Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nuttalli)  HWY 198 Monterey- Fresno County Line, CA   8 May 2011                                      

© 2011  Callyn Yorke





                                                                                        © 2012 Callyn Yorke 

                               Mavericks Beach, Pillar Point, San Mateo County, CA  16 November, 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              




August 31 - September 2, 2017  Monterey, Pacific Grove, Moss Landing, CA

September 1-3, 2016 Monterey, Pacific Grove, Point Lobos, and Moss Landing, CA

July 26-28, 2016  Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and Moss Landing, CA

December 18, 2015  HWY 1: San Gregorio, Pescadero and San Simeon State Beach, CA

December 17, 2015  Pillar Point and Princeton Harbor, San Mateo County, CA

December 16, 2015  Land's End and Fort Point, San Francisco, CA

December 15, 2015  Monterey, CA

December 14, 2015  Monterey, Big Sur, Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, Fort Hunter-Liggett

January  9 & 10, 2015  Half Moon Bay, CA

January 8, 2015    HWY 1: Big Sur to Half Moon Bay, CA

January 6 & 7, 2015 Monterey, CA

November 24, 2013: Nob Hill Pond, Redwood Shores, San Mateo County, CA

November 15 - 19, 2012: Half Moon Bay, Venice SB, Pillar Point, San Gregorio SB, Pomponio SB; Lake Merced, Golden Gate Park.





31 August - 2 September, 2017  Monterey, Pacific Grove, Moss Landing, CA (69 Species)




CDFW Moss Landing Wildlife Area, salt marsh and ponds, Moss Landing, Monterey County, CA  1 September 2017


                                                                                                                                                     © 2017 Callyn Yorke



Weather: Fair; 65F to 97F; wind ESE 1 - 5 mph.

Time: 0640 - 1900 hrs.

Observers: Terry, Manny, Janie and I.

Areas Covered: 1) Harrison St. to Veterans St; surrounding neighborhood. (8/31-9/2). 2) Fisherman's Warf - Breakwater Point & Monterey Bay Aquarium (8/31- 9/2).  3) Pacific Grove (8/31). 4) Moss Landing Wildlife Area, salt marsh & ponds; Elkhorn Slough (ES); Moss Landing (ML) State Beach (8/31; 9/1).






Canada Goose  6  vocal, flying together over shoreline, 2.

Red-breasted Merganser 1 (f) resting on edge of breakwater, 4.

Horned Grebe  1 (bsc. plmg.)   swimming in harbor near shore, 2.

Sooty Shearwater  2,000 (rough est.) most resting on surface 0.8 - 1.2 mi. offshore; a feeding frenzy of seabirds, dolphins and humpback whales in this vicinity, 4.

Brandt's Cormorant  250  (ad, imm.) ubiquitous in harbor and offshore, 2, 3, 4.

Double-crested Cormorant  35  flying over ES and outer harbor, 4.

Pelagic Cormorant  10  on rocks near shore, 2, 3.

American White Pelican  1  in n salt pond, 4.

Brown Pelican  150 (ad, imm)  ubiquitous; most numerous in feeding frenzy with gulls, terns, whales and dolphins 0.8- 1.2 mi. offshore.

Great Blue Heron  2  flying over ES and salt marsh, 4.

Great Egret  15  edge of salt ponds, marsh and ES, 4; one standing on floating kelp near shore, 2.

Snowy Egret  8  edge of salt ponds, marsh and ES, 4.

Turkey Vulture  1 soaring above hills, 1.

Red-shouldered Hawk  calls (unseen), 1.

Snowy Plover  7  (two color-banded: one bird - WA;WR), both birds well concealed on outer beach with piles of wrack; 5 feeding on mudflats at edge of slough with LESA; flushed and gave alarm calls, 4.

Killdeer  2  fly, call, edge of marsh, 4.

Black Oystercatcher  2   on rocks near shore; call, fly, 3.

Black-necked Stilt  12  a loose flock foraging in salt ponds, 4.

American Avocet  3 (bsc. plmg.)  foraging with BNST in salt ponds, 4.

Spotted Sandpiper  1  flying at edge of slough, 4.

Greater Yellowlegs  calls (unseen)  marsh, 4.

Willet   80   in and around marsh; crowded together with MAGO on exposed marsh peninsula in slough,4.

Whimbrel  1  w WILL in marsh, 4.

Long-billed Curlew   20   individuals and loose flocks foraging with MAGO in marsh and on mudflats, 4.

Marbled Godwit   70  individuals and tight flocks in marsh and mudflats, 4.

Ruddy Turnstone  1  flying near shore, 3.

Sanderling  5  on outer shore, 4.

Semipalmated Sandpiper  1   noted relatively short bill, black legs; with LESA  on mudflats at edge of marsh, 4.

Least Sandpiper   20  foraging in flocks on mudflats at edge of marsh and slough, 4.

Dowitcher sp.  3  foraging in shallows at edge of marsh, 4.

Red-necked Phalarope  5   individuals foraging in ne salt pond, 4.

Bonaparte's Gull  20  a cohesive flock flying offshore, 3.

Heermann's Gull   120 (ad; imm) ubiquitous on coast; most numerous on ML outer beach, (including at least 8 juveniles), 2,3,4.



Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) and Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni): juvenile HRGU in foreground;   1 Sept. 2017

    Moss Landing State Beach, CA                                                                                               © 2017 Callyn Yorke   





Ring-billed Gull 20  (ad; imm) ubiquitous but relatively scarce, except on outer ML beach.

Western Gull   200  (ad, imm) ubiquitous; many juveniles; some begging adults for food on nearshore rocks and roof-tops.

California Gull  40  (ad, imm) on mudflats and outer beach, 4.

Caspian Tern  4  fly, call  over salt ponds and slough, 4.

Forster's Tern  3  fly, call over ES, 4.

Elegant Tern  2,500 (rough estimate)  dense, vocal flocks occasionally taking flight, circling and returning to marsh and on breakwater, ES and harbor, 3, 4.

Feral Rock Pigeon   70  flocks in suburbs and around wharf, 1, 2, 3.

Band-tailed Pigeon  1  flying over Harrison St., 1.

Eurasian Collared Dove  25  vocal, ubiquitous in suburbs, 1, 2.

Mourning Dove  4   suburban gardens, 1.

Anna's Hummingbird  4  suburban gardens, 1.

Belted Kingfisher  1  fly, call, harbor, 2.

Acorn Woodpecker   8  vocal, gregarious in mature pine woodland, 1.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  1  vocal; suburban oaks, 1.

Hairy Woodpecker  1 (f) vocal; foraging in a mature pine at edge of woodland, 1.

Pacific Slope Flycatcher 1 calls  pine woodland, 1.

Black Phoebe  2  suburbs near water, 1, 2.

California Scrub-Jay  8  woodland and suburban gardens, 1,2.

American Crow   20  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous, 1, 2, 3.

Barn Swallow  6  a loose flock flying around old buildings in marsh, 4; 3 flying around wharf, 2.

Oak Titmouse  2  calls; oaks of suburban gardens, 1.

Bushtit  calls, woodland/garden edge, 1.

Pygmy Nuthatch  4  vocal, gregarious in crowns of mature pines, 1.

Bewick's Wren  2  vocal, active in understory of garden, 1.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  in subcanopy of oaks in garden, 1.

European Starling  20  ubiquitous, gregarious, vocal, 1,2,3.

Spotted Towhee  calls (unseen) pine woodland, 1.

California Towhee  4  calls; pairs active on ground in gardens, 1.

Salt marsh Savannah Sparrow  1  edge of marsh at gated entrance, 4.

White-crowned Sparrow  1 (ad)  in roadside  beach scrub, 4.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  4  on ground in pine woodland, 1.

Red-winged Blackbird  8 (m,f) in cohesive flock foraging on lawns, 2.

Brewer's Blackbird  8  (m,f) flocks on and near the wharf; on lawn with RWBL.

Brown-headed Cowbird  2 (fem, imm) with RWBL, 2.

House Finch  8  vocal, gregarious, gardens, 1.

House Sparrow  20  in and around gardens, 1.






































September 1-3, 2016  Monterey, Pacific Grove, Monastery Beach, Point Lobos State Reserve and Moss Landing, CA (79 Species) 



Weather: Overast to partly cloudy; 51F to 64F; wind WSW  2 -15 mph. Low tide 0700- 0800 hrs. Surf 3 -5 ft. Relatively rough seas.

Time: 0700 - 1200 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1) Monterey (MDP): Dead President's neighborhood (Harrison St.- Johnson St., Veterans Trail). I walked the neighborhood streets to and from the Veterans building and adjacent trail. Continuing downhill to Fisherman's Wharf (MH), Breakwater Cove  and the Hopkins Marine Station (HMS), returning to MDP via Franklin St. A massive invasion of Pelagic Red Crab (Pleuroncodes planipes) occurred in the Breakwater Cove area over the past few days (photo).(9/1). 




                                           Pelagic Red Crab (Pleuroncodes planipes) Monterey Bay CA 1 September 2016


                                                                                              © 2016 Central Coast News







2) Monastery Beach (Carmel River S.P.): I walked from the coast highway parking, along the southern edge of the shoreline, surveying chaparral - riparian,, rock outcrops and nearshore waters (MB);



3) Continuing by car, I entered Point Lobos State Reserve ($10), and drove to the south end at trail head to China Cove and Bird Rock (CCBR). Returning by car to the north parking area next to the information kiosk, I walked both the new Lace Lichen Trail (LLT) through a pine-oak-poison oak woodland to the coast highway and back; then the relatively short Lobos Trail (LT) overlooking the cliffs, rocky intertidal areas and nearshore waters. I spoke briefly with a State Parks docent at the kiosk, learning from her that the Big Sur fire, which had been burning in the area since my previous visit of July 26-28, 2016, was now 60% contained and moving southward in the direction of Naciemiento Rd. The docent remarked that the newly burned areas and associated carrion produced new habitat and foraging opportunities for the resident population of introduced California Condor (9/2).




Point Lobos State Reserve south parking area, viewing northwest,  2 September 2016

                                                                                                                                © 2016 Callyn Yorke




                                                                                 China Cove Point Lobos State Reserve, viewing south  2 Sept. 2016


                                                                                                                                                                          © 2016 Callyn Yorke




                                        Lace Lichen Trail, Point Lobos State Reserve CA  2 Sept. 2016


                                                                                                                   © 2016 Callyn Yorke




  4) Moss Landing at the terminus of Elkhorn Slough (MLES). Terry Latasa and I walked on the levees surrounding several salt ponds and adjacent salt marsh-mudflat habitat bordering Elkhorn Slough (photo). Most of the waterbirds were in and around the northeast pond. Several kayakers and a tour boat were in the slough. Otherwise, there was little human presence or disturbance in the area during our survey. Continuing by car, we drove to the coast highway intersection of the southern section of Moss Landing Harbor (MLH), surveying the adjacent tidal marsh and slough. We walked from this location over the dunes and along the outer shore to the harbor breakwater (MLOS), returning along the western edge of the harbor slough. We concluded our survey at Phil's Fisherman's Market for lunch, feasting on some tasty clam chowder (9/3).



Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) Adult (lower) and young, Moss Landing CA  3 September 2016

                                                                                                                                                        © 2016 Callyn Yorke





                                                   Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing CA, viewing east    3 September 2016


                                                                                                                                                                                         © 2016 Callyn Yorke










Mallard  6 (m,f) dabbling in salt ponds, MLES.

California Quail   4  vocal;  on trail and in dense chaparral, CCBR.

Common Loon  1  swimming offshore, MB.

Brandt's Cormorant   120  (ad, imm. bsc. plmg.) on and around breakwater, MH;  300  on and around bird rock, CCBR;  30  flying offshore; outer breakater (MLH).

Double-crested Cormorant  6 (bsc. plmg.) resting on mudflats at edge of slough; flying low over slough, MLES.

Pelagic Cormorant  1 (bsc. plmg.) on rocks near shore with BRCO, MH.

American White Pelican  3  two resting on levee at edge of slough; one flying in, MLES.

Brown Pelican   500  ubiquitous; breakwaters, mudflats, flying near shore.

Great Blue Heron  5  edge of marsh, MLES; MLH.

Great Egret   20  ubiquitous; several walking on floating kelp nearshore; others in marsh and on shoreline.

Snowy Egret   6  ubiquitous, usually in same habitat with GREG; also walking on floating kelp nearshore; perched on tidal outflow pipe (photo).


Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) Moss Landing Harbor, CA  3 September 2016

                                                                                              © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Turkey Vulture   6  (ad, imm) feeding on unidentified marine mammal (dolphin?) in kelp bed near shore, CCBR;  individuals soaring over coast highway and salt marsh, MLES.

White-tailed Kite  1 (ad) perched on leafless tree at edge of marsh, MLH (photo).



White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) Moss Landing Harbor CA  3 September 2016

                                                                                    © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Red-tailed Hawk  1  (imm) perched high in mature cypress, LT; 1 flying over coast highway, MLES.

Peregrine Falcon  1  perched on outer branch of hilltop conifer, CCBR (photo).



Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) China Cove Point Lobos State Reserve, CA  2 September 2016

                                                                                                                          © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Black-bellied Plover  2  one (bsc. plmg.) on edge of salt pond; another (alt. plmg.) in salt marsh, MLES; MLH (photo).



Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) Moss Landing Harbor, CA  3 Sept. 2016

                                                                                                  © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Snowy Plover   5  one with color leg bands (WO;YG)- photo -  on dry sand with piles of dead kelp and other wrack; shy and flighty; loosely associated with Sanderlings, MLOS.



Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) Moss Landing CA  3 September 2016

                                                                                               © 2016 Callyn Yorke





Semipalmated Plover   2  on mudflats, MLES; on on outer shore, MLH.

Black-necked Stilt   15  edge and middle of salt ponds, MLES.

American Avocet   4 (bsc. plmg.) wading in salt ponds, MLES.

Wandering Tattler  1  with BNTU  in piles of kelp on shore, HMS.

Greater Yellowlegs  1 (bsc. plmg.) foraging in salt ponds near LEYE, and WILL, MLES.

Willet  100 (bsc. plmg.) ubiquitous in and around salt ponds and marsh, MLES.

Lesser Yellowlegs  2  foraging together in salt ponds near GRYE, MLES.

Whimbrel   6  edge of salt marsh; flying over, MLES.

Long-billed Curlew  4  edge of saltmarsh and mudflats, MLES; outer shore, MLOS.

Marbled Godwit  150  large flocks in marsh and edge of sloughs, MLES, MLH.

Black Turnstone  4  foraging in piles of kelp, HMS;  one on breakwater, MLOS.

Surfbird  1  on breakwater adjacent to coast guard station, MH (photo).



Surfbird (Aphriza virgata) Monterey Harbor, CA  1 September 2016

                                                                                                  © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Sanderling   30 (bsc. plmg.)   flocks foraging on shore at the tide line and in beach wrack, MLOS.

Least Sandpiper  60 (bsc. plmg.)  small flocks foraging on mudflats and edge of marsh, MLES.

Dowitcher sp.   6 (bsc. plmg.)   foraging together in shallows of narrow slough, MLES.

Red-necked Phalarope  6 (bsc. plmg.)   initially observed foraging together in salt pond; later seen in main slough, MLES.

Heermann's Gull       20 (ad),  resting on rocks in harbor, MH; 5  flying offshore, LT; 15  (ad, imm) together on shore, MLOS.

Ring-billed Gull   2  (ad) flying over shore, LT;  3  on edge of salt pond, MLES.

Western Gull   300  ubiquitous; adult feeding two fledglings with a regurgitated fish on coast guard warf (photo).



Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) Adult and juveniles, Monterey Harbor, CA  1 September 2016

                                                                                                      © 2016 Callyn Yorke




California Gull  60  (ad, imm) ubiquitous; most numerous at MLES and MLOS.

Glaucous-winged Gull  1 (ad) worn bsc. plmg.  on shore with WEGU, MLOS.

Forster's Tern  1  flying around salt ponds with ELTE, MLES.

Elegant Tern  300  ubiquitous; diving in kelp beds at Breakwater Cove; large, vocal flocks in and around salt ponds, MLES.

Feral Rock Pigeon   80  ubiquitous, esp. in suburbs (MDP) around feeders.

Band-tailed Pigeon  2  flying over pine forest, MDP.

Eurasian Collared Dove   10  ubiquitous in developed areas.

Mourning Dove  2  in garden, MDP.

Anna's Hummingbird  30  ubiquitous, esp, MDP.

Belted Kingfisher  1 vocal; flying over slough bordered by sandy cliff and harbor, MLH.

Acorn Woodpecker  12  vocal, gregarious; pine forest, MDP.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  calls (unseen) pine forest, MDP.

Downy Woodpecker  2  (m,f) vocal; foraging separately in laurels, edge of chaparral at beach, MB (photo).



Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) Monastery Beach, CA  2 September 2016

                                                                                           © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Hairy Woodpecker  2  (m,f) foraging in mature pines, LLT (photo).



Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) Point Lobos State Reserve, CA  2 September 2016

                                                                                             © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Northern Flicker  2  calls (unseen) pine forest, MDP.

Black Phoebe  2  edge of chaparral and shore, CCBR, LT.

Loggerhead Shrike  1  perched in leafless willow at edge of saltmarsh, MLH.

Hutton's Vireo  1 (imm)  foraging with a vocal flock of CBCH in oak-pine understory, LLT (photo).



Hutton's Vireo (Vireo huttoni) imm. Point Lobos State Reserve, CA  2 September 2016

                                                                                              © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Steller's Jay  2 vocal; flying through pine forest, MDP;  calls (unseen) LLT.

Coastal  Scrub-Jay  20  ubiquitous, esp. MDP.

American Crow  30  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

Barn Swallow  1  flying low over beach, MB;; 2  flying back and forth, low over salt ponds, MLES.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee  12  vocal, gregarious; small flocks foraging in subcanopy of pine-oak woodland, MDP; LLT.

Oak Titmouse  2  vocal; pine oak forest, MDP.

Bushtit   6  vocal, gregarious; pine oak forest, MDP, LLT.

Pygmy Nuthatch  20  vocal, gregarious; foraging in canopies of pines, MDP, LLT.

Bewick's Wren  1  vocal; edge of forest and suburbs, MDP; 3  vocal in chaparral overlooking shore, CCBR; LT.

Pacific Wren  1 repeatedly vocal,  highly active; staying well-concealed, occasionally emerging for a brief glimpse in dense chaparral at edge of ravine and parking lot, CCBR.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  foraging in canopy of oaks and ornamental trees, MDP.

Wrentit  1  vocal (unseen); chaparral and edge of forest, MDP;  3 vocal (unseen) CCBR, LLT, LT.

European Starling  30  vocal, gregarious, MDP.

Townsend's Warbler  1 (f)  foraging in pines and oaks, LLT.

Common Yellowthroat  1  calls (unseen) edge of marsh, MLH.

California Towhee  30  vocal, often paired; ubiquitous in brushy areas.

Saltmarsh Savannah Sparrow  15  loosely gregarious; active in Salicornia throughout, MLES (photo).



Saltmarsh Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis beldingii) Moss Landing, CA  3 Sept. 2016

                                                                                                      © 2016 Callyn Yorke



Song Sparrow  2  vocal; edge of chaparral and beach scrub, MB.

White-crowned Sparrow  8   a loose flock on ground at edge of chaparral and beach scrub, MB.

Golden-crowned Sparrow  1  with WCSP at edge of chaparral, MB.

Dark-eyed Junco  2  edge of pine forest and roadway, MDP;  2 on fallen logs and ground  in forest, LLT.

Brewer's Blackbird   10  in and around town, MH.

Purple Finch  1 (m) foraging in crown of fruiting ornamental tree with HOFI, MDP.

House Finch  20  (m,f) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous in suburbs, MDP.

House Sparrow  50  (m,f) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous in suburbs, MDP.


















































July 26-28, 2016  Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and Moss Landing, CA (62 Species)



Bird Rock, Pebble Beach-Pacific Grove, Monterey CA  28 July 2016

                                                                                                                                                                                            © 2016 Callyn Yorke



Weather: Overcast to partly cloudy; early morning and afternoon fog; smoke from Big Sur wildfire lingering; 53F to 63F; wind WSW  2 -10 mph; seas choppy; surf 2-3 ft. Tidal flux moderate (3-4 ft.) during daylight hours.

Time: 0700 - 1900 hrs.

Observers: Terry Latasa and I (MBA, ML, PB).

Areas Covered:  1) Monterey Bay Aquarium and nearshore waters (MBA 8/26: 1500-1700 hrs.). Terry and I walked through the aquarium exhibits, then proceeded outside to the busy observation deck for about 30 minutes. The aquarium was packed elbow-to-elbow with visitors. We made a brief visit to the captive shorebird exhibit, observing several species (individuals and pairs) at close range, including, Snowy Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Black Oystercatcher, Black-necked Stilt (following its reflection in the window), American Avocet, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Red Phalarope. According to the resident docent, these birds were captured due to injury and are being rehabilitated in this natural marsh-shoreline enclosure. Some of the birds have become more or less permanent residents of the exhibit; most of the captives appeared to be fully habituated to human presence.


The nearshore waters visible from the MBA observation deck had numerous waterbirds, concentrated around the kelp beds and rock outcrops.  2) President's street neighborhood - Harrison St. to Veterans Rd., Monterey (PSN  7/27; 7/28: 0730 - 1030 hrs.). I did walking surveys of the hilly suburbs overlooking downtown Monterey. Gardens with exotic flowering shrubs and trees; riparian patches along the Veterans Road Trail; Monterey Pine forest and coastal chaparral understory in ravines, edges of suburbs and undeveloped land. This relatively intact natural area contained most of the landbirds found during my surveys. 3) Moss Landing (ML: 7/27: 1700-1800 hrs.). Terry and I surveyed the old salt ponds and surrounding salt marsh by walking the main dirt road east of HWY 1 in ML. Most of the waterbirds were resting on the mudflats bordering the saltmarsh; Elkhorn Slough was relatively devoid of birdlife. 4) Bird Rock, Pebble Beach-Pacific Grove (PB: 1100- 1200 hrs. Tide: medium-low, 7/28). Terry and I boulder-hopped down from the main road through PB, reaching the rocky shore overlooking Bird Rock. Most of the birdlife was concentrated on the BR formation (photo). 5) Pacific Grove - Hopkin's Marine Station and Monterey Harbor (PG: 1600-1740 hrs. 7/28). I walked the bike trail along the harbor and out to the shore at HMS in Pacific Grove, surveying birds on and nearshore.





Canada Goose  11  foraging on the lawn adjacent to the harbor, MH.

Brandt's Cormorant  200  ubiquitous in shallows and rocks near shore, esp. Bird Rock (photo) ; one swimming underwater in tidepool, MH (photo).



Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) Monterey Harbor, CA  28 July 2016

                                                                                         © 2016 Callyn Yorke





Double-crested Cormorant  2  flying upstream, Elkhorn Slough, ML.

Pelagic Cormorant  10  on rocks with BRCO, MH, PG.

Brown Pelican  150  ubiquitous near and offshore.

Great Blue Heron  1  on edge of marsh, ML.

Great Egret  8 at edge of marsh, ML;  flying along coast, MH.

Snowy Egret  2 standing on kelp beds, MH.

Black-crowned Night Heron  1 (ad) on breakwater, MH.

Turkey Vulture  4  circling above suburbs and pine forest, PS.

American Coot   15  edge of slough and marsh, ML.

Black Oystercatcher  3   base of Bird Rock.

Black-necked Stilt  4  on mudflats at edge of marsh, ML.

Willet  6  in marsh, ML.

Long-billed Curlew   8 resting together on mudflats at edge of marsh, ML.

Marbled Godwit  80  resting together on mudflats at edge of marsh near LBCU, ML.

Black Turnstone  3  base of Bird Rock, PB.

Least Sandpiper  20 scattered in loose flocks on mudflats, ML.

Short-billed Dowitcher  4 foraging in shallows, ML.

Wilson's Phalarope  4 (bsc. plmg.) foraging in shallows, ML.

Heermann's Gull 20  a cohesive flock resting on a rock outcrop nearshore, MH;  10 PB.

Ring-billed Gull  2  (ad) flying low over kelp beds, PG.

Western Gull  120  (ad; hatchlings, juv., C2, C3) ubiquitous; hatchlings making begging calls on rooftop, MH.

California Gull   20 (ad, C3) ubiquitous but in small numbers nearshore.

Herring Gull  1 (ad)  flying low over kelp beds, PG.

Caspian Tern  4  resting on mudflats near other terns, ML.

Forster's Tern  1 (bsc. plmg.) flying 25-40 ft. agl over slough and marsh, ML.

Royal Tern  4  resting on mudflats with other terns, ML.

Elegant Tern  80   resting together on mudflats, ML; flying back and forth, diving in kelp beds offshore, MH, PG.

Common Murre  1  preening on nearshore rock outcrop; possibly contaminated with oil, Hopkins Marine Station, PG (photo).



Common Murre (Uria aalge) - left center - Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, CA  28 July 2016

                                                                                                                 © 2016 Callyn Yorke




Pigeon Guillemot  65  individuals and small flocks interacting under MBA and in adjacent nearshore waters; widespread in area; MBA, PG.

Feral Rock Pigeon  120 uibquitous.

Band-tailed Pigeon  1  flying over pine forest, PSN.

Eurasian Collared Dove  6  on utility wires; vocal, often paired, PSN.

Mourning Dove  2 on ground in garden, PSN.

Anna's Hummingbird   4 (m,f) vocal in and around gardens, PSN.

Acorn Woodpecker 6  vocal, gregarious; pine forest, PSN.

Nuttall's Woodpecker  calls (unseen) pine forest, PSN.

Downy Woodpecker  1 (f) vocal; riparian patch and pine forest, PSN.

Northern Flicker  calls (unseen) pine forest, PSN.

Western Wood Pewee  1  repeated calls, pine forest, PSN.

Pacific Slope Flycatcher  2  (ad, imm) vocal; young following adult around, riparian-pine forest, PSN.

Black Phoebe   2  vocal, sallying from low perch, PSN.

Stellar's Jay  1  repeated calls (unseen) pine forest, PSN.

Coastal Scrub-jay  10  vocal, gregarious, PSN.

American Crow  20  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

Common Raven  1  on hilltop in quarry, PB.

Barn Swallow  4  flying low, back and forth over shore and harbor, MH, PG.

Chestnut-backed Chicadee  6  vocal, gregarious; pine forest, oaks and riparian patch, PSN.

Oak Titmouse  2  repeated calls, garden, edge of pine-oak woods, PSN.

Bushtit  4  vocal, gregarious; pine forest, PSN; shrubs at edge of quarry, PB.

Pygmy Nuthatch  8  vocal, gregarious; in crowns of pines, PSN.

American Robin  1  pine-oak-riparian, PSN.

European Starling  6  vocal, gregarious, PSN.

Spotted Towhee  2  repeated song (unseen) pine-riparian forest, PSN.

California Towhee  8  vocal; often paired; gardens and woodland, PSN.

Belding's Savannah Sparrow  1  flushed from edge of saltmarsh, ML.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco   4  vocal, gregarious; edge of pine forest, PSN.

Brewer's Blackbird   12  edge of marsh and roadway, ML; lawns and sidewalks, MH, PG.

House Finch  6  vocal, gregarious; pine forest and edge, PSN.

Lesser Goldfinch  3  vocal, gregarious, pine forest edge, PSN.

House Sparrow  25  gregarious, ubiquitous in developed areas.





























December 18, 2015   HWY 1: San Gregorio, Pescadero and San Simeon State Beach, CA          (43 Species)


           Northern Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris) San Simeon, San Luis Obispo County, CA  18 December 2015


                                                                                                                                                                         © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Weather: Fair; winds WNW 2-7 mph; offshore marine layer; surf 2-5 ft.

Time: 0849- 1430 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: HWY 1 (CA-1) southbound from Half Moon Bay to San Simeon (CA-1), We made three stops: San Gregorio State Beach (0849-0900 hrs. SGSB), Pescadero State Beach (0907-1006 hrs. PSB) and San Simeon State Beach (1400-1430 hrs, SSSB).


Of the three sites surveyed, Pescadero State Beach and Marsh was by far the most productive for birds. Aside from harsh morning light when viewed from the west, there was a good trail system on the east side of the highway which allowed access to the extensive tidal marsh, estuary and outer coast.



Along the southbound route, I made note of any birds seen from our moving vehicle. Our last stop at San Simeon SB was primarily for observing a breeding colony of about fifty Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris).





Gadwall   60 (m,f) swimming in open water near the marsh, PSB.

American Wigeon  50  (m,f)  open water and shallows of marsh, PSB.

Mallard  4 (m,f) at the edge of the marsh, PSB.

Northern Shoveler  30 (m,f) dabbling in shallows throughout the marsh, PSB.

Lesser Scaup 3 (m,f) open water in marsh, PSB.

Surf Scoter  12 (m,f) loose flocks swimming/diving in and outside of surf zone, PSB.

Bufflehead  25  loose flocks and individuals swimming/diving in open water, PSB.

Ruddy Duck   60  (m,f) flocks and individuals scattered in open water, PSB.

Pied-billed Grebe 1  in marsh, SGSB.

Eared Grebe  3  open water, PSB.

Western Grebe  1 open water in marsh, PSB.

Double-crested Cormorant  2  on snag in estuary, PSB.

Brown Pelican   20  flying over outer coast; a few in the estuary, PSB.

Snowy Egret   1 on shore, SGSB; 2 on shore and in marsh, PSB.

Turkey Vulture  2  flying over open fields, SSSB.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 PSB; 10 on utility poles and flying over fields, CA-1.

American Kestrel   2  on utility wires overhanging agricultural and ruderal fields, CA-1.

American Coot 20  swimming in open water and shallows, PSB.

Black Oystercatcher 1  on rocks near shore, SSSB.

Whimbrel  1  on outer shore, PSB.

Black Turnstone  1  on outer shore, PSB.

Sanderling  30  on outer shore, PSB.

Least Sandpiper   1  foraging on estuary shore, PSB.

Heermann's Gull  10 (ad, imm)  on shore, SGSB.

Mew Gull   2  on shore, SGSB.

Western Gull  40 (90% ad) SGSB;  4 flying near shore, PSB;  5 on shore, SSSB.

California Gull  30 (90% ad)  SGSB.

Herring Gull  2  on shore, SGSB.

Glaucous-winged Gull  4 (ad, imm)  on shore with WEGU and CAGU, SGSB.

Feral Rock Pigeon  50 +  gregarious, ubiquitous, CA-1.

Belted Kingfisher  1  fly, call PSB.

Northern (RS) Flicker  2  fly, call; adjacent eucalyptus woodland, PSB.

Black Phoebe  1  edge of estuary, PSB.

Say's Phoebe  1 open field, PSB.

Western Scrub-Jay  1  CA-1.

Common Raven  1 calling repeatedly from ground, SGSB (photo).



Common Raven (Corvus corax) San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County, CA  18 December 2015

                                                                                                                     © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Wrentit   2  repeated song from chaparral area bordering marsh, PSB.

European Starling   40 gregarious, ubiquitous, CA-1.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  6  fly, calls; foraging in eucalyptus, PSB.

Savannah Sparrow   2  calls; grassy borders of estuary, PSB.

Song Sparrow  6  vocal, edge of marsh, PSB.

Red-winged Blackbird  2  repeated song from marsh, PSB.

Brewer's Blackbird (m,f)  parking area, SGSB;  20 parking and adjacent open areas, PSB.






















December 17, 2015  Pillar Point and Princeton Harbor, San Mateo County, CA (48 Species)



                    (a)                Grant Washburn inside Maverick's (a & b), Pillar Point, San Mateo County CA  17 Dec 2015


                                                                                                        © 2015 Callyn Yorke



                                                                                                        © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Weather: Fair; 51F to 52F; no wind; surf 6-12 ft.; tide, medium low.

Time: 0930-1125 hrs.

Observers: Merissa and I.

Area Covered: 1) Half Moon Bay Lodge to Princeton Harbor via CA-1. This route passes residential suburbs, agricultural fields and coastline.  2) Parking entrance to Pillar Point Ecological Preserve (PP) and adjacent harbor (PH). We walked on the main path to the outer beach, noting many unleashed dogs in the posted area. Most of the waterbirds were found in the harbor and west shore/breakwater. Surfers were riding inside breaks near the rocks at Mavericks (photos).




Canada Goose  15  a flock in an agricultural field, s CA-1.

Brant  1 on shore of marsh, PP.

Mallard  3  (m,f) edge of marsh, PP.

Greater Scaup  2 (m,f) diving, open water and near breakwater, PH.

Lesser Scaup  30  (m,f)  most resting in open water, PH.

Surf Scoter  25  in flocks of 3 -5 birds (m,f); diving; PH.

Bufflehead  10 (m,f) PH.

Common Goldeneye  8 (m,f) diving, PH.

Red-breasted Merganser  1 flying, swimming near breakwater, PP.

Ruddy Duck  40 (m,f) resting; diving in open water, PH.

Red-throated Loon  2  diving in open water, PH.

Common Loon  4  diving in open water, PH.

Eared Grebe  1 open water, PH.

Western Grebe  4  open water, PH.

Double-crested Cormorant  20  on breakwater; swimming, flying, PH.

Pelagic Cormorant  1  edge of breakwater, PP.

Brown Pelican  10 on breakwater; flying, PP, PH.

Snowy Egret  4  on shore, PH, PP.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1 on utility line, CA-1.

Red-tailed Hawk  1  on utility pole, CA-1.

American Kestrel  1  on utility line, CA-1.

American Coot  1 edge of marsh, PP.

Black-bellied Plover   4  edge of breakwater, PH.

Black Oystercatcher  4  vocal; pairs foraging on breakwater, PH (photo).


Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) Princeton Harbor-Pillar Point, SMCO CA 17 December 2015

                                                                                                                       © 2015 Callyn Yorke






Willet  1 on shore next to breakwater, PP.

Whimbrel  8  on shore next to breakwater, PP.

Marbled Godwit  6  on shore next to breakwater, PP.

Ruddy Turnstone  1 among rocks on shore, PP.

Black Turnstone  6  among rocks on shore, PP.

Surfbird  1  on algae covered rocks at inner edge of harbor, PP (photo).



Surfbird (Aphriza virgata) Princeton Harbor-Pillar Point, SMCO CA  17 December 2015

                                                                                                         © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Sanderling  50   flocks of 10-20 on the inner shore of harbor and outer shore at PP.

Mew Gull   1  PH.

Western Gull   25  ubiquitous.

California Gull  6  PH; PP.

Herring Gull   5 PH.

Thayer's Gull    1 (C1)  PH.

Glaucous-winged Gull   6  PH, PP.

Eurasian Collared Dove  6  CA-1.

Black Phoebe    2  PH, PP.

Say's Phoebe  3  PH.

American Crow  2  PH.

Raven  1 PH.

European Starling 10 CA-1.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  1  PP.

Common Yellowthroat   1 calls from marsh, PP.

White-crowned Sparrow  20  PH, PP.

House Finch  5  PH.

Brewer's Blackbird  2  PH.





December 16, 2015  Land's End and Fort Point, San Francisco (32 Species)



Golden Gate Bridge from Land's End, San Francisco CA  16 December 2015

                                                                                                          © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Weather: fair; 50F to 57F; winds  WNW 1-3 mph; surf 2-4 ft.

Time: 1200-1500 hrs.

Observers: Cliff West, Merissa Mendez and I.

Area Covered: 1) We walked from the western Land's End parking and visitor center, north east on the coastal trail to suburban area of SF (LE). We included side-trails down to the shore in the central and northeastern section (adjacent to the swim club building). 2) We drove to the parking area beneath the Golden Gate bridge at Fort Point, making stationary observations of birds on the breakwater, bridge foundations and open water (FP).









Birds Noted



Surf Scoter  35 (m,f) scattered flocks near shore and in open water LE, FP.

Common Loon   4  open water, LE.

Pacific Loon  1  open water, LE.

Western Grebe  250  large flocks resting in open water, LE, FP (photo).


Western Grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis) San Francisco Bay, viewing from Fort Point to Alcatraz. 16 Dec 2015

                                                                                                                                © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Clark's Grebe  1  open water with WEGR, FP.

Brandt's Cormorant  30  many resting on rocks and bridge foundation; swimming near breakwater, LE, FP.

Pelagic Cormorant  15  diving in open water and near breakwater, FP.

Brown Pelican 10  LE, FP.

Red-tailed Hawk  1 flying around cypress trees, LE.

Black Turnstone  2  on rock with GWGU, LE.

Western Gull 50  (90 % ad), ubiquitous.

Glaucous-winged Gull  4 on rocks; flying, LE.

Heermann's Gull   1  flying near shore, FP.

Caifornia Gull  1  flying near shore, LE.

Herring Gull  1  flying near shore, LE.

Anna's Hummingbird  3  vocal; shrubs and eucalyptus woodland, LE.

Northern Flicker  1  vocal; flying around cypress trees, LE.

Black Phoebe  2  LE.

Say's Phoebe  1  LE.

American Crow  4  call, flying, LE.

Common Raven  2  flying near cliffs, LE.

Pygmy Nuthatch ?  calls (unseen) in tall cypress trees, LE.

Wren sp.  scold calls, suggesting BEWR, shrubs, LE.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3  vocal; in trees and shrubs, LE.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  2  vocal; in cypress trees, LE.

California Towhee  1  vocal; trailside shrubs, LE.

Song Sparrow  3  vocal, trailside shrubs, LE.

White-crowned Sparrow  15 (one color-banded in parking area), parking area and trailside, LE.

Golden-crowned Sparrow  5  trailside shrubs, LE.

Red-winged Blackbird  1  parking area, LE.

Brewer's Blackbird  10  parking area, LE.

Purple Finch  2  in cypress trees, LE.




















December 15, Monterey Residential Area and Harbor (50 Species)



Weather: Fair; 43F. Wind WNW 2-8 mph.; seas choppy outside of harbor; tide medium-low.

Time: 0727-1141 hrs.

Areas Covered:  1)  I walked the residential streets, surveying birds at feeders, on lawns, gardens and adjacent pine-oak-riparian drainage, including Harrison, Roosevelt and High St. (0727- 0830 hrs.).  2) Fisherman's Warf, inner Monterey Harbor and Coast Guard breakwater. Merissa and I walked from Harrison St. down to the harbor and back, surveying park lawns, cypress groves, gardens, shoreline and open water near shore. Most birdlife appeared habituated to human presence (0900-1141 hrs.). Total walking distance covered was about 2 miles.





Surf Scoter    2 (m,f)   swimming in harbor; 2, open water near diver's beach entrance, 2.

Red-breasted Merganser  3  (f) diving in harbor, 2.

Red-throated Loon  1  diving in harbor, 2.

Common Loon   2  repeatedly diving near shore in clear water amongst bottom rocks in harbor; one surfaced with a small crab, 2 (photo).


Common Loon (Gavia immer) Monterey Harbor, CA  15 Dec. 2015

                                                                                              © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Horned Grebe   3  individuals diving in harbor, 2.

Eared Grebe  3  individuals diving in harbor, 2.

Western Grebe  2  individuals diving and resting in the harbor and offshore, 2.

Brandt's Cormorant  20  gregarious; many resting on rocks and breakwater, 2.

Double-crested Cormorant  1  resting on rocks with BRCO, 2.

Pelagic Cormorant  20   diving in harbor; resting on rocks, 2 (photo).



Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) Monterey Harbor CA  15 December 2015

                                                                                             © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Brown Pelican  40  many on breakwater; flying low over bay, 2.

Great Blue Heron   1  on shore, 2.

Great Egret  3  on shore, 2.

Snowy Egret  3   on shore and probing in shallows, 2.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1  calls, 1.

Heermann's Gull    60  (ad, imm) on shore;  gregarious; many resting on rocks, 2.

Mew Gull    12  (ad, imm) gregarious; resting on shore and rocks, 2.

Ring-billed Gull  1  flying over harbor near shore, 2.

Western Gull   80  (ad, imm) ubiquitous, 2.

California Gull  1  on shore, 2.

Feral Rock Pigeon  25  ubiquitous, 1; 2.

Eurasian Collared Dove  4  1.

Anna's Hummingbird  10  in and around gardens, 1.

Belted Kingfisher  1  perched high on mast of sailboat, 2.


Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) Monterey Harbor, CA  15 December 2015

                                                                                            © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Acorn Woodpecker  8  vocal, gregarious; in and around pines, 1.

Nuttall's Woodpecker   2  vocal; in mature oaks, 1.

Northern (RS) Flicker  1  calls; flying over wooded drainage, 1.

Say's Phoebe  1  edge of park, 2.

Black Phoebe  1  parking lot at edge of harbor, 2.

Western Scrub-Jay   15  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous around trees and gardens.

American Crow  40  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

Oak Titmouse  1  vocal; woodland edge and garden, 1.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3  in and around oaks and gardens, 1.

Hermit Thrush  1  shady edge of woods, 1.

Northern Mockingbird  vocal; trees at edge of park, 2.

European Starling  8  vocal, gregarious; on utility poles and wires, 2.

Cedar Waxwing  8  vocal, gregarious; garden trees, 1.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler 8  vocal, gregarious; in pines, 2.

Townsend's Warbler 5   gleaning insects on ground in gardens; in shrubs and trees throughout.

Spotted Towhee  1  on ground in garden and edge of woods, 1.

California Towhee  1  edge of garden, 1.

White-crowned Sparrow  16 vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

Golden-crowned Sparrow  14  gregarious; in gardens and edge of woodland, 1, 2.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  2  in garden, 1.

Brewer's Blackbird  10 (m,f)   on warf, 2.

Brown-headed Cowbird 1 vocal; flying, 1.

House Finch  18  (m,f) vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

Pine Siskin  10  vocal, gregarious; in shrubs and garden trees, 1.

Lesser Goldfinch  5  vocal, gregarious; garden trees and shrubs, 1.

House Sparrow  2  vocal, gregarious; around home with HOFI and feeder, 1.
























December 14, 2015  Monterey HWY 1; Big Sur; Nacimiento-Fergusson Road; Fort Hunter-Liggett; Mission San Antonio (41 Species).



CA-1 @ Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd. 14 Dec. 2015          California Condor  Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd., Monterey County CA  14 Dec. 2015


                                                                        © 2015 Callyn Yorke





Weather: Intermittent light rain; partly cloudy; 55F; wind WNW 5-10  mph; Surf 8-15 ft. seas rough.

Time: 0815-1400 hrs.

Observers: Terry Latasa, Merissa Mendez and I.

Areas Covered:  1) Harrison St. Monterey: I briefly surveyed birds in and around Terry's yard (HSM).  2) CA-1 southbound, in transit, stopping for a few minutes at the mouth of the Carmel River, Monastery Beach (MB). Heavy surf here with rogue waves nearly reaching the edge of the highway (CA-1). 3)  West Nacimiento-Fergusson Road (WNF); from the turn-off on CA-1, we drove up a winding, paved road, stopping three times before and including the summit @ 2,720 ft. elevation. Fewer than five other vehicles were encountered along this route. We visually surveyed surrounding hills, grassland, chaparral, oak woodland and canyon riparian habitats along this route, observing a pair of California Condors in flight. 4) Continuing eastward from the summit, through rugged chaparral riparian canyons, we drove directly to a vacant campground, stopping briefly in a Coast Live-Oak woodland sycamore-willow riparian area with a swift-flowing stream. Proceeding eastward on NF Road, we arrived at the west boundary of Fort Hunter-Liggett.  5) Fort Hunter Liggett and Mission San Antonio (FHL). This largely vacant army base includes hundreds of acres of Valley Oak (Quercus lobata)Savanna, and remains one of the finest examples of such habitat in California. Many of the Valley Oaks appeared to be at least 8 ft. in diameter, and probably more than 300 years old. Between the oaks is a largely undisturbed  non-native grassland (e.g. Bromus spp. Avena sp.); no evidence of recent cattle grazing was observed. Several small flocks of Yellow-billed Magpie, one of only two endemic bird species in California, were found in this area. We had a picnic lunch at Mission San Antonio (currently being renovated) near the northeastern corner of FHL (MSA). We returned to Monterey via Jolon Rd. and CA-101.




Western Grebe   1  swimming beyond surf zone offshore, 3.

Brant's Cormorant  20   swimming and flying offshore, 2.

Brown Pelican  6  flying offshore, 3.

Great Blue Heron  1  on shore, 2.

Turkey Vulture  20  ubiquitous.


California Condor  2  (adult)  a pair soaring below a cliff; elevation about 2,500 ft. asl. The pair kept a distance of about 20 yards between them, sometimes approaching each other closely (photo); moving in a southeasterly direction until out of sight. One bird had a wing number showing 29. Subsequently, I contacted (via email), the Ventana Condor Society (with a website contact email address ) for additional details on the tagged bird. To date (Jan. 4, 2015) there has been no response from anyone representing that group.



California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, Monterey County CA  14 Dec. 2015

                                                                                                                         © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Red-shouldered Hawk  1  calls (unseen), 1.

Red-tailed Hawk  3  on utility poles and flying over adjacent agricultural fields,  2-3.

Ferruginous Hawk  1 perched on a snag in an open field, 5 (photo).


Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis) Ft. Hunter-Liggett MOCO CA  14 Dec 2015

                                                                               © 2015 Callyn Yorke




Golden Eagle  3 (ad)  individuals flying low through savanna habitat and hillsides, 5; Jolon Rd.

American Kestrel  5    individuals on utility wires adjacent to agricultural and ruderal fields along HWY 1; 4;5.

Heermann's Gull    10 (ad, imm) on shore, 2.

Mew Gull   3  (ad, imm)  on shore, 2.

Western Gull   20 (ad, imm) on shore, 2.

California Gull   1  (ad) on shore with other gulls, 2.

Glaucous-winged Gull    2  (ad) on shore, 2.

Feral Rock Dove   6,  1.

Anna's Hummingbird   1, 1.

Acorn Woodpecker  5  near summit, 3.

Downy Woodpecker   1, near summit, 3.

Northern (RS) Flicker  2  3.

Black Phoebe    1  3.

Say's Phoebe  1, 5.

Loggerhead Shrike   1, 5.

Stellar's Jay   calls, near summit, 3.

Western Scrub-Jay  3  3, 4.

Yellow-billed Magpie  30; gregarious, largely silent while foraging on ground in tall grass;  several small flocks scattered around the valley oak savanna; mostly wary and difficult to approach; one relatively habituated flock taking cat food left on a bench in the mission courtyard (photo).


Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nuttalli) Mission San Antonio, Monterey County CA  14 Dec. 2015

                                                                                                               © 2015 Callyn Yorke



American Crow  5  1;  10, 2.

Common Raven  2 (calls),  flying over forest canopy, 4.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee   2  in shrubs and lower branches of oaks, 3 (photo).


Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens) N-F Road, MOCO CA  14 Dec 2015

                                                                             © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Oak Titmouse  1  in valley oak, 5.

Pygmy Nuthatch  calls (unseen) pine-oak woodland, 3.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1, 3;  1, 5.

Wrentit   1 calls (unseen) oak-chaparral, 3.

Western Bluebird  2, 5.

California Thrasher 1 (vocalizations, unseen), 3.

European Starling  6,  1.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler 1, 1.

White-crowned Sparrow  8, 1, 3, 5.

Western Meadowlark   6,  5.

House Finch  2,  5.



































January 9 & 10, 2015  Half Moon Bay, CA (67 Species)

Weather:  Overcast; 52F to 55F seas moderate, surf 3-4 ft.

Time: 0837-0943 (1/9); 0908-1210 hrs (1/10).

Observers: Myself (1/9); Merissa Mendez and I (1/10).

Areas Covered: 1) Francis State Beach (FSB: 1/9): I walked from the nearest public parking on Kelly St. (about 1/4 mi E of the park entrance) into the park, surveying beach scrub, outer shore, nearshore waters, ruderal roadsides and fields and suburban gardens. A few surfers and numerous pedestrians, joggers and cyclists were present during my survey. 2) Venice Beach (VSB: 1/10: 0908-1015 hrs.) We walked from the parking area insided the state beach, along the outer shore and on adjacent trails. Habitats surveyed included shoreline, nearshore waters, coastal scrub and willow riparian. We noted two sets of fresh dog tracks on the beach and no shorebirds aside from a small flock of wary gulls. At the park entrance, a park ranger had told us that the $10 fee insured this was a NO DOGS ALLOWED state beach. As we have seen in many places within the Half Moon Bay area, postings prohibiting dogs and/or unleashed dogs are largely ignored by the public, presumably due to a lack of law enforcement.  3) Pillar Point (PP: 1025-1135 hrs.). We walked from the parking area of Pillar Point to the outer shore of Mavericks beach, surveying coastal salt marsh and ponds, shoreline, tidepools, harbor, breakwater and nearshore waters. We counted at least 25 unleashed dogs running freely throughout the area, despite multiple postings prohibiting this activity. Several dog owners deliberately released their animals when on the shore adjacent to the protected salt marsh, frequently throwing objects for the dogs to retrieve (photos). The tide was low during our survey, exposing tidepools, mudflats and a significant width of shoreline with piles of kelp on the outer shore. These areas were also frequented by large numbers of unleashed dogs (see my notes from November 16, 2012).  4) Princeton Harbor (PH: 1145 - 1210  hrs.). We walked along the southeast corner of the harbor at the junction of HWY 1, where a small, largely undistrubed shoreline and adjacent harbor waters had attracted a few birds.

                                             Unleashed dogs in the protected wildlife habitat of Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay, CA  10 Jan 2015



                                                                                                    © 2015 Callyn Yorke



Canada Goose   5  PP.

Brant    5   3 in marsh, PP; a pair at edge of harbor; one with USFWS metal (unreadable) and colored (78Z) leg bands, PH  (photo).

Brant (Branta bernicla) banded (right) Princeton Harbor Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County CA  10 January 2015

                                                                                                               © 2015 Merissa Mendez


Mallard   6  PH harbor.

Greater Scaup  2  swimming in harbor near shore, PP.

Surf Scoter   25  FSB;  30  harbor, PP, PH.

Common Goldeneye  2  diving in harbor, PP.

Bufflehead  25   harbor, PP.

Red-throated Loon  1  harbor, PP.

Common Loon  1  harbor, PP.

Horned Grebe  2   harbor, PP.

Eared Grebe  1  harbor, PP.

Western Grebe  1  harbor, PH.

Brandt's Cormorant  5   flying offshore, PP.

Brown Pelican    1 flying offshore, VSB;  10  FSB.

Great Egret  1   VSB.

Snowy Egret  1  PP/

Black-crowned Night Heron  2  in trees in parking lot, PH.

White-tailed Kite  1  flying over HWY 1 s of PH.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1 (ad)  in trees adjacent to marsh, PP.

Red-tailed Hawk   1  VSB.

American Kestrel  1  on utility wire, HWY 1 s of PH.

Peregrine Falcon   1  flying low over beach scrub and outer shore, VSB (photo).

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) Venice State Beach Half Moon Bay SMCO CA  10 Jan 2015


                                                                                                                   © 2015 Callyn Yorke


American Coot    10  shoreline adjacent to  harbor PH.

Black Oystercatcher     2   calls; flying, interior of harbor breakwater, PP.

Marbled Godwit  8   on shore adjacent to harbor, PH.

Willet   1  on shore adjacent to harbor, PH.

Black Turnstone   1  foraging with Sanderling on dead bony fish on beach, PP (photo).

Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala) left and Sanderling (Calidris alba) right , Mavericks Beach, Pillar Point Half Moon Bay CA  10 Jan 2015


                                                                                                                                                                                             © 2015 Callyn Yorke


Sanderling  1  foraging on dead bony fish with BLTU, PP (photo).

Heermann's Gull   12  (ad, imm) together on outer beach, FSB.

Mew Gull    10   (ad, imm)  outer beach, FSB.

Western Gull    12  (ad, imm) outer beach, FSB;  5   VSB.

California Gull   18   outer beach with other gulls, FSB;  14  outer beach, VSB.

Herring Gull    2 (ad; C2)    outer beach with other gulls, FSB;  2  VSB..

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) adult with fishing tackle imbedded in foot, VSB left;  immature second cycle, FSB, right  9 & 10 Jan 2015


                                                                        © 2015 Callyn Yorke


Thayer's Gull    1  outer shore with other gulls, VSB.

Glaucous-winged Gull   12  (ad, imm) outer shore with other gulls, VSB.

Feral Rock Pigeon  35   on utility lines s of PH.

Eurasian Collared Dove   4  FSB.

Mourning Dove   1  VSB.

Anna's Hummingbird   2  VSB.

Black Phoebe  1  FSB; 1 VSB.

Say's Phoebe  1  VSB (photo).


Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) Venice State Beach Half Moon Bay SMCO CA  10 Jan 2015


                                                                                                    © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Common Raven   2   a pair investigating a trash can  VSB.

American Crow   6    FSB.

Western Scrub-Jay  1  VSB.

Chestnut-backed Chicadee  1   foraging in willows and pines around bridge, VSB.

Bushtit    6  riparian patch around bridge, VSB.

Bewick's Wren  2  vocal in coastal scrub, FSB.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1  riparian- conifer patch, VSB.

Western Bluebird  1  sallying to uncut lawn beneath pines with YRWA, FSB.

Hermit Thrush  1  FSB.

American Robin   6  on lawns, FSB;  5  VSB.

Northern Mockingbird  1  VSB.

European Starling   20  FSB; 2  VSB;  50  utility lines, HWY 1.

Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warbler  4  FSB;   8  VSB.

Townsend's Warbler  2  VSB.

California Towhee   6  FSB;  1  VSB.

Fox Sparrow   1 FSB; 1 VSB (photo).

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) Venice State Beach Half Moon Bay SMCO CA  10 Jan 2015


                                                                                                             © 2015 Callyn Yorke


Song Sparrow   2  vocal in coastal scrub, FSB.

White-crowned Sparrow    (ad, imm) 20   FSB;   20  VSB.

Golden-crowned Sparrow    10  FSB;   3  VSB.

Dark-eyed Junco   2  FSB.

Red-winged Blackbird  3  VSB.

Brewer's Blackbird    10  FSB;  3  VSB.

Brown-headed Cowbird   1  with RWBL, VSB.

Purple Finch   15 (mostly females and imms.)   vocal, gregarious in riparian strip, VSB (photo).

Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) female  Venice SB Half Moon Bay SMCO CA  10 Jan 2015


                                                                                             © 2015 Callyn Yorke


House Finch    10  FSB;; 5   VSB.

House Sparrow  8  FSB.




















January 8, 2015   HWY-1: Big Sur to Half Moon Bay, CA (46 Species)

Weather: Overcast; 55F to 60F.  wind and seas calm; surf 1-2 ft.

Time: 0940 -1600 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I.

Areas Covered:  1) HWY-1 Monterey - Napenthe, Big Sur: I surveyed the mixed coniferous-oak woodland on the grounds of Napenthe, including surrounding hillsides, cliffs and nearshore waters ( NP: 1110-1210 hrs). Special attention was given to locating a local population of California Condor, though none was found   2) HWY 1 Napenthe - Half Moon Bay, with one birding stop at the shoreline of Scott Creek, Santa Cruz County (SC: 1414-1500 hrs.) before arriving at the Half Moon Bay Lodge ( HMBL: 1600-1700 hrs.). Birds identified while in transit on HWY-1 were also noted.


Canada Goose   2 flocks in pastureland, s of Monterey.

Mallard  12  HMBL.

Bufflehead   3  SC;  3  pond on golf course, HMBL.

Red-breasted Merganser  (f)  diving in surf zone, SC.

Surf Scoter   25  NP.

Brown Pelican  2  NP.

Great Egret    1  salt ponds near Santa Cruz.

Turkey Vulture  1  NP;  1  HWY south of Monterey.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1  edge of pond on golf course, HMBL.

Red-tailed Hawk   20  ubiquitous on utility lines and poles; soaring on thermals.

American Kestrel   15   ubiquitous on utility lines in open country.

American Coot    95  ubiquitous in roadside wetlands.

Black-necked Stilt  5  roadside salt marsh, Moss Landing.

Marbled Godwit    4  roadside salt marsh, Moss Landing.

Sanderling  5  beach and tidepools, SC.

Dowitcher sp.   60  roadside salt marsh, Moss Landing.

Heermann's Gull     12 (ad, imm) on beach, SC.

Western Gull  40  ubiquitous on and near shore.

California Gull  5 Moss Landing;  3 (ad, imm) SC;  10 flying over golf course, HMBL.

Thayer's Gull  1 (C1) ID: relatively small body size, c.f. nearby GWGU, rounded head and small bill; brown primaries; associated with GWGU and WEGU on shore and rocks, SC (photo)

Thayer's Gull (Larus thayeri) Scott Creek, Santa Cruz County CA  8 January 2015

                                                                                     © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Glaucous-winged Gull   12 (ad, C1, C3)  on shore and tidepool rocks with other gulls, SC (photo).


Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) C1-2  Scott Creek, Santa Cruz County CA  8 January 2015


                                                                                                   © 2015 Callyn Yorke

Feral Rock Pigeon   60  ubiquitous in and near towns.

Eurasian Collared Dove   3  in and around gardens, HMBL.

Band-tailed Pigeon  1  flying to grove of conifers, NP.

Mourning Dove  4  HWY1 n of SCZ.

Anna's Hummingbird  2  NP;  1 HMBL.

Belted Kingfisher  1  fly, call, SC.

Acorn Woodpecker  7  (m,f) gregarious, vocal; oak and wooden piling granaries, NP (photo).


Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorous) Napenthe, Big Sur Monterey County CA  8 Jan 2015


                                                                                              © 2014 Callyn Yorke


Nuttall's Woodpecker   1  calls, NP.

Black Phoebe  1  sallying from trees at edge of golf course, HMBL.

Stellar's Jay    2  calls, flying, grove of conifers, NP.

Western Scrub-Jay    3  calls; woodland and open areas, NP.

American Crow  3 (ad) vocal; gregarious in oaks and garden around restaurant, NP (photo).


American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  Napenthe, Big Sur, Monterey County CA  8 January 2015


                                                                                                 © 2015 Callyn Yorke


Oak Titmouse    1  NP

Ruby-crowned Kinglet    1  NP

American Robin  4  HMBL.

European Starling   60  ubiquitous on utility lines and in adjacent fields.

Townsend's Warbler  1  HMBL.

Spotted Towhee  1  NP.

Chipping Sparrow 1  foraging on lawn with WCSP and DEJU, HMBL.

Fox Sparrow  1  calls; active in garden, HMBL.

Song Sparrow  1  HMBL.

Lincoln's Sparrow  1  in hedge at dusk, HMBL.

White-crowned Sparrow    6 (ad, imm)   on lawns and in gardens, HMBL.

Golden-crowned Sparrow  4 (ad, imm)  on lawn and in gardens with WCSP, HMBL.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco   1 NP;  5  HMBL.










January 6 & 7, 2015  Monterey, CA (60 Species)


Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) rescued and rehabilitated following a window collision on Harrison St. Monterey CA  7 January 2015


                                                                           © 2015 Callyn Yorke

Weather:  Fair; 50F to 74F; wind and seas calm; low tide @ 1500 hrs.

Time: 0720-1040; 1230-1500 hrs.

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I (1230-1600 hrs.)

Areas Covered: 1) The hillside suburbs of Monterey in the vicinity of Jefferson St.. Harrison St.. Johnson St. and Veterans Park Trail.  2) Fisherman's Warf, harbor shoreline, breakwater and nearshore waters of Monterey Bay; tidepools, rocks and nearshore waters adjacent to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (1/7/15: PM).

Birds of Seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Surfbird (1) and Varied Thrush (2).


Canada Goose  8  flying low over harbor (1/5 PM)..

Surf Scoter   25  (m,f) harbor and inner bay

Red-breasted Merganser  5 (f) diving in the harbor.

Pacific Loon  2  swimming, diving in harbor.

Common Loon  1  swimming in harbor.

Red-throated Loon  2  inner bay near aquarium (1/7/15)

Horned Grebe  2   diving in harbor.

Eared Grebe   6  diving, flying over harbor (photo).


Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Monterey harbor 6 January 2015

                                                                              © 2015 Callyn Yorke


Western Grebe   35  resting in loose flocks on inner bay and harbor.

Brandt's Cormorant   25  diving in harbor and near shore; 60 on breakwater.

Double-crested Cormorant  4  on rocks near shore, harbor.

Pelagic Cormorant  1 ( alt. & bsc, plmg.)   diving and catching small crabs in harbor tidepools.; 5  flying low offshore, inner bay; several pair nesting on concrete ledges between pilings beneath MBA; frequently commuting between nest area and an undetermined locations; some adult birds carrying algal nest material; several diving in adjacent tidepools and nearshore waters; a pair resting on exposed rocks near shore with BRCO.

Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus ) Monterey Bay CA  7 January 2014

                                                                                                                         © 2015 Callyn Yorke

Brown Pelican  18  on rocks and ledges of buildings, harbor.

Great Blue Heron  2  on rocks, breakwater and harbor.

Great Egret  1  on floating kelp mat, nearshore waters, MBA (1/7/15)..

Snowy Egret   8  on rocks; one following a PECO in tidepools, harbor.

Whimbrel  1  foraging on exposed tidepool rocks and adjacent beach, inner bay.

Black Turnstone  1  foraging on exposed tidepool rocks with mussels, inner bay.

Surfbird  1  foraging on exposed rocks adjacent to breakwater, inner bay.

Black Oystercatcher  2  vocal, flying; landing and foraging on exposed tidal rocks next to MBA (1/7/15).

Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) Monterey Bay CA  7 January 2015


                                                                       © 2015 Callyn Yorke

Mew Gull  26  (ad, imm) a cohesive flocks on rocky shore, harbor.

Heermann's Gull  8  shore of harbor.

Western Gull   14 (ad, imm) harbor and breakwater.

California Gull   5  with MEGU and WEGU on rocky shore, harbor.

Herring Gull  1 (ad)   on rocky shore with other gulls, harbor.

Feral Rock Pigeon   10 residential and harbor areas.

Band-tailed Pigeon  22  flying over woodland; at feeder in residential area.

Eurasian Collared Dove  3  calls; residential area with mature trees.

Anna's Hummingbird  2 (m) flowering shrubs in residental area.

Belted Kingfisher  1 fly, call, harbor.

Acorn Woodpecker   15   vocal, gregarious in wooded areas and gardens.

Nuttall's Woodpecker   2  (m,f) vocal; in oaks and other mature trees in gardens.

Black Phoebe  2   open yards in residential area.

Stellar's Jay   4  pairs in gardens and wooded lots.

Western Scrub-Jay    20  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

American Crow     20  vocal, gregarious, ubiquitous.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee    2  calls; pine-oak woodland.

Oak Titmouse   5  vocal; gardens and wooded lots.

Bushtit  10  vocal, gregarious, gardens with mature oaks.

Pygmy Nuthatch    6  vocal, gregarious; tall pine woodland.

Bewick's Wren  1  repeated song, vacant lot with rocky hillside.

House Wren 1  repeated song,  garden on hillside.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  5  gardens with oaks and mature shrubs.

Hermit Thrush   3  calls; shady pine-oak woodland and gardens.

American Robin  10  calls; gardens with fruiting berry bushes.

Varied Thrush  2   foraging on ground; Friendly Park (corner of Jefferson and Pacific St.) garden trees (photo below);  another individual rescued and rehabilitated after colliding with a window on Harrison Street (photo above).


Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) Friendly Park, Monterey CA  6 January 2015

                                                                                             © 2015 Callyn Yorke


European Starling  5  residential areas.

Cedar Waxwing   25  vocal, gregarious; flowering and fruiting trees, gardens.

Yellow-rumped (A) Warbler   1  garden near harbor.

Townsend's Warbler  1   coming to bird bath in garden (1/7/15).

Spotted Towhee  3   vocal, gregarious; brushy area in pine oak woodland.

California Towhee   2 vocal; edge of vacant lot and garden.

White-crowned Sparrow  15  vocal, gregarious; foraging on ground at edge of garden.

Golden-crowned Sparrow   6  gregarious; foraging on ground near WCSP.

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  12  calls; gregarious, gardens and vacant lots.

Brewer's Blackbird  8   boarwalks, harbor.

Purple Finch   6  crowns of pines, dense woodland of Veteran's Park Trail.

House Finch    4  vocal; active around home with feeder.

Lesser Goldfinch  2  visiting seed feeder at home on edge of VPT.

House Sparrow   10  vocal, gardens.














November 24, 2013   Nob Hill Pond and Steinberger Slough, Redwood Shores, San Mateo County (42 Species)


Weather: Fair; 46F to 55 F. no wind; outgoing tide.

Time: 0806-0950 hrs.

Observers: Ethan Yorke and I.

Area Covered: We walked from the south end of Spar Drive, along the paved bikeway, to the fenceline bordering San Carlos Airport, immediately opposite some condominiums. We included gardens, ruderal areas, Nob Hill Pond (NH), adjacent mudflats, salt marsh and tidal channel of Steinberger Slough (SS). The area was largely quiet and undisturbed by human activities, except for occasional joggers, cyclists and people with leashed and unleashed dogs (note posted ordinance requiring dogs to be leashed - photo). One individual was tossing a stick for his dog on the northern shore of Nob Hill Pond. This resulted in flushing several groups of ducks and other birds in and around the pond. Shotgun blasts could be heard in the distance; no nearby hunting was observed in the survey area. Extensive tidal mudflats were exposed on the western edge of Steinberger Slough, attracting hundreds of resting shorebirds (e.g. Marbled Godwit and American Avocet - photo).

Steinberger Slough, viewing northwest to Nob Hill and adjacent residential area, Redwood Shores, SMCO CA  24 Nov 2013

                                                                                                                                             © 2013 Callyn Yorke



                                                                                                                  © 2013 Callyn Yorke


Birds of seasonal and/or distributional interest found today included, Cackling Goose (2), Surf Scoter (1), and               Eurasian Wigeon (1).


Canada Goose  5  on w shore; flying over suburbs, NH.

Cackling Goose  (subsp.?) 3  Noted relatively small size, c.f nearby NOSH and CAGO; short bill; white neck ring (two individuals) dark breast; swimming near w shore near CAGO, NH (photo).


Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii ssp.) Nob Hill Pond, San Mateo County, CA  24 Nov 2013


                                                                              © 2013 Callyn Yorke



Gadwall    2 (m,f) swimming near other ducks, NH.

Mallard   5  (m,f) near edges of the pond, NH.

American Wigeon   8 (m,f) swimming together, NH (photo).

Eurasian Wigeon 1 (m)  swimming with AMWI, NH (photo).


Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) male, center; Nob Hill Pond, San Mateo County, CA  Nov 24 2013

                                                                                     © 2013 Callyn Yorke



Northern Shoveler  150  (m,f) around the edges of the pond; many resting on shore, NH.

Northern Pintail  12   (m,f) flying and swimming together; one female with six males, NH.

Green-winged Teal  250 (m,f) throughout the pond, NH;  a few foraging on the mudflats, SS.

Canvasback  50 (m,f)  throughout the pond, NH.

Lesser Scaup  18   (m,f) swimming, diving in slough; several together in pond, NH.

Surf Scoter  1 (f) diving in channel, SS.

Bufflehead   12  (m,f) diving in channel, SS and pond, NH.

Ruddy Duck  12 (m,f)   resting in pond, NH; a few swimming in the channel, SS.

Pied-billed Grebe  2   swimming in pond, NH.

Western Grebe  1  diving in channel, SS.

Double-crested Cormorant  2  flying over pond, NH.

Brown Pelican  1  dove once and caught small fish in channel, SS.

Great Blue Heron  1  on exposed mudflat, south shore of slough, SS.

Great Egret  2  distant marsh to the south, SS.

Snowy Egret  1  edge mudflat, SS.

Cooper's Hawk  1 (ad) perched on snag at edge of pond; flying low nw (photo).


Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperi) Nob Hill Pond, San Mateo County, CA  24 Nov 2013

                                                                                               © 2013 Callyn Yorke


American Coot  20  swimming around the edges of the pond, NH.

Black-necked Stilt  2  on mudflat at the edge of the slough, SS.

American Avocet   500  on mudflats at the edge of the slough, SS (see introductory photo).

Marbled Godwit  150  resting on mudflats at the edge of the slough with AMAV, SS (see intro photo).

Willet  35  amongst AMAV and MAGO on mudflats, SS.

Least Sandpiper  10  foraging on mudflats amongst AMAV and MAGO, SS.

Dunlin   20  resting on mudflats amongst AMAV and MAGO, SS.

Short-billed Dowitcher  60  foraging and resting at edge of mudflats, SS.

California Gull  5  (ad; C3) flying and swimming around in pond, NH.

Western Gull  10  (ad, C2, C3) flying and swimming around in pond, NH.

Caspian Tern  calls (unseen) channel, SS.

Anna's Hummingbird  8  calls; chasing; around flowering shrubs in garden, NH.

Black Phoebe  3  calls; sallying low at edge of pond and in gardens, NH.

American Crow  25  vocal, ubiquitous, NH.

Yellow-rumped Warbler  10 (m,f) calls; active in a variety of vegetation types and heights, NH.

Savannah Sparrow  3  calls (unseen) ruderal areas and gardens around pond, NH.

Song Sparrow  1  in tall fennel at edge of trail, NH.

White-crowned Sparrow  12  vocal, ubiquitous, NH.

Fox Sparrow  1  in garden next to condominium, NH.

House Sparrow  12  vocal; gardens of adjacent suburbs, NH.









November 15-19, 2012: El Granada, Pillar Point Harbor, Mavericks Beach, Venice Beach, Pomponio State Beach, San Gregorio State Beach; Lake Merced (Harding Park), Golden Gate Park and the Presidio (85 Species).

Weather: Partly cloudy to heavy overcast with intermittent showers; 57F to 62F; winds NW, W 2 - 10 mph. High Tide (@ the Golden Gate, 6.9 - 5.7 ft.): 1139 -1435 hrs. Seas calm to choppy; surf 1 - 7 ft. Pacific storm front arriving 11/16/12 PM and lingering through 11/17/12.

Time0750 - 1800 hrs,

Observers: Merissa Mendez and I

Areas Covered: 1) Harbor View Inn, El Granada. Birds heard and seen on and adjacent to the hotel gardens were noted during our stay (HV).  2) Pillar Point Harbor: We walked around the harbor and shoreline bordering HWY 1, and included the beach, breakwater and nearshore waters (PPH). 3) Pillar Point Wetlands, shoreline and Mavericks Beach (PPMB). We walked from the parking area adjacent to the salt marsh (Pillar Point Protected Wetland area) to Maverick's Beach (11/16: 0930 - 1030 hrs.) '

Commentary: The Pillar Point wetland is clearly marked in several places, including signs prohibiting dogs in the saltmarsh area and signs allowing only leashed dogs on the adjacent shore. However, we counted at least fifteen unleashed dogs (including aggressive breeds such as Pitbull and Akita) with their owners during our brief survey. One  particular free-ranging dog was observed flushing more than 100 shorebirds (e.g. Sanderling, Black Turnstone: Photos A & B).  Additionally, a pack of four dogs with their owners ran freely on the entire shoreline extending from the parking area to the breakwater at Mavericks Beach (photos C & D). Except for a few waterbirds offshore, the entire shoreline was quickly vacated by all migratory bird species as a response to the presence of the unleashed dogs. Since migratory birds must fly thousands of miles during spring and fall months, these shorelines offer critical food and shelter. Frequent disturbance by free-ranging dogs causes unnecessary stress to these birds that may well result in abnormally high rates of mortality in coastal wintering areas.

Subsequent to this commentary, a local investigative reporter, Stanley Roberts of KRON TV, produced an excellent piece covering the issue of unleashed dogs at Pillar Point. This brief segment can be found on UTUBE at:


(A) A large concentration of wintering Sanderling (Calidris alba) and Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala): Pillar Point Wetlands, San Mateo County, CA  16 Nov. 2012:  0940 hrs,

                                                                                                                                              © 2012 Callyn Yorke

(B) One of several unleashed dogs; this one flushed all of the shorebirds shown in the previous photo. Pillar Point Wetland, San Mateo County, CA  16 November, 2012: 1015 hrs.

                                                                                                                                             © 2012 Callyn Yorke

(C & D) Chasing Mavericks  Owners and their unleashed dogs, Mavericks Beach, Pillar Point, San Mateo CA  16 Nov. 2012: 1005 hrs.   

                                                                                                   © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Negligent disregard of posted regulations shown by numerous dog owners today indicated a lack of effective law enforcement. Evidently, resource agencies (e.g. CDFG, USFWS) have been unable to protect what would otherwise be a species rich and highly important waterbird habitat in coastal San Mateo County. Existing signs without enforcement are apparently meaningless to most (but not all) dog owners in this area.  We recommend frequent, random patrols by plain-clothes officers authorized to issue citations for violations such as those documented by our observations and photos (A-H).

                          (E, F, G H) Unleashed dogs and signs at Pillar Point Wetlands, San Mateo County, CA  16 Nov. 2012



                                                                                                                     © 2012 Callyn Yorke


4) Venice State Beach, Half Moon Bay (VB). After paying the day-use fee ($9) next to a vacant entry post, we walked northward on the beach to the  mouth of Frenchman's Creek. Hundreds of gulls of several species were crowded around this area. This is presumably the location where several eBird records of Slaty-backed Gull have been obtained; none was found during our brief visit today (11/16/12: 1109 - 1208 hrs.).                 5) Pomponio State Beach (PSB) is located about 12 miles south of Half Moon Bay on HWY 1. This windswept beach included a small freshwater lagoon bordered by cliffs and coastal chaparral. Onshore squalls prevented extended observations here (11/16/12: 1230-1258 hrs.).  6) San Gregorio State Beach (SG): I walked down a narrow trail from the parking area along a lagoon and onto a large beach littered with driftwood. Gulls were numerous here, though somewhat fewer individuals than VB (11/16/ 12: 1300-1330 hrs.).

7) Lake Merced (Harding Park) (LM): We walked around the west end of the park between two lagoons. The park includes mature pines and patches of riparian vegetation bordering open water and marginal freshwater marsh. An adjacent golf course allows pedestrians and cyclists, but was too busy for more than a cursory bird survey. The birdiest areas were at the edges of the lagoons with a mixture of riparian and evergreen trees and shrubs (11/15/2012: 0809 -1000 hrs.).  8) Golden Gate Park (GGP): We cycled from the museum and DYM and CAS quad west to the polo field. Our route included both paved and unpaved roads and trails through mature eucalyptus-pine woodland. Also included in our survey was a were two ponds and adjacent riparian habitat. Overall, the park includes significant cover and presumably other resources attractive to birds. Early morning bird surveys should be relatively productive in GGP; after about 1000 hrs. traffic and other distrubances reduce birding opportunities (11/15/2012: 1030 -1400 hrs.).

9) Presidio National Park (PNP). We walked to Fort Point from the  parking area immediately east of the Golden Gate Bridge pavillion, then east on the shoreline to Crissy field and back. We also cycled across the GGB to Fort Baker and back (Marin County) but added only Wrentit as a new species for the day-list. Habitats surveyed included lawns, mature cypress and eucalyptus woodland, fishing piers, shoreline and open water of the San Francisco Bay.

                                                                  View from Fort Point northward to Marin headlands, Nov. 18, 2012


                                                                                                                                                  © 2012 Callyn Yorke


10) On our way home we made a brief visit to Quarry Park in the hills adjacent to El Granada (QP). This is a 40-acre community park with a dense Blue Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) forest surrounding a weedy field and playground. Several unleashed dogs were running and barking here when we arrived. Birdlife in this exotic eucalyptus monoculture (a widespread, practically unstoppable invasive tree in this region) was predictably scarce and of low diversity (11/19: 0815-0849 hrs.) 

11) Continuing southward on HWY 1, we were unable to gain access to the south side of Frenchman's Creek (FC) from Frenchman's Creek Road opposite Venice Beach. The only public access to this riparian-eucalyptus haitat was from the north side in a relatively new residential development on Ruisseau Francais Avenue. I birded the residential roadside adjacent to two small patches of lawn designated as a city park. Dense undergrowth in and around the slow-running creek produced a variety of bird species, including two that were new for our trip-list (Downy Woodpecker and Golden-crowned Sparrow (11/19: 0919 - 0953 hrs.).



Canada Goose  15  foraging on the grass, polo field, GGP.

Greater White-fronted Goose  1 (ad) foraging on lawn with coots at entrance to parking lot, LM (photo).

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) west Harding Park, Lake Merced, San Francisco County, CA  15 Nov. 2012

                                                                                                                                                 ©  2012 Callyn Yorke   



Gadwall   2 (m,f)    swimming together in lagoon, PSB.   

Mallard      10 (m,f) LM;  5  (m,f)  in ponds, GGP; 2  PSB   

Ring-necked Duck   7  (m,f) swimming together near marsh, LM.

Common Goldeneye  1 (m imm.)  swimming in harbor, PPH (photo).

Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) Pillar Point Harbor, SMCO, CA  16 Nov. 2012

                                                                                                           © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Bufflehead   4   (m,f) swimming, open water, LM;  25 (m,f) in harbor, PPH (photo).

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  Pillar Point Harbor, San Mateo County, CA  16 November, 2012

                                                                                                                                                 © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Greater Scaup  1 (f) foraging near shore, PPW (photo).

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) nearshore Pillar Point Wetland, San Mateo County, CA  16 Nov. 2012

                                                                                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Red-breasted Merganser  2 (f) resting on driftwood in lagoon,  PB.

Common Merganser 1 (f) swimming in lagoon, SG.

Surf Scoter   80  (m,f) diving near shore in harbor, PPH; PPW (photo);  50  offshore, PSB; SG.

Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) One female (center) and two males. Pillar Point Wetland, San Mateo County, CA  16 Nov. 2012

                                                                                                                                                                                           © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Ruddy Duck   60 (m,f) resting around edges of the lake, LM.

Red-throated Loon  1  flying low s near shore, SG.

Pacific Loon  4  flying low, s near shore, SG.

Common Loon   3  swimming in harbor, PPH.

Pied-billed Grebe  1  diving near shore, PPH.

Eared Grebe   5  swimming, diving in harbor, PPH.

Horned Grebe  2 (noted flat back; no peak on head) diving in harbor, PPH.

Western Grebe   10  in harbor;  20  offshore, PPH; 1 (ad, imm) calls, LM.

Clark's Grebe  1  open water, LM.

Brandt's Cormorant  15  on rocks offshore, MB.

Double-crested Cormorant  80  on breakwater; swimming in harbor, PPH;  10  on snags; flying, LM.

Pelagic Cormorant  1 ? (comparatively smaller than BRCO)   on offshore rock with BRCO, MB.

Brown Pelican   40  on breakwater, PPH;  1   flying over lake, LM ;  10 VB; 20 PSB; SG.

Great Blue Heron   1  shoreline, PPH;  1 very pale (c.f. Gray Heron with dark sides) in tules at w side of lake, LM

Great Egret  1  shallows, inshore harbor, PPH.

Black-crowned Night Heron  1  in tree next to restaurant, PPH;  1 ad  in marsh, LM.

Turkey Vulture  2  soaring over HWY 1 south of LM.

Red-shouldered Hawk  1  calls,  north edge of lake, LM;  2  on utility lines, VB, HV (photo).

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) immature  Presidio, San Francisco, CA  18 Nov. 2012

                                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Red-tailed Hawk  2  perched together atop a pine tree in parking area, LM; flying over HWY 1, HV.

American Kestrel  1  flying over HWY 1, HV.

American Coot   25  foraging on and near shore, PPH;  10 foraging near shore, PPW;   30  on lawns, LM; 5 in ponds, GGP.

Killdeer  2  calls, shore and breakwater, PPH.

Willet  2  on shore and breakwater, PPH.

Sanderling  120  foraging on shore with BLTU and flushed by an unleashed dog, PPW (photo A);  30  on beach PSB.

Marbled Godwit   7  on shore near breakwater, PPH.

Least Sandpiper  4  foraging on mudflats, PPH.

Black Turnstone   20 foraging on shore with Sanderlings; flushed by an unleashed dog (photo A).

Bonaparte's Gull  12  flying low, dipping in lake surface, n.

Heermann's Gull   1  swimming near shore with BOGU, PPW;  20 (ad, imm) on beach with other gulls, VB (photo).

Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni) Venice Beach, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County, CA  16 November, 2012

                                                                                                                                                    © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Mew Gull  2  (ad, imm) foraging in shallows and on shore, PPW (photo).

Mew Gull (Larus canus) Pillar Point Wetland, San Mateo County, CA  16 November, 2012

                                                                                                                    © 2012 Callyn Yorke

California Gull    120 ( 90% adults)   in lagoon and on beach, SG;  60  VB (photo).

California Gull (Larus californicus)  Left: immature first cycle, ;   Right: adult  San Gregorio Beach, San Mateo County, CA  16 November, 2012 

                                                                                                  © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Herring Gull    10  (ad, imm) on beach with other gulls; flushed, VB ; 3 (imm) around fishing docks, PPH.

Thayer's Gull   1 imm;  Noted relatively smal, rounded head and bill; dark primaries with pale edges; SG (photo).

Thayer's Gull (Larus thayeri) juvenile.  San Gregorio State Beach, San Mateo County, CA  16 November, 2012  


                                                                                                 © 2012 Callyn Yorke                                                                                                                                                        


Glaucous-winged Gull   10  (ad, imm) VB;  5  SG (photo).

Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) L: juvenile; R: adult, San Gregorio Beach, San Mateo County, CA  16 November 2012  

                                                                                   © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Western Gull   800   (90% adult)  ubiquitous; most numerous at VB and SG; also a large flock resting on boat dock, LM.

Elegant Tern  28  on pier, PNP (photo).

Elegant Tern (Thalasseus elegans) Presidio, SFCO, CA  18 Nov. 2012

                                                                                                                           © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Foster's Tern  2  on pier with ELTE, PNP (photo)

Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) Presidio, San Francisco County, CA  18 November, 2012

                                                                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Rock Pigeon   80 +  ubiquitous around buildings, farms, lakes and harbors..

Eurasian Collared Dove  20  on utility poles and wires, HV; VB. Appears to be smaller than southern Calif. form (photo).

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) El Granada, HMB, San Mateo County, CA  18 Nov. 2012


                                                                       ©  2012 Callyn Yorke                              

Mourning Dove  1  on utility wire, FC.

Anna's Hummingbird   5  call, flying around shrubs and flowering eucalyptus, LM;  2  GGP;  2  HV;  4 PNP; 1 QP.

Belted Kingfisher   2  fly, call PPH;  1 fly, LM.

Downy Woodpecker  1 (m) on lower branches of deciduous trees, FC.

Northern Flicker  calls,  QP.

Black Phoebe  1  PNP; 1 PPMB;  1 QP.

Western Scrub-jay   1  on utility wire, SG;  1 calls, LM.

Stellar's Jay  2  calls, fly, GGP;  1 calls, PNP.

American Crow  10  on shore; fly, call PPH (photo);  4  fly, LM.

American Crow (Corvus brachyrynchos) Pillar Point Harbor, San Mateo County, CA  16 Nov. 2012

                                                                                                                           © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Common Raven  2  fly, call; utility poles, PPH;  2 LM.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee  15  GGP;   2 PNP; 4 FC.

Bushtit   10  LM (photo).

Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) Lake Merced, San Francisco County, CA  15 November, 2012

                                                                                                                              © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Pygmy Nuthatch  10  in pines and cypress, LM;  3  PNP.

White-reasted Nuthatch  1  in pines, vocal, LM.

Red-breasted Nuthatch  1  with PYNU, LM.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4  in msf with WCSP, CBCH, LM;  1 PNP;  1 showing ruby crown, FC.

Hermit Thrush  1  GGP;  1 QP.

American Robin   2  calls, GNP; 1 calls, PNP.

Wrentit  1  calls, chaparral cliff, PPMB;  1 calls, hillside next to Fort Baker (MACO).

European Starling   500 (conserv. est.) ubiquitous.

American Pipit  1 fly, call, PNP;  1  in pasture, FC.

Townsend's Warbler  1 calls, foraging in flowering hedge, HV (photo);  1 foraging in alders, FC..

Townsend's Warbler (Setophaga townsendi) El Granada, HMB, San Mateo County, CA  18 Nov. 2012

                                                                                                                         © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Yellow-rumped Warbler  6  foraging at base of cliff, PPMB;  10 GGP;  5 PNP.

Common Yellowthroat  1 calls, edge of marsh, PPMB.

California Towhee  1  garden HV.

Savannah Sparrow  2  on side of cliff, PPMB (photo).

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) Maverick's Beach, San Mateo County, CA  16 Nov. 2012


                                                                                                           © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Fox Sparrow  1  weedy edge of mixed chaparral-riparian, PNP (photo).


Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) Presidio, San Francisco, CA  18 Nov. 2012

                                                                                              © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Song Sparrow  10   vocal, active and ubiquitous in moist vegetation (photo).

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) Maverick's Beach, San Mateo County, CA  16 Nov. 2012

                                                                                                            © 2012 Callyn Yorke


White-crowned Sparrow   100 +  (ad, imm) vocal, active and ubiquitous in a variety of terrestrial and coastal vegetation types.

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys c.f. pugetensis) Presidio, SF, CA  18 Nov. 2012


                                                                                       © 2012 Callyn Yorke

Golden-crowned Sparrow  2  vocal, active in moist undergrowth at edge of creek, FC (photo).

Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) immature  Frenchman's Creek, HMB, San Mateo County, CA  19 Nov. 2012


                                                                                                          © 2012 Callyn Yorke


Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco  foraging beneath conifers, calls, GGP.

Western Meadowlark  2  flying across airport roadway, PPMB.

Brewer's Blackbird   20  foraging on lawns, LM.

Purple Finch  1  calls,  concealed in conifers , PNP.

House Sparrow   30  uiquitous around buildings.