Posted by: Sandy Steinman | December 29, 2019

2019 San Francisco Christmas Bird Count

from Golden Gate Audubon

Rarities and sunshine at 2019 SF CBC

Thanks to all participants in this year’s San Francisco Christmas Bird Count – we had a great turnout and a clear (but chilly) day for counting.

Count Week is still going through Monday 12/27.  Hoping we can still pick up a few more species!.

First the high points:

Black was the theme for uncommon warblers:  Black-throated Grey, Black and White, and Blackburnian were all seen.  Some uncommon species that seem to be becoming annuals were Tropical Kingbird, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Western Tanager and Orchard Oriole.

Among the less-frequently reported species, we had a Redhead and Rhinoceros Auklet (Sloat seawatch), and Northern Fulmar (Funston afternoon seawatch).  The continuing Rock Sandpiper at Heron’s Head showed up on count day (a first on SF Count) but the Red-Footed Booby did not.  We do have the Booby for Count Week, but if anyone saw it yesterday, please get in touch.

Two other species were reported by people not on count teams:  Tree Swallow, and Palm Warbler at Concrete Bridge in Lake Merced.

In addition to the Rock Sandpiper, we had four other additions to the list:

  • San Bruno Mountain had a Pacific-slope Flycatcher.  Erica Rutherford found it while scouting on 12/26; they looked for it throughout count day – and it finally showed up at 4:08 pm, the exact time it had been seen the day before.
  • Crystal Springs had a Chateura-type swift, most likely Vaux’s Swift, flying with a flock of White-throated Swifts.
  • Sunset had a Scarlet Tanager at the Zoo, as reported to SF Birds last night. See Megan Jankowski’s post on the SF Birds email group for details.
  • Pacifica had a Long-eared Owl.  Because this is a species of special concern, the location has not/will not be shared, but the bird was well seen and photographed by the counters.

I’m still waiting for paperwork from a few areas, but the current numbers show 177 species seen on count day.  (179 pending documentation from the non-count observers)

A few common/annual species were missed – if you see any of these through Monday anywhere in the count circle, please let me know:

Wood Duck
Eurasian Wigeon
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Pintail
Long-tailed Duck
Green Heron
Ridgway’s Rail
Red Knot
Burrowing Owl
Hermit Warbler

This year’s count was notable for a number of terrific new area leaders. Thanks everyone — leaders, participants, and dinner volunteers — for a great effort! And mark your calendars for next year’s San Francisco count… Tuesday, December 29, 2020.


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