For any of you who would like close-up looks at swallows and are also sick of driving 680, there are a couple of spots on Pleasanton-Sunol road north of the town of Sunol that are worth a quick stop.
1) Koopman Rd. at 680. This is a southbound-only exit off 680. In a 20 minute stop there yesterday we saw:
Dozens of CLIFF SWALLOWS gathering mud next to the road for their nests on the 680 overpass.
Several NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGS foraging and perching on nearby signs and fences. They're probably ready to nest in the weep holes on the overpass.
Several WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS cruising in the vicinity.
An adult GOLDEN EAGLE on the ground near the road, eventually being chased off by a pair of RED-TAILED HAWKS.
Any number of other commonly seen birds including ZONOS and HOUSE FINCHES.
Here's a Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/UEwrfmWwhdF2
2) The Verona Avenue pedestrian bridge off Pleas-Sunol Road just south of Castlewood Dr. provides a nice view into the creek and into the adjacent tree tops.
VIOLET-GREEN and ROUGH-WING SWALLOWS forage over the creek and perch on the bridge.
The adjacent vegetation is full of the usual oak-woodland birds.
WOOD DUCKS are sometimes in the creek.
A pair of RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS are on a nest just south of the bridge.
Maybe best of all, you can thumb your nose at 680 from both places.