Photos by Joe Eskenazi
There was a rare sight outside the SF Weekly's windows this morning: A young female great blue heron with her yellow eyes, dagger-like bill and fringed breast was warming herself atop a piling near the Fourth Street Bridge. What made the sighting even more amazing was that sitting on pilings right next to her were a double crested cormorant and a snowy egret, a Mission Creek regular that a local reporter named “Sally," for her resemblance to the high-dressing madam Sally Stanford.
The three birds had probably finished their morning meal on the abundant fish life in the creek that empties into the San Francisco Bay at AT&T Park. Great blue herons were not known to nest in San Francisco until Nancy DeStefanis, director of the San Francisco Nature Education, discovered a nest on the small island in the middle of Golden Gate Park’s Stow Lake.
Despite the ongoing eruption of box-like, sterile buildings on either side of Mission Creek, it is still a great place to observe wildlife. At this time of year, you can regularly see brown pelicans, cormorants, black crowned night herons, snowy egrets and apparently great blue herons. As fall turns to winter, the western grebe is plentiful on the creek as well as diving ducks such as the mallard and greater and lesser scaups.
So bird geeks, grab your lunch, field guide and pair of binoculars for some midday bird watching down at the Mission Creek Park, one of the most pleasant waterside parks in the city.