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Chestnut-collared Longspurs at Hayward Regional Shoreline
Wed, 22 Oct 2003 12:53:00 -0700
From: Kris Olson

Hello birders:

I tried again this morning (7:30 AM) to see the Chestnut-collared Longspurs and fortunately ran into Bob Richmond, who kindly located one of the two remaining birds for me. It was not associating with pipits or even the Horned Larks (which Bob says they are more likely to associate with), but was walking through the grass. Bob found a second bird that I did not see. Both were in the northwest section of Mt Trashmore, in the softer yellow grass, not the coarser weeds.

The way to find the bird seems to be to criss-cross the open field, looking more for isolated birds in the grass, and listening for the "kittle kittle" when it flies or calls. When it flies, the white in the tail is evident, but not when it walks on the ground. If you walk slowly and quietly, the bird does not flush far. Bob says when they feel pressed, they fly quite far.

The bird does not have any chestnut on it that I could see. Has a brown and beige back with buffy edges to the feathers. Its bill was small and light gray (the National Geographic guide says that its bill is gray in winter, pink with a dark tip in summer). Buffy underparts with a few faint streaks. Light supercilium.

There were about 8 Horned Larks today, in groups of 4. I found 2 Sooty Fox Sparrows along the parking lot on my way out. Bob saw a Say's Phoebe. Two White-tailed Kites and one Northern Harrier scoured the fields for breakfast.

Kris Olson
Menlo Park, CA

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Chestnut-collared Longspurs at Hayward Regional Shoreline
Wed, 22 Oct 2003 18:58:04 -0700
From: Peter Dramer

Yes, the larger landfill west of the parking area at the end of W Winton Ave is "Mt Trashmore." This is where the Chestnut-collared Longspurs are being seen. This is now a field of dry, short grass which is excellent longspur habitat.

A short bit of info for those who are not familiar with longspur finding.

They prefer short-grass prairie much like Mt Trashmore. Being birds of the open, short-grass prairie they have developed the protective ability to land and instantly disappear in even the shortest grass. When you see them do their land-and-disappear routine, it is a natural tendency to keep approaching the landing area in hope of finding them. The result of this effort is usually to have them once again take off, land, and disappear. As they tend to fly high and far this approach can keep you hopscotching endlessly.

The best approach, once you have seen them land, is to maintain your distance and just keep looking in the area where they disappeared. It can take quite a while - perhaps ten to twenty minutes - before they start moving about more openly. After observing them, at a distance, for awhile, it is then possible to start moving slowly in their direction without flushing them.

Unfortunately, one of the over-wintering Burrowing Owls has been trying to live out there also and it is usually flushed before being seen. Hopefully, everyone will keep an eye out for it in hope of leaving it undisturbed.


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Just a suggestion about place names
Thu, 23 Oct 2003 11:3:30 -0700
From: Terry Coddington

Dear EBBers,

Thanks to all for the longspur news, which got me to thinking that the East Bay Regional Parks system has good maps of the Hayward Regional Shoreline (and other parks) on its website. Our location descriptions could be more usable for the uninitiated if we used the map labels for sightings in these parks: Mt Trashmore is not there, but "landfill" is.

Best of birding.
Terry Coddington

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Clapper Rail feeding behavior at Arrowhead Marsh, Oakland
Thu, 23 Oct 2003 11:9:23 -0700
From: Terry Coddington

Dear EBBers,

Yesterday, after Courtney Peddle's excellent guided tour of Arrowhead Marsh in Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline, Oakland, in which we were treated to a number of good Clapper Rail sightings, I was further treated to a Clapper Rail jumping into the narrow channel running west from the parking lot toward the pier. Said rail was holding high in his beak a kicking and (I suppose) screaming silver-dollar-sized crab with which the rail swam away toward his roost.

No, I didn't get a picture.

Terry Coddington

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Chestnut-collared Longspur at Hayward Regional Shoreline
Fri, 24 Oct 2003 08:54:54 -0700
From: Mike Feighner

East Bay Birders, County Birders:

At least one of the previously reported four Chestnut-collared Longspurs remains at Hayward Regional Shoreline on what locals refer to as "Mt Trashmore," a former landfill. I observed one of the longspurs at least 4 or 5 times between 7:25 and 7:40 AM at the northwest corner of Mt Trashmore near the yellow pipe. Last record of Chestnut-collared Longspur is 4 November 1987.

You can reach this area from Hwy 880 in Hayward in Alameda County by taking Winton Ave west to its end and walking west from the visitor parking lot up Mt Trashmore west to the northwest corner. The parking lot gate does not open until 8 AM, but birders can park just outside the gate.

Mike Feighner, Livermore, CA, Alameda County

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Longspur not found at Hayward Regional Shoreline
Fri, 24 Oct 2003 14:02:02 -0700
From: Dennis Braddy


For four hours starting at 9:15 this morning we systematically and repeatedly traversed the "summit" of Mt Trashmore. We got our fill of Horned Lark, American Pipit, Savannah Sparrow, and Western Meadowlark, but no Chestnut-collared Longspur.

Dennis and Patricia Braddy
San Ramon

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Short-eared Owl at Hayward Regional Shoreline
Sat, 25 Oct 2003 19:32:42 -0700
From: Emily Serkin

Hi Birders.

Tonight at around 6:35 I was up on Mt Trashmore giving up on finding a longspur when I saw a Short-eared Owl flying around the western portion of the field just north of the landfill. I got great scope views of it for several minutes. Then it disappeared and I couldn't refind it.

Good birding,
Emily Serkin

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