This morning I stopped over at Beach Chalet to see if the SWAMP SPARROW found on the CBC was still around, it was. As I was walking back to the car a skein of (~80) calling CACKLING GEESE flew over heading north. Details on location and a helpful hint for relocating the tough to spot Swamp Sparrow can be found in my eBird checklist for this effort:
Yesterday afternoon (1/12/18) on a work errand to the SF Zoo, I stopped at Lake Merced and scoped North Lake from the Harding Drive side. In addition to (90) Ruddy Ducks and a few of the resident Mallards there were (2) American Wigeon, (3) Northern Shovelers a Ring-necked Duck and a Bufflehead on the lake. This may seem like a pittance but is actually an excellent assemblage of water fowl in terms of species diversity for this severely impaired body of water which in 'prehistoric' times was probably comparable to its Marin County equivalent Abbott's Lagoon in terms of habitat value.
Some additional notes on the Bayside duck spectacle from Thursday 1/11/18, among the (120+) Greater Scaup that were in close for easy study off Last Port Unit/Candlestick State Recreation Area, there was a good (for Bayside SF) count of (5m,3f) LESSER SCAUP, (2) Red-breasted Merganser and (20+) Surf Scoters. I have to admit here I was very disappointed (although not really surprised) that there were no follow up reports on the MASSIVE (estimated by 100 units to be >10k) Scaup raft that had gathered there. This is easily the largest concentration I've ever seen of Scaup anywhere in the state and the largest I've ever heard off within view of San Francisco City/County territory. While it is tedious and time consuming to scope through large concentrations of water fowl there is the potential of a reward in form of a city/year species add as well as (perhaps more importantly) providing important data points in our knowledge of the status of these birds in our region.
Finally, on Wednesday 1/10/18, I spent pre-dawn and after dusk listening for rails around lake Merced. Virginia Rails detected were (3) at Wooden Bridge, (2) at Concrete Bridge and (1) in the marsh adjacent to the defunct Pacific Rod & Gun Club on John Muir Drive. A single Sora was detected at the south end of the Impound Lake.
I also want to thank all of you who continue to utilize the SFBirds listserv to share your sightings of birds within San Francisco in addition to using eBird. Let's keep it up in the new calendar year.