Birds on the rocks – 2018

Pelican and cormorant on top of jetty at entrance to Seaplane Lagoon.
California Brown Pelican, juvenile, one or two years old, as indicated by all brown head, with Cormorant on Seaplane Lagoon jetty.

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Osprey Family Thrives in Face of Adversity

Ospreys returned again this year to nest at Alameda Point’s Seaplane Lagoon.  But midway through the rearing process, the female became the sole provider and protector of her three chicks, after the male became entangled in fishing line.  Such osprey single parenting is unheard of.

Male osprey with fishing line and bobber. Credit: Phil Dauber.

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Great Egret fishing at Breakwater Beach

Photos of a Great Egret foraging for Yellowfin Gobies in the shallow mudflat next to Breakwater Beach at the southeast corner of Alameda Point.  After catching a Goby, the Egret would then have to fling the little fish into the air to maneuver the fish back to its mouth.  Photos are from Friday, February 9, 2018.

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Bird sightings at Alameda Point – Fall 2014

A photo gallery of birds sighted at Alameda Point during the Fall of 2014.  They include:  Black-necked Stilt, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Flicker, White-crowned Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Northern Shoveler, Black-crowned Night Heron, and Western Bluebird.

Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilt

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

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Bird life on the Nature Reserve at Alameda Point

The Alameda City Council, on March 19, 2013, unanimously approved a resolution affirming support for a nature reserve at Alameda Point.  The resolution calls for a zoning designation of “Nature Reserve” for the runway area formerly proposed for a national wildlife refuge.

Alameda Point Proposed Zoning MapAfter an impasse was reached in negotiations between the Navy and the US Fish & Wildlife Service for creation of a national wildlife refuge in 2004, the property was offered to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  The VA plans to build an outpatient clinic and columbarium on 112 acres of its land, but the remaining 511 acres of VA land will remain undeveloped.  The undeveloped area is where the endangered California Least Terns come to nest from early April to mid-August every year.  

The city’s nature reserve zoning designation will not have any mandatory impact on the VA, but rather is intended to convey the continuing value that the community places on wildlife conservation at Alameda Point.

March and April 2013 bird sightings on the Nature Reserve at Alameda Point.

Black-bellied Plover.  Summer breeding range is the north coast of Alaska and the Canadian Arctic.
Black-bellied Plover. Summer breeding range is the north coast of Alaska and the Canadian Arctic.  Seen here on the margins of seasonal wetland that the VA project will impact.
American Avocets on seasonal wetland that will be covered by VA clinic/columbarium project.  Can be replaced elsewhere on Nature Reserve.
American Avocets on seasonal wetland that will be covered by VA clinic/columbarium project. Can be replaced elsewhere on Nature Reserve.
Caspian Terns next to seasonal wetland that will be impacted by VA project.
Caspian Terns next to seasonal wetland that will be impacted by VA project.
Killdeer mating next to least tern nesting site.  Killdeer often nest inside the least tern area.  Killdeer are attracted to the Nature Reserve in abundance.
Killdeer mating next to least tern nesting site. Killdeer often nest inside the least tern area. Killdeer are attracted to the Nature Reserve in abundance.
Great Blue Heron nesting in a cypress tree in the Runway Wetland.
Great Blue Heron nesting in a cypress tree in the Runway Wetland.
Horned Lark on foraging on grassland, with mate nearby.
Horned Lark foraging on grassland, with mate nearby.
Turkey Vulture soaring over the reserve.  Turkey Vultures feed on animal carcasses, such as rabbits that have been taken by hawks.
Turkey Vulture soaring over the reserve. Turkey Vultures feed on animal carcasses, such as rabbits that have been taken by hawks.

Young osprey at Alameda Point leaving soon

Parent osprey landing with fish as fledgling waits on right, with parent looking on.

This is the third year that a pair of ospreys has nested on the old light stand at the entrance to the Seaplane Lagoon.  This year’s mating effort produced one fledgling. 

As June draws to a close, the fledgling can been seen standing on the nest and going through a series of wing calisthenics as one of the parents looks on.  Occasionally a parent will fly in a circle around the nest as if to say, “Look, this is how it’s done.  It’s easy.”   Spending most of its time hunkered down in the nest, often with brisk winds coming in across the Bay, the fledgling waits patiently for the high points of the day – its parents returning to the nest with a fish.  It won’t be long before this osprey family will be winging their way back to the wild.

Fledgling osprey watching and waiting for its turn as parent eats fish.

Fledgling osprey exercising its wings above, while parent looks on.

Above and below – parent osprey appears to be giving flight demo as it circles nest with fledgling looking on.

Parent osprey lifting off from nest as fledgling sits, with other parent looking on.  Note juvenile colors and wing spots.

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See also 2011 osprey nesting at Alameda Point.