# of participants 25

# of species: 44

Today we saw a number of early fall land bird migrants. Our list included Rufous Hummingbird, Hutton’s Vireo, Northern Flicker, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler.

Lake Merritt

August 22, 2007

Leader(s): Hilary Powers and Ruth Tobey

# of participants 2

# of species: 27

The Canada Geese are starting to fly again. We saw several Brown Pelicans, both adults and juveniles. Forster’s Terns and Least Terns foraged in the lake. A Green Heron was our last bird of the trip.

Corona Heights

August 17, 2007

Leader(s): Charlie Hibbard

# of participants 14

# of species: 26

We saw huge numbers of birds today, including many Allen’s Hummingbirds. Other species included American Kestrel, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Pygmy Nuthatch, and Black-headed Grosbeak.

Merrie Way

August 17, 2007

Leader(s): Harry Fuller

# of participants 12

# of species: 37

Recently arrived migrants were the highlight of the day. A juvenile Hutton’s Vireo called, and we found an early Townsend’s Warbler.

 

Alcatraz Island

August 10, 2007

Leader(s): Bob Lewis and Christian Hellwig

# of participants 11

# of species: 13

About 400 pairs of Western Gulls were just about finished rearing young, with the exception of one pair that had a second clutch (one downy chick) after the first failed. One young bird was still without its tail, others still begging. Brandt’s Cormorant young were still aggressively begging, although most were fully fledged. There was one family of Nuttall’s White-crowned Sparrows. Other species with nests and young included Snowy Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, and Pigeon Guillemot.

San Francisco Botanical Garden

August 5, 2007

Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Ginny Marshal and Helen McKenna

# of participants

# of species: 32

We divided into two groups, one led by Ginny Marshal, the other by Allan Ridley and Helen McKenna. It was cold, foggy and a bit windy – slow birding – but with encouraging quail sightings of at least two presumably second clutches. In all, there were about 18-20 quail; one group had 3-4 chicks and the other had about 8 chicks. The Arboretum has had a team of crack, tall-tree trimmers at work since June. They have surveyed, trimmed and removed many trees. Significant changes are afoot. Check the John Muir Area – no lack of “brush piles” awaiting the returning sparrows. Other good birds included Hooded Orioles; three birds seemed to be begging for food. And we saw many juvenile American Robins.

Lake Merritt

July 25, 2007

Leader(s): Hilary Powers and Ruth Tobey

# of participants 7

# of species: 23

The Canada Geese are still abundant and earth-bound. The Forster’s Terns put on an excellent show, diving for fish near shore. There are not very many Black Crowned Night Herons this month, and only one Juvenile.

Merrie Way

July 22, 2007

Leader(s): Harry Fuller

# of participants 20

# of species: 34

Ocean birds, including Common Murres are now roosting on Seal Rocks. An early Pacific-slope Flycatcher was found at the West Wash. The day list included both Caspian Tern and Elegant Tern.

Don Edwards SF Bay Bicycle Trip

July 21, 2007

Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett

# of participants 6

# of species: 44

The best view of the day was of a flock of about 75 Wilson ‘s Phalaropes in the pond adjacent to the gate to the NWR Visitor’s Center in Alviso, and then the Prairie Falcon circling overhead amongst a flock of gulls at the intersection of the Mallard and Alviso trails. Four of us rode the Capitol Corridor from Emeryville to Santa Clara, and two arrived at the Alviso County Park by car. The views from the train as it passes by the ghost town of Drawbridge and the marsh at the NWR are great. The day was clear and warm but never unpleasantly hot. We had our lunch at the picnic tables at the Alviso Marina and added a couple of birds to our list there. On the return trip the train stopped for a minute at the pond adjacent to Alameda Creek in Fremont, giving us a view of a Belted Kingfisher on a wire. 14 miles bicycled, including trail between Alviso County Park and Santa Clara/Great America Amtrak station. One must plan a bicycle trip here when it hasn’t rained for quite a while!

 

San Leandro Marina to Hayward Shoreline Bicycle Trip

July 7, 2007

Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett

# of participants 7

# of species: 51

Seven of us had a good day of bicycling and birding-15 miles plus another 6 for those who biked from the San Leandro BART Station. It started out cold and gray and even rained on us for a couple of minutes on our way from BART, but eventually the sun came out although it continued to be fairly cool and windy.

We were a couple of hours past high tide as we started, but there were still quite a few shorebirds visible near the trail. We saw Red Knots, other assorted shorebirds and Least Terns, the Common Moorhen at the small pond by the Heron’s Bay Housing development just south of Lewelling Blvd. while still on the paved trail in San Leandro. Barn Swallows were everywhere, and quite a few Black-necked Stilts with young. We met EBRPD ranger Mark Taylor on the trail at the beginning of the Hayward Shoreline and he told us where to look for the elusive Yellow-Billed Cuckoo; we rode our bikes up the trail along Sulphur Creek, then trudged along the trees under the power line. We saw lots of House Sparrows, a couple of American Goldfinches, a couple of N. Mockingbirds and a Loggerhead Shrike but no YB Cuckoo. There were quite a few Ruddy Ducks starting south of Winton Ave. all the way to the end of our trip at the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center . Nearing the center we saw quite a few Wilson ‘s Phalaropes on the pond near the bay.

The current exhibit of the physics of bird flight at the center was quite good. (Hours of Operation: 10:00AM to 5:00PM Saturday and Sunday Only – 4901 Breakwater Avenue, Hayward, CA 94545) Returning we saw a big flock of White Pelicans fly over in a beautiful formation, and couple of scaup huddled on the mud at the bay just near the Interpretive Center. A pair of Horned Larks were feeding on the north side of the paved trail from the Winton Ave. trailhead to the SF Bay Trail. We battled the wind all the way back to the trailhead.

 

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park

June 27, 2007

Leader(s): Hilary Powers, Ruth Tobey

# of participants 10

# of species: 29

A female Belted Kingfisher posed on a bare branch on one of the islands for good scope views while we watched a group of Forster’s Terns diving for breakfast just off-shore. Least Terns and Brown Pelicans later joined the feeding. There are still a few Double-crested Cormorants tending chicks in the nest and quite a number of juveniles. An Anna’s Hummingbird and a small flock of Chestnut-backed Chickadees fed just outside the Bonsai Garden. Our last bird of the day was a beautiful Green Heron.

Land’s End, San Francisco

June 23, 2007

Leader(s): Harry Fuller

# of participants 12

# of species: 38

Today’s highlights included many young birds and nesting seabirds. There were more than one hundred Brandt’s Cormorant nests. Three young Red-tailed Hawks practiced their grab and kill techniques.

Randall Museum

June 15, 2007

Leader(s): Lew Ellingham

# of participants 9

# of species: 16

A tolerant Red-tailed Hawk spent about two hours in the company of a complaining Northern Mockingbird, moving maybe two hundred yards from tree to tree.

Jewel Lake

June 1, 2007

Leader(s): Phila Rogers

# of participants 14

# of species: 25

Despite cool, foggy weather we had a large number of singing birds and active breeding behavior. Species seen included Orange-crowned Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Spotted Towhee, and Black-headed Grosbeak.

 

Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park

May 23, 2007

Leader(s): Hilary Powers, Ruth Tobey

# of participants 8

# of species: 22

The Double-crested Cormorants are still nesting; we used the spotting scope to watch several nests with one or two chicks. But the Lake Merritt Nature Center naturalist reported that there was only one Canada Goose baby born this year despite high numbers of the species at the lake, and no Black Crown Night Heron nests to date. The number of nesting Snowy Egrets is way down and there are no nesting Great Egrets yet this year. The naturalist will attend a conference this summer to compare Lake Merritt ‘s breeding record with other west coast breeding areas in hope that at least some species have moved to new breeding territories.

Merrie Way and West Wash
May 21, 2007
Leader(s): Harry Fuller
# of participants 5
# of species: 40

It was a windy morning, but we got to watch nesting seabirds. Black Oystercatcher, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot and Western Gulls are all nesting on the rocks. House Finches and Pygmy Nuthatches are feeding their young. Ravens and Red-tailed Hawks have active nests. And there are now over fifty California Sea lions on the largest of Seal Rocks.

Randall Museum
May 18, 2007
Leader(s): Charlie Hibbard and Lew Ellingham
# of participants: 8
# of species: 21

The Wilson’s Warbler was the best of the birds on this overcast and very windy morning. Many off-leash dogs were an annoyance, to say the least. Other bird species included Red-shouldered Hawk, Anna’s Hummingbird, and Allen’s Hummingbird as well as American Crow and Common Raven.

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco
May 12, 2007
Leader(s): Harry Fuller
# of participants 15
# of species: 25

The lake has just re-opened after restoration. We had a fine assortment of swallows: Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, and Barn Swallow. Both Anna’s and Allen’s Hummingbirds were also active.

Alameda Creek, Coyote Hills Bicycle Trip
May 12, 2007
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 8
# of species: 55
Today was a cool, quite windy day, and a Butterfly and Bird Event at the Coyote Hills Visitor Center made for a very different day than that reported by Rusty Scalf two weeks ago. We started at the Fremont BART Station and rode to the Alameda Creek Trail, peering into Quarry Lakes to see a Green Heron. The riparian area between the BART tracks and the EBRPD Isherwood Staging area was quite busy: there we saw Common Mergansers, Gadwall, Greater Yellowlegs, Killdeer and dowitchers. Where the trail crosses under I-880 we saw a Red-Shouldered Hawk, which we have in the past. The Tree Swallows were busily flying in and out of the nest boxes in the marsh at Coyote Hills. The mudflats there, which supported many shorebirds two weeks ago, are now completely dry, and the only shorebirds we saw at Coyote Hills were some Black-necked Stilts. The Butterfly Garden at the Visitor Center was full of people and amplified music, but we did see both Anna’s and Allen’s Hummingbirds and there were many American Goldfinches at the seed feeders. A pair of Red-tailed Hawks was seen flying in and out of a nest on a large Monterey Pine up the hill from the picnic area, and as we left to bicycle back, a huge number of Red-winged Blackbirds were literally nipping at a besieged male Northern Harrier. Because of the intense wind we decided to forgo our usual circumnavigation of the hill on the Bayview Trail. We rode 22 miles, with 4 of 8 people arriving by BART.

Alcatraz Island
May 10, 2007
Leader(s): Bob Lewis and Christian Hellwig
# of participants: 10
# of species: 15

This month the Western Gulls have nests with eggs, and are mostly on the large concrete area toward the west. Further north, there is a large Brandt’s Cormorant colony, and some already have chicks. Snowy Egrets and Black-crowned Night-Herons are also nesting. We enjoyed watching the birds defend their territories, welcome mates and build nests. While we saw only 15 species today, almost all were nesting.

Tilden Regional Park
May 6, 2007
Leader(s): Lewis Cooper
# of participants: 5
# of species: 42

Western Tanagers were present in good numbers (14+ sighted). They were attracted to the blooming eucalyptus trees. Singing Black-headed Grosbeaks, Warbling Vireos, Wilson’s Warblers, Purple Finches, and Song Sparrows were major vocal birds. Overhead raptors included Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, and a displaying White-tailed Kite (with prey), also a pair of Cooper’s Hawks. Heard-not-seen birds included Wrentits, Western Wood-pewee, House Wren, and Lazuli Bunting. We had a nice view of an Olive-sided Flycatcher.

San Francisco Botanical Garden
May 6, 2007
Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Helen McKenna, Ginny Marshall
# of participants: 50 (in two groups of 25)
# of species: 37

We had a very warm, sunny morning with gentle winds. We got to watch a lot of mating behavior with singing and nesting birds. We also saw a Red-tailed Hawk encounter with a Raven.

Briones Regional Park
May 5, 2007
Leader(s): Rusty Scalf
# of participants: 16
# of species: 43

A Grasshopper Sparrow sang repeatedly, perhaps 15 times. We searched but could not find him! We had great views of Lazuli Bunting and Western Bluebird. What we first thought to be begging baby owls turned out to be Steller’s Jays!

Jewel Lake, Tilden Park
May 4, 2007
Leader(s): Phila Rogers
# of participants: 6
# of species: 28

Light rain, a chilly breeze, and clouds enveloping the tree tops – not a promising beginning for the regularly-scheduled Jewel Lake field trip – but a singing Yellow Warbler high in a live oak at the parking lot was a promising harbinger.

Six intrepid souls showed up including two visiting Brits who seemed to think it was a fine morning. Within the hour, the clouds parted revealing a fresh-minted day full of singing birds. Wilson’s Warblers were as vocal and numerous as usual and we heard not the song but the call note of the Swainson’s Thrush. We saw or heard three woodpecker species – the Northern Flicker, Hairy and a Downy Woodpecker pair who came and went from trees in the vicinity of their nest hole, and two Vireos – the Warbling Vireo always melodious and the Hutton’s Vireo who sees some advantage in repetition.

The star of the morning especially for the Brits was the Black-headed Grosbeaks who were both feeding and singing. One male displayed his rich yellow and orange breast in the full sun near the top of a willow.

Hearing both a Western Tanager (in migration) and seeing several Robins reminds me that May is the month of the three sing-alikes. The tanager’s song is the most “laid back” and slower; the Robin’s lively “cheer-ups” are familiar to many; while the Black-headed Grosbeak’s song deserves kudos for the most variable and impassioned.

We didn’t see the remaining Bufflehead or the remale Macgillavry’s Warbler reported by Emilee Strauss the day before, but we did manage a respectable species count for our hour-and-a-half walk.

Jewel Lake, Tilden Park
April 28, 2007
Leader(s): Matt Ricketts
# of participants: 10
# of species: 42

Cassin’s Vireo was the true highlight of our walk. We also saw Hutton’s Vireo and Warbling Vireo. Bewick’s Wren and Winter Wren, Swainson’s Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and Wilson’s Warbler were other fine birds today.

Mines Road
April 28, 2007
Leader(s): Dave Quady
# of participants: 19
# of species: 67

Nineteen birders joined the leader at 8 a.m. for Golden Gate Audubon Society’s annual late spring birding trip to Mines Road and Del Puerto Canyon. Our route followed Mines Road from the outskirts of Livermore into the San Antonio Valley. A short foray southward on San Antonio Valley Road added a few species before we headed down Del Puerto Canyon, which we birded to near I-5. At 7:30 p.m. we turned around to bird our way back up the canyon, then continued northward along Mines Road until 10 p.m.

Morning was sunny and warm, but by early afternoon temperatures reached the upper 80s, perhaps suppressing bird activity somewhat. The day transitioned smoothly into a warm, still, star-studded evening graced by a near full moon. Daytime highlights included a nesting pair of Lewis’s Woodpeckers (we missed the species last year), a family of Great Horned Owls nestled in Owl Rock, and a fruiting mulberry tree in Deer Creek Campground that attracted a Phainopepla, Cedar Waxwings, and several other species. The evening produced calling Common Poorwills at two locations, a Great Horned Owl silhouetted against the sky, and a singing Western Screech-Owl.

During the trip the leader and at least one participant recorded 67 species. One of these, the non-native Eurasian Collared-Dove, was new to the trip’s cumulative list, and Common Poorwill had not been recorded since at least 1986. Participants also reported eight species missed by the leader, for a total of 75 species.

San Leandro Marina to Hayward Shoreline Bicycle Trip
March 4, 2007
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 8
# of species: 62

The bay had rafts of ducks as far as the eye could see, and one Eurasian Wigeon was spotted amongst the American Wigeons near the sewer treatment plant near the end of Grant St. On top of Mt. Trashmore, as the landfill just west of the West Winton access to the Bay Trail is called, we saw Northern Harriers being harried by crows. A Kestrel made a kill and proceeded to eat it just east of the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, and on our return trip a Northern Harrier male swooped down and snatched a mouse away just south of the golf course. The Avocets are turning that apricot color which signals the end of winter, and the Black-necked Stilts are looking beautiful as they strut through the water. Our only Green-winged Teals of the day were seen from the road just outside the West Winton access at the seasonal wetland along the power lines. The small group of Snow Geese was seen north of the paved trail from West Winton on the grass-covered hill. The Common Moorhen was spotted on the small basin next to the housing development called Heron Bay near Lewelling Ave.
Two people bicycled all the way from Oakland, and five arrived on BART and bicycled the 3 miles to the SF Bay Trail. We saw two men who said they are trapping Clapper Rails in the marsh just north of the Interpretive Center. The Clapper Rails apparently walk into the unbaited traps and a radio signal alerts the researchers that the trap has closed and they wade out and put a radio-signal device on the bird so they can follow its whereabouts.

Merrie Way and Chain of Lakes
February 25, 2007
Leader(s): Harry Fuller
# of participants: 14
# of species: 52

It was a cold, windy morning, but we had our first signs of the breeding season: White-crowned Sparrows were singing, Brandt’s Cormorants were in breeding plumage, the Red-tailed Hawk pair returned to Sutro Heights. Song Sparrows were also singing and a pair of Hooded Mergansers were in full breeding plumage. Numerous Common Murres were around Mile Rock due to strong storm winds overnight. We found a Green Heron and White-throated Sparrow, which were unusual for Golden Gate Park.

Sacramento Delta via Dolphin Charters
February 16, 2007
Leader(s): Bob Lewis and Dave Quady
# of participants:
# of species: 68

This was an exceptional trip for Greater White Fronted Goose; we saw close to 1000. Pamela found our single American Bittern. The Great Horned Owl was another excellent sighting. A small group of Cliff Swallows were early arrivals this year. We also got good looks at five River Otters and a Beaver lodge.

Alcatraz Island
February 8, 2007
Leader(s): Bob Lewis and Christian Hellwig
# of participants: 4
# of species: 23

We met ranger Christian Hellwig on an overcast day, threatening rain. His enthusiasm for the island and its birds was undampened, however. He told us a lot about the habits of Western Gulls, and we saw Peregrine Falcon, Rock Wren, loons, grebes and alcids (Pigeon Guillemot and Marbled Murrelet) during our visit.

Eastshore State Park Central Area
February 7, 2007
Leader(s): Marilyn Nasatir
# of participants: 1
# of species: 30

We had a lovely two-plus hours at the cove by the Sea Breeze Market, through the Meadow and along the North Basin. We had a good mix of grebes, ducks and shorebirds as well as an American Kestrel, three species of sparrows and American Goldfinch.

Richmond to Aquatic Park on the SF Bay Trail Bicycle Trip
February 4, 2007
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 9
# of species: 65

We started about 9:15 a.m. at the South 51st Street entrance to the trail in Richmond. We have usually started at Aquatic Park, so this was a nice chance to be at Meeker Slough at the quiet time of the morning. We saw a Sora vanish into the reeds as a Great Egret landed on the Slough. There were great views of Cedar Waxwings foraging near the condo development, an American Pipit and a Burrowing Owl on the recently reclaimed area just south of there, and a male Belted Kingfisher on the wire next to the Bay at the Berkeley Meadow area. Mew Gulls were on the Bay near the Sea Breeze market on University Avenue, and the Black-crowned Night Herons were in their usual perch in the willows on the south pond at Aquatic Park. We also saw lots of beautiful Green-singed Teal and other wintering ducks.

San Francisco Botanical Garden
February 4, 2007
Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Helen McKenna, Ginny Marshall
# of participants: 42
# of species: 42

A Peregrine Falcon perched at the entry to the garden as we waited for our group to gather. We saw at six Varied Thrushes and three California Quail as well as Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, Nashville Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, and Pine Siskin.
Lake Merritt
January 28, 2007
Leader(s): Travis Hails
# of participants: 4
# of species: 37

We had a little fog, a little rain as well as sun. We had a chance to compare closely related species on this trip: Lesser Scaup, Greater Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Horned Grebe, Eared Grebe.

Merrie Way
January 28, 2007
Leader(s): Harry Fuller
# of participants: NR
# of species: 56

We had a second-year Glaucous Gull fly by at the Cliff House. We also went to Pacheco and Great Highway to watch the Snowy Plovers which were feeding along the tide line next to Godwits and Sanderlings. We saw large numbers of Brandt’s Cormorant, Surf Scoter and Western Grebe, also Red-throated Loon, Black Oystercatcher, Surfbird, Heerman’s Gull, and Mew Gull.

Berkeley Meadow, Eastshore State Park
January 27, 2007
Leader(s): Bob Lewis
# of participants: 34
# of species: 53

We had 34 participants and managed 53 species, including a very confiding Burrowing Owl, a young Cooper’s Hawk, and good looks at a variety of shorebirds, ducks and small passerines.

Lake Merritt
January 24, 2007
Leader(s): Travis Hails and Hilary Powers
# of participants:
# of species: 32

We had four species of Gulls: Ring-billed, California, Glaucous-winged and Western. Horned Grebe, Eared Grebe and Pied Billed Grebe were all in abundance. Nine species of ducks, including Ring-necked Duck, Common Goldeneye and Barrow’s Goldeneye were observed. A Cooper’s Hawk attacked a flock of pigeons. We could not tell if it got one. Can a Cooper’s take a Rock Pigeon?

Woodbridge Road and Cosumnes Preserve
January 14, 2007
Leader(s): Harry Fuller
# of participants: 32
# of species: 70

Almost 100 people tried to sign up for this trip. For the 32 who came it was a superb day with cold, clear, calm weather and several photographers in the groups got fine images from Least Sandpipers skidding across the ice, to nearly tame Snipe, and the stately Sandhill Cranes staring at us from beneath red foreheads.

San Francisco Botanical Gardens at Strybing Arboretum
January 7, 2007
Leader(s): Allan Ridley, Helen McKenna and Ginny Marshall
# of participants: 40
# of species: 41

Mockingbird and Winter Wren sightings were unusual today. They were the first for the arboretum in our direct experience. We found five California Quail, White-throated Sparrow and several Varied Thrushes.

Palo Alto Baylands Bicycle Trip
January 1, 2007
Leader(s): Kathy Jarrett
# of participants: 8
# of species: 60

We started at 9:30 am at the Duck Pond at Palo Alto Baylands and walked the area from the Duck Pond to the Sailing Station at the end of Harbor Road to the Boardwalk Trail behind the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center, and at about 11 am we got on our bicycles for a 14 mile loop of the Adobe Creek Trail and Mountain View Shoreline Park, heading out on the SF Bay Trail and returning via the Stevens Creek Trail and North Road, passing by Ponds B and A on East Bayshore Rd. before heading back to the Duck Pond via Matadero Creek. The weather was beautiful and there was not much wind. We ate lunch on a hill overlooking Shoreline Lake on one side and the salt ponds on the other.

The highlights included seeing a Peregrine Falcon devouring a rather large bird on one of the towers just offshore from the Sailing Station and a Hooded Merganser in the foamy water where Mayfield Slough meets the bay on the SF Bay Trail. There were large numbers of ducks and Black-necked Stilts. White Pelicans were feeding. Four different Ring-necked Pheasants crossed our path, and many raptors were active. Six bicyclists did the whole trip and two others viewed the scene at Palo Alto Baylands and Mountain View Shoreline with their scope but drove between the two sites. The two non-bicyclists saw Clapper Rails.