Shorebird Migration - Fall 07

This was a three-week class taught at the Oakland Museum.  We learned about shorebird migration around the world, got a chance to see the Natural History displays at the museum, and took three field trips focused on shorebirds.

Bodega Bay

There are not many places better for shorebirds than Bodega Bay, and we weren't disappointed.  At Doran Beach there was a nice variety, including Sanderlings, dowitchers and our only Snowy Plover (resident) of the quarter.  In the bay Least and Western Sandpipers and Black Turnstones were feeding after their long trip from the north.  From Bodega Head we got a nice look at some Black Oystercatchers.  Non-shorebirds included good views of two species each of loons and alcids.

Grant Avenue

We took a long walk from Grant Avenue all the way to Frank's Dump, near the end of West Winton, watching for shorebirds along the way.  Most of the birds were roosting at Frank's dump, including a good number of Long-billed Curlews, our first Black-bellied Plovers, American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts.  A small group of White-faced Ibis and an Osprey added to the birding experience.

Richmond Shoreline

Rain was falling when we assembled at Rydin Road to walk to Meeker Slough, but pretty soon the drops stopped, and it turned into a nice day.  We had excellent comparisons of the small peeps, as well as Semipalmated Plover vs. Killdeer, and curlew vs. Whimbrel.  Surprises were a couple of Red-necked Phalaropes and a Common Murre.  On our walk back we were distracted from shorebird watching by the passerine migrants, including 5 species of western warblers.  The class finished up with a respectable 18 species of shorebirds, and hopefully a greater understanding of the spectacular migrations undertaken by many of them