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Re: The changing Berkeley Hills
Tue, 16 Sep 2003 22:22:42 -0700
From: Don Lewis

Song Sparrow may be gone from one area in Lafayette but they are still present in my Lafayette (Happy Valley) yard. Pretty common, in fact, especially in winter but present year-round.

A bird not mentioned yet in this chain is sapsuckers. Some old apple trees near my Lafayette house are covered with rows of sapsucker holes but branches 5 or so inches in diameter or less have none. Presumably the old holes were made by Red-breasted Sapsuckers.

The same thing is true in Moraga. On the bike trail there, in the segment between the fire station and Valle Vista staging area at Upper San Leandro Reservoir, the old oaks along the trail have lots of sapsucker holes. However, several oaks were planted along the trail when that segment was constructed about 20 years ago and these now-sturdy trees have no sapsucker holes.

This evidence plus the almost complete lack of sapsucker sightings in these areas tells us that they declined a couple or more decades ago. Maybe Steve Glover can corroborate this?

Don Lewis
Lafayette, CA

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Re: The changing Berkeley Hills
Tue, 16 Sep 2003 22:57:22 -0700
From: Marty Lycan

I did have a Red-breasted Sapsucker on the Valle Vista staging area trail just past the stables this last spring (late migrant?). Of course, this was the only one seen of many visits to the area.

Marty Lycan
Danville, CA

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Western Grebe in Berkeley Marina
Tue, 16 Sep 2003 23:36:15 -0700
From: B. Slatkin

Saturday, 9/13/03: Lone Western Grebe floating at northeast corner of Berkeley Marina.

Appeared a bit scrawny and ruffled.

b. slatkin

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Re: The changing Berkeley Hills
Wed, 17 Sep 2003 07:23:09 -0700
From: Doug Greenberg

This is an interesting thread.

Upon quick consideration, the most significant change in bird populations that I have noticed during my tenure in Berkeley (most of the time over the last thirty-plus years) is that American Crows and Common Ravens are much more common than they were decades ago. I also perceive that Black Phoebes have become more common in Berkeley, but I'm not sure that this is not simply a case of noticing them more.

Doug Greenberg, Berkeley, California

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Re: The changing Berkeley Hills
Wed, 17 Sep 2003 07:47:29 -0700
From: Judi Cooper

I also find Song Sparrow regularly in my Moraga yard and I have a Red-breasted Sapsucker that has been coming regularly for several years to my olive tree.

Judi Cooper

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Re: The changing Berkeley Hills
Thu, 18 Sep 2003 17:32:42 -0700
From: Tom Condit

I saw my first crows in the Berkeley flatlands in December 1985, and ravens within a year or so after that.

I've been wondering for some time about the decline of Mourning Doves in Berkeley, and put it down to crow predation.

Tom Condit

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White-crowned Sparrows in Livermore
Thu, 18 Sep 2003 20:02:10 -0700
From: Steve Huckabone

Although I haven't had any White-crowned Sparrows in the yard I did find 5 White-crowned Sparrows south of the Livermore Airport tonight. The light wasn't sufficient to determine subspecies.

Good birding.
Steve Huckabone
Alameda County
Livermore California

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Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont
Sat, 20 Sep 2003 08:38:25 -0700
From: Mike Feighner

East Bay Birders:

Forwarding to East Bay Birds with Bob Reiling's permission a report he posted yesterday September 19 to South Bay Birds on his finds at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Alameda County.

Mike Feighner, Livermore, CA, Alameda County


This morning Frank Vanslager and I checked out Coyote Hills Regional Park in Alameda County, and although birding was quite slow, we had 54+ species including 51+ Elegant Terns [perched on posts located in the salt ponds]. Other species included Western Wood Pewee, a Willow Flycatcher, a "Western Flycatcher" [didn't call species], a Warbling Vireo, a Townsend's Warbler, Yellow Warbler [several] and a MacGillivray's Warbler [apparently a young male as the wind revealed a deep, black spot on its lower chest].

Take care,
Bob Reiling, San Jose, Santa Clara County

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Clay-colored Sparrow at Hidden Lakes, Martinez
Sat, 20 Sep 2003 10:23:38 PDT
From: Denise Wight

Hi E.B. Birders,

There was a Clay-colored Sparrow at Hidden Lakes in Martinez this morning, September 20, about 9:00 AM. It was with returning White-crowned Sparrows and two Lincoln's Sparrows near the community garden at the southeast corner of Hidden Valley School in Martinez. Check the small scrub oak just south of the garden. A Clay-colored Sparrow was seen in this exact tree last year, too. Hidden Lakes is great Spizella sparrow magnet.

Last Sunday, September 14, Lisa Hug and I made an all-day mad dash from Martinez, to Richmond, to Byron, and all points in-between representing Contra Costa County in the Point Reyes Bird Observatory Bird-a-thon. We counted 129 species, with nothing exceptional to report. The highlight for me was finding 6 Horned Larks out on Marsh Creek Rd where we expected to find them, but they were resting in front of a small, 10-inch-high dirt mount on a north-facing hill. It was the only shade around. The 100-degree weather made birding East Contra Costa in the late afternoon a challenge!

Another late message: last Tuesday morning September 16, at Point Emery in Emeryville, there was a very calm Wandering Tattler on the rocks to the north of the parking area.

Denise Wight
Martinez, CA

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Re: The changing Berkeley Hills
Sat, 20 Sep 2003 15:43:27 -0700
From: Larry Tunstall

I am forwarding this message to the list for Phila Rogers:

From: Phila Rogers
Subject: more comments about changing Berkeley Hills birds
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2003 15:28:33 -0700

I, too, have noticed a recent decline in the number of Mourning Doves. Because we don't have any resident crows (yet!) and only an occasional fly-over raven, I might attribute the dove decline to that other pesky corvid, the Western Scrub-Jay and its somewhat less aggressive cousin, the Steller's Jay. The scrub-jay is especially numerous this year and right now with acorns to be harvested, particularly active and vocal.

Also my oaks show no recent sapsucker action.

Right now, I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first Golden-crowned Sparrows to confirm that fall is truly here. This morning I may have heard the scold of a newly arrived Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Phila Rogers, Berkeley Hills

Posted to EBB by Larry Tunstall

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Mystery bird at Hayward Regional Shoreline
Sat, 20 Sep 2003 19:06:57 -0700
From: Gary Baker

OK, I give up. What is it? Michelle and I took a bike ride in the Hayward Regional Shoreline today. Only about 400 yards from the Interpretive Center, on the right, walking on the shore of the slough, was a 9-inch wader with orange legs, plover shape/length black beak, yellow-orange all the way around the base of the beak, black eyes with dash to the rear, dark cap, no particular eyebrow, not a short neck, dark grey spotted back, lighter spotted chest, white under rump, black tail tip. What is it? I will not bias you with our best guess.


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Re: Decline of Mourning Doves in Berkeley
Sat, 20 Sep 2003 19:29:15 -0700 (PDT)
From: Diane Perry

That's because all the Mourning Doves have moved to warmer climes. We get as many as 16 at a time in our yard in Walnut Creek (of course, cleaning up under the bird feeders).

I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Oregon Junco (or, is it the Dark-Eyed Junco? I always get those two confused). Still too warm for them here though. Boy, it's been a long, hot summer. (Haven't seen any goldfinches in a while, either).


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Re: Missing goldfinches
Sat, 20 Sep 2003 20:00:54 -0700
From: Gary Baker

Hey Diane,

I thought the goldfinches were gone too. Then last week we were birding at the San Leandro Oyster Point Regional Shoreline and there were several groups of some pretty new finch. They were about the color of a Cedar Waxwing with the faintest yellow. We thought they were a new species for us until we found out it they were American Goldfinches. Their black foreheads and yellow color were gone; their yellow beaks were grey-brown, but they still had their prominent white wing bars. Saw a pair fly over us at the Hayward Regional Shoreline today. Now I know they stay with us long after I used to think they were gone.


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Changes in East Bay birdlife
Sat, 20 Sep 2003 21:55:18 -0700
From: Arlyn Christopherson

Hi All,

There is no shortage of Mourning Doves on our bit of hill near the top of Knowland Park. The usual birds are here.

Lots of Common Ravens fly over (but they seldom land). Today was flycatcher day. A pair of Olive-sided Flycatchers (first ones I've seen here) flew by triple-chirping at each other and a Black Phoebe was hawking bugs from our roof peak just at sunset.

The Western Scrub-Jays are prominent, as usual. Earlier in the year, I spotted new Wild Turkey chicks (12) because of jay activity. It looks now as though the two hens that nested near us only fledged a chick or two. I'll bet the jays got the rest. (Are there jays in Golden Gate Park? I wonder if some of the quail losses there are due to them rather than cats.)

Arlyn, East Oakland Hills

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