On Sunday Ann Griffith and I went for a bike ride in Wildcat canyon and the birding was quite good.
On the inspiration point trail, past mile marker 2 or 3, and down the Conlan trail we probably heard 30? lazuli buntings birds singing on their territory. They were probably the most common bird on the ride. Grasshopper sparrows are also common, we probably heard between 10 and 15 singing birds. Also seen were two lark sparrows and a purple finch. On the Conlan trail about 100 yards off the intersection with the Inspiration point trail is a large pine tree, the biggest tree for over a mile in all directions. There was a warbler flock of at least 5 birds in the pine, with three hermit warblers and two Townsends. How many warblers slip through Tilde/Berkeley undetected because of the extent of vegatation that makes them hard to find? On the way home, we saw a olive-sided flycatcher in suburban Berkeley on the top of snag by Mendicino and Arlington, very close to the Marin traffic circle.
On Saturday, Derek Heins and I biked from Patterson to the junction up Del Puerto canyon. It got a little warm on the climb up the junction but the birding was GREAT! Some noteworthy birds:
A HOODED ORIOLE in the Patterson fast food area off the highway, nesting in the palms?
Two BLUE GROSBEAKS in the drainage after the turnoff to Del Puerto.
Four groups of LAWENCES GOLDFINCH, including at Owl Rock, Frank Raines Park and the junction. This is the easiest they have ever been to find. YELLOW BILLED MAGPIES were also more common than past years.
A singing CANYON WREN by the rock formations at mile marker 8. On past rides, we have also seen canyon wrens around mile marker 19.
PHAINOPEPLAS were everywhere. We saw at least 14. Amazingly, all the birds we saw were males! Not one female was seen. Anybody have an explanation for that?
Two SWAINSON"S HAWKS, including one right at the turn-off, probalby the juvinile seen by an earlier birding group.
Hot and tired at the junction, we were rewarded by three LEWIS WOODPECKETS doing a swallow imitation about 150 up. Fascinating bird towatch in flight with the very wide wings and the spikey tail. I was surprised to see them hawking insects up high and not returning to a perch between sallies. We were glad we didn't have to bike far down San Antinio valley road in the heat to find them!
RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS and BEWICKS wrens may have neen the two most vocal birds, we biked to their songs during most of the ride.
A large bat flying in the daylight by the spring at the 19 mile mark. The bat had a very rufous body.
On the way back, we saw one HORNED LARK in the grasslands at mile marker one.
We tried to find a Costa's hummingbird in the tobacco plants by owl rock, but the best we could do was three anna's hummingbirds and one other hummer who couldn't get a good enough look at.
Some migrants were also seen in the canyon, including a WESTERN TANAGER, WESTERN PEEWEE, WILSONS WARBLER AND ORANGE CROWNED WARBLERS.
We concur that the TRI-COLORED BLACKBIRD colony seems smaller this year by the junction.
I think we found 65 species by the end of the day, buit no Costas hummingbirds......