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Sapsuckers in Tilden Nature Area
Fri, 12 Dec 2003 09:07:54 -0800
From: Stephen Long

East Bay Birders,

Following up on Dave Quady's posting of December 8, I made a brief stop yesterday afternoon (2:45 to 3:15) at the Tilden Nature Area visitor center in search of sapsuckers. Dave's directions were, as always, impeccable, even down to the specific tree. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker tree, north of the concrete manure pad, is easily identifiable from the sapsucker-workings on the trunk. Alas, although I found the tree, I didn't find the sapsucker. But since Red-breasted Sapsucker is an egregious miss on my Contra Costa County list, I followed Dave's directions to the tree adjacent to the small pond at the Junior Rangers' Lodge. Again, tell-tale signs of sapsucker-workings were easily visible, and...after a few minutes, so was the daggetti Red-breasted Sapsucker. Thank you Dave for #157 on my Contra Costa County list.

Other birds were all of the expected winter and/or year-round resident variety: American Robins, Northern Flicker (nosily perched in the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker tree - probably keeping his treasured confamilial away), Golden-crowned Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hutton's Vireo (1), Townsend's Warblers (lots), Hermit Thrush, Steller's Jay, Red-tailed Hawk (screeching somewhere over the hillside), Black Phoebe, and probably others that elude my memory.

Stephen Long
Oakland, CA

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Dipper and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Sat, 13 Dec 2003 16:23:12 -0800 (PST)
From: Peter Diegutis

Good Evening

Once more I proved to myself what a great day can be had if I rouse myself off the lounge and go birding.

I am happy to report that the American Dipper is still on station at Temescal Regional Recreation Area. From the bridge it was easily seen bobbing and swimming in what I thought was a very unlikely imitation of a clear mountain stream. My only other dipper required much more work along a lovely stretch of water in Yosemite.

Then to Tilden Nature Area, and I am happy to report that the juvenal Yellow-bellied Sapsucker may still be found in the area around the Little Farm. I must admit that I would have preferred a breeding-plumage male for a positive identification (as this is my first Yellow-belled Sapsucker), but the bird looks true to the representation in my Sibley´┐Żs guide. Given the range map though, I would have been reluctant to call it. I suppose that is what separates the true expert from birding-hacks like myself. Also, I have often glimpsed the ruby crown patch of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but never in the full erect glory that I spied today.

Anyway, I hope your day was as rewarding.

Have a nice day.

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Oakland Hills
Sat, 13 Dec 2003 19:21:19 -0800
From: Tom Condit

Saturday, Dec 13, 2003
Parts of Joaquin Miller Park and Redwood Regional Park, Oakland:

Otherwise the usual suspects, including a fair-sized flock of Ruby-crowned Kinglets

Tom Condit

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Hooded Mergansers not found in Berkeley
Sun, 14 Dec 2003 10:14:10 -0800
From: Judi Sierra

I went to Berkeley Aquatic Park yesterday and was unable to find the Hooded Mergansers in the middle pond. I then checked the southernmost pond as well as the southern end of the large pond with no luck. (Maybe it was my mood but for the first time I became pretty annoyed by the cruisers driving round&round, back&forth.)

Judi Sierra - Oakland

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Western Tanager in Berkeley
Sun, 14 Dec 2003 10:20:18 PST
From: Graham Chisholm

This morning we had a Western Tanager at 24 The Plaza Dr, Berkeley. The bird was a male in nonbreeding plumage and is presumably the same individual that visited our yard on November 24. The bird this morning fed in our persimmon tree for over 20 minutes.

Our house is just off Claremont Ave near the Uplands Ave in south Berkeley.

Graham Chisholm

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Barn Swallow in Livermore
Sun, 14 Dec 2003 11:33:30 -0800
From: Steve Huckabone

This morning on my walk I had a Barn Swallow fly by very low to the ground heading northeast. Also I spotted a Prairie Falcon chasing after the Red-winged Blackbirds on Livermore Airport property.

Good birding.
Steve Huckabone
Alameda County
Livermore California

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Long-eared Owl in Orinda
Sun, 14 Dec 2003 18:33:39 -0800 (PST)
From: David Armstrong

Hi EB Birders,

Today my team of Donald Johnson, Chris Tarp and Peter Diegutis covered the Gateway/Siesta Valleys region on the Oakland Christmas Bird Count. Most of this land is under East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) management and a trail permit is required to access it.

Our highlight was a life bird for all four of us. While walking through EBMUD land at the end of El Toyonal Ave in Orinda, Don mentioned that we were near the spot where Anthony Fisher found a Long-eared Owl on the CBC 5 years ago. Not more than 5 seconds after Don said this, Peter called out "Owl." We all came over, got on the bird and were delighted to see a Long-eared Owl looking down on us! In fact its back was to us but it turned its head 180 degrees to observe us, creating the odd effect of seeing its back and face at the same time. We had all walked right by the spot but fortunately Peter's sharp eyes spotted the bird. The owl was on the lefthand side of the trail as you walk from the gate that is at the end of El Toyonal Ave. Park there, walk in about 300 yards and look on your left hand side. There is a partially rusted out pole on the right side of the road near the spot. If you get to the bridge you have gone about 100 yards too far. Again this land is EBMUD property so a trail permit is necessary.

Other birds of interest from the day included 2 Rufous-crowned Sparrows on the De LaVeaga trail, a total of 64 Band-tailed Pigeons, both accipiters, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and 7 Western Bluebirds.

David Armstrong

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