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around the microclimates of Bethel Island and East Contra Costa County lowlands vary with each season. Ocean tidal waters meet the fresh water of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, attracting a wide variety of birds and wildlife to the many micro-climates along the Pacific Flyway.
Over 300 species of birds are residents or migrate through this part of the Pacific Flyway in the spring and fall or stay during the summer or winter to perform mating rituals, nest, raise young, roost, feed and some appear to have retired here.
Tidal wetlands and Delta island habitats create infinite and changing micro-climates suitable for a wide variety of species. Islands, Rivers and Sloughs are forested with grand native trees - Cottonwood, Poplar, Black Walnut, Oak and Willows. Bushes, berries and smaller fruit trees are everywhere. The tulle fields, vernal ponds, cattle pastures, fields, bogs and of course the levee created farmland are great habitat for the fast disappearing Long-billed Curlews. Sandhill Cranes prefer to feed in harvested corn fields and vineyards that do not have trellises' which prevent great wading birds from landing.
Bird Watching is a recreational activity also called Birding.
This is a field activity of the science called Ornithology. The art Ornithologists use for documentation is called Scientific Illustration. Photographs, audio tapes and video are also helpful. Digital recordings may not document the entire bird song or movement although the technology is improving.
A lifelong learning skill for all ages, it is easy to get started with Birding. Tools and preparation depend on what kind of adventure and documentation you want from your experience. . A trip to the Delta Science Center in Oakley, Lindsay Wildlife Museum & Hospital in Walnut Creek, Cosumnus River Preserve Visitor Center will provide information, classes and close viewing of raptors, small birds, reptiles and mammals. There are classes for all ages. The gift shops are a good place to purchase books and educational toys.
Go on a field trip, take a class, attend a birding festival. This web page has links and phone numbers of places you can expand your birding knowledge and buy equipment. Birding Festivals are also a great way to find your tools and go on some field trips.
Do enjoy watching the birds from a discreet distance. Do not tamper with them or their nests. Some birds will get irate and protect their nest. Use common sense and go birding with an experienced birder.
A few Bay-Delta birding events
activities are ongoing at the Delta Science Center, deltasciencecenter.org
October 12 is FISH TALES at the Delta Science Center
November Sandhill Crane Festival, Lodi
November Central Valley Birding Symposium, Stockton
December Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count Mt Diablo Audubon Society
January San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival on Mare Island in Vallejo
February go online for the The Great Backyard Bird Count
April Berkley Bay Festival, Berkeley Marina
BINOCULARS, BOOKS & CHECKLISTS
A BIRDERS BASIC TOOL BOX includes Binoculars, a Bird Identification Book, a local Checklist and maybe a camera and/or sketchpad. As simple or complicated as you want it to be, it is your adventure. Mostly, get started with wearing clothing that will augment your adventure. Even at home, non-shiny, quiet, muted color clothing helps. On a trip or long walk, wear sturdy shoes, a hat, insect repellant & sunscreen. Waterproof footwear is best for some places.
Binoculars (8x42), spotting scope and/or zoom lens camera. The photos on this web site were taken with low power camera and film and small digital camera.
Waterproof Binoculars are made by most companies
Rite in the Rain has a waterproof birding journal.
BIRD IDENTIFICATION BOOKS; Many birders mark in their book when and where they first spotted a particular bird. This is a very short list of books.
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America
The Sibley’s Guide to Birds, National Audubon Society
Petersons Field Guide to Birds
Dragon Flies and Damselflies of California and Dragon Flies Coloring Book by Tim Manolis, PhD creagrus.home.montereybay.com available at AMAZON and other places.
BIRDING CHECKLISTS can be seasonal, competitive, County, geographic, club, country or continent. County Birding checklists can be obtained from your local Audubon Society and Birding Clubs and their web sites. A personal Life List helps keep track of many details and good locations. A Birding Journal with sketches, photographic and/or video record of sightings all help. Your lists are data collecting that can be used by Ornithologists to better understand wild birds. A Birding Life List is simply a list all the wild birds you see in the wild, including where and when. Birding journals document the birds and landscapes on your trips, which will help you remember the sighting. Cornell Lab has a Citizen Science program where you can send your observations. The link is a notepad with good contact information from 2005.
A Beginners Birding Checklist or a one page PDF format Checklist for Bethel Island, Lowlands & Delta of East Contra Costa County & Vicinity has 173 native birds of the American Continent that are residents of or who migrate through this area. The lowlands (about 50' elevation to levee protected areas below sea level) from Byron north to Brannan Island State Park and Pittsburg east to the County line are included. The list does not have rare birds and is edited down from the 350 or so birds of the Central Valley Bird Club list so that beginners can be encouraged. The Checklist is available from this website and is FREE at these locations, you can make copies. These are also great places to buy a Delta map and start a birding trip;Bethel Island Chamber of Commerce Bethel Island Road (925)684-3320 Delta Science Center, Orwood Resort, Brentwood Library
DAILY BIRDING ACTIVITIES
BACKYARD BIRDING is a great place to get familiar with using your books, binoculars, checklist and journal. Landscaping your yard with native plants will create habitat for native birds and will increase your chances of close up sightings and possibly create a place for nesting birds. Bird feeders also attract wild birds to your yard. Information and assistance is available from Wild Birds Unlimited, Stokes, and "The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds web site"
TAKE A WALK in your neigborhood and find a walking path. Brentwood and Oakley in East Contra Costa County has the Marsh Creek trail and the Delta Shoreline trail.
FIELD TRIPS with an experienced guide can help you find the birds without mishap and improve your identification skills. Tools for planning a Delta birding trip include; tide tables, weather and a map that shows waterways and places with a restroom. Weather in the Delta can change from sunny to foggy, fair to drizzling or windy and rainy, prepare for all possibilities. Summer has the fire hazard of dry brush. Peat "dirt" is vegetable matter and flammable any time of year. It can also become very soft if wet. Take no chances if you are walking in it. Check the weather forecast and tide chart for your birding trip location.
Tide Log & E-Z Delta Tide Tables have corrections for the Delta.
N.O.A.A. look for Venice Island Weather Link
Chart of Bethel Island Hal Schell's Delta Map can be purchased at many Chandleries, Parks, Marina stores & Restaurants.
Weather and Birding page from Mt Diablo Audubon Society
Other things to know about; West Nile Virus is here.
Study up. Remember, you cannot catch the virus from birds directly. Birds and other animals carry it. Swallows and Flycatchers eat hundreds of mosquitoes daily, and are beneficial to keep the insect population down. Wear insect repellant and check the web site www.westnile.ca.gov or call (877)WNV-BIRD for more information. If you find a dead bird call Vector Control and always use gloves if you must touch a dead bird.
My hope of this web site is to help you get started enjoying birdwatching in the Delta safely and easily.
If you have a photo of a wild bird you want help to identify -
Mail to Bethi Carver P.O. Box 2022, Bethel Island, CA 94511.
Best Birding is Near The Fast Water.! .. Bethi
Some photos are by a href="mailto:email@example.com">Ron Jorgenson. Contact Ron by clicking on his name. All other photos and artwork, text, titles and images belong to and are the property of the artist, Bethi Carver . No reproductions, copies or using in any internet or other media of any kind is allowed without the express written permission of the artist, Bethi Carver or photographer Ron Jorgenson. If you find any problems or missing info on this web site please contact webmaster. Thank you very much. ©©2013 Bethi Carver. All rights reserved. webmaster and contact firstname.lastname@example.org