Monday, October 20, 2008

Three Species, Three Days, One Field

For a Bigby-er, having rare birds show up in your home town a few miles bike ride from home and work is ideal. And this past week I've been blessed. Other birders around the city found FIVE species that I added to my San Francisco year list and three for my total list. My total Bigby list now stands at 283 (see the right side bar) and my list just for San Francisco is 224. What were these great new birds? Read on:

On Tuesday evening a RED-THROATED PIPIT was found by Hugh Cotter at Crissy Field. I rushed over as the sun was setting to see it. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time I got there. I found Hugh and Josiah standing in the field pointing about twenty feet in front of them. Apparently the bird was there hiding in the grass right under my nose.

I came back the next morning with a legion of other birders and had success seeing this first San Francisco record. I even go some photos:

Then believe it or not, another very rare bird for the city was found the next day with this same bird: a LAPLAND LONGSPUR. I rushed down after work to see this bird as well! To make matters more unbelievable, it turned out there was ANOTHER Red-throated Pipit. And finally to cap it all off, another very rare bird for the city showed up: a VESPER SPARROW--a new bird for my San Francisco Bigby list.

Earlier in the week I had added a couple of new species to both my year and my city-year lists. On Monday, there was a strange east wind and I went up to Hawk Hill with Josiah. We ended up getting close views at a Broad-winged Hawk, my first for the fall (though not the year). I looked into the pines and had my year Blackpoll Warbler. The next day at Lake Merced I saw another Blackpoll Warbler that had been found the day before by Dan Murphy. Here's a photo:

There was also a Common Moorhen. My first for the year. And a flyover Merlin: a new city bird. I leave you with another rare bird for the city (not a year bird though) this Green Heron at Lake Merced:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another Big Day

Well we did another big day by bike on Wednesday October 1st, with an unofficial total of 140 species of birds seen in Marin County between 5:30 AM and 8:30 Pm. We had a couple of good fall specialties including 2! Palm Warblers, one above Stinson Beach on Highway 1 and another at Pine Gulch Creek at Bolinas Lagoon. We added one new year bird as well: Black Rail at Corte Madera Marsh. It was a fun, less exhausting, edition of our spring big day. We didn't break our spring record (not surprising) largely because we couldn't find very many species of ducks: no mergansers, scoters, Buffleheads, goldeneyes, scaup or Ring-necked Ducks. Thanks to everyone who contributed to PRBO this fall.

Since my last post we (Josiah and I) have added a few new birds to our respective year lists. I added Gray Catbird, rushing to Golden Gate Park moments after Brian Fitch found it. I also rushed to see other pre-found rarities includinging a Tropical Kingbird at Lake Merced and an Orchard Oriole at North Lake.

Today I was lucky to get a call from Dominik Mosur, who directed me to a waiting Blackburnian Warbler at Fort Miley at Land's End. That's the last new species I've added. What's next? Maybe something really rare.