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Hooded Oriole in Kensington
Tue, 10 Jul 2001 00:24:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Peter Rauch

Judi Cooper wrote:

I would like to see a Hooded Oriole if there are any still around. I would appreciate knowing about any current sightings.

We had a brightly-colored male in the yard on Saturday morning. It was the closest (10 feet), most out-in-the-open, sat-still-for-some-15-seconds view we've ever gotten in our yard. Most times, they land and move into the interiors of the vegetation quickly, except when robbing nectar from the Abutilon flowers, which is what this male did before his "up close and personal" perch moments outside our window.

I have no idea where they normally hang out around here (Kensington, 400 foot elevation, and environs); they show up very infrequently in our yard. But, obviously some are around still.


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Hooded Orioles in El Cerrito
Tue, 10 Jul 2001 11:51:48 PDT
From: George McRae


We've got em bad! They've nested somewhere nearby - I suspect a palm tree - but they visit our hummingbird feeders all day and have even started visiting the oriole feeder once I baited it with grape jam. We live about halfway up Barrett Ave in El Cerrito just above Poinsett Park. We can always tell when they're coming 'cause they chatter up a storm in the trees just before they make their entrance. They are feeding on a plum tree in our yard.

George McRae

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Re: Phainopepla in Anthony Chabot Regional Park
Tue, 10 Jul 2001 13:49:26 -0700
From: Tom Condit

Hillary Hansen wrote:

Yesterday at the Bort Meadow area in Anthony Chabot Regional Park I'm sure I saw a Phainopepla preening its shiny dark self (a male) in a lone leafless tree. My book indicates that this is the very northern edge of its habitat, though, and the light was good enough to see that it was not simply a back-lit jay, plus it was smaller and slenderer and its crest was smaller and different. I now wish I had stayed long enough to see if it had white underneath, but though I didn't, I can't possibly see what else it could have been? Has anyone seen one of these lately?

I saw Phainopepla sign (piles of seeds on stones in their typical pattern) in Morgan Territory Regional Park a couple of years ago.

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Wednesday Hike at Mitchell Canyon - Phainopepla and Sage Sparrow
Wed, 11 Jul 2001 21:13:30 -0700
From: Mike Ezekiel

Today, my wife and I hiked about 2.5 miles up and back the main Mitchell Canyon trail between about 1:30 and 5:30 PM - until the trail reached the point where it went up steeply.

Most of the birds we saw were, of course, centered around the first fifteen minutes or so from the parking lot, but we did manage a fairly nice list including Sage Sparrow and a family of Phainopeplas (3 kids begging and being fed), and two pairs of Red-tailed Hawks displaying and grabbing talons and flipping upside down etc.

I would have liked to see Black-chinned Sparrow - are any being found up White Canyon or anywhere else?

In no particular order, except as I took notes as we walked up the trail, we saw:

Black Phoebe
Acorn Woodpecker
Western Scrub-Jay
Red-shouldered Hawk
Lesser Goldfinch
White-breasted Nuthatch
a phamily of Phainopeplas
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Dark-eyed Junco
Spotted Towhee
Canyon Towhee
Bushtits - lots
Sage Sparrow
Black Vulture
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Oak Titmouse
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Purple Finch
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Western Bluebird

Mike Ezekiel
Oakland, CA

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Rare birds reported at Mitchell Canyon
Thu, 12 Jul 2001 00:18:19 -0700
From: Larry Tunstall

Among the birds Mike Ezekiel reported seeing in Mitchell Canyon Wednesday were Black Vulture and Canyon Towhee.

Black Vulture is a California Bird Records Committee review species. Some sightings have been documented, but in the past there has been some debate about whether they were escaped birds.

As far as I know, Canyon Towhee has never been confirmed in California.

So, if you're sure of your IDs on these birds, you should prepare documentation and submit it to the CBRC.

Anyone can check the latest revision of the official California list and the review species at

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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Sorry folks - Turkey Vulture and California Towhee
Thu, 12 Jul 2001 11:27:17 -0700
From: Mike Ezekiel

Dear Larry and all EBB,

Did I say that? Of course, I must have suffered a brain storm writing up that report.

Amend the report to

Turkey (which is what I am) Vulture


California Towhee - albeit in Mitchell Canyon

Sorry, can I blame it on the computer?

Mike Ezekiel

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Common Tern
Thu, 12 Jul 2001 20:23:43 PDT
From: Brian Fitch

This morning at the Berkeley Marina, we found a Common Tern hunting over the bay east of César Chávez Park and north of University Ave, across from the Radisson. It had carpal bars, an all-black beak and a partial hood. We saw it several times between 9:30 and 10:30 AM. There was also a Black Oystercatcher flying from this small bay over the hotel toward the harbor, and around 11 AM we found a White-tailed Kite over the north end of César Chávez Park.

Brian Fitch

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Re: Phainopepla in Anthony Chabot Regional Park
Thu, 12 Jul 2001 23:19:47 -0700
From: Debbi Brusco

Tom Condit wrote:

I saw Phainopepla sign (piles of seeds on stones in their typical pattern) in Morgan Territory Regional Park a couple of years ago.

And I had a male Phainopepla at my house in Hayward, off Kelly, a couple of years ago, in June as I recall.

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