[Fosc] bird monitoring

Mark Rauzon mjrauz at aol.com
Tue Oct 28 13:16:46 PDT 2014

We were doing the Friends of Sausal Creek quarterly bird monitoring on Sunday and we were at the Sequoia Arena parking area, of off Skyline.  I was looking up when a flock of nine chattering finches flew directly at us high overhead. They were past in a a couple seconds, and while not entirely sure, I was wondering if they could be Evening Grosbeaks, a large finch of the Sierra. Also the two keen eyed Piedmont High students got me onto a Varied Thrush whizzing past. 

We moved on to the next station near Highway 13, on Joaquin Miller court. The same keen eyed kid said look up! A bird with round white secondary patches flew overhead, the sun illuminated the round windows that shown like silver dollars. I though it was an Acorn Woodpecker at first, but on second consideration I think it was a female Evening Grosbeak. (Acorn Woodpeckers are in the inner Bay hills this fall due to drought and poor acorn crop in the interior, so while very rare, this year it is a consideration: Likewise it appears to be an irruptive year for mountain  finches in our region - so either bird was a wild call.

Other highlight was a male Merlin that zipped just over our heads as it flew half a soccer field after hidden mourning doves, 30 flew out after we had just recorded 2. I think it was using us as cover. This was in the Wm Wood Park. 

In all we had 40 species on a lovely fall day.

Mark  Rauzon
Sausal Creek watershed

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