On 29 Jun 2018, I joined Janet Hanson and went to Almaden Lake Park in San Jose, where we met up with Bob Hirt.
The herons and egrets on the island are in full nesting bloom. Many immature SNOWY EGRETS were edging the lake, and at least one family of three immatures was chasing an adult around the lake, trying to elicit a feeding. Among the GREAT EGRETS I saw at least one GREAT BLUE HERON nest. BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS completed the makeup of the rookery.
We saw three GREAT-TAILED GRACKLES, 2 males and a female, which are almost certain to be breeding on the island as well. A flyover OSPREY was a nice treat.
Swallows are producing nicely as well. A small dead bush at the edge of the lake was the main feeding site for a handful of immature TREE SWALLOWS (showing off their dusky breast bands) and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS (showing off their cinnamon feather edges). A male VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW sat cooperatively in the sun, his trademark violet rump and green back glistening brightly.
We heard the song of a WARBLING VIREO coming from a very small stand of cottonwoods right at the lakeside. Bob was adept enough to pick this bird out sitting in a well-concealed nest, singing his little heart out. This is one of the few local species that will sing while sitting on a nest. Remarkable!
On 30 Jun 2018, I went out to New Chicago Marsh and Pond A16 in Alviso, hoping that some shorebirds may have returned to the area. This was not to be.
I found 4 SNOWY PLOVERS on the flat at the south end of the State and Spreckles pond, right along the entrance road into the EEC. They looked to be 2 each male and female. I found broods of ducks on A16 that included MALLARD, GADWALL, and CINNAMON TEAL. I found at least 5 PIED-BILLED GREBES nests on this pond, though I'm sure that is an underestimate. One AMERICAN COOT was sitting on a nest as well.
A single adult WESTERN GULL and an immature GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL were the only gulls beside CALIFORNIAS that I could find on the pond islands.
Most interesting was a single MUTE SWAN in the middle of pond A16. This bird must be capable of flight, to have gotten in here. It's a wonder where it came from.
On the way out, I saw an immature PEREGRINE FALCON sitting on a power tower.
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