Date: 1/22/20 3:24 pm
From: Logan Kahle <logan...>
Subject: [EBB-Sightings] Contra Costa County 1/21 (near-adult) Glaucous Gull, Pacific Loons, Continuing Eurasian Teal, etc
Hi All,

Yesterday (1/21) I spent a fun day bouncing around some of my favorite
Contra Costa spots with C├ędric "Jugglerboy" Duhalde. We worked from
Richmond east to East County, ending at Clifton Court. Waterbird action
in Richmond has picked up significantly with thousands of cormorants
along with loons, gulls etc foraging distantly in the Bay. It looks like
there is some Herring Run action somewhere on the other side of the Bay.

Seeing a terrible (10+ minute?) wait to go the quarter mile west to the
offramp of Point San Pablo, we decided started the morning at
Miller/Knox instead. Our coverage was relatively quick and focused on
waterbirds on the pond and bay. Highlights included:
'Aluetian' Cackling Goose-1 flew into pond
Eurasian Wigeon-3 but surprisingly no females
Lesser Scaup-1
Red-breasted Merganser-20 was a good count for the county
Black-bellied Plover-36 was a good count, presumably reflecting birds
pushed up w the tide
Red-throated Loon-7
PACIFIC LOON-1 was the first in CoCo I've seen in almost two years, and
traditionally quite rare overall
Golden-crowned Kinglet-1 up on the ridge
Brown Creeper-1

Full eBird checklist here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63652662


Our next spot was Sandpiper Spit. We focused on looking at the jetty and
offshore. Large numbers of birds were roosting on the jetty, presumably
escaping the high tide. Highlights here were:
Brant-5
Black Turnstone-21 was a nice count for the jetty, counted in flight
Sanderling-15
Dunlin-50
Western Sandpipere-700 huge flock on jetty
Red-throated Loon-9
PACIFIC LOON-1 represents the only time I have seen two in the county on
the same day
Double-crested Cormorant-1050

Full eBird checklist here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63653053


We proceeded to Canal Boulevard for a better view of Brook's. The tide
was higher than I have ever seen it at Brook's, with essentially zero
(0) exposed shoreline. The slight drizzle predicted for the day was
starting to pick up. We did not focus on jetty birds because we had a
better view from Sandpiper Spit. Highlights here included:
Brant-37 was a good count for the county
BLACK SCOTER-1 may have represented one of the Richmond Marina birds, or
possibly not
Red-throated Loon-4

Full eBird checklist here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63635421


We continued onto Waterbird Regional Preserve, which held the most birds
I have ever seen there by a good margin. Extensive mudflats and islands
through the pond allowed for large numbers of Gulls to concentrate,
something I have never seen previously at the preserve. Among the huge
flocks of ducks and gulls were:
Mute Swan-6 (lowlight)
Blue-winged Teal-6 was my highest count for this location (and
traditionally a challenging bird in the county)
Eurasian Wigeon-1 was a good bird here
'EURASIAN' GREEN-WINGED TEAL-1 continuing third county record found by
Srikant Char earlier this winter. The horizontal stripe was hidden at
times (making us briefly wonder if two birds were involved) so the bold
white stripes on the face was perhaps easiest/most reliable way to pick
the bird out from the American swarms
Hooded Merganser-13 was a good count for here
Lesser Yellowlegs-1
Thayer's Gull-2
Western Gull-2 were good birds here
'Olympic' (Western x Glaucous-winged) Gull-2
'Cook inlet' (Glaucous-winged x Herring) Gull-4
Forster's Tern-4

Full eBird checklist here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63635396


From there we went to Bethel Island where we spent the next little
while. We checked the fields in the central part of the island
(including the north end opposite Piper Slough), all of which were dry,
except the far northern fields. No good shorebird concentrations were
present though there were good numbers of Blackbirds at certain spots.
We then hit Piper Slough, Willowest Marina, Frank's Tract and finally
the Golf Course. Passerine activity was low, and diversity of waterbirds
at Franks and Piper was slightly lower than expected (at franks this was
partially because the majority of the birds were really, really far away
making ID impossible). Highlights here were:
Snow Goose-1300 which included a PURE WHITE individual with no black on
the primaries! I have only ever seen one such individual before, and
none in California
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE-1 adult male on Frank's Tract was only the second I
have ever seen on the island
Common Gallinule-1
American Coot-12200, estimated, was about average. Likely double this
number among the distant Franks Tract Swarms
'Thayer's' Gull-1
Sharp-shinned Hawk-1
Horned Lark-1
House Wren-1 was a low count
Orange-crowned Warbler-1 was a very low count
Yellow-rumped Warbler-5 was very low

Full eBird checklist here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63653077

We took Dutch Slough rd over to Jersey Island hoping there might be some
open water there. Not a whole lot on Dutch Slough spare a Cooper's Hawk
and a Merlin (which seemed quite pale but I was unable to get a good
view to determine subspecific identity).

Jersey was quite productive, though no exposed water was present. Likely
due to the rain earlier in the day, large numbers of birds were using
the fields to forage. A brief check of the island produced:
Killdeer-242
Ferruginous Hawk-1
American Pipit-280
White-crowned Sparrow-230
Yellow-rumped Warbler-100

Full eBird checklist here:https://ebird.org/checklist/S63653178
<https://ebird.org/checklist/S63653178>


We next made a brief detour to Discovery Bay on our way south. We didn't
have much time to bird but still managed to find a few interesting birds:
Hooded Merganser-2
Common Merganser-9
Glaucous-winged Gull-1
Red-breasted Sapsucker-1
Red-breasted Nuthatch-1

Full eBird checklist here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63653171


From there we proceeded to our final real stop of Clifton Court
Forebay. I had hoped to arrive at the Forebay no later than 4 but that
did not turn out. This turned out to be not so great for us, as it was
too dark to even partially sort thorugh the flock of 30-50000 gulls
roosting in the middle of the reservoir. The only gulls we were really
able to pick through were about 1000 birds roosting on the levee and
allowing for great views. While driving through the swarm one
Glaucous-winged Gull came towards the car, nearly entered through the
open window but eventually veered off after slapping me in the face.
Glad it didn't enter the car. It didnt appear to be harmed. Anyway,
highlights of what we could make out on the forebay included:
Canvasback-1000
Lesser Scaup-1000, most right in channel
Greater Scaup-3 was an interestingly low count
American Coot-6000 was a low estimate of the number present
GLAUCOUS GULL-1 third-cycle on levee was the oldest Glaucous Gull I have
ever seen in California
GLAUCOUS x GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL-1 first-cycle on levee was a nice study
Other gulls-30-50000 gulls were present on the reservoir, of which it
seemed the vast majority were California and Glaucous-winged Gulls,
which seemed roughly even in number (though big gulls outnumbered cal
gulls by a decent margin). Other taxa present in lesser numbers included
Herring Gull, 'Cook Inlet' (Herring x Glaucous-winged) Gull, and
Thayer's Gull. It seems very likely that several Glaucous Gulls and one
or more Lesser Black-backed and/or Slaty-backed Gull is currently
present in the swarm if anyone wants to take on the challenge

Full eBird checklist here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S63653166


All in all was great to do my first all-day Contra Costa run since being
back. Despite marginal weather we managed to find 133 species over the
course of the day.

Good birding,
Logan Kahle
San Francisco

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