Migration is On

Two of about ten Ruddy Ducks on the North Basin

When I started in the park at 2:30 in the afternoon yesterday, the only visible creatures on the North Basin were a couple of Clark’s Grebes, each foraging individually, far apart. Forty-five minutes later as I returned along the same path, there was serious bird life on the water. I saw two flocks of big grebes, one about 200 yards south of the other. The northerly flock had about a dozen mixed grebes, mostly Clarks, but a few Western. The southerly flock had not only the big grebes, in about the same mixture, but also a clutch of about a dozen Ruddy Ducks, plus a handful of what I think were Horned Grebes in winter plumage. I say “I think” because all of these birds were quite far away and in bouncy water with a lively breeze, so my images are less than ideal, but that’s my best guess.

This was the first autumnal gathering I’ve seen of big grebes in any quantity. They’re capable of massing in much more sizeable flocks. These were also the first Ruddy Ducks I’ve seen this season, and the first Horned Grebes (if that’s what they were). Looks like the fall bird migration is underway.

I also checked for Burrowing Owls along the north side but saw none. If you see one, please text or phone me at 510-717-2414. Thanks.

One of the Clark’s Grebes
One of the Western Grebes

Probably Horned Grebes in winter plumage

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