Date: 1/2/18 3:57 pm From: 'Eddie Bartley' <eddie...> [SFBirds] <SFBirds-noreply...> Subject: [SFBirds] King Tide, Heron's Head
King Tides are a great time to explore bay marshes and Heron's Head was a good example of that today. Almost no breeze and a 100% cloud cover giving excellent below horizon light I censused the head, around the Eco-center and a bit of India Basin cove arriving just at the peak 8.5 foot King Tide. Detected 47 bird species in just over a two hour visit.
Things were just ducky: the flooded marsh/ponds were loaded with Wigeon (I counted a min. of 132) plus one male EURASIAN or AM/EU Hybrid Wigeon. Other than a duller than expected rufous head it otherwise looked Eurasian to me with a buffy crown and light gray mantle, etc. Only two Greater Scaup both females, but there may have been more in one of the rafts on the far side of the IB Cove too far to ID with bins.
Other highlights included the continuing WHITE-TAILED KITE, now officially a second year bird still holding some juvenal plumage especially in the nape. It was perched for the first hour but then Kited over the uplands around the perimeter of the PG&E Sub-station. Also a female American Kestrel being harassed by Crows.
Best bird for me was probably a MARSH WREN in the large patch of Grindelia (Gumplant) between the outlet and the western pond/marsh - been a while since I've noticed one there. Good numbers of Black-necked Stilt (9) and American Avocet (7), low numbers of Least Sandpiper but a flock of about 80 Dunlin were giving a great evasive flight show. Misses were no Plovers other than Killdeer and no Rails other than Coots.
Good Sparrowing: many White & Gold-crowns especially in the most elevated portion of the grasslands, at least 4 Savannah around the marsh plus one LINCOLN'S SPARROW just north of the India Basin foot bridge.