No Dipper Today

Aaron Maizlish

EBB Folks,

I got up to Sunol Regional Park this morning, since the day was sunny, ahead of the much-anticipated rainstorms that are supposed to start tomorrow.  Fortunately my son, who’s still on winter break, wanted to get in a hike in as well.  I spent two hours in the relevant stretch of creek on the way up, then went for a hike with him, and spent 45 minutes or so on the way back down, but there was no American Dipper to be found.  I ran into Bob Dunn and Vicky Robinson and a few other birders whom I didn’t know, but as far as I know it wasn’t seen today.  

The relevant stretch of creek is south (upstream) from the bridge over Alameda Creek that is immediately south of the last parking area, as one starts out on foot toward Little Yosemite.  The bridge is here 37.508907, -121.828847.  The three positive reports of the bird are upstream from the bridge in the first few hundred yards.   There is a lot of clear, running water in the creek, and this is a perfect Dipper stream - clear flowing water, lots of small rills, some rock perches and some pools for dippering. 

If we really get 6-8 inches of rain this week, I expect the creek might become a raging torrent of turgid water carrying a lot of silt and debris - given the fire damage at the back of the watershed.  So if you still want this bird tomorrow morning could be the last chance.  Anyway, as I said, it didn’t seem to be there this morning.

The walk up in the hills behind Little Yosemite was not particularly birdy.  We had a nice flock of Band-tailed Pigeons, a flock of Siskins and a ton of Acorn Woodpeckers but nothing rare.  I did hear and see a couple of Rufous-crowned Sparrows.  The uphill (sunny) slope of the trail is usually a good place to see them - one of the easier spots to photograph them in the East Bay.

By the way, there are a lot of newer members on this list-serve.  I’ve approved about 150 new members since taking over as moderator last year.  The #1 reason that people give for joining EBB-Sightings is because they want to know more about places to go birding in the East Bay. It would be nice if we could all remember to occasionally add a little bit of description in our posts of how to bird the location and where the specialty birds are found.  

Aaron Maizlish
San Francisco CA

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