Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve Highlights

Judith Dunham

Prompted by Rusty Scalf's post on April 24, I decided that I needed to go on a sparrow hunt. It was chilly and a bit breezy when I arrived at Sibley slightly before 8:30. But the temperature warmed up as I made my way around the Round Top Loop Trail.

At the old quarry pit (well marked on the preserve map), I sat and listened. I heard the call notes of what sounded like a Rufous- crowned Sparrow, but did not see the bird. That was less than satisfying, so I worked my way north to the shrubby ridge above the quarry to follow the song of a different bird, possibly an unusual warbler. I waited out this bird, too, with no luck.

Then, I heard a singing Rufous-Crowned. Next, two Rufous-crowneds emerged from the brush and perched on a leafless shrub in perfect light. The birds remained briefly, then went over the ridge and out of sight. When I turned around, there in the grass were three Lark Sparrows at very close range.

Many other birds obliged today by offering great views: Fox Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Western Bluebird, Pygmy Nuthatch, Wrentit, and an Allen's Hummingbird doing a textbook- worthy display. Heard birds include California Thrasher and a number of Pacific-slope Flycatchers and Wilson's Warblers.

I arrived home to learn that a Great Egret had visited our yard to eye the fish in our pond. My husband had a series of photos to prove the story, the most elegant showing the egret against yellow lupine. This was the second Great Egret sighting in our yard this spring.

Judith Dunham
Berkeley, CA

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