[Ron Wolf photo of a white-tailed kite]
Birder extraordinaire Rusty Scalf sent this write-up to Diablo Audubon recently, and Corinne Paff passed it along to me:
This morning, Corinne Greenberg, Charlie Paffenberger and I took a walk throught the ‘Berkeley Meadow’ and around Cesar Chavez Park. Highlights:
Two White-tailed Kite youngsters, obviously siblings, perched together on a Coyote Bush; Beautiful with chestnut breasts and marbled graphite gray backs.
A Northern Harrier food exchange and nest visit: The male flew from Cesar Chavez Park towards the Meadow carrying a vole and the female flew in to meet him. There was a mid-air exchange, much calling, then the female descended to the ground in a couple of big loops ending with perhaps a 10 ft vertical drop into dense vegetation.
We saw an adult and a young Barn Owl in the northeast-most box on the Cesar Chavez loop trail.
The Pelagic Cormorants are at their nest on the concrete wall on the north side of the Marina. One bird was incubating.
Harriers and kites are “species of special concern,” so it’s especially neat to be able to see them so close to the city. And for me it’s especially great that these are very distinctive birds: even _I_ can identify them, and that’s really saying something.
If you haven’t visited the Berkeley Meadow yet, definitely stop by. (It’s just north of University Avenue, just west of the freeway). Here’s a suggestion: start at Aquatic Park and bird there (it’s worth doing the full circuit); then cross the freeway via the pedestrian bridge to the Berkeley Meadow (stop off at the crab shack for fortification first, it’s right on the way) and look for the kites and harriers and such. Continue with the loop around Cesar Chavez Park, then head back to the bridge via the other route through the meadow. Finish up by walking over to fourth street, or to the fabulous Vik’s Indian place. That, my friends, is a terrific way to spend three or four hours.