Joan Lentz <joanlentz@...>
Yesterday Mark Holmgren & I did a little birding in the morning. We began at the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. Here, there was a lot of bark being dumped on various areas, most of which we were able to avoid. We walked along the north side of the lake, stopping at all the platforms. There’s very little shoreline this year, and the shallow area near the northwest corner is still almost completely covered. Our best find was a freshly fledged group of six tiny ducklings, being guarded by the adult Ruddy Duck pair to which they belonged. Also, we saw several Great-tailed Grackle adults carrying food purposefully towards the northwest corner of the Refuge to vegetation which bordered the Zoo property. Mark felt this was a breeding record.
Then we went to the base of Garden St. next to the skateboard park. If you leave the car there, walk west towards Mission Creek outfall. You need a scope, but you can set up on the berm of sand that’s nearby the bike path, & you have a great view of the place: tons of waterbirds of all kinds gathered around this little lagoon! We were amazed at the large numbers of Long-billed Curlews, Whimbrels, Willets, 33 Black Skimmers, a couple of Elegant Terns — but here you are with this great birding place right in the middle of downtown. Mark H actually shouted at a man who was scaring the birds up so he could take a photo. And….he stopped flushing the birds. That place needs some interpretive signs!
The Black Tern was a surprise, but anything could drop in there. Also, having looked at John Callender’s & Mark Bright's excellent photos, I do believe that the bird was a juvenile.