Mitchell Canyon trip report, 5-4-2019
Hello East Bay Birders,
Yesterday (Saturday), I led an enthusiastic group from Marin Audubon
Society on a 4 hour walk through lower Mitchell Canyon. We followed the
Globe Lily Trail on the way in and the main road on the way out. We birded
only as far as Red Road.
Migrant activity was as good as I've seen it. In the flycatcher department,
we had an Olive-sided, Dusky, Hammond's and Pacific-Slope, along with
numerous Ash-throated Flys.
In the warbler category, we saw and/or heard multiple Townsend's,
Orange-crowned, and Wilson's Warblers and we go pretty good looks at a
A pair of Western Tanagers was a nice treat as was a returning Lazuli
Bunting. A calling Swainson's Thrush was a personal first-of-season for me.
We got a brief look at a Selasphorous Hummingbird, probably female.
We got to observe behavioral differences of territorial versus migrating
Black-headed Grosbeaks. The territorial birds were, as one might expect, in
the tops of trees along the creek, singing their hearts out. A flock of 5
migrants, meanwhile, were upslope, foraging hungrily near ground level and
moving across the slope as a loose group.
Hutton's and Warbling Vireos were active but we didn't detect any Cassin's.
I suspect we needed to go further up-canyon.
Thank you to our photographers who contributed photo-documentation to our
outing. A complete checklist with photos can be accessed at
Mitchell Canyon is part of Mount Diablo State Park. It drains the north
slope of the mountain and can be accessed via Clayton, in Contra Costa
County. There's a $6/car entrance fee. Gates officially open at 8 am but,
in the spring, the docent often opens it earlier. I arrived yesterday
around 7:40 and the gate was open and a half dozen cars were already in the
parking lot. Early morning birding is best.