This morning Hugh Cotter, Mark Eaton, and I conducted a sea watch from the south end of the Great Highway and then birded south Lake Merced, after which Hugh and I hit Battery Godfrey for a midday skywatch. Diminishing W-NW winds and plenty of sun made for nice weather conditions and there were plenty of typical western migrants out there (e.g., Yellow, Townsend's and Yellow-rumped Warblers, W. Tanagers, Fox Sparrows, Pine Siskins) and we had some nice sightings throughout the morning.
Seawatch: Excellent viewing conditions, relatively mild seas as the WNW winds diminished. There were 4-6 Humpback Whales scattered about offshore and the recent shift in winds seemed to trigger a big movement of gulls -- hundreds on the beach, over the ocean, and flying N over the beach, mostly Californias and Westerns, good numbers of Heermann's, and a few each of Herring and Glaucous-winged. Observations of local interest: Greater Scaup 20+ (several small groups flying over the ocean) Common Loon 2 Pacific Loon 4 Pelagic Cormorant 1 W. Sandpiper 1 (with Sanderlings on the beach) Elegant Tern 40+ PARASITIC JAEGER 18+ (2/3 adults, 1/3 sub-adults/imms.) LONG-TAILED JAEGER 1 imm. (flying N trailing a Parasitic; observed well by the 3 of us relatively close to shore) MARBLED MURRELET 2 (basic plumage; flying N together relatively close to shore) Common Murre 30+
S. Lake Merced Concrete Bridge & Vista Grande Canal: Eared Grebe 4 Virginia Rail 3 (heard near E end of bridge, both sides) Warbling Vireo 2 Steller's Jay 4 (1 "flock" near VGC) Red-br. Nuthatch 4 Hermit Thrush 1 (near VGC) Swainson's Thrush 1 (near VGC) Black-throated Gray Warbler 2 Com. Yellowthroat 3 Lincoln's Sparrow 3 (near VG canal) SWAMP SPARROW 1 (I briefly observed an early individual that popped up on a low branch near VGC then disappeared; the 3 Lincoln's Sparrows and plenty of Song and White-crowned Sparrows were in the vicinity) Great-tailed Grackle 3 (on the bridge) Red Crossbill 8 (1 calling flock of non-locals flying S high overhead)
Battery Godfrey Skywatch (11:30-1:00): Despite the wind direction we were hoping for some raptors and we only had a few but a couple of good ones and some other nice migrants were in the mix: Cooper's Hawk 1 Red-tailed Hawk 5 Red-sh. Hawk 2 BROAD-WINGED HAWK 2 juvs. (@ 12:05 PM crossed the channel W of GG Bridge then continued SE over the trees behind BG flying together in a direct line) Merlin 1 Turkey Vulture 8 Pelagic Cormorant 2 (on rocks below) Elegant Tern 20+ PARASITIC JAEGER 2 (flying E together high up near GG Bridge) Band-tailed Pigeon 40+ Say's Phoebe 1 (continuing bird) Wrentit 1 Red-br. Nuthatch 1 PALM WARBLER 1 (dropped in right in front of us @ 12:45 PM near restoration area at S end of BG; on ground and low shrubs) Am. Pipit 2 (calling flyovers) Red Crossbill 3 (calling flyovers)