Date: 6/22/24 9:19 pm
From: Marty Freeland via <martinf3...>
Subject: [pen-bird] American Redstart and recent misc.
Hi all,

Today on Pomponio Creek Road there was a singing American Redstart at about (37.30397, -122.34951). It was a flaming adult (ASY) male, which is much rarer in the county than female-types, or "yellowstarts." (Male American Redstarts retain primarily female-like plumage through their whole first year, albeit with increasing blackish flecking.) This was the first adult male I have had in San Mateo.

Also today, a singing Grasshopper Sparrow on Verde Rd. was slightly notable on the coast. A pair of Hooded Orioles in downtown Pescadero was of course at this date suggestive of breeding, and I think breeding has been suspected along Water Lane in past years, although confirmation from the southern San Mateo coast is lacking. And a youngish juvenile House Wren was along Purisima Creek Rd. not far from three singing adults. House Wren is not at all a common breeder on the coastal slope. This site and some burn zones that just spill across the county line near Big Basin SP are perhaps the only sites west of Skyline in the county where this species is known to be breeding. Incidentally, those burn zones<> are open to the public and deserve more coverage—surely there are Black-chinned Sparrows up there somewhere...

On Wednesday (6/20) I spent a while scoping the bay from Sierra Point after Keith Maley's report of Least Terns close inshore in south San Francisco. I was not able to pull out any Least Terns in San Mateo. (Actually I probably did have some but they were quite distant, it's hard to judge where on the water the county line is, etc., and I would rather not count them.) But there were at least 40 Elegant Terns foraging fairly close in over the bay, which felt pretty high, even in light of recent counts from the colony at Ravenswood. Gerry McChesney had 345 on 6/8, which I believe is a new high. I estimated 280 during a brief visit on the morning of 6/18.

Finally, a while ago now, I was surprised to see a Hooded Merganser at the mouth of Gazos Creek on 6/9. This is an exceptional record for June (rarer than the redstart, actually!). In eBird there is only one other June report for the county (involving 2 individuals on 6/26/22 in Foster City; L. Flint). I am aware of at least two others from Ron Thorn: a male that summered in three consecutive years, first reported as a first-year bird on 6/03/04, also in Foster City, and an adult male at Pescadero Marsh 6/30/01–7/21/01. Gary Deghi also reported one at Ocean Colony on 6/9/13–6/21/13. So all told this is just the sixth county record of a bird that is apparently attempting to summer?

Good birding,
Marty Freeland

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