Yesterday 12/21/2020, I birded the Palo Alto Baylands, the Palo Alto Water Pollution Control Plant, and Stevens Creek between Highway 101 and the rust-colored bridge at Shoreline Park for the Palo Alto CBC. There were several good stakeout birds in this area and trying to find them all as well as count the many shorebirds, ducks, and other birds was challenging. I checked the Geng Road area three times, trying to find the Lesser Yellowlegs (found at 8:02am), the Tropical Kingbird (found at 12:21pm), and the Summer Tanager (apparently not seen by anybody yesterday).
I started out at Geng Road before 7am, finding an adult COOPER'S HAWK, a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and the LESSER YELLOWLEGS, before moving over to the Palo Alto WPCP. There I found a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, 2 TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS, and a ROCK WREN vocalizing atop the maintenance area fence at the base of the northwest corner of Byxbee Park (37.449840, -122.109896). I then headed back to Geng Road, again failing to find the kingbird or the tanager before having to depart by bike for the San Francisquito Creek delta. The delta added some quality shorebirds, including 16+ RED KNOTS, 1 RUDDY TURNSTONE, 34 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 3 WHIMBREL, and many DOWITCHERS, including four calling SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. A RIDGWAY'S RAIL was visible in a small channel on the Santa Clara County side. I next spent 25 minutes at the SWAMP SPARROW spot along the runway, but had to be content with just hearing the bird chipping from the marsh. I heard a big commotion with lots of geese flushing from the direction of O'Connor Pond a half mile away and found an immature BALD EAGLE soaring up in that direction. After biking back to Geng Road, I found the TROPICAL KINGBIRD atop the tree tobacco along the northern edge of the pond.
The stretch of Stevens Creek between Highway 101 and the rust-colored bridge east of Shoreline Park yielded a BELTED KINGFISHER, 3 TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS, the continuing male hybrid DOWNY x NUTTALL'S WOODPECKER (photos), and 3 BLUE-WINGED TEAL (2 adult males and 1 female in Stevens Creek just north of the rust-colored bridge).
Back at the Palo Alto Baylands, I found 15 WHIMBREL and an adult PEREGRINE FALCON near the boat launch at the estuary mouth. I had no luck finding the Eurasian Green-winged Teal that has been reported from the channel near the runway, but did hear another 3 RIDGWAY'S RAILS while looking for it.
I tallied small numbers of PINE SISKINS everywhere I went yesterday, but did also find one larger group of 20 birds at the north end of Embarcadero Way. On the other hand, I failed to find an Orange-crowned Warbler anywhere, in contrast to the last many years that have yielded 2-4 OCWAs in these areas.
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