Sunday, January 12, 2014

2013 Green Big Year Species List

So here is the big list for the year.

California birds-326

San Mateo County-256
  1. Greater White-fronted Goose 10/13
  2. Snow Goose  12/28
  3. Ross's Goose 2/10
  4. Brant 1/1
  5. Cackling Goose 10/12
  6. Canada Goose  1/11
  7. Wood Duck  6/18
  8. Gadwall  1/1
  9. Eurasian Wigeon  2//9
  10. American Wigeon  1/1
  11. Mallard 1/1
  12. Blue-winged Teal 2/9
  13. Cinnamon Teal  1/1
  14. Northern Shoveler 1/1
  15. Northern Pintail 2/9
  16. Green-winged Teal 1/1
  17. Canvasback 2/9
  18. Redhead  4/12
  19. Ring-necked Duck  1/1
  20. Tufted Duck 11/24
  21. Greater Scaup 1/5
  22. Lesser Scaup 1/18
  23. Harlequin Duck 1/5
  24. Surf Scoter 1/1
  25. White-winged Scoter 1/1
  26. Black Scoter    1/1
  27. Long-tailed Duck  11/22
  28. Bufflehead  1/1
  29. Common Goldeneye   1/1
  30. Barrow's Goldeneye 11/24
  31. Hooded Merganser 2/9
  32. Common Merganser 2/9
  33. Red-breasted Merganser 1/1
  34. Ruddy Duck 1/1
  35. Mountain Quail 6/6
  36. California Quail 1/1
  37. Greater Sage-Grouse 6/3
  38. Wild Turkey 3/24
  39. Red-throated Loon 1/1
  40. Pacific Loon 1/1
  41. Common Loo 1/1
  42. Ped-billed Grebe 1/1
  43. Horned Grebe 1/12
  44. Red-necked Grebe 10/299
  45. Eared Grebe 1/1
  46. Western Grebe 1/1
  47. Clark"s Grebe 1/6
  48. Northern Fulmar 2/2
  49. Pink-footed Shearwater 3/26
  50. Buller's Shearwater 10/6
  51. Sooty Shearwater 5/26
  52. Black-vented Shearwater 1/6
  53. Blue-footed Booby 9/17
  54. Brandt's Cormorant 1/1
  55. Double-creasted Cormorant 1/1
  56. Pelagic Cormorant 1/1
  57. American White Pelican 4/12
  58. Brown Pelican 1/1
  59. American Bittern 6/9
  60. Great Blue Heron 1/1
  61. Great Egret 1/1
  62. Snowy Egret 1/1
  63. Green Heron 4/12
  64. Black-crowned Night Heron 1/18
  65. White-faced Ibis 6/9
  66. Turkey Vulture 1/1
  67. Osprey 6/15
  68. White-tailed Kite 1/1
  69. Golden Eagle 5/31
  70. Northern Harrier 1/1
  71. Sharp-shinned Hawk 1/6
  72. Cooper's Hawk 1/18
  73. Northern Goshawk 6/16
  74. Bald Eagle 6/9
  75. Red-shouldered Hawk 1/1
  76.  Swainson's Hawk 6/1
  77. Red-tailed Hawk 1/1
  78. Ferruginous Hawk 10/29
  79. Rough-legged hawk 1/1
  80. Clapper Rail 8/25
  81. Virginia Rail 2/9
  82. Sora 10/13
  83. Common Gallinule 10/2
  84. American Coot 1/1
  85. Sandhill Crane 6/9
  86. Black-necked Stilt 2/9
  87. American Avocet 2/9
  88. Black Oystercatcher 1/5
  89. Black-bellied Plover 1/5
  90. Pacific Golden-Plover 1/18
  91. Snowy Plover 1/11
  92. Semipalmated Plover 2/9
  93. Killer 1/21
  94. Mountain Plover 12/17
  95. Spotted Sandpiper 1/18
  96. Wandering Tattler 1/18
  97. Greater Yellowlegs 1/1
  98. Willet 1/18
  99. Lesser Yellowlegs 4/12
  100. Whimbrel 1/18
  101. Long-billed Curlew 4/12
  102. Marbled Godwit 1/18
  103. Ruddy Turnstone 6/25
  104. Black Turnstone 1/5
  105. Red Knot 6/15
  106. Surfbird 1/18
  107. Sanderling 1/18
  108. Dunlin 2/9
  109. Baird's Sandpiper 8/2
  110. Least Sandpiper 1/18
  111. Pectoral Sandpiper 10/5
  112. Semipalmated Sandpiper 8/15
  113. Western Sandpiper 1/18
  114. Short-billed Dowitcher 2/9
  115. Long-billed Dowitcher 2/9
  116. Wilson's Snipe 1/21
  117. Wilson's Phalarope 6/9
  118. Red-necked Phalarope 5/26
  119. Red Phalarope 3/26
  120. Pomarine Jaeger 10/6
  121. Parasitic Jaeger 8/22
  122. Common Murre 1/1
  123. Pigeon Guillemot 3/23
  124. Marbled Murrelet 3/3
  125. Ancient Murrelet 1/6
  126. Cassin's Auklet 8/5
  127. Rhinoceros Auklet 1/21
  128. Black-legged Kittiwake 3/3
  129. Bonaparte's Gull 4/9
  130. Heerman's Gull 1/18
  131. Mew Gull 1/1
  132. Ring-billed Gull 2/9
  133. Western Gull 1/1
  134. California Gull 1/1
  135. Herring Gull 1/1
  136. Thayer's Gull 1/1
  137. Glaucous-winged Gull 1/1
  138. Glaucous Gull 12/15
  139. Least Tern 7/13
  140. Caspian Tern 3/2
  141. Common Tern 9/11
  142. Forester's Tern 2/9
  143. Elegant Tern 7/13
  144. Black Skimmer 4/12
  145. Rock Pigeon 1/1
  146. Band-tailed Pigeon 1/1
  147. Eurasian Collared-Dove 1/1
  148. Mourning Dove 1/1
  149. Greater Roadrunner 6/1
  150. Barn Owl 1/17
  151. Western Screech-Owl 7/7
  152. Great Horned Owl 1/1
  153. Northern Pygmy-Owl 1/28
  154. Burrowing Owl 10/27
  155. Spotted Owl 6/15
  156. Short-eared Owl 1/18
  157. Northern Saw-whet Owl 1/21
  158. Common Nighthawk 6/18
  159. Common Poorwill 2/14
  160. Black Swift 6/16
  161. Vaux's Swift 5/31
  162. White-throated Swift 5/30
  163. Black-chinned Hummingbird 6/1
  164. Anna's Hummingbird 1/1
  165. Rufous Hummingbird 7/10
  166. Allen's Hummingbird 3/24
  167. Calliope Hummingbird 6/10
  168. Belted Kingfisher 1/1
  169. Lewis's Woodpecker 6/19
  170. Acorn Woodpecker 1/1
  171. Williamson's Sapsucker 6/6
  172. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1/1
  173. Red-naped Sapsucker 6/30
  174. Red-breasted Sapsucker 1/1
  175. Nuttall's Woodpecker 2/9
  176. Downy Woodpecker 1/5
  177. Hairy Woodpecker 1/1
  178. White-headed Woodpecker 6/7
  179. Black-backed Woodpecker 6/7
  180. Northern Flicker 1/1
  181. Pileated Woodpecker 1/16
  182. American Kestrel 1/1
  183. Merlin 4/8
  184. Peregrine Falcon 1/1
  185. Prairie Falcon 6/25
  186. Olive-sided Flycatcher 4/28
  187. Western Wood-Pewee 5/15
  188. Willow Flycatcher 6/10
  189. Hammond's Flycatcher 6/6
  190. Gray Flycatcher 6/28
  191. Dusky Flycatcher 6/5
  192. Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3/23
  193. Black Phoebe 1/1
  194. Eastern Phoebe 1/1
  195. Say's Phoebe 1/18
  196. Ash-throated Flycatcher 6/1
  197. Tropical Kingbird 9/28
  198. Cassin's Kingbird 6/14
  199. Western Kingbird 4/12
  200. Loggerhead Shrike 6/1
  201. Plumbeous Vireo 6/25
  202. Cassin's Vireo 6/1
  203. Hutton's Vireo 1/1
  204. Warbling Vireo 3/26
  205. Pinyon Jay 6/23
  206. Steller's Jay 1/1
  207. Western Scrub-Jay 1/1
  208. Black-billed Magpie 6/19
  209. Yellow-billed Magpie 5/30
  210. Clark's Nutcracker 6/19
  211. American Crow 1/1
  212. Common Raven 1/1
  213. Horned Lark 6/1
  214. Northern Rough-winged Swallow 4/9
  215. Purple Martin 6/16
  216. Tree Swallow 4/12
  217. Violet-green Swallow 3/17
  218. Bank Swallow 5/11
  219. Barn Swallow 4/9
  220. Cliff Swallow 3/24
  221. Mountain Chickadee 6/5
  222. Chestnut-backed Chickadee 1/1
  223. Oak Titmouse 2/9
  224. Juniper Titmouse 6/25
  225. Bushtit 1/1
  226. Red-breasted Nuthatch 1/5
  227. White-breasted Nuthatch 5/31
  228. Pygmy Nuthatch 1/5
  229. Brown Creeper 1/16
  230. Rock Wren 6/1
  231. Canyon Wren 6/1
  232. House Wren 3/24
  233. Pacific Wren 1/1
  234. Marsh Wren 1/12
  235. Bewick's Wren 1/6
  236. Cactus Wren 7/6
  237. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 6/6
  238. American Dipper 6/5
  239. Golden-crowned Kinglet 1/6
  240. Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1/1
  241. Wrentit 1/1
  242. Western Bluebird 2/10
  243. Mountain Bluebird 6/18
  244. Townsend's Solitaire 6/9
  245. Swainson's Thrush 4/37
  246. Hermt Thrush 1/1
  247. American Robin 1/1
  248. Varied Thrush 1/13
  249. Gray Catbird 12/15
  250. California Thrasher 5/11
  251. Sage Thrasher 6/9
  252. Northern Mockingbird 1/1
  253. European Starling 1/1
  254. American Pipit 2/9
  255. Cedar Waxwing 2/9
  256. Phainopepla 5/30
  257. Lapland Longspur 12/17
  258. Northern Waterthrush 11/2
  259. Black-and-white Warbler 10/26
  260. Tennessee Warbler 9/22
  261. Orange-crowned Warbler 1/13
  262. Nashville Warbler 6/5
  263. MacGillivray's Warbler 4/10
  264. Common Yellowthroat 1/1
  265. Cape May Warbler 2/9
  266. Yellow Warbler 5/15
  267. Black-throated Blue Warbler 1/1
  268. Palm Warbler 10/13
  269. Yellow-rumped Warbler 1/1
  270. Black-throated Gray Warbler 6/5
  271. Townsend's Warbler 1/1
  272. Hermit Warbler 2/9
  273. Wilson's Warbler 3/26
  274. Painted Redstart 11/24
  275. Yellow-breasted Chat 6/3
  276. Green-tailed Towhee 6/5
  277. Spotted Towhee 1/6
  278. Rufous-crowned Sparrow 5/31
  279. California Towhee 1/1
  280. Chipping Sparrow 6/16
  281. Clay-colored Sparrow 10/12
  282. Brewer's Sparrow 6/9
  283. Black-chinned Sparrow 7/12
  284. Vesper Sparrow 6/9
  285. Lark Sparrow 6/1
  286. Black-throated Sparrow 7/3
  287. Bell's Sparrow 7/12
  288. Sagebrush Sparrow 7/3
  289. Savannah Sparrow 2/9
  290. Grasshopper Sparrow 5/26
  291. Fox Sparrow 1/1
  292. Song Sparrow 1/1
  293. Lincoln's Sparrow 1/11
  294. Swamp Sparrow 10/28
  295. White-throated Sparrow 1/1
  296. Harris's Sparrow 4/12
  297. White-crowned Sparrow 1/1
  298. Golden-crowned Sparrow 1/1
  299. Dark-eyed Junco 1/1
  300. Western Tanager 6/5
  301. Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5/15
  302. Black-headed Grosbeak 4/10
  303. Blue Grosbeak 6/5
  304. Lazuli Bunting 5/2
  305. Indigo Bunting 5/26
  306. Red-winged Blackbird 1/1
  307. Tricolored Blackbird 1/1
  308. Western Meadowlark 1/1
  309. Yellow-headed Blackbird 6/9
  310. Brewer's Blackbird 1/1
  311. Great-tailed Grackle 6/5
  312. Brown-headed Cowbird 4/12
  313. Orchard Oriole 8/23
  314. Hooded Oriole 4/12
  315. Bullock's Oriole 5/12
  316. Pine Grosbeak 6/6
  317. House Finch 1/1
  318. Purple Finch 1/1
  319. Cassin's Finch 6/5
  320. Red Crossbill 1/11
  321. Pine Siskin 1/1
  322. Lesser Goldfinch 3/4
  323. Lawrence's Goldfinch 5/31
  324. American Goldfinch 3/24
  325. Evening Grosbeak 6/5
  326. House Sparrow 1/1

I think all these birds "count" according to the American Birding Association.  I've never played by their rules before, so if someone sees something on this list that doesn't count, give me a holler. 

A couple of other birds that I got to see but don't count are:


Had I tried harder, I could have added birds to the San Mateo Green List for the year.  For example, I never saw a Barrow's Goldeneye in the county for 2013, but they do occur here every year.  There are a couple of birds like that.  Maybe in 2015 I'll do a San Mateo County Green Big Year.   As for 2014, I'm taking the year off from listing.  Though I'll certainly keep birding.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

This Dude is Awesome.

One county, 301 birds.  It's unreal.  Great job Ron!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One last bird--326

On the 28th of December, I rode up to Half Moon Bay to find a dark SNOW GOOSE that Malia found at Pilarcitos.  The last bird of the year.
  The really cool thing was that the Snow Goose was associating with a flock of resident CANADA GEESE which had already picked up a CACKLING GOOSE and a ROSS'S GOOSE.  Ross's and Snow geese don't turn up every year on the coastside of San Mateo County.  Cackling geese do, but they are uncommon.  Having them all grouped together was great, but it was also the best viewing of a dark Snow Goose that I've ever gotten.
  After I checked out the geese, I decided to look for the BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER that seems to be overwintering on a different spot on Pilarcitos Creek.  Black-and-White is a good bird for this part of California.  I don't find them every year.  Glad I got another look at one.  It wasn't too shy so I got a picture.

Dark variant of the SNOW GOOSE-Pilarcitos Creek

BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER upstream from the geese.

I'll post at least once more with my complete year list.  That's it for now though.

Monday, December 30, 2013

SF and Marin trip recap

  Well, the pre-Christmas trip north turned up some good birds.  Sure, I missed the WINTER WREN in Inverness (it has been seen since I left), but that didn't get me down.
   I left before first light on 12/15.  First stop, Half Moon Bay, where a GLAUCOUS GULL was hanging out.  Saw the bird, pedaled on.  I was trying to make it up to San Francisco with time to bird.
  Fortunately, I did have plenty of time to bird there.  The ride up took 5 hours, so I got to the Golden Gate Park a bit before noon.  In the Botanical Garden, it took less than 15 minutes for the GRAY CATBIRD to show up.  Two very satisfying looks.  It took me back to Virginia, where in college these were yard birds.  So nice.
   The next morning I headed over the Golden Gate Bridge (again) and made for Point Reyes Station.   Gorgeous December weather.  Sunny and 60s!!!
  My friend Fiona Firefly put me up again, which once again proved to be an incredible staging area for bird finding by bike.  Riding from PR Station, you get some nice views of Tomales Bay and all many of it's marshes.  Then, up and over one big hill and down to Abbott's Lagoon.
  I got to Abbott's at 8:30 in the morning on 12/17.  It didn't take long to figure out which of the Ag. fields to walk through in order to find the right flock of birds.  Sure enough, the PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVERS (4) were the first new birds I spotted in the flock of over 100 KILLDEER.  With them was a MOUNTAIN PLOVER, which allowed great views as well.   Finding the LAPLAND LONGSPURS was actually the hardest bird in the group for me.  I had only ever seen one, in Alabama.  To make things difficult, but also very interesting and fun, a flock of AMERICAN PIPITS flew in and at times was all around me.  Finally, I heard the LAPLAND LONGSPURS first.  Turns out, there were about two dozen mixed in the flock.  Wow, three new birds in one flock-in December no less!!!  Lucky me.
   And even though I had already seen them this year,  several FERRUGINOUS and one ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK were in the area as well.  It was an incredible day.
  Eventually, I made it home.  No need for gory, though glorious details about riding home along Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean.  Great riding, great birds, great weather.  I love it when that happens.
Willets below during a Cliff House Seawatch in San Francisco

Black Turnstones and Surfbirds at the Cliff House

River Otter tracks and Beat Up Sibley's at Abbott's Lagoon

One of Several Ferruginous Hawks near Abbott's Lagoon in Point Reyes

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Going On Another Trip- Point Reyes

  Today is the first day of my winter vacation from work.  I don't have to start work again until after the new year.  I spent this morning sleeping in, though I took a slow walk through the yard at noon.  3 White-throated Sparrows and an Orange-Crowned Warbler seem to be winter residents this year.  The warbler sipped from a Red-breasted Sapsucker well.  A Cooper's Hawk flew high over head.  A high pressure system is moving in and temperatures are rising.  Beautiful weather again.  Just in time for another bike trip.
  So the plan is to leave early tomorrow morning- once again, before first light.  I'll stop in to see if the GLAUCOUS GULL that Alvaro Jaramillo found the other day  is still in Half Moon Bay.  Then on to the city.  I hope to get there early enough to try for the GRAY CATBIRD that has been in Golden Gate Park for the past couple of weeks.  One night in the city and then up to Point Reyes.
  I'm looking forward to getting up to Point Reyes again.  There have been a few good birds (that I still need) seen all clustered together near Abbott's Lagoon.  I missed the PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVERS the last trip up there, but they have been reported there recently.  The fact that there are LAPLAND LONGSPURS and now a MOUNTAIN PLOVER very nearby, gives this trip some great potential.  A WINTER WREN was seen a couple of weeks ago in Inverness, but hasn't been seen lately.  Hopefully I can find a little time to poke around for it.
  Point Reyes is so beautiful that it doesn't really matter anyway.  There will be tons of great birds regardless of whether I've seen them or not.

On a different note, I just found my camera.  Here are a couple of semi-recent random pictures from various place.

The Local Harlequin-  This bird has took up residence at Pescadero State Beach a couple of years ago.  This was taken through my scope.  That's a female surf scoter diving behind him.

Modus at the Golden Gate on the last Point Reyes trip

Burrowing Owl- Okay, it's blurry, but it was fun finding this one.   

Elk at Sunrise in Point Reyes

Modus and the Sage Thrasher I found on the SF Bay.  I know you can't really see the bird well, but I thought it was cool to get them in the same shot. 

Sage Thrasher through the scope.  This was the first one I'd ever seen in San Mateo County.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Magical Moment with a Redstart-320 species and counting (or not)

  I knew it was going to happen this week sometime, I just wasn't sure when. 
  I left my house before dawn on Saturday.  I wanted to get some riding in while it was still dark so that it would still be early-ish when I reached the bay.  I was headed to Sunol to stay with a friend after birding a few SF Bay locations.  The difficult thing was that I was hoping to get down to the Bay's southern tip-Alviso. A Bar-tailed Godwit had been reported from there a few days before.  I felt like I had a shot at this bird, plus, I'd never seen one before.  Maybe I'd see another new bird if I rode the shores down there anyway.  Tundra Swans had been seen near Sunnyvale and a random Snow Goose could pop up anywhere.  I got down to the bay around 11 am and headed south.  Unfortunately, when I ran into another birder and asked, I missed the spot from where the Swans could be scoped.  I decided to not turn around for them due to the fact that some Mute Swans had also been seen in the area and I hadn't, at the time, heard whether the Tundras were still there.  I biked on.  I still had a long day ahead.
  I finally got to Alviso at 1pm after getting a little turned around on the maze of levees out on the Bay.  A quick call home to my roommate Claire, who was serving as map and bird location support, and I was off to the spot where the Bar-tailed had last been seen.  It was a several mile ride over soft muddy levees, but I found a couple large collections of shorebirds in the right spot.  Being near 2pm, most of the birds had their heads tucked down for an afternoon of rest.  The lighting was less than ideal.  The task of finding a shorebird that had a Marbled Godwit shaped bill with a more Willet coloring in a flock of 1000s of mostly Godwits and Willets proved to be too large.  I spent maybe an hour and a half birding there.  With more time, who knows (though as it turns out, a number of birders did not find it that day). 20 miles to ride to Sunol.  I tried not to think about how much shorter the ride would have been if I had taken the Dumbarton Bridge instead of trying for the Godwit.  It had been a chance worth taking, but a miss none the less.   I made it to Sunol just as it was getting dark.
  After staying with my friend Aspen in Sunol (thanks Aspen!!!), I left the next morning for Berkeley.  The 30 miles felt like a lot more after such a long day.  I was feeling rough!
  Along the way I stopped at a Farmers Market somewhere in the east bay hills.  I strolled the market looking for something to get my blood-sugar to a reasonable level.  Both body and mind were feeling a bit taxed.  Suddenly, a friendly voice called out and asking if I was on a bike tour.  Holding a chocolate chip cookie in front of me was Kate, who worked for a bakery at the market.  She saved the day.  Long trail hikers call this kind of thing "Trail Magic".  The gesture was incredibly rejuvenating, and the cookie...perfect.  Thanks Kate!
  I was going to be staying with my friend Bay that night. As it happened, she lived just five blocks from where the Painted Redstart had been found 11 days before.  Being a naturalist herself, she met me at the spot and was looking at the bird when I arrived!
  It was a magical experience.  11 years ago, I took the name "REDSTART" as my nature name working with kids at San Mateo Outdoor Education.  Everyday since then, I have been called Redstart, whether at work or not.  Nearly the only people who call me Mark besides my parents are ironically, birders.
  So there I was, staring at a PAINTED REDSTART, which just happened to be the bird that tied the North American Green Birding Record at 318.
  At that point, I mostly felt relief.  The past few months have been very intensive in the biking and birding department.  It has been a great challenge in so many ways.  I took a deep breath and realized the pace could now lessen.
  Bay and I relaxed at her house while I chugged water and took a break.  We left for Lake Merritt in Oakland a couple of hours later.  Breaktime was over.  Time to find a Tufted Duck.
  Bay and I began scanning the massive scaup flock.  Greater and Lesser Scaup look very similar to a Tufted Duck.  Tufteds have a darker back and what looks like a rat tail. 
  Arriving on the shores, we started scanning for the bird.  Bay called out, "BARROW'S GOLDENEYE". Yup, three in fact.  I had forgotten to keep an eye out for those.  Great spot Bay!  On to the Tufted, which I found within 25 feet of the shore.  A nice dinner and a couple of couple of beers to celebrate before the 70 mile ride home the next day.
  I made it home.  320 birds and counting, though I'm not sure I'll find anymore.  The big trips are likely all done as this week was my last major break in work to go out looking.  Birding trips will have to fit in a weekend from here on out.  I'm relieved about that.  Coasting.
  Life is good.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tracking down the last few

This morning I headed out to the coast before work. With the rain and wind that just came through this week, I thought clearing conditions might produce some bird movement out over the ocean.
  I wasn't disappointed.  Two female LONG-TAILED DUCKS led the way for a line of cormorants who were making their way towards a large feeding frenzy north of Pescadero Creek.  My first two Long-taileds that I have ever found myself.
  Tomorrow I am taking off on a try to the South Bay, then Sunol, and then the East Bay.  I may even make it out to the Central Valley.  I'm going to try to leave at about 5am.  That ought to give me a good headstart before first light.  I'm trying to get down to the South Bay fairly early to look for a Bar-tailed Godwit that has been seen down there lately.
  Some other birds I have a chance at include:

 Snow Goose- on the bay somewhere or in the Central Valley
 Tundra Swan- one was report recently somewhere in the South Bay
 Tufted Duck- A bird has shown up on Lake Merritt in Oakland for about 5 winters in a row.  Someon           reported in the other day.
  Barrow's Goldeneye-various SF Bay locations
  Painted Redstart-  Unbelievably one has been in Berkeley  for about a week now.  I sure hope it will stick around a few more days!

 I'll report more when I get back.