0330 -- Alarm goes off. Earliest. Alarm. Ever. Last minute preparations, gear shoveled into car, gas purchased at the last possible minute.
0430 -- Rendezvous with team.
0500 -- Enter Monte Bello Open Space Preserve under cover of darkness, to the tune of the Chariots of Fire theme. Play owl tapes, identify other birds by sound as dawn begins. Light rain does not deter us. 32 species so far
0715 -- Second stop, same park. Lightning raid on Monte Bello Gate 05 yields Sora but no Ring-necked Ducks. 8 more species.
0815 -- Stevens Creek Reservoir and upland locations. Tallied another 23 species, including Spotted Sandpiper.
1030 -- McClellan Ranch. Brief stop lengthened by pouring rain. Added 7 species including Barn Owl but no Wood Duck.
1130 -- Charleston Slough. One hour lightning rain on one of our birdiest spots adds 37 species, including Common Moorhen but not Black Skimmer. From here on, every species is a struggle. 107 so far.
1245 -- Detour on the way to Palo Alto Duck Pond produces surprise of the day, Great-tailed Grackle at O'Connor St. entrance to Bay Trail. Luckily, it flies into the correct county. +3 species.
1315 -- Eight species at Palo Alto Duck Pond, including Peregrine Falcon and Clapper Rail.
1345 -- Quick hike up the hill at Bxybee Park yields Burrowing Owl but not hoped-for Ross's Goose. Special treat, breeding plumage Bonaparte's Gulls over the water treatment plant. Added 5 new species. 123 so far.
1500 -- Nearly fruitless stops at Jubilee Christian Center (American Kestrel only) and State & Spreckles Pond (House Sparrow only) followed by successful hunt for Virginia Rails at Alviso Marina. Total of 3 new species in Alviso. Bob plays Rocky theme music.
1530 -- Don Edwards Environmental Education Center yields far off American White Pelican and some much-needed Gulls. Total of 5 new species, 131.
1630 -- After Golden Eagle and Loggerhead Shrike on Old Calaveras Road, Ed Levin Elm Picnic Area yields elusive Cedar Waxwings. Sandy Wool Lake area begins with frustrated search for Lawrence's Goldfinch. We hike up to the sycamores for Rufous-crowned Sparrow and House Wren. White-throated Swift is a nice bonus. Lawrence's Goldfinch finally showed as we returned to the cars. + 9, for 140
1840 -- Bald Eagle sitting on nest and Rock Wren at Calaveras Reservoir. 142.
1910 -- Ring-necked Duck at Felter and Marsh Road, our last species of the day, lucky number 143.
1930 -- Wrap our personal biggest day ever with 143. Pledges of $2.75 per species pledges plus fixed pledges of $240 brings us to $633 dollars raised for SCVAS environmental education programs.