Del Puerto Canyon / San Antonio Valley / Mines (PAAS trip report)

Matthew Dodder

I led the second half of my Palo Alto Adult School birding class through Del Puerto Canyon, San Antonio Valley, and Mines Roads yesterday. Conditions were sunny and mild with increasing wind in the afternoon. Again we were unable to locate Blue Grosbeak or Costa’s Hummingbird at our usual spots, but we had many highlights nevertheless.

Grasshopper Sparrow (1, on hillside just before cattle grate in grassland section)
Cassin’s Kingbird (3-4, on power towers near only surviving orchard in grassland section)
Rufous-crowned Sparrow (hard to miss in cottonwood grove and Graffiti Rock areas)
Lark Sparrow (several, in cottonwood grove)
Rock Wren (several, various rocky areas along road)
White-throated Swift (several nesting at Graffiti Rock)
Phainopepla (hard to miss in oak savannah areas)
Bell’s Sparrow (1, chamise across from playground on hillside at Frank Raines. During rare, but short-lived silence of ATVs)
Lawrence’s Goldfinch (2 at Creek Crossing, 2 at Frank Raines campground)
Canyon Wren (2, from overlook before Frank Rains picnic area, and in quarry just before Adobe Springs)

(Incidentally, the Odonata at Adobe Springs were wonderful. We had American Rubyspot, Flame Skimmer and Grappletail, and Painted Ladies were also abundant and seen throughout the day)

Tricolored Blackbird (200-300, at traditional pond near Junction)
Western Tanager (1 at Tricolored colony)
Lewis’s Woodpecker (4, in two areas along San Antonio Valley, south of Junction
Lawrence’s Goldfinch (1-2 south of large shallow pond on San Antonio Valley)

Northern Pygmy-Owl (heard and seen in pine-oak woodland habitat near MP 18)
Golden Eagle (2 on Mines Road near MP 5)

(We also had a close encounter with a 3.5 foot California King Snake (around MP 5). A beautiful individual was sunning in the middle of the road. We pulled off and made sure it moved safely away from the traffic.

Matthew Dodder
Mountain View

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