Lots of Mountain Bluebirds in eastern Alameda county....

Jim Chiropolos

This is a late report but on Saturday January 12 Derek Heins and myself biked from Cedar Mountain Winery to Cross Road to Patterson Pass Road to Midway Road looking for the Rough-legged Hawk on Midway Road and back. We did not find the hawk!

We were compensated by finding and watching two very cooperative huge groups of bluebirds. One on the wires and grape posts in front of the Cedar Mountain Winery - we counted 96 - and there were likely more we could not see fly-catching in the wine fields. We located a second big group off Patterson Pass road, we counted 98 in a group associating with a black-bird flock. The second group was initially off the road a ways but this is one advantage of biking - its easy to stop and look, compared to a car where stopping on Patterson pass Road will may block both lanes of the narrow road.

These bluebird numbers are very interesting as in one ride we saw two groups approaching 100 birds each and the previous Ebird listed high count for Mountain Bluebirds was 85 for Alameda county. Are Mountain Bluebirds using Eastern Alameda county more - I wonder? Please keep reporting mountain bluebird numbers on eBird.

The Cedar Mountain Winery mountain bluebird group is especially noteworthy as compared to other locations (in California?), Mountain Bluebirds are very reliable and can be seen very close-up at this location (unlike Patterson Road where the birds are very mobile). The winery owners have installed a reverse osmosis system to clean ground water which is dispensed into a pool in front of the winery that the bluebirds use to bath and drink. (Great photographic opportunities). Birders birding here should also visit the winery, do some wine tasting and thank the Owners as they have created a spectacular opportunity for birders - and are very friendly. My last four visits here over the last three years I have seen mountain bluebirds here every time.

Besides the Mountain Bluebirds we saw the expected species but I like birding this area as it is quite scenic and holds the Alameda County grassland specialists - says phoebes, horned larks, shrikes and lark sparrows.

Good Birding
Jim Chiropolos

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