East Bay Birding - Sightings

Re: Large number of Brown Pelicans near Pt Isabel

There were also about 100 at Albany Bulb, along with 5 Avocets and 20 Clark's Grebes. High tide around 11:30 AM.


Large number of Brown Pelicans near Pt Isabel

This afternoon about 4 pm there were on the order of a hundred Brown Pelicans just off the Bay Trail near the S51st entrance.  They were also in the “pond” just west of the gas  plant and shuttling back and forth frequently.  Far more Pelicans than Gulls.  After taking off from the pond, some of them would shake off the moisture in flight as shown in the photo below.  This behavior amuses me for some reason.

On Flickr     https://flic.kr/p/2nuQNSf

Summer Tanager re-found (with photos finally!)

I went back to the Gyuto foundation again this evening at about 7PM to try again to get photos of the female Summer Tanager. This time I had some luck! 


I saw it almost immediately once I got to the far end of the loop trail. It was initially in a distant oak, then flew into the plum tree just below the fence about 75 feet from the far end of the trail, foraged for a minute, then flew up to an exposed oak branch nearby. It then disappeared a couple minutes before Ethan Monk appeared to look for the bird, but maybe 5 or 10 minutes later Ethan re-found the bird in that same plum tree. After a minute or two it flew to the plum at the farthest part of the loop, and after another short foraging session it staged up to a small oak nearby, and a few minutes later flew back to the first plum tree. We last saw it perched in a bay tree farther down slope.

It's maybe early to make generalizations about this bird's behavior, but
- The plum trees have pretty dense foliage and it can be reeeeaaaallly hard to find the bird there.
- The bird sometimes flies to a neighboring tree and pauses more in the open there. This may be your best bet for a photo.
- I saw the bird at least 3 different times today but the visits can be brief.

Repeating my directions from my previous email:
Directions: The Gyuto Foundation is at 6401 Bernhard Ave, Richmond, 94805
It is open to the public daily from 9AM - 8PM. https://www.gyutofoundation.org

The hotspot says "restricted access" but the grounds are open to the public.

There is a short forest loop trail that starts in the redwoods by the entrance and comes back through the playground/prayer wheels. Towards the far end of the loop are several scattered plum trees with fruit and the tanager was in one of those both times I saw it (along with various woodpeckers, robins, grosbeaks, purple finches, etc).  

Good luck if you try to find the bird!

Alan Krakauer
Richmond CA

Summer Tanager, Gyuto Foundation, Richmond

Yesterday I got a brief obscured look at a tanager along the forest trail at the Gyuto Foundation. I assumed it was a Western Tanager, but after getting a much better look at what I think is a female SUMMER TANAGER today I think that's what I saw yesterday as well. The bird seemed to have a brownish-yellow back, yellowish belly, large tanager bill, and no sign of wing bars. Unfortunately I was there doing invasive plant removal today and didn't have my camera, but I'm going to go back today and tomorrow and see if I can find it.

Directions: The Gyuto Foundation is at 6401 Bernhard Ave, Richmond, 94805
It is open to the public daily from 9AM - 8PM. https://www.gyutofoundation.org

There is a short forest loop trail that starts in the redwoods by the entrance and comes back through the playground/prayer wheels. Towards the far end of the loop are several scattered plum trees with fruit and the tanager was in one of those both times I saw it (along with various woodpeckers, robins, grosbeaks, purple finches, etc).  There was also a free flying budgie there today.

I hope someone else can get a photo of the bird!

Alan Krakauer
Richmond, CA

Re: LotsAnnas too - Early Rufous Hummingbird

I checked my records dating back to 2018. This year we have two to three times the number of Anna Hummingbirds of 2019 through 2021 at this time. 2018 numbers may be comparable to this year. It’s fascinating how dynamic hummingbird movements are - every year at the house is a little different as they respond to stimuli we don’t really understand. Hummingbird movements are complicated I think!

And other people have already emailed me telling me they have lots of Annas already at their feeders.....


Early Rufous Hummingbird Orinda!

A male orange backed rufous hummingbird has visited our feeders several times today. Rufous Hummingbirds are relatively common at the house in the spring, but very uncommon in the summer/fall with less than five birds seen last summer/fall (2021) - first appearance July 2 - no Rufous seen at all in the summer/fall of 2020 and 2019 and in 2018, only several seen beginning July 6.

I wonder if this means we are going to see more out of normal sightings which this certainly is. Our hummingbird feeder activity is already ramping up this year with 5 or more Annas almost constantly in sight from our deck. This also seems very early.....

Be on the look out....

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda - below Vollmer peak

Friday June 24 Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek

We've been gone doing a Yuba Pass trip and then visiting a Las Lomas classmate of mine in Idaho (Ruffed Grouse).  It was a long time and we're glad to be home despite the heat.

Though we returned late Wednesday, I did not go to the park until this morning.  Over 25 Mallards are on the large, mostly natural pond, even though the pond-skimmer machine is doing its annual cleaning.  There were an additional 7 very small ducklings with their mom.

A Black Phoebe landed above three of us with a dragonfly in its bill.  The Caspian Tern has been seen on-and-off, as has a Great Blue Heron.  Two Common Gallinules were present, though I wonder with the pond skimming if any nesting attempt might have been interrupted by the pond-skimming.

I only had to speak to two high school boys twice about not fishing in the pond.  The second time they claimed they were looking for the "red-headed goose."  They meant the Muscovy Duck.  I did not look for it today, but I told them to look south of he concrete pond on the lawn.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

nesting stilts

There is a pair of nesting stilts with four chicks at the north end of Aquatic Park.

Phoebe tanner

Elegant Terns breeding in Alameda County

Hey all

Certainly hard to keep track on birds from other Bay Area counties. Elegant Terns were confirmed with ( 15 ) incubating eggs 
during the summer of 2019 at the Don Edwards NWR near the Dumbarton Bridge in San Mateo County by Peter Metropulos
and the staff of SFBNWR. On June 11 of this month Gerry McChesny had ( 12 ) Elegant Terns with ( 4 ) 3/4 grown chicks
and ( 31 ) on nest at the Don Edwards NWR in San Mateo County. The Elegant Terns are nesting near Caspian Terns.
Exciting for both counties!

Ron Thorn
Redwood City


Re: Elegant Terns Breeding in Alameda!!

Elegant Terns are currently nesting in San Mateo County at SF2 near Dumbarton Brodge and have bred there for a year or two prior.

Matthew Dodder
Executive Director
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society

Re: Elegant Terns Breeding in Alameda!!

Just like the case of Black Skimmer, this mystifies me.

Apparently Elegant Terns began breeding in San Diego Bay in 1959.  Or at least, they were noticed by then.   Skimmers it seems was 1976

Then Elegants colonized Bolsa Chica Lagoon in Orange county in 1987 (apparently Skimmers, 1985)

Then Los Angeles Harbor in 1998.

Now San Francisco Bay. 

But why did they skip the wetlands of Vandenberg Air Force Base? (I think Santa Barbara County)

Why did they skip Morro Bay?

Why did they skip Elkhorn Slough?

I suppose this would require an interview study.

Rusty Scalf

Re: Elegant Terns Breeding in Alameda!!

Please be on the lookout for red/orange leg bands on the Elegant Terns. The breeding colony from Bolsa Chica that was disturbed last season has not returned in significant numbers this year, and those of us who worked on rescuing 3400 chicks last year are hoping to see banded birds. The bands can be difficult to see due to leg color. 

Banded terns can be reported here: https://www.birdrescue.org/contact/found-a-bird/reporting-a-banded-bird/

JD Bergeron
Naturalist and Dreamer

Re: Elegant Terns Breeding in Alameda!!

Hayward least tern colony is doing very well. 

Marty Morrow

Re: Elegant Terns Breeding in Alameda!!

Yes, Least terns are alive and well and at Alameda Point. This is the first year since Covid that volunteers have been allowed to observe the colony.
You may be interested in this article by Richard Bangert.  If the link doesn't work, you can google articles by Richard Bangert.
Helen Keating
Caspian Terns and Elegant Terns join struggling Least Terns. Naval Air Station – Alameda gained notoriety as a refuge for the endangered California Least Tern when the base closed in 1997.

Elegant Terns Breeding in Alameda!!

I had lunch at Middle Harbor today and there was a large group of Caspian and Elegant terns on the mudflat and one of the Elegant Terns flew to the former Alameda county navel base with a fish in its beak. In the spring, I and others had watched large groups of Elegant terns engaging in courtship at Middle Harbor.

Searching Ebird, John Luther reported a week ago that 760 elegant terns with some young were seen, which I believe is a first breeding record for Alameda (and lots of Caspian terns - almost a 1,000 - but no least terns). The breeding location is not accessible to the public. This is big news for the east bay, and Nor-Cal as I believe that no sizable elegant tern colonies or breeding had occurred in the bay (not sure of Peninsula and south bay status).

No matter what, this is big news as most elegant tern colonies are in Mexico and I think 3 in so-cal. This breeding and sizable colony indicates very dynamic tern behavior!!!

I did see several least terns - but not a lot. I am curious- is the good news for elegant terns good or bad for the least terns that next here and what is the status of least tern colony at the former Alameda island air station. Could someone with access fill us in (I will volunteer to do counts if no one is counting). (No Forsters terns seen in Middle Harbor today).

I need to bike Hayward marsh and see how the least terns and Forsters terns are doing there - last year I think was a down year. Can a counter there fill us in on the tern Hayward status. When that county is doing well, Hayward marsh just north of 92 is a cool place to bird as the terns, Forsters and Least are continually streaming overhead back and forth after fishing in the bay. The tern colonies are the crown jewell of summer east bay bird activity.

Mark Rauzon or others, can you fill us in on any more tern news.

Thanks - and I’m excited after seeing so many Elegant terns in june!

Jim Chiropolos

Re: Hooded oriole late in season?

Thanks for responding.  Maybe he will be here for a longer summer. Which is really nice. 

Sent from iPhone.  Please excuse typos and grammatical errors! 

Franks Dump yesterday (Sunday)

I was out there with my fiance at the end of Winton St. It was low tide - very low. We had to walk the dog-walkers trail out because Maggie (our poodle) was along with us. We saw a turkey family (3 or 4 chicken-size chicks) along the channel going out towards the Bay and there was one snowy egret in the channel. The mud flat was extremely large extending northward for at least a half mile. The curious thing is there was not a single bird on the mud flat. There were some visible in the distance where the mudflat ends in the Bay. I think we were able to identify two white pelicans with a few more white birds in the distance. We had no scope to get better views. The thing is the flat was like a birds ghost town. A strange sight for me.

Re: Hooded oriole late in season?

Hi Becky
There's been a hooded oriole near my backyard in Pinole for the last couple weeks. The most recent sighting was Friday.. 

Hooded oriole late in season?

I heard and saw a male hooded oriole today for the first time in about 2 weeks. There had been at least 2 families raised since spring but I had not seen or heard them for 2 weeks. One family with 2 female chicks and other family with male and female chicks.

The jam I put out this am is full so it looks like he has not touched it. Thoughts on this? Do you still have them in your yard? Seems late.

Oakland hills

Sent from iPhone. Please excuse typos and grammatical errors!

Possible summer tanager 9/13 in El Sobrante

Monday a.m. on oak woodland ridge between Heavenly Ridge Lane and Morningside Drive, about an hour's worth of very clear, bell-like repeated song that keyed out via the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center song guide to a summer tanager.

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