Posted by: Sandy Steinman | January 15, 2011

Birding Lake Merritt and Middle Harbor

Two Oakland Birding Hotspots

Today I went birding at Lake Merritt and Middle Harbor with the “Bay Area Birding” class I am taking through Albany Adult School and Golden Gate Audubon.  The class is taught by two experienced birders (Rusty Scalf & Bob Lewis) and many of the students have taken the class several times so it is a very knowledgeable group.  That means my bird lists will have a higher degree of accuracy.

Lake Merritt is obviously a lake habitat, but there were also birds in the trees and shrubs around the lake as well.  There are many opportunities to get close to birds which make for great viewing and photographic opportunities.  The city of Oakland website states that:

“Lake Merritt originally resided as a wide, tidal estuary (salt water marsh) that was known as the Laguna Peralta. The Pacific flyway has remained a sanctuary and stop-over for thousands of migratory birds. and stop-over for thousands of migratory birds.”

Middle Harbor Shoreline Park is part of the East Bay Regional Park System and is owned by the Port of Oakland and is a thirty-eight acre shoreline park.  It is on San Francisco Bay and is at the western end of 7th street in Oakland. It is a good place to see water and wading birds.  I even saw a few very early season California Poppies.

Here are some photos of today’s birds.  To see bird lists of what was seen click  Read More below

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Lake Merritt Bird List 1/15/11 (in order seen)

Greater Scaup

Lesser Scaup



Glaucous Gull

American Coot

Canadian Goose

Eared Grebe

Cooper’s Hawk

Hybird Gull(Western x Glaucous)


Great Egret

Black Night-crowned Heron

Double Crested Cormorant

Forester’s Tern

White Pelican

Western Gull

Anna’s Humingbird

Clark’s Grebe

Western Grebe

Common Goldeneye

Red-Breasted Merganser

Red-Tailed Hawk

Ring-billed Gull

House Sparrow

Middle Harbor Bird List 1/15/11 (in order seen)

Clark’s Grebe

Reddy Duck

Western Grebe

Snowy Egret

Long-billed Curlew


Marbled Godwit

American Advocet

Northern Pintail

Western Sandpiper


Least Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

American Coot

Double Crested Cormorant

California Gull

White-crowned Sparrow

Western Meadowlark

Greater Scaup

Spotted Sandpiper

Ross’s (?) Goose

Forester’s Tern

American Wigeon



Long-billed Dowitcher

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  1. Thanks so much, Sandy. Now I know about Middle Harbor! Went this morning and
    saw most of the Shorebirds, but no “experts” to distinguish a few of them. Saw a curlew, avocets, etc, but no ducks. Maybe a very low tide. Can’t wait to take grandchildren to see the harbor. It was warm, and such a neat view of everything, except for looking down —used to the geese from Lake Merritt!


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