Alameda’s Birdwatchers Share Crab Cove Tally

At last weekend’s birdwalk around Crab Cove, members of the Bay Farm Nature Connection saw a great array of bird species and sub-species. And they were kind enough to pass on some photos and notes.

Ralf Stinson, who captured the nice images with his camera, says the poor duck shown above is suffering from “angel wing,” also known as “slipped wing,” “crooked wing” or “drooped wing.”

“This is a disease that affects waterfowl (geese & ducks) in which the last joint of the wing is twisted with the wing feathers point out,” Stinson explains.  “It is an incurable anatomical condition which is acquired in young birds due to a high-calorie diet and low in vitamin D/E and manganese.”

The best evidence for the cause of the disease points to human feeding waterfowl white bread, according to Stinson. “It is very rare in birds that are away from humans,” he adds.

Also last weekend, members of the birdwatching group saw many birds in “breeding plumage,” aka sporting special layers and/or arrangements of feathers for spring mating time — like this Eared Grebe.


And for those arm-chair birdwatchers eager to know about the wildlife at Crab Cove, the group did put together a tally of what they saw:  Bird List_3-06-10[1]

Many thanks to Ralf and all the other birders!


Alameda Birders Walk the Walk

The members of the Bay Farm Nature Connection, including Ralf Stinson, are eager to share their knowledge.

They host a bird walk around Bay Farm, other parts of Alameda or nearby areas, every month or two. Their most recent walk was held January 9, and an earlier walk took place November 7.

On November 7, Stinson put together a list of the birds observed by some group members, and a brief description:

American Wigeon – duck w/blond strip on top of head
Mallard – green head (the white ducks are fallow domestic ducks)
Greater Scaup – black head w/yellow eye
Surf Scoter – big bill w/ some orange color
Bufflehead – large white patch on head
Ruddy Duck – tail sticks up
Clark’s Grebe – grebe w/long bill
Brown Pelican – you know
Double-crested Cormorant – our common inland cormorant
Great Blue Heron – big & blue gray
Snowy Egret – black bill & black legs w/yellow feet
Turkey Vulture – black but two tone under wings
American Coot – common & black w/white bill
Ring-billed Gull – look at the name
Forster’s Tern – black on head & swallow tail (forked)
Anna’s Hummingbird – unless you see a ruffus color, it is probably an Anna’s – the most common BF hummer
Black Phoebe – black flycatcher w/white on the lower breast & belly
American Crow – square tail, the larger raven has a pointed tail
Golden-crowned Kinglet – check the name
European Starling – black w/stars & stubby tail
Yellow-rumped Warbler – yellow on top head, throat, sides and rump
White-crowned Sparrow – black and white strips on head (female brown)
Dark-eyed Junco – black head, ivory bill, brown back, white belly, pink legs
Brewer’s Blackbird – black w/yellow eyes

The group also has a list from the Mount Diablo Audobon Society that it uses to tally what birders see and hear on the walks around the Island.

 In other words, BFNC provides residents with great opportunities to learn more about our local wildlife.

The first bird, in the above photo, is a …. (Pick from the above list of 24 birds)… a Clarke’s Grebe.

 The second one is a  …. Golden-crowned Kinglet.

Bird identification is tough, as is deciding whether or not a bird is female or male.

Can you tell if the first White-Crowned Sparrow, is a male or …

… female?

If not, I’ll share the news: the male’s photo is the first one… (Note the difference in the coloring of the feathers on their heads; the male’s are black and white.) 

Here’s to hoping that both ladies and gentlemen alike will join the group on its next bird walk.

And for those interested in learning more about birding and bird-rescue activities, the group invites everyone to an event at the Oakland Zoo: “Saving Seabirds – Stories from the Frontlines” at 7 p.m., January 28. The cost is $10-$20.

Jay Holcomb of the International Bird Rescue Research Center will make a presentation.  Holcomb pioneered the search and rescue program at the Exxon Valdez oil spill, managing the entire rehabilitation program that cared for over 1,600 birds. He also played a key role in managing the rescue and rehabilitation of 20,000 oiled African Penguins.