Topics in Field Ornithology (Fall 2018)

If you miss a class, please check this page and study the listed topics in your field guide. Click here for last semester's calendar.

Note: Please park in the Hayes Street Parking lot. All spaces are available except disabled and reserved drop off for the child care center. If the lot is full and you park in the Grove Street lot you will likely get a parking ticket unless you display the temporary parking passes which are available to all registered students. These passes must be stamped by the John Adams office which closes at 7:30pm!

Note: We will be using the new 7th edition of the National Geographic Guide.
Class notes by Elisabeth Koster are
here. (Plumage and molt terminology here. )
Please register at
eBird and email me your eBird ID. I can then offer to share field trip lists with you.

"Diversity and Evolution of Hummingbirds" - My CCSF Lecture (YouTube Video).

"Subspecies for Birders" presented to Marin Audubon on 13 October. Audio Recording and PDF here
My article on Ridgway's Rail being imperiled by Spartina removal is here.

The new SFBIRD email list is here.
Acorn Woodpecker cooperative breeding information is
here and here.

November 7, 2018
We plan to complete and review the woodpeckers on page 306.

Click here for details and photos of the first Red-headed Woodpecker in California and here for my photos from Montana.
Click here for a description of cooperative breeding by Acorn Woodpeckers. Click here for photos and discussion of a family of Acorn Woodpeckers in California. Click here for my photo of an Acorn Woodpecker in Arizona and here for another photo of Acorn Woodpecker from California with a discussion of geographic variation.
Click here for my Lewis's Woodpecker photos at the Filoli Estate. Click here for my photo of a Lewis's Woodpecker at Brentwood. Click here and here (PenBirds membership may be required) for my photos of Lewis's Woodpecker at Alpine Lake, San Mateo Co.

Click here for an article on skull morphology explaining how woodpeckers avoid headaches.

October 24 & 31, 2018


October 17 2018 Class Recording Expires 11/16/2018
We completed and reviewed the hummingbirds on page 104 and the kingfishers on page 304.

Click here for a photo of Violet-crowned Hummingbird in Humboldt County. My photo and notes of a Violet-crowned Hummingbird in Arizona are here.
Belted Kingfisher photos here, here and here
Ringed Kingfisher in belize and in Brazil here, here and here.
Green Kingfisher in Belize and Texas. Panama here, here and here. Brazil here and here.
Amazon Kingfisher in Panama and in Brazil here.

Note: This was the last class for Part A. EA115 will start November 7th. Please register if you plan to continue.

October 10 2018 Class Recording Expires 11/09/2018
We plan complete and review the hummingbirds on page 102.

A photo and discussion of a male Selasphorus thought to be Rufous is here.
Click here, here, and here for my photos of Allen's Hummingbirds. Additional photos of Allen's Hummingbirds are here & here.
Many Rufous Hummingbirds have green backs and are indistinguishable from Allen's Hummingbirds. Allen's is restricted to coastal California and is generally absent from Northern California after the end of August. Identification of either species outside normal season or range is not advised unless the bird is in hand. .

October 3 2018 - Class Recording Expires 11/02/2018
We plan complete and review the hummingbirds on page 100.

My Calliope Hummingbird photos from Arizona here and here.
My Broad-tailed Hummingbird photo from Arizona. Click here for photos of a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird from Oklahoma.

September 26, 2018


September 19, 2018 - Class Recording Expires 10/19/2018
We completed the hummingbirds on page 98.

Click here for a controversial photo of an Anna's Hummingbird thought by some to be a Costa's.
My photos of Anna's Hummingbird are here, here, here, here, here, and here.
My photos and notes on a Broad-billed Hummingbird in Santa Cruz. Click here for my account and photos of a male Broad-billed Hummingbird in Sonoma, here for my notes on a Broad-billed Hummingbird in Goleta, and here for a photo of a Broad-billed Hummingbird at Weldon, California. Additional California Broad-billed Hummingbirds are here, here and here. Arizona photo and notes here.

September 12, 2018 - Class Recording Expires 10/12/2018
We completed and reviewed the hummingbirds on page 96.

Click here for my detailed account and photos of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Nevada City, California. Click here for my photos and analysis of a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Bolinas. Click here, here, here, here, here and here for photos of more Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in California.
Black-chinned Hummingbird in Arizona here, here and here. Click here for a photo and discussion of a mystery hummingbird (probably Black-chinned).
A photo and discussion of a mystery Calypte sp. (possibly Costa's) at Pinnacles is here.

Female Archilochus hummingbirds do not show the white supraloral stripe evident in female Calypte hummingbirds. Female Ruby-throats have a shorter bill, greener crown and narrower outer primaries compared to female Black-chinned. Female Costa's are grayer above, whiter below and longer-billed than female Anna's. Calypte is the only hummingbird genus in which the birds habitually sing from a perch.

September 5, 2018 - Class Recording Expires 10/5/2018
We completed and reviewed the hummingbirds on pages 92-94.

Terrible photo of a Mexican Violetear in California is here. Click here and here for my photos of Lesser Violetear (split from Green Violetear) in Costa Rica.
My photos of Green-breasted Mango from Costa Rica are here and here.
Rivoli's Hummingbird (split from Magnificent) from Arizona photo here. Click here for details and photo of California's first Rivoli's Hummingbird and here for photos of a Rivoli's Hummingbird in Eureka, California. My photos of male and female Talamanca Hummingbird (now split from Magnificent in Costa Rica are here and here.
Photos originally thought to show a Blue-throated Hummingbird are here. The bird is actaully a Black-chinned Hummingbird. A detailed discussion of size illusian in birds is available here.
Click here or here for my photos of a Plain-capped Starthroat at Ash Canyon, Arizona 20 July 2003.

Class notes by E. Koster