After a four-day escape to Fort Bragg, which had the cleanest air in California at the time, I returned to the park with high hopes to see a Burrowing Owl now that the fence around the owl preserve had been erected. Alas, still no owls, and almost no fence. Vandals cut and tossed aside the fence blocking the north side paved path, and seriously damaged the fence blocking the walk to the Open Circle artwork on the south border. Burrowing Owls have been seen and photographed this past week at the Albany Bulb, and earlier behind the playing fields at the foot of Gilman Street, but so far, none at Cesar Chavez Park.
By way of consolation, I spotted and photographed a Black-crowned Night Heron on the rocks below the Open Circle art piece. I’ve seen these birds in the parking lot by the boat basin, waiting for fishers to clean their catch, but not inside the park proper. So this was a first for me, and I get to add it to my list.
Thanks to an expert birder who was walking the area with his binoculars and spotted it for me, I also saw my first Lincoln’s Sparrow. This bird moved quickly through the fennel, taking a seed or two in one spot and then flitting on to another. My photos fall short of a definitive portrait but my expert birder friend expressed confidence in the ID.
I also saw Willets, three or four Grebes (not sure what flavor), Gulls, Cormorants, and the usual Mallards. Oddly enough, saw no Coots whatsoever. Where did they go?