Check out this article in SF Weekly about Josiah Clark’s and Dominik Mosur’s green big day adventure:
Also, Dominik’s post to SFBirds below:
Yesterday, I set out on a biking big day with Josiah Clark and Brian
Turner (joined for part of the morning by SFWeekly writer Matt Smith)
As I rode out to the concrete bridge at South Lake Merced to meet my
team, AMERICAN ROBINS, CALIFORNIA TOWHEES and DARK-EYED JUNCOS were
already singing away at 5:00 a.m.
At the bridge we added a fly-by GREEN HERON and MALLARDS in the dawn’s
early light while BARN and TREE SWALLOWS could already be heard
vocalizing overhead, mingling with sound of foraging bats. MOURNING
DOVE, MARSH WREN, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, SONG SPARROW, NUTTALL’S
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, BREWER’s BLACKBIRD and
LESSER GOLDFINCH added to the “dawn chorus.”
From the concrete bridge we biked along the east side of Lake Merced
to Sunset Circle adding WESTERN/CLARK’s/PIED-BILLED GREBES,
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, RUDDY DUCK, GREAT BLUE HERON, RED-SHOULDERED
HAWK, AMERICAN COOT, ALLEN’s and ANNA’s HUMMINGBIRDS, AMERICAN CROW,
COMMON RAVEN, WESTERN SCRUB JAY, CHESTNUt-BACKED CHICKADEE, BROWN
CREEPER, PACIFIC WREN, BEWICK’S WREN and PURPLE FINCH.
At the Wooden Bridge we struck out on rails but did get lucky with an
OSPREY flying through the fog and later our first of many
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS.
From here we rode on to Pine Lake Park where the willows in the
southeast section of the lake held, WILSON’S, NASHVILLE,
ORANGE-CROWNED, PALM, YELLOW-RUMPED and TOWNSEND’S WARBLERS, while the
continuing BALTIMORE and BULLOCK’S ORIOLES sang and chattered in turn
in the eukes on the hillside. CEDAR WAXWINGS, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS,
PINE SISKINS and HOUSE FINCHES as well as a pair of DOWNY WOODPECKERS
were here as well one of only two RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS on the day.
With the thick fog over the ocean we had to abort our plan of an early
morning seawatch and instead headed through residential streets to
Golden Gate Park, adding ROCK PIGEON, NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD, EUROPEAN
STARLING and HOUSE SPARROW along the way.
Once in the park we added CANADA GOOSE,
WESTERN/GLAUCOUS-WINGED/CALIFORNIA GULLS, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW and
HAIRY WOODPECKER at Stow Lake and got good looks at a branching
juvenile GREAT HORNED OWL and perched BAND-TAILED PIGEON on Strawberry
At Strybing Arboretum we had a pair of CALIFORNIA QUAIL and fly-over
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. A HOODED ORIOLE was calling form a palm tree in
front of the California Academy of Sciences. From there we went over
to the East Oak Woodlands behind MacLaren Lodge adding our only
COOPER’S HAWK and a RED-TAIL on the way. The oaks were going of with
migrant warblers with and adult male HERMIT being a new bird and we
also got the day’s only NORTHERN FLICKER here. In the oaks at Coon
Hollow we had another flock, picking up RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH,
LINCOLN’S SPARROW (as well as our second Nashville and a non-countable
At Lloyd Lake we found a very worn first cycle THAYER’S GULL, our only
GREAT EGRET, RING-NECKED DUCK, the continuing GREEN-WINGED TEAL and
WOOD DUCK PAIR but missed the Hooded Merganser that had been there
just a day earlier. Saving us a trip to Josiah’s house where he’s had
one coming to his yard since November, a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW
perched up on a stump inside the Bison Paddock. North Lake gave us the
LESSER SCAUP pair.
Finally around 12:15, after getting soaked riding in the showers, the
fog lifted and we jammed over to the Cliff House for a seawatch. Here
Josiah pulled out some miracles in the form of distant fly-by
RED-NECKED GREBE and a small flock of BONAPARTE’S GULLS. Brian and I
kept our focus closer to shore picking up SURF SCOTER, all three
species of loons (while hundreds of PACIFICS streamed by heading north
throughout near the horizon), BRANDT’S CORMORANTS, a first-cycle
HERRING GULL, CASPIAN TERNS, COMMON MURRE, PIGEON GUILLEMOT, BLACK
TURNSTONES, SURFBIRDS, WILLETS and a pair of BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS.
We then rode down Great Highway toward Sloat, adding the day’s only
RING-BILLED GULL as well as MARBLED GODWITS, WHIMBRELS, SHORT-BILLED
DOWITCHERS, SANDERLINGS and a TURKEY VULTURE over the Zoo, but missing
Snowy Plover. Seawatching from across the Wastewater Treatment Plant
we had several WHITE-WINGED and one male BLACK SCOTER and a PELAGIC
Back at Lake Merced with the fog lifted we tried to clean up on
swallows getting NORTHERN-ROUGH WINGED and CLIFF but missing Bank. A
flock of northbound BROWN PELICANS flew over Fort Funston. We did
finally get a VIRGINIA RAIL in the marsh next to the gun club and much
better looks at Bonaparte’s Gulls that had dropped in to bathe. In the
willows next to the concrete bridge we had the days only FOX SPARROWS
and our first of several EURASIAN COLLARED DOVES.
From here we made the long ride up Brotherhood to Alemany to Geneva
finally arriving at Candlestick park at 4:30 p.m. Along the way we
picked up the only AMERICAN KESTREL of the day as it hovered over
Alemany and Sickles (try doing that in a car!)
Candlestick cove was going off with migrant shorebirds, hundreds of
DUNLIN, WESTERN/LEAST SANDPIPERS foraging in the mud. Several SPOTTED
SANDPIPERS were on the rip-rap and HORNED GREBES, GREATER SCAUP and
BUFFLEHEADS were on the bay.
Riding through grassy parts of Candlestick State Recreation area that
are one day doomed to be converted into housing and other needless
garbage of which he have more than enough in our beautiful city we
flushed up several WESTERN MEADOWLARKS and a SAVANNAH SPARROW.
FORSTER’S TERNS foraged over South Basin while SEMIPALMATED and
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and GREATER YELLOWLEGS foraged on Yosemite
Slough where a bridge is supposed to be built to save people a couple
of minutes of commute while helping them avoid Hunter’s Point/Bayview.
Arriving at Heron’s Head Park/India Basin we got BLACK-NECKED STILTS
and AMERICAN AVOCETS but the big bonus was the CLAPPER RAIL calling
unprompted from the marsh as the drizzle started up again around 6:30
p.m. By now wet and cold we started on the long road home but not
before checking in at Pier 94 to find a wet WESTERN KINGBIRD perched
up in the Coyote brush and the day’s only MEW GULL (a very worn
looking 1st cycle) was on the bay.
We ended at 9 p.m. at the Palace of Fine Arts, having ridden well over
50 miles in 14 hours. A begging juvenile BARN OWL could be heard from
a recess above one of the columns and an adult flew in to a Redwood
nearby affording great looks, our last bird of the day.
Despite the wet/foggy weather resulting in an altered itinerary (we
never made it to the Presidio for example) we still came within 2
species of the all time biking big day in San Francisco, finishing
with 136 sp.
Don’t forget to sponsor dmosur for the GGAS Birdathon:
A full list below.