2006 bird list posted

I’ve posted my final 2006 bird list – although I got a number of lifers, my total # was lower than in 2005 (120 vs. 139), mostly because I did less away-from-home birding in 2006. The best thing about New Year’s birding is every bird is a year bird – I think I’ll look out…

Palo Alto Baylands birding

I had a short and chilly stop by the Baylands on the way home from work yesterday to see what was afoot. It was only about 40 minutes before sunset when I arrived, so I didn’t get to complete my usual walk before it got too dark to bother, and I missed the area where a Eurasian Wigeon was recently spotted.

Winter is upon us – I dind’t see a single Egret in the palm trees by the duck pond and just a couple of lonely Black-crowned Night Herons. Raptors were out more than I’ve recently seen, with a Cooper’s(?) Hawk, which posed nicely for a few photographs, a White-tailed Kite, which did no such thing, and a buteo seen between the duck pond and the Palo Alto Airport.

Cooper's(?) Hawk at Palo Alto Baylands

Calaveras and Alpine county birding

Sebby & I spent Thanksgiving with her parents (also avid birders) at my family’s cabin in the Sierras, and to our surprise, we actually saw some good birds. I’d been expecting to see little/nothing, since it’s getting very cold, especially at the higher elevations, and there’s even a dusting of snow on the ground from 6000′ upwards.

Don Edwards EEC (Alviso, CA) birding

Sarah & I swung by the south end of Don Edwards SF Bay NWR yesterday afternoon for a looksee. Although I’ve birded near their headquarters in Fremont (and only very rarely seen anything even remotely interesting), neither of us had birded here, in the south end of this large urban preserve.

Bayfront Park (Menlo Park) birding

Yesterday I checked out a new-to-me place, Bayfront Park (along Bayfront Expressway in Menlo Park, between Willow and Marsh). It’s a bit silly that I’ve never birded here before, as it’s only a mile from my office. It’s a larger park than it looks from the expressway, so I’ll have to return to check more of it out. It seems to have a large population of feral bunnies – I saw at least a half dozen of all shapes, colors and sizes!

Although it was cloudy and breezy, the birding was decent. Can’t say the same about the photo ops, however, as most birds stayed fairly far away, and the cloud cover made for low and dull light.

Fall birding @ the Palo Alto Baylands

I dropped by the Baylands for an hour after work yesterday, and the fall fliers are now pretty well-represented at the park. Unfortunately my camera was set to -2EV exposure compensation, so the pics I took are quite dark. Fortunately(?) there wasn’t anything earthshattering, nor any paricularly close encounters save for a few KILLDEER and SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS.

Western(?) Grebe @ the Baylands

American White Pelicans @ the Baylands

Hawk Hill birding

S & I finally got around to going to the weekend Hawk Talk and banding demonstration put on by the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory. After an informative talk about hawks, punctuated by flyovers by Red-tailed Hawks and Cooper’s Hawks (and Ravens and Turkey Vultures), we got to watch the release of a recently-banded Sharp-shinned Hawk, which are awfully cute up close!

A soon-to-be-released Sharp-shinned Hawk at Hawk Hill