Saturday, October 16, 2010

PostHeaderIcon A New Feature: Birding around the GGNRA

As many of you are aware of, Alcatraz is part of a larger national park known as the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This park is a group of sites maintained by the National Park Service around the San Francisco Bay Area and constitutes one of the largest urban parks in the world.
While we certainly intend to keep the focus of this blog on Alcatraz and the birds we find there, there is a really great amount of bird life to be found in our other park sites as well. Having spent a little while at Crissy Field yesterday, I figured I'd kick off this installation with a few shots from yesterday and from the past that I've taken there. 

Long Billed Curlew
Long Billed Curlew


A Little Birding at Crissy Field
Great Egret 
A Little Birding at Crissy Field
Black Bellied Plover

A Little Birding at Crissy Field
Ring Billed Gull

Cormorants, Gull, Pelicans
Cormorants, Gull, and Brown Pelicans

The nicest thing about a site like Crissy Field is that it's very easy to see all sorts of bird life without having to trek far, break out the binoculars, etc. It's right there in front of you. In hanging out there for about half an hour yesterday I saw the following birds:

1. Red Tailed Hawk
2. Red Shouldered Hawk
3. Brandt's Cormorant
4. Double Crested Cormorant
5. Brown Pelican
6. Western Gull
7. Ring Billed Gull
8. Snowy Egret
9. Great Egret
10. Black Bellied Plover
11. Unknown Species of tiny, tiny Plover
12. Unknown Species of medium-sized Sandpiper
13. Killdeer
14. American Coot
15. Unknown species of Tern
16. Crow
17. Common Raven
18. Black Crowned Night Heron
19. Mallard
20. Tons of little tiny songbirds that I have no idea about 

This also makes it a great site for the beginner or the casual birder, which I still sort of feel like I would be categorized as, not having a huge amount of field experience other than what I see on hikes or out there on the island.  


Sweep Commander said...

Nice. Seeing the ring billed gull, one of the more numerous gulls away from the coast, is pretty cool. In my home town on Novato, I would see them by the hundreds and their vocalizations would be cute, amazing and urgently desperate, all at the same time.

It goes to show how different Alcatraz is that while these gulls are innumerable in most contexts, I've never seen one on the island and I don't expect to. Apparently, while they do many things very well, they don't do the marine.

Still, there are so effing many of these guys around the bay that you'd think one of them would take a wrong turn and visit us, but it just doesn't happen.

I once fed the remains of a high tech burrito to a flock of ring bills at Scottsdale Pond in Novato. They were more angry at each other than grateful to me. What do you want, I guess...? They're gulls.

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