On a tip from Phil Rowntree, who roams widely, I checked out the Berkeley Meadow (aka Sylvia McLaughlin Eastshore State Park) this morning to see what feathered creatures had gathered on the ponds that the atmospheric river made last week. I saw mainly American Wigeons, dozens of them, far more than have shown up so far this year on the salt water of the North Basin. They must have been recent arrivals from the country, not hardened city birds like the ones we usually see; they flew off in a panic as a jogger passed on a nearby fenced trail. Mixed in with the wigeons I saw a couple of Northern Shovelers and at least one Green-winged Teal. That was a promising display, though still pale by comparison to the rain-pond gatherings of March 2017.
The highlight of my Meadow visit was a Canada Goose that parked itself not twenty yards from the fenced path, and was happy to have me observe and image it to my heart’s content. I’ve seen these birds in the water on the North Basin, and many times flying over, but not had a previous opportunity to study one up close in this immediate neighborhood. Somehow this bird seemed more wild than the flocks of them that swarm on the lawns around Lake Merritt in Oakland.