Posted by: atowhee | September 7, 2012


I’m in San Francisco to lead a group of Colorado birders in pursuit of California “specialties.” That would be birds, not pot shops or carafes of Zinfandel. Don’t need a guide for those.
On the drive down the most interesting bird was a Swainson’s Hawk chased by Crows along I-505 north of Vacaville. The Swainson will be migrating out soon. There were still Lark Sparrows in grass around Brazie Pond south of Yreka. No sign of Lewis’s Woodpeckers around their breeding grounds st Collier Rest Stop on the Klamath River. The huge colony of Cliff Swallows that nest under the bridge there were all gone.

Late Thursday in San Francisco: a lone Parasitic Jaeger chasing members of fishing flock of Elegant Terns off Land’s End. On Seal Rocks, Pelagic Cormorants out-number Brandt’s. A third of the gulls are Heermann’s right now, the rest mostly Western. A loafing and sleeping flock of godwits on Ocean Beach turned out to be about 50% Whimbrels. They will mostly move further south while the Marbled Godwits will winter here. Both Surfbirds and Black Turnstones on the rocks at Lands End. No Tattler seen.

Friday morning migrants in Golden Gate Park, North Lake and Middle Lake: numerous Townsend’s and Yellow Warblers. Also seen: Western Tanager, Willow and Pac-slope Flycatchers, Wilson’s, Hermit and Orange-crowned Warbler, female Hooded Merganser. Many American Coots already present. The resident Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Pygmy Nuthatches were abundant.

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