MonthFebruary 2020

Field Journal Entry #4

Date: 02/20/20



Ridgecrest Blvd, Mill Valley US-CA 37.91402, -122.60911


Site Description:

The environment we covered was at first a mixed coniferous forest. There were various trees in the forest, some of which include oak trees and Douglas firs. The weather was quite clear and sunny, considerably warm for Mill Valley. Then, we progressed to a open chaparral clearing in the forest. The key bird species is the Acorn Woodpecker, a fairly vocal bird with a signature red crown on its head.


Species Account:

The Acorn Woodpecker is an average-sized bird with a signature red crown on its head along with a yellowish forehead and throat. It has a black body with a white belly, and it is generally found in mixed coniferous forests, which is exactly where we found them. They were found very high up in douglas fir trees. They have distinct, vocal “waka-waka” calls and love to put their acorns in tree trunks. They are a very communicative species and love to flock together in groups.



The hike we took was actually fairly nice and the weather was awesome- it was actually quite warm, all things considering. We saw plenty of acorn woodpeckers constantly communicating with one another. We arrived at the site around 9:15am in the morning and walked about 1 mile in total. We almost saw a rare bird- its call was heard but it appeared to be too far away so we had to move on.The professor even tried to attract the bird with a recording of its own mating call, but it failed. We also got a very nice view of Stinson beach I believe.


Link to E-bird:

Field Journal Entry #3

Date: 02/13/20



4799–4835 CA-1, Fairfax US-CA 37.93055, -122.68861

4799–4835 CA-1, Fairfax US-CA 37.93055, -122.68861

3855–4019 CA-1, Stinson Beach US-CA 37.90620, -122.65056


Site Description: 

We visited the marshlands of Marin County. Specifically, we were on the border of Stinson Beach. The terrain was very open and there were very few trees. Around the shoreline there were many shrubs and some grass. However, the majority of it was marsh-like surrounding a shallow body of water. The key bird species here was the American Wigeon. American Wigeons have fairly long tails along with a green head with a white stripe down the middle.


Species account:

The Great Egret is especially known for two things- its extremely long neck and startlingly white feathers. It is a type of heron that has a very sharp yellow bill and black legs. It is also unique because its neck is bent slightly halfway down the length. Great Egrets are generally found in open marshlands or coastlines. They find prey by sifting through the water until they see something. Once they see something, they immediately strike with their long beaks and necks. Often times, they can wait for extended periods of times, staying completely still until something pops up. Its general prey includes fish, frogs and snakes. They are generally found abundantly throughout the world, including places such as North/South America, Europe, and Southern Asia.



For this trip, we traveled the farthest we had ever traveled before. We went to Stinson Beach in Marin County and visited a sort of marshland. The weather was extremely cold, especially considering that I had foolishly worn shorts. We arrived around 9:15am, and for the most part we stayed around that area. It was very cloudy and some very light sprinkling occurred at one point. It was interesting to see the Great Egrets stalk their prey- they moved so quietly and gracefully but were able to strike within a blink of an eye. We even observed an osprey from quite far away. Overall, another successful trip.



Professor Paul



E-bird link:


Field Journal Entry #2

Date: 02/06/20



Mount Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley US-CA (37.8797,-122.5550)

GGNRA– Redwood Creek (stakeout Dusky Warbler 2015)

81 Seacape Dr, Muir Beach US-CA (37.8630,-122.5854)


Site description:

The first site we went to, Mount Tamalpais State Park, had chaparral-covered ridges and grasslands. In the area we explored there were generally few trees and only low altitude shrub life. The key bird species found here was the American robin. The second site we went to was Redwood Creek. The site we visited consisted of the edge of a forest clearing along with a fairly dense set of trees. The key bird species was the Chestnut-backed Chickadee. The final site we visited was Muir Beach. The site we visited consisted of a seaside cliff with shrubbery and a few trees.


Species account:

Peregrine falcon- The peregrine falcon is the fastest bird alive. They catch prey mid-flight, preferring pigeons and shorebirds. they have very sharp wings adapted for high-speed flight. They also have various plumages based on a variety of factors, some of which include environment and landscape. Generally, they nest in high altitudes and maintain most of their lifestyle in those higher altitudes. Their general habitats include coastlines where they can find their preferred prey of shorebirds. We found the peregrine falcon a couple hundred meters or so meters up in the air, riding a warm air current to gain altitude while conserving energy.



We arrived at the first location Mt. Tam, around 8:57am. There were supposed to be some white-crowned sparrows but we did not get to spot any. We stayed for about 56 min and then progressed on to the next location. At Redwood Creek, I finally got to observe a peregrine falcon firsthand, granted that it was hundreds of feet up in the air. Still, it’s not everyday you get to see the fastest bird alive. We also got a good glimpse of a woodpecker, which was very intriguing to me seeing as when I observed it, it was not pecking wood. At the final destination, Muir Beach, we got to see a gray whale- that was awesome and extraordinarily lucky for our first time. The weather was beautiful all day and the skies were clear- all in all, the perfect weather for a day of birding.




Field Journal Entry #1

Date: 1/30/20

Location: 37°46’28.5″N 122°27’17.8″W

Site Description:

We visited Golden Gate Park. The park consists of various landscapes, but the area where we mostly traveled was a sparse mixed coniferous forest. The coniferous trees were not densely packed and there were large bushes and logs around the ground floor. The key bird species are Anna’s hummingbird, the Bushtit, the Dark-eyed Junco and the Golden-crowned Sparrow. Anna’s hummingbirds are generally found above the bushes around 20 feet up. Bushtits, Dark-eyed Juncos and Golden-crowned Sparrows generally stay low to the ground to forage for food.


Species Account:

Common name- Anna’s Hummingbird

Scientific name- Calypte Anna

Physical appearance- Vibrant green body with gray wings and reflective magenta head.

Microhabitat- Found in generally open areas on tips of branches in low elevation trees. It was found on the corner of Golden Gate Park that is located right next to St. Ignatius Church. The bird were seen right at the beginning of the trail on that corner.

Mating Ritual- The mating ritual is actually quite interesting as the males court the female by doing an intricate dance. They fly up into the air and then suddenly zip back down in a U-shaped path. This continues until the female accepts or declines.

Sources: E-bird, Professor Paul



We left the school at around 10:10am. We arrived at the park around 10:20 and only walked in the same corner of the park that was closest to St. Ignatius Church. For the total two hours we were there, we probably didn’t even walk a quarter of a mile from the corner of the park. We saw a plethora of birds in such a condensed area. The weather was actually quite sunny and clear. It was quite amazing to see how many birds are just all around us all the time. This experience was like one of the times where you don’t really know how much stuff is out there until you experience it.

Link to E-bird:

© 2020 The Amateur Birder

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Important: Read our blog and commenting guidelines before using the USF Blogs network.

Skip to toolbar