This morning (1/24/18) at North Lake Merced the wintering EASTERN PHOEBE continued at sunrise. The bird was in the tangle of willows below the multi use trail north of the entrance to Harding Park. Scan down from the parallel bar exercise structure. This is the exact spot where it was first found on 11/12/17 and perhaps where it comes to roost for the night.
Additionally there was the continuing NASHVILLE WARBLER that has been reported from the area, in the albizia where the Lucy's Warbler had been seen up to a few days before the CBC.
On Mount Davidson (2) Allen's Hummingbirds were the first arrivals I've noted so far this year. A Spotted Towhee near the ravine was of note, as this species is rarely recorded in the City away from known breeding territories in the Presidio and on Bayview Hill. On 1/17/18 I had a Spotted Towhee briefly pop up on Corona Hill, but haven't seen it since.
Yesterday, during a brief morning seawatch from the back of Cliff House I observed (2m, 2f) WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS pass by northbound with Surf Scoters. They appeared to fly toward the scoter flock that floats around Mile Rock in the Golden Gate Channel. White-winged Scoter has been a tough bird to see in SF the past few winters with only a handful compared to years past.
I also wanted to address some questions about the eBird database.
A number of people have wondered why certain species or counts above a certain threshold require additional documentation.
This excerpt from the eBird 'help' section is worth reading:
Additionally, after you submit a sighting you may receive a query from reviewer that was not initially flagged as requiring additional documentation. This is due to the combination of fragmented habitat in the City and a single checklist that pops wherever within San Francisco you are submitting your sighting. As many people now use touch screen mobile devices to enter their sightings in the field quite a few 'errors' are inadvertent typos.
Wrentit - at least a couple of resident pairs are known from the coastal bluffs above Baker Beach in the Presidio, a report from anywhere else will be queried.
Hutton's Vireo - also quite localized to some of the larger well wooded parks, in fall through early spring with ubiquitous Ruby-crowned Kinglets a report of Hutton's vireo from Dolores Park or a street tree along a busy thoroughfare will draw a query
Ring-billed Gull - small numbers often congregate at Crissy Field and further inside the bay, but this species is perhaps surprisingly quite rare on the immediate coast like at Ocean Beach or Lake Merced.
Know that your records are being checked by experienced observers with many years of cumulative time spent birding San Francisco and the Bay Area and the query you may receive from us is intended to maintain the accuracy of the data that eBird provides.
The review team for San Francisco consists of myself and Ken Schneider with Logan Kahle and Dan Singer acting in an advisory role.
If you have any questions please feel free to email me.