For sweeping scenic views, the west side of the park is the place to be. But for bird life, the hot spot is the east side bordering the North Basin. This estuary, fed by Schoolhouse Creek, hosted scant bird activity over the summer, when most feathery creatures migrated to northern sites for breeding. But it’s October now, and they’re starting to come back. I saw the first Black Oystercatchers of the season this morning, and a pair of Snowy Egrets, and what I thought at the time was a White-crowned Sparrow. Two weeks later I realized it was a Savannah Sparrow — that telltale yellow streak over the eye gives it away. The Willets were active again, and a pair of Brown Pelicans hunted their breakfast and preened and aired their wings. One pelican’s spread-out wings looked beat-up and ragged, casting doubt whether it could really fly; but moments later they folded into a smooth aerodynamic foil and the bird soared effortlessly over the water. What a marvelous bird is the Pelican!
P.S. No Burrowing Owls sighted yet.