Sequoia Audubon - MInes and Del Puerto Canyon Road Fieldtrip today


Leslie Flint <lflint@...>
 

Sequoia's field trip today to Mines Road was in a word, fantastic. The weather was great and the birds even greater!

Highlights: 2 great horned owls at Murrieta's Well Winery to begin the day. MP 5.74 gave us great views of a pair of phainopeplas, singing California thrasher and rufous-crowned sparrow. We tried several locations for Sage Sparrow and had a singing' but hidden' bird at the cattle guard across from the new Ranger's Station. The Junction gave us a group of double century bicycle riders, a motorcycle club, the Corvett Club along with a brief view of Lawrence's goldfinch for some, white-breasted nuthatch, lark sparrows, distant chipping sparrow, and long-tailed weasel (for some). The Lewis's Woodpeckers along San
Antonio Road showed nicely and we lucked out seeing 2 wood ducks trying to hide further down the road in a pond with a large group of Canada geese.

WE headed down Del Puerto Canyon Road and compared the tri-colored blackbirds and red-winged blackbirds at the small marsh just a few miles down the road. We stopped at a steep canyon area to try for canyon wren and were treated to killer views of both canyon and rock wrens on the same rock in the same scope view.

Further on at the ORV park we had excellent views of a male Lawrence's goldfinch in a dead tree in the campground, along with house wren and ash-throated flycatcher at close range (both birds were very common along all parts of the road today).

We ended the day by looking for the Costa's hummingbird in it's usual location. CalTrans has not made this an easy stop because they have dumped piles of gravel all along that stretch of the road and have made it very difficult to park. The Costa's was in its usual cottonwood location and while we were watching it, one of the participants asked "what is that blue bird?". A few got on it and Gary
Deghi said "blue grosbeak" as it flew away. But moments later we could hear the tick tick tick not too far away and there it was in the cottonwood tree near "graffiti rock". We were so lucky to see it fly down to the creek, sit on a rock and show all of its field marks and then bathe in the creek! A wonderful day for all.

We had 81 species for the day (3 additional species were seen on the scouting trip on Thursday). Thanks to everyone for a fun day and to the other birders on the road for guidance (Golden Gate (Clay) and San Joaquin (Kurt) Audubon groups).

Leslie Flint
San Mateo

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