Some notes from birding on Wednesday in Central Contra Costa


I wanted to try for the Grasshopper Sparrows uphill near the Sindicich Lagoon at the north end of Briones Regional Park, so found a friend to join me.  Cheryl and I started walking from the upper parking lot on Old Briones Road about 8:20 and realized just how windy it was today.  All the lagoons are bone dry, we almost lost our hats a couple of times and we neither heard nor saw a Grasshopper Sparrow.  No Lark Sparrows or Horned Larks, either.

We did have a Golden Eagle being bird-dogged by a Red-tailed Hawk, a White-tailed Kite, and in the trees downhill we had a Wrentit and House Wren feeding their fledgling kids.  Elegant Clarkia was abundant along the road and we had plenty of Ithuriel's Spears, too.

After leaving, I drove through downtown Martinez and stopped at Mococo Pond north of the railroad tracks and east of the Benicia Bridge.  There is easy parking on the entry road to EcoServices and I parked there to view the Egret rookery in the Eucalyptus trees there.  I also had a Killdeer with a young one in the plastic lined pond just to the north.

I drove Waterbird Way all the way to the dump transfer station.  The pond along the road is also bone dry--how disappointing.

I then drove Waterfront Road to the end at the bridge over Lower Walnut Creek.  I was happy to see that most of the camping vehicles have been moved out of there, but the County will have some work to do collecting all the trash.  On the way back and well before the TransMontaigne Pipeline parking area, I saw a strange bird walking along the railroad tracks to my left.  I stopped quickly and then realized it was a hen Turkey.  While looking with my binoculars, I saw she had 5 little poults with her.  They we much shorter than the steel rails were tall, so they could not have been more than a few days old.  What an out of the way place for this species.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

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