Wildcat Canyon Saturday 7/28

Alan Krakauer

This was my first time in Wildcat Canyon for several weeks, and unfortunately I could only swing a mid-day hike (although the weather was very pleasant). It was quiet as one would expect– only 31 species. The grass is already down and I didn’t detect anything on the grassy slopes (no grasshopper sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, lazuli buntings, song sparrows). No early fall migrants either. The highlights were:
— A boatload of red-tailed hawks, mostly juvies, working the ridges and hillsides. I saw 14 at once when the Wildcat Creek Trail first opened up and you could see the ridge. Very cool to watch this from up on the ridge as well. When the hawks weren’t right over head or right below, they were out against the backdrop of SF and the Bay.
– A couple of very young fledgling Blue-grey Gnatcatchers in some willows near the parking lot. Short tails, fat lips. At least one adult was attending them. I’ve seen gnatchatchers in a few spots in the park but in times where they could have been migrating through. Assuming this counts as evidence of breeding, this would be an expansion of breeding range according to the CoCo Breeding Bird Atlas. They were on the up-hill side no more than 100 yards along the Wildcat Creek Trail from the top of the Alvarado staging area (the long skinny parking lot off of Park Ave).

Good birding,
Alan Krakauer

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