Mitchell Canyon: Warblers don't like wind...

Matthew Dodder


My Palo Alto Adult School Birding class visited Mitchell Canyon
today. Breezy conditions made viewing VERY difficult. Most birds were
seen only with great effort, and songs were hard to hear at times.
Still, we had some real highlights:

We found a single CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD in the chaparral section of
White Canyon Trail, near a group of Paintbrush flowers. Reports form
other birders suggested more could be found in other areas further up
the trail that were sheltered from the wind. In this same area we
heard repeated songs of "Bell's" Sage Sparrow, but never did see the
bird. It sang several times, but wind kept it invisible. CALIFORNIA
THRASHER was vocal, but hidden hear too. Most exciting here was a
pair of COAST HORNED LIZARDS we saw copulating in the poison oak
beside the trail. They lumbered away, oblivious to us.

OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATHCERS were seen at three locations along the
Mitchell Canyon Fire Road, Including one not more than 100 yards from
the parking lot.

ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS were seen on the Mitchell Canyon Fire Road,
as well as White Canyon Trail, often easy to see as they perched in
the open.

PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS were heard singing and calling along the
creek in the first shaded area of the trail, and two HAMMOND'S
FLYCATCHERS were seen along White Canyon Trail near the grove of oak
trees on the upper end near the meadow. Their longer primaries,
blocky head, short bill and tail were easily observed. Nesting
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE were found here, as well as a singing NASHVILLE

HERMIT WARBLER was seen at the junction of Mitchell Canyon Fire Road
and Black Point Trail, as well as the base of White Canyon Trail. We
heard it in various other locations as well.

NASHVILLE WARBLERS were seen in various places on Black Point Trail,
White Canyon Trail and Mitchell Canyon Fire Road.

BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER was heard at the north end of Black Point
Trail, but not viewed until we reached the junction of White Canyon
and Mitchell Canyon fire Road.

One member of our group reported LAZULI BUNTING singing and visible
on the Mitchell Canyon Fire Road south of the junction with White
Canyon Trail.

NOTE: In this area we also found a 4-foot long Western Rattle Snake
beside the trail. BEWARE of these reptiles as well as the many ticks
in the area! It's easy to forget to look down when all the Warblers
are in the branches above us...

Less noteworthy species, but still welcome during our walk included
all three species of VIREO (Hutton's, Warbling, and Cassin's),
quarry we also spotted all 5 SWALLOWS, and both species of SWIFT.

Matthew Dodder
Mountain View, CA

. . .

Matthew Dodder
Mountain View, CA

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