Coyote Hills and Del Valle RPs today
This morning at Coyote Hills RP the most plentiful flying creatures were the mosquitoes. A male BULLOCK'S ORIOLE chattered by the Visitor Center where plastic spikes and mylar strips have been installed under the eaves to discourage nesting BARN SWALLOWS. Up at Hoot Hollow, a RED-TAILED HAWK was on the nest in the crook of the tree used by nesting great-horned owls in past years. Photo here: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y49/sing4me/RTHAnestHootHollow32910.jpg
Mid-morning, I moved over to Del Valle RP because Nancy Christensen had told tales of the displays performed by courting WESTERN GREBES. The Eagle's View area (turn right after the entry kiosk, then make the first left) was very birdy - 30 species in a small area, including YELLOW-BILLED MAGPIES, WESTERN BLUEBIRDS, a fly-over GOLDEN EAGLE, and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS - and provided a great vantage point from which to watch a pair of grebes rise and run across the water together side-by-side! Aside from the grebe display, the best birds were two LARK SPARROWS feeding on the lawn.
At the marina, about 40 CLIFF SWALLOWS were checking out the nesting spots under the ramp with the turquoise railing near the snack bar. I headed west on the trail that leads to Hetch Hetchy Camp. Less than a 10-minute walk put me in view of the dark tree that looks like an upside-down bird's foot on the hillside across the lake, and, as usual, a BALD EAGLE was in the tree. Photo here:
As I headed out, I found a WESTERN KINGBIRD on the fence on the north side of the road less than 1/10 mile from the entry kiosk. A LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE was on the east side of the road past the entry kiosk.