Maybe a year has passed since I last visited Briones Regional Park. Only
fifteen minutes from Tilden Park, it's a world away. We left the cool
misty Berkeley Hills dropped down Wildcat Canyon road, to the dry hills
and bright blue sky of inland Contra Costa County,
We were driving in my birding buddy's VW convertible with the top down
which I recommend as a perfect mobile Bird Sit -- sun on the shoulders,
delicious infusions of odors around each curve, and, of course, bird
calls. First bird heard near the Bear Valley and San Pablo Dam Roads was
the Red-shouldered Hawk, whose loud repetitive call was shrill enough to
penetrate even a conventional top.
Once in the park, we strolled along the road and took the fork off to the
right (sign says "Archery Range") which lead downhill toward the creek.
With yellow big-leafed maple leaves under foot, and madrone berries above,
we heard a number of the expected bird calls. Every oak seemed to have a
Ruby-crowned Kinglet along with chickadees and an occasional Oak Titmouse.
A single cricket and frog added their voices. -- Phila Rogers