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Posted by: atowhee | March 17, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO FIELD TRIP–SATURDAY

I led a Golden Gate Audubon field trip today in western San Francisco.  It was about San Francisco’s Natural History, subject of my latest book.  We looked at changes past and likely effects of climate change on the plants and animals of our fair city.  Despite early morning rain we began at Lake Merced and worked our way north, ending the tip at Lobos Dunes where the city now has its largest restored dune habitat.  This habitat once dominated much of the western two-thirds of the peninsula.  There we saw a pair of Bewick’s Wrens which would have been abundant back when much of San Francisco was covered by lupine and ceanothus…at the same time the quail flocks numbered in the hundreds, not single digits.
Best sighting of the day: Sora flew across the narrow channel beneath wooden footbridge at Lake Merced, north shore.  There we also watched male Marsh Wren building a seductive (he hopes) nest,
Richest bird spot of the day: Seal Rocks.  In addition to many Western Gulls, D-c and Pelagic Cormorants [no scope so we could not confirm and Brandt’s], Red-throated Loon, Surf Scoters, passing murres…a shorebird gathering:surebirdsMost of the gray birds are Willets…see the two with their black and white wings open?  In upper rows, just left of center a very black Black Oystercatcher…then lower dark-backed birds are Black Turnstones…and in bottom row, second from right, a Surfbird with is yellow legs…click on picture to enlarge the image. Our only other shorebird today: many Sanderling on Ocean Beach at west end of Pacheco.

bb-THREEStudly fellows at Lands End…the Brewer’s Blackbird has proven to be well-suited for habitat thrown together by heedless humans.BRCR BACKOne of our sharp-eyed birders found a creeper pair on conifer at North Lake in Golden Gate Park.BRCR2N-LBRCR-NL1RACCBest native mammal of the day…this youngster doesn’t know there’s a 7 AM coon-curfew, that he is supposed to be out only at night; he was seen after lunch at North Lake.RACC1Biggest mammal of the day:BSNCATO AT N-LCalifornia Towhee:CATO2 AT N-LCeanothus, a native shrub still found in wilder parts of the city and at restoration sites:CEANOFemale Great Horned Owl on her nest in ponderosa opposite the bison paddock in Golden Gate Park:GHO2-FML

 

Lake Merced Area, San Francisco, California, US
Mar 17, 2018    28 species

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  X
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  X
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)  1
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)  X
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  X
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  X
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  X
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  X
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  X
American Coot (Fulica americana)  X
Caspian Tern
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  40
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  X
Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)  X
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)  X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) (Setophaga coronata coronata)  X
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)  X
White-crowned Sparrow (Gambel’s) (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii)  X
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  X
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  X
Purple Finch (Western) (Haemorhous purpureus californicus)  1,

San Francisco, California, US

Sutro Hts / Baths / Land’s End, San Francisco, California, US
Mar 17, 2018. 23 species

Surf Scoter
Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata)  1
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)  X
Brandt’s Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus)  X
Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)  X
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  X
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  X
American Coot (Fulica americana)  X
Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani)  3
Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala)  X
Surfbird (Calidris virgata)  X
Willet (Western) (Tringa semipalmata inornata)  X
Common Murre (Uria aalge)  X
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  X
Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)  X
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  X
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  X
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  X
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  10

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, US
Mar 17, 2018
25 species

Mallard (Northern) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos/conboschas)  4
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  2
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  2
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  5
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  X
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  3–very loud calling and chasing
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  1
American Coot (Fulica americana)  X
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)  1     female on nest opposite bison paddock
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)  X
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)  1
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  4
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  X
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) (Setophaga coronata coronata)  10
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  X
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  X
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  X
California Towhee (Melozone crissalis)  2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  1

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Responses

  1. Look at all the birds you found in SF – and it is winter! Maybe you should write a bird book for those in SF who haven’t a clue about their birds. It can be a companion to your last one!m a


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