Sunol Reg. Wilderness (PAAS field trip)

Matthew Dodder


I led my Palo Alto Adult School birding class to Sunol Regional Wilderness today. Conditions were sunny and pleasant, with an increasing wind late morning. The birding was productive, but the park was very crowded because of the holiday weekend.

We began along the one-way section of the entrance road, finding abundant ACORN WOODPECKERS and our first of many HOUSE WRENS and WARBLING VIREOS. Crossing the bridge to the fire road that leads toward Little Yosemite, we encountered ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, WESTERN BLUEBIRD, and a LINCOLN'S SPARROW in the corral. Our first BULLOCK'S ORIOLES was in the huge oak over the corral, and we began to see both VAUX'S and WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS high over the ridge.

As we continued along the fire road, we began to hear and briefly saw BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. When the trail dipped we located RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW in the rocky artemesia slope. RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET was a nice lingering species and not far from it were at least two HERMIT THRUSHES.

After almost reaching Little Yosemite, we returned for lunch. We saw our first of three GOLDEN-EAGLES at the bridge.

After lunch, we crossed the creek and travelled north along the creek. A second Selasphorus Hummingbird was foraging in the sycamore, a female we could not identify. We also had a DOWNY WOODPECKER. RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, and two more GOLDEN EAGLES appeared over the ridge. Things began to slow down at that point so we called it a day. It was a wonderful day despite a few misses.

Matthew Dodder
Mountain View

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