Produced by Bay Nature for the East Bay Regional Park District
Strings of birds have been passing overhead for the past 40 minutes. There are wobbly lines of starlings, Brewer’s and tricolored blackbirds, all of them flying east toward the sliver of sun that’s pushing above the horizon. They’re commuting to the farmland in the Central Valley where they’ll feed for the day, and tonight they’ll come back here to the Delta to overnight in the tule marshes. The sky is still a diluted blue, and as the flocks fly they call to one another, a cacophony known as the “dawn chorus.”
Mike Moran is pointing out and naming the birds as we stroll toward the water’s edge. We’re getting ready for an early morning kayak trip to seek out some of the birds that live around Big Break Regional Shoreline, which sits at the edge of Oakley, a small bedroom city on the San Joaquin River. The park and region is a hot spot for birding, and I’ve been curious about watching birds from the water, from a different perspective. “You can see the Delta from the Delta’s point of view,” Moran says.
And then right over our heads sails a clump of dark-colored bodies with long curved bills.
“Those are ibis!” Moran whoops. “That’s crazy. White-faced ibis you see as you drive up Highway 99 north of Sacramento in all the rice fields. They’re lousy up there. But I’ve never seen a flock of them here.”
In fact, he says, this is the farthest west he’s ever sighted ibis. Moran’s been a naturalist with the East Bay Regional Park District for nearly 25 years and became supervising naturalist at the Big Break Visitor Center when it opened in 2012, so I make a note to look up where else white-faced ibis have been seen in the area. (That night I check eBird, a website where birders can record their sightings, and the last sizable flock of ibis noted at Big Break was in 2000.)
“Well, that’s the sighting of the day,” he says.
To continue reading -https://baynature.org/article/birding-kayak-big-break-regional-shoreline/