Saturday was an unusually foggy day all over the bay, which made terrible conditions for scoping rafts of ducks off of Alameda. Upon arriving at 9 a.m. conditions were bad and only got worse. After seeing a few birds, including a Spotted Sandpiper on the shore, we decided to reverse our route and bird the inner Ballena Bay before walking along the outer SF bayside.
Ballena Bay is a great spot because aside from the offshore ducks you can reliably see a nice variety of landbirds such as Western Bluebirds, Western Meadowlarks, and usually a Say’s Phoebe. Walking among the buildings the first bird we spotted was a lone Red-breasted Nuthatch low on a trunk, which was slightly unexpected. Moving in to a small courtyard to view Bushtits, we found a Black-Crowned Night Heron hidden in the leaves.
Moving on further brought coots, a few Common Goldeneye, more Spotted Sandpipers, Lease Sandpipers and a Snowy Egret. Crab Cove was not visible through the fog, and the marina wall and docks were empty of roosting shorebirds.
Toward the end of the walk conditions were just starting to clear, and we saw only a handful of Surf Scoter. Most notable however was a first winter Ring-billed Gull that walked right up to the group. It had an obviously injured left wing, so I captured it and drove it to International Bird Rescue. IBRC confirmed it has a fractured ulna. With their expert care and a bit of luck, hopefully this bird will fly again.
Full eBird list: https://ebird.org/checklist/S64014142