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Bird Rescue volunteers needed
Mon, 09 Oct 2000 08:50:57 -0700
From: Sheila Dickie

Want to get up close and personal with waterfowl? International Bird Rescue in Berkeley's Aquatic Park is in need of volunteers to assist in the rehabilitation of native waterfowl. For more information, write to 

This is also a good way to acquire life birds. There was a Marbled Murrelet there the other weekend - a first for me. I guess it counts?

Sheila Dickie
University of California, Berkeley

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Golden Eagle
Mon, 09 Oct 2000 15:14:57 -0700
From: Tom Condit

Mark Rauzon's post about Golden Eagles reminds me that on Labor Day I saw what I'm pretty sure was an immature Golden Eagle at Round Top in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in the Oakland Hills. It was too high for positive identification, but had the following aspects:

large raptor, not a Turkey Vulture or a Red-tailed Hawk
white areas in the wings (none visible on tail)
feathers at tips of wings tilted upward
soaring effortlessly

Tom Condit

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Great Horned Owl in Wildcat Canyon
Mon, 09 Oct 2000 22:46:25 -0700
From: Larry Tunstall

On Sunday morning, I saw a Great Horned Owl perched in a grove of trees on the Belgum Trail in Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. Start from the Alvarado Staging Area off Park Ave near McBryde Ave just east of San Pablo. Walk a short distance along the Wildcat Creek Trail until you encounter the Belgum Trail heading uphill to your left (this intersection has a trail sign, and the Belgum Trail is paved for the first uphill climb). Go up Belgum and just after you pass through a gate, you will find a grove of trees including a few palm trees. The owl was in one of the tall trees well within the grove.

Sunday and Monday I've had a sooty Fox Sparrow in my yard a few blocks north of the El Cerrito Plaza BART station. This is a new one for my yard list.

Thanks for your kind notes, and good birding,

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Late (?) likely migrant Black-headed Grosbeak
Tue, 10 Oct 2000 23:02:12 -0700
From: Dave Quady

East Bay Birders:

On Friday afternoon, at my feeder here on the edge of Tilden Park above Lake Anza, I was very surprised to see a first-year male Black-headed Grosbeak.

This is my latest sighting by far; in previous years I have not seen the species after the end of August. This year we were away a good part of August, and I wasn't very diligent about keeping my feeders filled, so I'm not sure when our nearby nesting resident family or two departed.

Wonder where this fellow grew up?

What "late dates" have others recorded for this species?

Dave Quady
Berkeley, California

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Re: Late (?) likely migrant Black-headed Grosbeak
Wed, 11 Oct 2000 08:31:57 -0700
From: Kay Loughman

October 6? Wow! In my experience, that's really late. In 1997 I had a Black-headed Grosbeak at my feeder on September 12 - the latest I've recorded. When I was banding regularly at Coyote Creek (Milpitas), I can recall getting grosbeaks in September, but don't remember how late.

Kay Loughman

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Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve
Thu, 12 Oct 2000 23:06:48 -0700
From: Larry Tunstall

Alan Kaplan's East Bay Regional Park District birdwalk this morning was at Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve, off Castro Ranch Rd in Richmond. We visited the elfin forest of pallid manzanita, and we had a very nice selection of grassland, oak woodland, and chaparral birds along the way.

We started in the predawn dimness with a Great Horned Owl perched on a power tower nearby. In addition to the expected regulars, we had lots of Golden-crowned Sparrows, vocal Northern Flickers and Nuttall's Woodpeckers, a California Thrasher showing itself briefly but repeatedly on the trail, a few Fox Sparrows scratching in plain view beside the trail, a lovely male Northern Harrier hunting over the hilltop, and a Loggerhead Shrike and some Western Meadowlarks as we approached the parking lot at the end of the walk. We also heard California Quail during the walk.

This is a nice little park that deserves more attention from birders. There were several mixed feeding flocks moving through the oak woodlands along the ridgetop, and we didn't even get down into the riparian habitats in the valleys. It's a bit hard to find the parking lot on Coach Dr - consult a roadmap or the website at

There's another entrance on Conestoga Way just off Castro Ranch Rd, but the ridgetop seems to offer the best birding.

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA
East Bay Birders Circle:

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Pileated Woodpecker
Fri, 13 Oct 2000 20:18:27 -0700
From: Martha Lowe

Today was my lucky day! I had another sighting of the famous (or should that be infamous?) Joaquin Miller Park Pileated Woodpecker. The bird was initially located in a stand of Monterey pines just southeast of the horse arena parking lot and bathroom - at the trailhead of the Chaparral Trail. I heard it first, gosh they are loud! Then saw it fly north through the trees.

I had to walk past the bathrooms to a trash can located on a little rise just northwest of them and heard a loud tapping, coming from a stand of acacia just to the southwest of the trashcan. In the midst of the acacia is a pine snag and there was the woodpecker, within 20 feet of me (lucky for me because I was without my binoculars)! I was able to watch it hammering and tossing away large pieces of bark for about ten minutes. It then flew up into a living pine, where I also got a good look and a nice silhouette, then flew off north to the pines on the other side of the Castle Park Trail, where a pileated was sighted earlier this year.

Needless to say, I am thrilled! I hope that we can eventually figure out if these sightings are all of the same bird or if there are more than one. I just checked back on the last sightings and those were all of a male bird. Since I didn't have my binoculars I can't say for sure if the bird today was a male or female but I think its head was red all the way down the forehead, which would make it a male. It is likely that all sightings have been of one bird or of members of a single pair. These birds need a lot of acreage, estimates range from 320 to 1200 acres for a home range or foraging habitat and up to 1620 acres for a breeding pair (from the CDFG website:

Joaquin Miller Park is only 425 acres but, of course, adjoins Redwood Regional Park and many more acres of suitable habitat. Still, it seems unlikely that there would be more than 3 or 4 breeding pairs in that combined area.

It will make a lot of Sausal Creek birders' day if this bird shows up in the same place tomorrow, one of the points we census is in this same area.

Just a note...I hike in this area quite often (once or twice a week, sometimes more often)--and this is only the second sighting I have had in two years, even though every time I go there, hope springs eternal. So don't expect to just swing by there and see the bird. If its territory is as large as I quoted above, it may only be in this particular area once a month or even less.


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Editor's Note: Joaquin Miller Park is an Oakland city park. The main entrance is on Joaquin Miller Rd not far uphill from Hwy 13. To reach the horse arena (Sequoia Arena), continue uphill on Joaquin Miller Rd and go left on Skyline Blvd. Watch for the arena entrance on the left (the new Chabot Space & Science Center is nearby on the right, and they charge $4 for parking, so probably most free parking in the area has been eliminated). The official park map does not show trails but they are on the Olmsted & Bros. map called "A Rambler's Guide to the Trails of the East Bay Hills, Central Section." There are trails leading up to the arena area from the main parking lots near the Sanborn Dr entrance to the park from Joaquin Miller Rd.

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