Walked Away From Singing Grasshopper Sparrow


Yes, not a joke! For the second time this week, I walked away from a singing Grasshopper Sparrow, this time in Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.

Monday it was at Garin Regional Park on the Ridge Loop Trail with Rich Cimino and Lowell Young. This is above the Tamarack Gate and the Asian Cemetery. That bird was still perched and singing its buzzy song when we left it after 10-12 minutes of viewing.

The second sparrow, which I left while still singing, was along the Carbondale Trail yesterday, April 1. Lowell and I walked uphill past the Hazel Atlas Mine, turned left on the Ridge Trail and had just reached the intersection with the Stewartville and Carbondale Trails. This is high on a ridge. Near the intersection were 2-3 Lark Sparrows and 4-6 Western Bluebirds.

We walked out the Carbondale Trail maybe only 50 yards when the Grasshopper Sparrow popped up on a barbed wire fence slightly above the trail. It responded to us by singing continuously for the ten minutes or so that we watched it through binoculars and a spotting scope. It continued to sing even while a park vehicle drove up the Stewartville Trail and passed through the gate to the other side of the ridge.

When we left this singing bird, a Say's Phoebe was also present on the nearby fence lines.

Prior to this sighting, it was a very quiet day, we came up with only 30 total species, which meant NO Canyon or Rock Wrens, NO Rufous-crowned Sparrows, NO Phainopeplas and NO Orioles.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

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