EA 110 – Field Ornithology – Class 2

This class focused on a number of rarely-seen shorebird species on pgs. 164 & 166 of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America.

We started with a discussion of recent sightings, with one woman seeing an Arctic Warbler in the Mojave Desert the prior weekend.

Arctic Warbler:

  • summers & breeds in Alaska, wintering in South-east Asia.
  • heads to Alaska in time for the mosquitoes, their prey, to hatch
  • some “wrong-way” migrants occasionally head down the North American coast
  • are an Old World Warbler
  • are difficult to separate from other warblers in genus Phylloscopus, which has ~35 species in Europe, most of which look very similar
  • is the only Old World Warbler that breeds in North America

EA 110 – Field Ornithology – Class 1

Wednesday was the first class in the fall semester of Field Ornithology at CCSF/Marina Middle School.  Unlike the class I took in the first half of this year, which was a complete survey of the birds of North America, EA110/115 and EA120/125 are years-long classes, going through the birds of North American in quite some detail (the only difference between 110 & 120 is the day of the week, and where they are in the book).  According to Joe Morlan, who teaches the class, it takes about 6 years (!!) to get through the entire book, as each 2-hour class typically covers only one page.  We’ll see if I make it that long, but I certainly look forward to covering shorebirds & gulls in-depth for now!

Birding @ Sutro Baths and Sutro Heights Park (SF)

After birding hardly at all in August, I finally made it out this morning to see what was a-wing in northwestern San Francisco.

It was a typical early September day, warm and sunny, without a cloud in sight. For those of you who don’t know SF’s somewhat unique weather patterns, the coast is socked in with fog for most of the summer, blanketing roughly the western half of the city, and keeping temperatures mild (mid-60s) in the rest of it. September is typically our most summery month, with a good two solid weeks of warm’ish weather, almost, but not quite warm enough to get the shorts out of the back of the closet, where they live for 11 months of the year.

Brown Pelicans, Heermann’s Gulls, Brandt’s Cormorants and Western Gulls on Seal Rocks

Oregon Road Trip – Day 9 – Eureka, CA to San Francisco

We woke at 8:15, checked out of our hotel, then had some tasty breakfast bagels in downtown Eureka at Los Bagels, which had an interesting mix of Jewish and Mexican decor, as befitted the name. While downtown we drove by the Carson Mansion again, since, although its best lighting is near sunset, across the street is a lovely and more modest (only by comparison) Victorian dubbed “the Pink Lady” that Carson built for his daughter.

“The Pink Lady,” Eureka, California