Date   

Re: Question on Hummingbird's molting

Teale Fristoe
 

Birds generally do molt symmetrically, and they usually do it in a way where only a small number of feathers are missing at once to minimize the impact on flying ability. It would be unusual to see a big chunk of feathers missing from a molting bird. I'd say it's likely that something attacked your hummingbird, maybe a domestic cat?

Teale Fristoe
Berkeley


On Mon, Apr 26, 2021 at 1:35 PM ireddy via groups.io <ireddy=mac.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hello everyone,
On 04/07/2021, so about 3 weeks ago, I had this Anna's Hummingbird (I believe) stop at my feeder for a drink, in Pleasanton. I noticed that it was missing some of its tail and maybe rump feathers. (see photos on ebird listing) What struck me though was that it was only on the right side of its body and I read that molting was symmetrical to allow the bird to keep its balance in flight. So maybe this bird was not molting and lost its feathers for another reason. any input would be much appreciated.
Thank you
Isabelle
https://ebird.org/checklist/S85063832





Question on Hummingbird's molting

ireddy@...
 

Hello everyone,
On 04/07/2021, so about 3 weeks ago, I had this Anna's Hummingbird (I believe) stop at my feeder for a drink, in Pleasanton. I noticed that it was missing some of its tail and maybe rump feathers. (see photos on ebird listing) What struck me though was that it was only on the right side of its body and I read that molting was symmetrical to allow the bird to keep its balance in flight. So maybe this bird was not molting and lost its feathers for another reason. any input would be much appreciated.
Thank you
Isabelle
https://ebird.org/checklist/S85063832


Re: Sunday misc. (Ruddy Turnstone, Chat)

Claude Lyneis
 

Ethan:
I was interested that you saw the Short-billed Dowitchers at Pt. Isabel recently.  Last week, I saw a group of them near the 51st Street Bridge at a somewhat low tide  and I was surprised at how colorful they were.  

Here is a link to a Flickr photo.    https://flic.kr/p/2kUG4Uv

Claude Lyneis

On Apr 26, 2021, at 9:18 AM, Ethan Monk <z.querula@...> wrote:

Yesterday, Sunday 4/25, I birded some sites around Contra Costa County from maybe 10-630, with the late start due to the forecast predicting heavy rain throughout the day (which obviously didn’t quite pan out). The Chat found by Cheryl Reynolds at Clayton Community Park was quite cooperative at about 1030am—and vocal—in the valley oaks around the baseball field, immediately adjacent the upper parking lot. Off Morgan Territory Rd. (Perkins Canyon) there was a singing Lawrence’s Goldfinch immediately after where the Perkins Canyon Trail crosses the creek acting like it was holding down a territory, and could be breeding here. And over Clifton Court Forebay, where I did not walk more than a mile and thus missed Srikant Char's Snowy Plover, the light rain was kind enough to down a White-throated Swift—the only White-throated Swift I’ve seen in the Contra Costa section of the delta. After Clifton, I made the 45-minute drive to Richmond to look for the 4th county record, storm-blown Kittiwake found earlier by Yvonne McHugh, but I did not refind it. Great find, Yvonne. There were some small consolations, including a Ruddy Turnstone—quite rare in Contra Costa, averaging perhaps 2-3 occurrences each year?--along the Western outer jetty at Meeker Slough (access from the small beach between Shimada Park and Bayside Dr. bay trail access pts). At Pt. Isabel, I ran into 5 Bonaparte’s Gulls, two of which were still totally in basic plumage, and a late Mew Gull which was unfortunately not the kittiwake. And at about 545, a lone Elegant Tern flew in to Brooks Island--possibly one of the five present about a week ago. Finally, a reminder to err on the side of caution when reporting large, monotypic dowitcher flocks along the bay shore; yesterday I had both dowitcher species at Meeker Slough and Pt. Isabel. The "slash" option in eBird is your friend.

Best of Spring,
Ethan Monk






Sunday misc. (Ruddy Turnstone, Chat)

Ethan Monk
 

Yesterday, Sunday 4/25, I birded some sites around Contra Costa County from maybe 10-630, with the late start due to the forecast predicting heavy rain throughout the day (which obviously didn’t quite pan out). The Chat found by Cheryl Reynolds at Clayton Community Park was quite cooperative at about 1030am—and vocal—in the valley oaks around the baseball field, immediately adjacent the upper parking lot. Off Morgan Territory Rd. (Perkins Canyon) there was a singing Lawrence’s Goldfinch immediately after where the Perkins Canyon Trail crosses the creek acting like it was holding down a territory, and could be breeding here. And over Clifton Court Forebay, where I did not walk more than a mile and thus missed Srikant Char's Snowy Plover, the light rain was kind enough to down a White-throated Swift—the only White-throated Swift I’ve seen in the Contra Costa section of the delta. After Clifton, I made the 45-minute drive to Richmond to look for the 4th county record, storm-blown Kittiwake found earlier by Yvonne McHugh, but I did not refind it. Great find, Yvonne. There were some small consolations, including a Ruddy Turnstone—quite rare in Contra Costa, averaging perhaps 2-3 occurrences each year?--along the Western outer jetty at Meeker Slough (access from the small beach between Shimada Park and Bayside Dr. bay trail access pts). At Pt. Isabel, I ran into 5 Bonaparte’s Gulls, two of which were still totally in basic plumage, and a late Mew Gull which was unfortunately not the kittiwake. And at about 545, a lone Elegant Tern flew in to Brooks Island--possibly one of the five present about a week ago. Finally, a reminder to err on the side of caution when reporting large, monotypic dowitcher flocks along the bay shore; yesterday I had both dowitcher species at Meeker Slough and Pt. Isabel. The "slash" option in eBird is your friend.

Best of Spring,
Ethan Monk


Ohlone Wilderness Trail - Spring Migration!

Alexander Henry
 

Yesterday at 6 AM Phil Georgakakos, Derek Heins, Teale Fristoe and I met at the parking lot near the bridge at the southeast end of Del Valle Reservoir. From there, we hiked the Ohlone Regional Wilderness Trail up towards Murietta Falls. Although, we got so sidetracked by birding in the morning that we never quite made it to the falls, but nonetheless it was a long, tiring hike with lots of elevation gain.

As we went up and down ridgelines, we passed through a series of habitats, including dense oak-buckeye forest in the lower, lusher areas; black sage and chamise chaparral; more open oak and oak-pine woodlands; and finally open oak savannah and grasslands at the top.

It was an incredible day for migrants, by Alameda county standards at least (keep in mind a lot of the spring migrants are tougher here, since Mitchell Canyon is in Contra Costa!).

Things started off well with a Vaux’s Swift, Ash-throated Flycatchers, and a Black-throated Gray Warbler near the parking lot, then a couple Hammond’s Flycatchers in the denser oak-buckeye forest. The action really heated up when we got to the black sage and chamise patch, which is only a mile or two up the trail from Del Valle. There were 2 displaying male Calliope Hummingbirds, as well as two females, a male Rufous Hummingbird, and a MacGillivrays Warbler in the understory in a nearby gully.

As we continued farther up, we started to run into mixed flocks, and eventually would see a Nashville Warbler, a flock of 3 Hermit Warblers plus one separate individual, a Townsend’s, a few more Black-throated Grays, several Orange-crowned and Wilson’s, and many Yellow-rumped. There were also a few Warbling Vireos, a Cassin’s Vireo, a few Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and another highlight was a lone, breeding-plumage Chipping Sparrow!

Finally when we got to the plateau with oak savannah at the top, we were treated to some beautiful Yellow-billed Magpies, a distant Phainopepla, a Rattlesnake, and great views while we ate lunch and took a well-earned break.

On the way back down, additions included a Rock Wren in a rocky field, and a soaring Bald Eagle. To our chagrin, all the Calliope Hummingbirds had disappeared by the afternoon! So definitely worth checking that chaparral patch in the morning.

Overall it was a really fun and exciting but tiring day of birding. Ohlone is a underexplored area, lots of hikers go through there but very few birders! Up until recently there was no eBird hotspot for the entire area! Unfortunately not very accessible unless you are up for the hike.

Checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S86300569


Pine Siskins

Jim Chiropolos
 

This has been a good year at the neighborhood for pine siskins. I took my feeders down in December but most days this spring I am seeing (and hearing!) large flocks flying over the house and feeding at the live oaks at my neighborhood.

I find pine siskins to be fascinating. Almost always in groups of 10 or more -quite loud - always chattering. That must be their defense mechanism - large flocks - that can see a predator- once seen one they go silent and the flock explodes - no way a predator can follow a single bird as the flock expands and contracts with unpredictable zags

If a scrub or stellars jay is praying on siskins, its likely a single sick bird that is not healthy enough to be with a flock as jays are not good
predators - but super opportunistic looking for sick or newly fledged birds(when the chickadees fledge that breed in my house - their first day outside the nest is an adventure as the Scrub Jays hunt them - never successfully when I have watched). A sharpie can grab a healthy siskin, but thats why they flock - lots of eyes. I’ve never seen a sharpie succeed at my feeders on a siskin flock when they up. But single sick birds are vulnerable to predators and thats why I have taken down my feeders.

Siskin flocking must be a very successful survival habit, as they seem to be one of our commoner winter period visitors.

When the siskins leave I will consider putting my feeders up again.

Jim Chiropolos
Orinda


Busy Spring in Hercules

Rosemary Johnson
 

Much spring activity here.  Two tom turkeys facing off in display.  Rock pigeon down and up, and down and up, gathering nesting material.  A pair of titmice that look like they are feeding their brood.
 
Tried to follow one of the titmice with a big caterpillar in its mouth.  It was in a Toyon bush below a eucalyptus tree.  The tree has two boles.  The right hand trunk is full of old sapsucker holes (I've never seen a sapsucker here). The left one has a nice round hole that looks like it could be a nest site but I didn't see the titmice there.  The bird I saw flew to half a dozen perches, always looking around but never stopping to eat.  That is why I presume it was taking it to the nest, wherever it was.  Only briefly saw the 2nd titmouse.
 
The turkeys suddenly flew up onto the roof of the building.  I thought that maybe they had been spooked by the coyote that sometimes passes through.  I didn't see it though.  I know they don't get spooked by humans as they are often walking on the court street with people around.
 
Rosemary Johnson
Hercules
 
 


Walnut Creek bird news

rosita94598
 

Seeing John Luther's note about Siskins reminds me that yesterday, while sitting at the table, I heard a little thump.  A Pine Siskin hit either the kitchen window or the sliding door.  If it was walking, I would say it staggered, but it flies, so it flaggered to a flower pot right there and sat for the longest time perched on one of the stems.  I saw it resting for the longest time, then I looked again and it was gone.

This morning in Heather Farm Park, I heard and then saw a Warbling Vireo in an oak at the bottom of the big hill where the walkways intersect.  Barry Howarth and I saw a River Otter and a Great Blue Heron at the pond near the private Seven Hills School.  The equestrian area was busy today with a horse event.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


sparrows and siskin

John Luther
 

At my home in Oakland hills on the south side of Shepherd Canyon I still have 2 White-throated Sparrows and about 10 Golden-crowned Sparrows.  About half of the wintering Golden-crowns and all of the Fox Sparrows are gone.  There is still a flock of at least 30 Pine Siskin visiting feeders and water.  None look ill, but for those who worry about their safety and health I should note that I have seen both Scrub Jays and Steller's Jays grab them off the feeders and carry them away - I assume for a meal.  And of course the Sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks also find them tasty.  Some siskins may stay the summer and nest as they have done in the past.  There is also a flock of over 30 Band-tailed Pigeons in my walnut tree and Violet-green Swallows have returned for nesting.  

John Luther 
Oakland


Re: Spring birding on Mines Road

Susana dT
 
Edited

Thank you Aaron Maizlish for the Mines road report and Matthew Dodder for the link to the Del Puerto Canyon self-guided tour.
I assume the mile 0 for Mines road is the intersection with Tesla Rd since the road has a different name North of Tesla?
I was there this past Monday and there seems to be signs of recovery already from the SCU Lightning Complex fire. It looks like the vegetation at the black bird pond has grown since Steve Lombardi posted on eBird with photo on April 2nd (https://ebird.org/checklist/S84638048). I posted some photos of the pond (and some birds) for comparison on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/166553264@N04/albums/72157719009907568/with/51135507964/
The only video in the album shows a Bobcat in one of the rock cavities at the Owl and Graffiti rocks.
I will go back now that I have a better idea for stops. I might even explore San Antonio Valley Road.
Thank you
Susana


Black-chinned Sparrow - Mt. Diablo

richard s. cimino
 

Hi Birders,

Leading a field trip for a Michigan birder today we found a cooperative Black-chinned Sparrow in Mt. Diablo State Park.

 

A Black-chinned Sparrow was located in a decades old location on a steep dry hill side mixed bushy habitat. First heard then in flight and then perched, then mobbed by two Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers. Gray head and  body, brown wings. black chin and long tail  To relocate the sparrow from south gate drive 1.9 miles from park gate. Or drive 1.1 miles from pay booth towards South Gate. Looking to the right On right side of road (south) there is a U curve,  pull out there, near a large oak tree. Start looking on both side of the road, but our first sighting was upslope.

 

Rich Cimino

www.yellowbilledtours.com

Marin County

 


Re: Spring birding on Mines Road

Philip Georgakakos
 

Hi East Bay Birders, 

Nice write up Aaron. I'll add that Mines Rd is one of my favorite spots in Alameda to bird by bike. Like Aaron mentioned, in a car it's an in-an-out type birding trip with lots of frequent stops. On a bike, you can listen as you chug up the hill, which can be great for locating those mixed flocks of migrants. 

Derek Heins and I were hot on Aaron and Eddie's tail, and biked From Del Valle road (which has a large gravel parking area) to the Corral yesterday. We also tallied 72 species, most of which overlapped with Aaron and Eddie with a couple of notable differences. Additional species in Alameda Co. included a Chipping Sparrow and Male Lawrence's Goldfinch. We probably had 2 Nashville Warblers, which sang and promptly flew away, and we did not count these. We also missed the buntings, drat.

See the full list here:

Phil Georgakakos
Oakland


On Fri, Apr 23, 2021 at 12:23 PM Donald Lewis <donlewis2@...> wrote:

Yes, Del Puerto is a great area. I guess you all know that a dam at the lower end of the canyon, near I-5, has been in the hearing stage for some time. The Final EIR was published last October. The proposed dam would eventually flood the lower canyon and the road will be re-routed to join the current road around Owl Rock. The proposing water district is being sued by environmental groups.  See, e.g., https://www.turlockjournal.com/news/government/environmentalists-take-aim-del-puerto-canyon-dam-project/

 

Don Lewis

Lafayette, CA

 

 

From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Matthew Dodder
Sent: Friday, April 23, 2021 11:17 AM
To: East Bay Birds <EBB-Sightings@groups.io>; Aaron Maizlish <amm.birdlists@...>
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Spring birding on Mines Road

 

Aaron,

 

Great repot. I recently wrote a self-guided tour of this area, which you might find interesting.

 

 

Matthew Dodder

Executive Director

Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society

 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 09:50:23 PM PDT, Aaron Maizlish <amm.birdlists@...> wrote:

 

 

EBB Folks,

 

Yesterday (4/21) I was able to spend the day birding with Eddie Monson, up Mines Road out of Livermore and down Del Puerto Canyon Road into the Central Valley.  We have nothing rare to report, but it was a very productive day "peak-spring” birding and so I though folks might be interested in a trip report that highlights where the birds are seen on this popular birding route.  I’ve seen a few requests for more information about Mines Road in the last couple of months.  Mine’s Road is good birding because it has 20+ miles of high quality California native vegetation climbing in elevation from the Livermore Valley up 2000’.  It's a narrow winding road (not to everyone’s liking), that is single lane for a long stretch, but with lots of places to pull over.  We had a good count of 78 species on the way up Mines Road, all in Alameda County.

 

First I have to just say though that it was really a pleasure to spend the day birding with good company, after more than a full year of solo-birding ridden with pandemic anxiety.  Eddie “the monsoon” Monson is a 13-year old neighbor who has turned into a fantastic, serious birder.  We’d been talking for months about birding together after I was fully vaccinated - which fortunately happened for me in time for spring.  Eddie hadn’t been on the Mines/Del Puerto circuit before.  He has “youthful” ears and good ID skills, and he gave me a good refresher course in ear-birding. 

 

We started up Mines Road at 6:44AM.  I don’t generally stop before Mile 4, but we wanted to take our time this morning and be thorough.  As a result we missed the dawn chorus further up the hill, and never found any big warbler flocks, but we made up for that with a great list of all of the expected birds. The day started with the Yellow-billed Magpies that are generally around Mile 2, some Bullock’s Orioles, and a heard only Common Yellowthroat, uncommon on Mines Road.  We had one Pac-Slope Flycatcher, which turned out to be the only empid of the day.

 

Past the junction with Del Valle, I always make a long stop at the farms before the bridge at about Mile 4.5. A dozen Bullock’s Orioles were chattering in the old Eucalyptus grove, as were Western Kingbirds, an early Yellow Warbler, and the usual sparrows, finches and doves. I startled a Barn Owl that was perched near the road who scurried deep into a crevice in a Eucalyptus stump.  A Killdeer was calling from the field. Great-horned Owls were missed, though they are generally up there. At the bridge we added a Lazuli Bunting and our first swallows (we had all five on both Mines and Del Puerto).   Surprisingly Phainopepla were not in the area, though we eventually had a smattering further up the road.

 

Heading up the hill we made frequent stops at various chaparral spots - I was hoping to hear Bell’s Sparrows but no luck on that. One productive patch of wildflowers at mile 8 had several Anna’s Hummingbirds - a female Selasphorus that was probably Rufous (by range), and a small zipper that could have been Calliope but that we left as unidentified.  We also started getting into Ash-throated Flycatchers, Black-headed Grosbeaks and Western Tanagers, which continued in small numbers all the way up the hill.   

 

Mile 10 is my favorite pull-out and we spent a lot of time here. I think if we would have been here earlier, as the sun was hitting the valley, we might have witnessed some major movement - but it was about 10am and quieting down - both upslope and downslope we had multiple Wilson’s, Orange-crowned, Townsend’s and a Nashville Warbler that came up close.  Western Tanagers were on the move too, and more Grosbeaks. The pull outs between Mile 10 and Mile 14 are often productive - various stops added Purple Finch, California Thrasher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Lincoln’s Sparrow in with the crowned sparrows, and a late Hermit Thrush.  At Mile 13 we had our first of several Rufous-crowned Sparrows, singing from a fence post.  Further up we encountered small flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons and two Steller’s Jay, though Acorn Woodpeckers become the dominant lifeform at this end of the canyon.  We also encountered four Golden Eagles - two in flight and two others perched at the top of a tree on a distant ridge.

 

I didn’t stop long at the cow pastures at Mile 18 - it was getting warm and dry for April. I was hoping to hear a Chat, but that was a no-show. 

 

The rest of the report is out of Alameda County - so EBB_Sightings purists should stop here.

 

After entering Santa Clara County and heading over the fire-damaged summit  Eddie almost immediately starting hearing the familiar tinkle of Lawrence’s Goldfinch.  The stream crossing at the bottom of the grade, marked Horsethief Canyon on Google Maps reliably produced a nice flock of Lawrence’s (this is my go-to spot for them).   It’s always amazing to me how much the Larrys seem to hate Alameda County - but they love this spot just over the hill.  I decided to drive a few miles past the junction on San Antonio Road to look at the two farm ponds that could, in theory, hold a migrating sandpiper or two.  Neither had any today - the water is still a bit high in both of them. The fields in the valley still have a lot of Tricolored Blackbirds, which made the detour worthwhile.

 

We got to Del Puerto Canyon Road right at noon and headed over into Stanislaus County.  The upper canyon held a smattering of hummingbirds and warblers but it was mostly quiet and burnt, without much regrowth away from the roadside.  Adobe Spring was totally dead.  (A side note, the last time I was here, on January 6th, I encountered Thick-billed Fox Sparrows - which had been unreported in Stanislaus Co.)   We failed on Canyon Wrens and Rock Wrens (our biggest miss of the day), but had better birding further down the canyon.  A long stop at the Frank Raines Campground was quite productive around the river and quite unproductive at the picnic sites.  Our best stop was around Mile 8 where we encountered a big flock of Lawrence’s Goldfinch that provided photo opportunities.  It was a burn area with some wilfdflower regrowth and with healthy oaks on both sides of the road - by now we were also picking up most of the western migrants that we had seen on Mines Road - grosbeak, tanager, Ash-throated, oriole, etc.   I spotted a single Prairie Falcon and Eddie spotted a single dark Merlin, both in flight.   The Graffiti Rocks at Mile 4 were great, as usual, with lots of Bullock’s Orioles and the full suite of expected swallows and swifts - Eddie had a single Vaux Swift that I missed.  Another Golden Eagle passed overhead.  At the Tree Tobacco plants below Mile 4, that grow on the west side of the road we found a few Anna’s Hummingbirds - but nothing rare this time, and surprisingly our first Lark Sparrows of the day. On our way out of the canyon we picked up Savannah Sparrows, two Loggerhead Shrikes, and many more Kingbirds and Meadowlarks.  We were out at 3PM.

 

All in all, the trip count was 97 species - a good number for this 50 mile route. This was the first time I’ve taken a full eight hours to do the drive, and it was by far the most stops I’ve made along the way.  It was great to bird with a serious young-birder, and to have the opportunity to learn from each other.

 

Good spring birding everyone,

 

 

 

Aaron Maizlish

San Francisco, CA 







Re: 13th try is a charm. Pileated Woodpecker in Redwood Regional Park

MikeGifford
 

Bruce and others,

Here is a link to a brief IG video of the Pileated Woodpecker captured today at Redwood Regional Park.

On Apr 23, 2021, at 6:24 PM, Bruce Mast via groups.io <cathrasher4@...> wrote:


Hello East Bay and Countybirders,
If you get rare bird alerts from eBird, you've probably seen recent reports of Pileated Woodpecker in the Alameda County portion of Redwood Regional Park. I went back this morning, for the 13th time in the last 15 months, to look for this Lord God Bird.

Following up on recent reports of a PIWO excavating a cavity near Trails End, I focused my attention on that area. I first heard a long repeated call, similar to a Flicker, from up canyon (Contra Costa County). I started walking in that direction and a large, crow-sized, black woodpecker with white wing patches flew over my head, still calling. It landed on a tree over my head and then quickly hopped over to a snag, where it went to work on a cavity that was already partially excavated. The cavity was in a snag that stood in the creek bottom just upstream from the Trails End bathrooms. It was noteworthy for being covered with those yellow semi-circular mushroom / fungus growths, unlike the live trees around it. The cavity was about 30 ft high and facing the trail. The bird worked quietly while other pedestrians wandered past. I tried to take pictures but discovered that my camera lacked a memory card. Doh! I've included one photo in my eBird list that I took with my cellphone through my binoculars.


On to my next county nemesis bird: Calliope Hummingbird.

Bruce Mast
Oakland





13th try is a charm. Pileated Woodpecker in Redwood Regional Park

Bruce Mast
 

Hello East Bay and Countybirders,
If you get rare bird alerts from eBird, you've probably seen recent reports of Pileated Woodpecker in the Alameda County portion of Redwood Regional Park. I went back this morning, for the 13th time in the last 15 months, to look for this Lord God Bird.

Following up on recent reports of a PIWO excavating a cavity near Trails End, I focused my attention on that area. I first heard a long repeated call, similar to a Flicker, from up canyon (Contra Costa County). I started walking in that direction and a large, crow-sized, black woodpecker with white wing patches flew over my head, still calling. It landed on a tree over my head and then quickly hopped over to a snag, where it went to work on a cavity that was already partially excavated. The cavity was in a snag that stood in the creek bottom just upstream from the Trails End bathrooms. It was noteworthy for being covered with those yellow semi-circular mushroom / fungus growths, unlike the live trees around it. The cavity was about 30 ft high and facing the trail. The bird worked quietly while other pedestrians wandered past. I tried to take pictures but discovered that my camera lacked a memory card. Doh! I've included one photo in my eBird list that I took with my cellphone through my binoculars.


On to my next county nemesis bird: Calliope Hummingbird.

Bruce Mast
Oakland


Re: Spring birding on Mines Road

Donald Lewis
 

Yes, Del Puerto is a great area. I guess you all know that a dam at the lower end of the canyon, near I-5, has been in the hearing stage for some time. The Final EIR was published last October. The proposed dam would eventually flood the lower canyon and the road will be re-routed to join the current road around Owl Rock. The proposing water district is being sued by environmental groups.  See, e.g., https://www.turlockjournal.com/news/government/environmentalists-take-aim-del-puerto-canyon-dam-project/

 

Don Lewis

Lafayette, CA

 

 

From: EBB-Sightings@groups.io <EBB-Sightings@groups.io> On Behalf Of Matthew Dodder
Sent: Friday, April 23, 2021 11:17 AM
To: East Bay Birds <EBB-Sightings@groups.io>; Aaron Maizlish <amm.birdlists@...>
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Spring birding on Mines Road

 

Aaron,

 

Great repot. I recently wrote a self-guided tour of this area, which you might find interesting.

 

 

Matthew Dodder

Executive Director

Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society

 

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 09:50:23 PM PDT, Aaron Maizlish <amm.birdlists@...> wrote:

 

 

EBB Folks,

 

Yesterday (4/21) I was able to spend the day birding with Eddie Monson, up Mines Road out of Livermore and down Del Puerto Canyon Road into the Central Valley.  We have nothing rare to report, but it was a very productive day "peak-spring” birding and so I though folks might be interested in a trip report that highlights where the birds are seen on this popular birding route.  I’ve seen a few requests for more information about Mines Road in the last couple of months.  Mine’s Road is good birding because it has 20+ miles of high quality California native vegetation climbing in elevation from the Livermore Valley up 2000’.  It's a narrow winding road (not to everyone’s liking), that is single lane for a long stretch, but with lots of places to pull over.  We had a good count of 78 species on the way up Mines Road, all in Alameda County.

 

First I have to just say though that it was really a pleasure to spend the day birding with good company, after more than a full year of solo-birding ridden with pandemic anxiety.  Eddie “the monsoon” Monson is a 13-year old neighbor who has turned into a fantastic, serious birder.  We’d been talking for months about birding together after I was fully vaccinated - which fortunately happened for me in time for spring.  Eddie hadn’t been on the Mines/Del Puerto circuit before.  He has “youthful” ears and good ID skills, and he gave me a good refresher course in ear-birding. 

 

We started up Mines Road at 6:44AM.  I don’t generally stop before Mile 4, but we wanted to take our time this morning and be thorough.  As a result we missed the dawn chorus further up the hill, and never found any big warbler flocks, but we made up for that with a great list of all of the expected birds. The day started with the Yellow-billed Magpies that are generally around Mile 2, some Bullock’s Orioles, and a heard only Common Yellowthroat, uncommon on Mines Road.  We had one Pac-Slope Flycatcher, which turned out to be the only empid of the day.

 

Past the junction with Del Valle, I always make a long stop at the farms before the bridge at about Mile 4.5. A dozen Bullock’s Orioles were chattering in the old Eucalyptus grove, as were Western Kingbirds, an early Yellow Warbler, and the usual sparrows, finches and doves. I startled a Barn Owl that was perched near the road who scurried deep into a crevice in a Eucalyptus stump.  A Killdeer was calling from the field. Great-horned Owls were missed, though they are generally up there. At the bridge we added a Lazuli Bunting and our first swallows (we had all five on both Mines and Del Puerto).   Surprisingly Phainopepla were not in the area, though we eventually had a smattering further up the road.

 

Heading up the hill we made frequent stops at various chaparral spots - I was hoping to hear Bell’s Sparrows but no luck on that. One productive patch of wildflowers at mile 8 had several Anna’s Hummingbirds - a female Selasphorus that was probably Rufous (by range), and a small zipper that could have been Calliope but that we left as unidentified.  We also started getting into Ash-throated Flycatchers, Black-headed Grosbeaks and Western Tanagers, which continued in small numbers all the way up the hill.   

 

Mile 10 is my favorite pull-out and we spent a lot of time here. I think if we would have been here earlier, as the sun was hitting the valley, we might have witnessed some major movement - but it was about 10am and quieting down - both upslope and downslope we had multiple Wilson’s, Orange-crowned, Townsend’s and a Nashville Warbler that came up close.  Western Tanagers were on the move too, and more Grosbeaks. The pull outs between Mile 10 and Mile 14 are often productive - various stops added Purple Finch, California Thrasher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Lincoln’s Sparrow in with the crowned sparrows, and a late Hermit Thrush.  At Mile 13 we had our first of several Rufous-crowned Sparrows, singing from a fence post.  Further up we encountered small flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons and two Steller’s Jay, though Acorn Woodpeckers become the dominant lifeform at this end of the canyon.  We also encountered four Golden Eagles - two in flight and two others perched at the top of a tree on a distant ridge.

 

I didn’t stop long at the cow pastures at Mile 18 - it was getting warm and dry for April. I was hoping to hear a Chat, but that was a no-show. 

 

The rest of the report is out of Alameda County - so EBB_Sightings purists should stop here.

 

After entering Santa Clara County and heading over the fire-damaged summit  Eddie almost immediately starting hearing the familiar tinkle of Lawrence’s Goldfinch.  The stream crossing at the bottom of the grade, marked Horsethief Canyon on Google Maps reliably produced a nice flock of Lawrence’s (this is my go-to spot for them).   It’s always amazing to me how much the Larrys seem to hate Alameda County - but they love this spot just over the hill.  I decided to drive a few miles past the junction on San Antonio Road to look at the two farm ponds that could, in theory, hold a migrating sandpiper or two.  Neither had any today - the water is still a bit high in both of them. The fields in the valley still have a lot of Tricolored Blackbirds, which made the detour worthwhile.

 

We got to Del Puerto Canyon Road right at noon and headed over into Stanislaus County.  The upper canyon held a smattering of hummingbirds and warblers but it was mostly quiet and burnt, without much regrowth away from the roadside.  Adobe Spring was totally dead.  (A side note, the last time I was here, on January 6th, I encountered Thick-billed Fox Sparrows - which had been unreported in Stanislaus Co.)   We failed on Canyon Wrens and Rock Wrens (our biggest miss of the day), but had better birding further down the canyon.  A long stop at the Frank Raines Campground was quite productive around the river and quite unproductive at the picnic sites.  Our best stop was around Mile 8 where we encountered a big flock of Lawrence’s Goldfinch that provided photo opportunities.  It was a burn area with some wilfdflower regrowth and with healthy oaks on both sides of the road - by now we were also picking up most of the western migrants that we had seen on Mines Road - grosbeak, tanager, Ash-throated, oriole, etc.   I spotted a single Prairie Falcon and Eddie spotted a single dark Merlin, both in flight.   The Graffiti Rocks at Mile 4 were great, as usual, with lots of Bullock’s Orioles and the full suite of expected swallows and swifts - Eddie had a single Vaux Swift that I missed.  Another Golden Eagle passed overhead.  At the Tree Tobacco plants below Mile 4, that grow on the west side of the road we found a few Anna’s Hummingbirds - but nothing rare this time, and surprisingly our first Lark Sparrows of the day. On our way out of the canyon we picked up Savannah Sparrows, two Loggerhead Shrikes, and many more Kingbirds and Meadowlarks.  We were out at 3PM.

 

All in all, the trip count was 97 species - a good number for this 50 mile route. This was the first time I’ve taken a full eight hours to do the drive, and it was by far the most stops I’ve made along the way.  It was great to bird with a serious young-birder, and to have the opportunity to learn from each other.

 

Good spring birding everyone,

 

 

 

Aaron Maizlish

San Francisco, CA 




Mines Rd

judisierra
 

I was going to add one way to do Del Puerto and Mines RD to break it in to 2 days as Mt. Diablo Audubon does. I have found it much less tiring.


Re: Spring birding on Mines Road

judisierra
 

Another resource is Jean Richmond's book online thanks to MDAS Pg 78. Also good for all the newbies looking for places to bird. https://mtdiabloaudubon.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Birding-Northern-California-by-Jean-Richmond.pdf

On Friday, April 23, 2021, 11:17:03 AM PDT, Matthew Dodder <mdodder@...> wrote:


Aaron,

Great repot. I recently wrote a self-guided tour of this area, which you might find interesting.

https://scvas.org/self-guided-birding/del-puerto-canyon-road-spring

Matthew Dodder
Executive Director
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 09:50:23 PM PDT, Aaron Maizlish <amm.birdlists@...> wrote:


EBB Folks,

Yesterday (4/21) I was able to spend the day birding with Eddie Monson, up Mines Road out of Livermore and down Del Puerto Canyon Road into the Central Valley.  We have nothing rare to report, but it was a very productive day "peak-spring” birding and so I though folks might be interested in a trip report that highlights where the birds are seen on this popular birding route.  I’ve seen a few requests for more information about Mines Road in the last couple of months.  Mine’s Road is good birding because it has 20+ miles of high quality California native vegetation climbing in elevation from the Livermore Valley up 2000’.  It's a narrow winding road (not to everyone’s liking), that is single lane for a long stretch, but with lots of places to pull over.  We had a good count of 78 species on the way up Mines Road, all in Alameda County.

First I have to just say though that it was really a pleasure to spend the day birding with good company, after more than a full year of solo-birding ridden with pandemic anxiety.  Eddie “the monsoon” Monson is a 13-year old neighbor who has turned into a fantastic, serious birder.  We’d been talking for months about birding together after I was fully vaccinated - which fortunately happened for me in time for spring.  Eddie hadn’t been on the Mines/Del Puerto circuit before.  He has “youthful” ears and good ID skills, and he gave me a good refresher course in ear-birding. 

We started up Mines Road at 6:44AM.  I don’t generally stop before Mile 4, but we wanted to take our time this morning and be thorough.  As a result we missed the dawn chorus further up the hill, and never found any big warbler flocks, but we made up for that with a great list of all of the expected birds. The day started with the Yellow-billed Magpies that are generally around Mile 2, some Bullock’s Orioles, and a heard only Common Yellowthroat, uncommon on Mines Road.  We had one Pac-Slope Flycatcher, which turned out to be the only empid of the day.

Past the junction with Del Valle, I always make a long stop at the farms before the bridge at about Mile 4.5. A dozen Bullock’s Orioles were chattering in the old Eucalyptus grove, as were Western Kingbirds, an early Yellow Warbler, and the usual sparrows, finches and doves. I startled a Barn Owl that was perched near the road who scurried deep into a crevice in a Eucalyptus stump.  A Killdeer was calling from the field. Great-horned Owls were missed, though they are generally up there. At the bridge we added a Lazuli Bunting and our first swallows (we had all five on both Mines and Del Puerto).   Surprisingly Phainopepla were not in the area, though we eventually had a smattering further up the road.

Heading up the hill we made frequent stops at various chaparral spots - I was hoping to hear Bell’s Sparrows but no luck on that. One productive patch of wildflowers at mile 8 had several Anna’s Hummingbirds - a female Selasphorus that was probably Rufous (by range), and a small zipper that could have been Calliope but that we left as unidentified.  We also started getting into Ash-throated Flycatchers, Black-headed Grosbeaks and Western Tanagers, which continued in small numbers all the way up the hill.   

Mile 10 is my favorite pull-out and we spent a lot of time here. I think if we would have been here earlier, as the sun was hitting the valley, we might have witnessed some major movement - but it was about 10am and quieting down - both upslope and downslope we had multiple Wilson’s, Orange-crowned, Townsend’s and a Nashville Warbler that came up close.  Western Tanagers were on the move too, and more Grosbeaks. The pull outs between Mile 10 and Mile 14 are often productive - various stops added Purple Finch, California Thrasher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Lincoln’s Sparrow in with the crowned sparrows, and a late Hermit Thrush.  At Mile 13 we had our first of several Rufous-crowned Sparrows, singing from a fence post.  Further up we encountered small flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons and two Steller’s Jay, though Acorn Woodpeckers become the dominant lifeform at this end of the canyon.  We also encountered four Golden Eagles - two in flight and two others perched at the top of a tree on a distant ridge.

I didn’t stop long at the cow pastures at Mile 18 - it was getting warm and dry for April. I was hoping to hear a Chat, but that was a no-show. 

The rest of the report is out of Alameda County - so EBB_Sightings purists should stop here.

After entering Santa Clara County and heading over the fire-damaged summit  Eddie almost immediately starting hearing the familiar tinkle of Lawrence’s Goldfinch.  The stream crossing at the bottom of the grade, marked Horsethief Canyon on Google Maps reliably produced a nice flock of Lawrence’s (this is my go-to spot for them).   It’s always amazing to me how much the Larrys seem to hate Alameda County - but they love this spot just over the hill.  I decided to drive a few miles past the junction on San Antonio Road to look at the two farm ponds that could, in theory, hold a migrating sandpiper or two.  Neither had any today - the water is still a bit high in both of them. The fields in the valley still have a lot of Tricolored Blackbirds, which made the detour worthwhile.

We got to Del Puerto Canyon Road right at noon and headed over into Stanislaus County.  The upper canyon held a smattering of hummingbirds and warblers but it was mostly quiet and burnt, without much regrowth away from the roadside.  Adobe Spring was totally dead.  (A side note, the last time I was here, on January 6th, I encountered Thick-billed Fox Sparrows - which had been unreported in Stanislaus Co.)   We failed on Canyon Wrens and Rock Wrens (our biggest miss of the day), but had better birding further down the canyon.  A long stop at the Frank Raines Campground was quite productive around the river and quite unproductive at the picnic sites.  Our best stop was around Mile 8 where we encountered a big flock of Lawrence’s Goldfinch that provided photo opportunities.  It was a burn area with some wilfdflower regrowth and with healthy oaks on both sides of the road - by now we were also picking up most of the western migrants that we had seen on Mines Road - grosbeak, tanager, Ash-throated, oriole, etc.   I spotted a single Prairie Falcon and Eddie spotted a single dark Merlin, both in flight.   The Graffiti Rocks at Mile 4 were great, as usual, with lots of Bullock’s Orioles and the full suite of expected swallows and swifts - Eddie had a single Vaux Swift that I missed.  Another Golden Eagle passed overhead.  At the Tree Tobacco plants below Mile 4, that grow on the west side of the road we found a few Anna’s Hummingbirds - but nothing rare this time, and surprisingly our first Lark Sparrows of the day. On our way out of the canyon we picked up Savannah Sparrows, two Loggerhead Shrikes, and many more Kingbirds and Meadowlarks.  We were out at 3PM.

All in all, the trip count was 97 species - a good number for this 50 mile route. This was the first time I’ve taken a full eight hours to do the drive, and it was by far the most stops I’ve made along the way.  It was great to bird with a serious young-birder, and to have the opportunity to learn from each other.

Good spring birding everyone,



Aaron Maizlish
San Francisco, CA 







Re: Spring birding on Mines Road

Matthew Dodder
 

Aaron,

Great repot. I recently wrote a self-guided tour of this area, which you might find interesting.

https://scvas.org/self-guided-birding/del-puerto-canyon-road-spring

Matthew Dodder
Executive Director
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society

On Thursday, April 22, 2021, 09:50:23 PM PDT, Aaron Maizlish <amm.birdlists@...> wrote:


EBB Folks,

Yesterday (4/21) I was able to spend the day birding with Eddie Monson, up Mines Road out of Livermore and down Del Puerto Canyon Road into the Central Valley.  We have nothing rare to report, but it was a very productive day "peak-spring” birding and so I though folks might be interested in a trip report that highlights where the birds are seen on this popular birding route.  I’ve seen a few requests for more information about Mines Road in the last couple of months.  Mine’s Road is good birding because it has 20+ miles of high quality California native vegetation climbing in elevation from the Livermore Valley up 2000’.  It's a narrow winding road (not to everyone’s liking), that is single lane for a long stretch, but with lots of places to pull over.  We had a good count of 78 species on the way up Mines Road, all in Alameda County.

First I have to just say though that it was really a pleasure to spend the day birding with good company, after more than a full year of solo-birding ridden with pandemic anxiety.  Eddie “the monsoon” Monson is a 13-year old neighbor who has turned into a fantastic, serious birder.  We’d been talking for months about birding together after I was fully vaccinated - which fortunately happened for me in time for spring.  Eddie hadn’t been on the Mines/Del Puerto circuit before.  He has “youthful” ears and good ID skills, and he gave me a good refresher course in ear-birding. 

We started up Mines Road at 6:44AM.  I don’t generally stop before Mile 4, but we wanted to take our time this morning and be thorough.  As a result we missed the dawn chorus further up the hill, and never found any big warbler flocks, but we made up for that with a great list of all of the expected birds. The day started with the Yellow-billed Magpies that are generally around Mile 2, some Bullock’s Orioles, and a heard only Common Yellowthroat, uncommon on Mines Road.  We had one Pac-Slope Flycatcher, which turned out to be the only empid of the day.

Past the junction with Del Valle, I always make a long stop at the farms before the bridge at about Mile 4.5. A dozen Bullock’s Orioles were chattering in the old Eucalyptus grove, as were Western Kingbirds, an early Yellow Warbler, and the usual sparrows, finches and doves. I startled a Barn Owl that was perched near the road who scurried deep into a crevice in a Eucalyptus stump.  A Killdeer was calling from the field. Great-horned Owls were missed, though they are generally up there. At the bridge we added a Lazuli Bunting and our first swallows (we had all five on both Mines and Del Puerto).   Surprisingly Phainopepla were not in the area, though we eventually had a smattering further up the road.

Heading up the hill we made frequent stops at various chaparral spots - I was hoping to hear Bell’s Sparrows but no luck on that. One productive patch of wildflowers at mile 8 had several Anna’s Hummingbirds - a female Selasphorus that was probably Rufous (by range), and a small zipper that could have been Calliope but that we left as unidentified.  We also started getting into Ash-throated Flycatchers, Black-headed Grosbeaks and Western Tanagers, which continued in small numbers all the way up the hill.   

Mile 10 is my favorite pull-out and we spent a lot of time here. I think if we would have been here earlier, as the sun was hitting the valley, we might have witnessed some major movement - but it was about 10am and quieting down - both upslope and downslope we had multiple Wilson’s, Orange-crowned, Townsend’s and a Nashville Warbler that came up close.  Western Tanagers were on the move too, and more Grosbeaks. The pull outs between Mile 10 and Mile 14 are often productive - various stops added Purple Finch, California Thrasher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Lincoln’s Sparrow in with the crowned sparrows, and a late Hermit Thrush.  At Mile 13 we had our first of several Rufous-crowned Sparrows, singing from a fence post.  Further up we encountered small flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons and two Steller’s Jay, though Acorn Woodpeckers become the dominant lifeform at this end of the canyon.  We also encountered four Golden Eagles - two in flight and two others perched at the top of a tree on a distant ridge.

I didn’t stop long at the cow pastures at Mile 18 - it was getting warm and dry for April. I was hoping to hear a Chat, but that was a no-show. 

The rest of the report is out of Alameda County - so EBB_Sightings purists should stop here.

After entering Santa Clara County and heading over the fire-damaged summit  Eddie almost immediately starting hearing the familiar tinkle of Lawrence’s Goldfinch.  The stream crossing at the bottom of the grade, marked Horsethief Canyon on Google Maps reliably produced a nice flock of Lawrence’s (this is my go-to spot for them).   It’s always amazing to me how much the Larrys seem to hate Alameda County - but they love this spot just over the hill.  I decided to drive a few miles past the junction on San Antonio Road to look at the two farm ponds that could, in theory, hold a migrating sandpiper or two.  Neither had any today - the water is still a bit high in both of them. The fields in the valley still have a lot of Tricolored Blackbirds, which made the detour worthwhile.

We got to Del Puerto Canyon Road right at noon and headed over into Stanislaus County.  The upper canyon held a smattering of hummingbirds and warblers but it was mostly quiet and burnt, without much regrowth away from the roadside.  Adobe Spring was totally dead.  (A side note, the last time I was here, on January 6th, I encountered Thick-billed Fox Sparrows - which had been unreported in Stanislaus Co.)   We failed on Canyon Wrens and Rock Wrens (our biggest miss of the day), but had better birding further down the canyon.  A long stop at the Frank Raines Campground was quite productive around the river and quite unproductive at the picnic sites.  Our best stop was around Mile 8 where we encountered a big flock of Lawrence’s Goldfinch that provided photo opportunities.  It was a burn area with some wilfdflower regrowth and with healthy oaks on both sides of the road - by now we were also picking up most of the western migrants that we had seen on Mines Road - grosbeak, tanager, Ash-throated, oriole, etc.   I spotted a single Prairie Falcon and Eddie spotted a single dark Merlin, both in flight.   The Graffiti Rocks at Mile 4 were great, as usual, with lots of Bullock’s Orioles and the full suite of expected swallows and swifts - Eddie had a single Vaux Swift that I missed.  Another Golden Eagle passed overhead.  At the Tree Tobacco plants below Mile 4, that grow on the west side of the road we found a few Anna’s Hummingbirds - but nothing rare this time, and surprisingly our first Lark Sparrows of the day. On our way out of the canyon we picked up Savannah Sparrows, two Loggerhead Shrikes, and many more Kingbirds and Meadowlarks.  We were out at 3PM.

All in all, the trip count was 97 species - a good number for this 50 mile route. This was the first time I’ve taken a full eight hours to do the drive, and it was by far the most stops I’ve made along the way.  It was great to bird with a serious young-birder, and to have the opportunity to learn from each other.

Good spring birding everyone,



Aaron Maizlish
San Francisco, CA 




Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek--Chipping Sparrow Friday April 23

rosita94598
 

Four of us were eventually seeing a Chipping Sparrow at the corner of the community garden closest to the gravel boat ramp this morning.  Originally found by Steve Buffi, our MDAS treasurer, he was able to show it to Joel, a friend of his from their working days at Chevron, Ted Robertson and me.  That was the first time I have ever seen this sparrow species in the park.  This was between 9:30 and 10 AM.

In the concrete pond were three Canada Goose families; one with five new ones, one with one and one with three a few days old.  A female Mallard had five ducklings, too.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Spring birding on Mines Road

Aaron Maizlish
 

EBB Folks,

Yesterday (4/21) I was able to spend the day birding with Eddie Monson, up Mines Road out of Livermore and down Del Puerto Canyon Road into the Central Valley.  We have nothing rare to report, but it was a very productive day "peak-spring” birding and so I though folks might be interested in a trip report that highlights where the birds are seen on this popular birding route.  I’ve seen a few requests for more information about Mines Road in the last couple of months.  Mine’s Road is good birding because it has 20+ miles of high quality California native vegetation climbing in elevation from the Livermore Valley up 2000’.  It's a narrow winding road (not to everyone’s liking), that is single lane for a long stretch, but with lots of places to pull over.  We had a good count of 78 species on the way up Mines Road, all in Alameda County.

First I have to just say though that it was really a pleasure to spend the day birding with good company, after more than a full year of solo-birding ridden with pandemic anxiety.  Eddie “the monsoon” Monson is a 13-year old neighbor who has turned into a fantastic, serious birder.  We’d been talking for months about birding together after I was fully vaccinated - which fortunately happened for me in time for spring.  Eddie hadn’t been on the Mines/Del Puerto circuit before.  He has “youthful” ears and good ID skills, and he gave me a good refresher course in ear-birding. 

We started up Mines Road at 6:44AM.  I don’t generally stop before Mile 4, but we wanted to take our time this morning and be thorough.  As a result we missed the dawn chorus further up the hill, and never found any big warbler flocks, but we made up for that with a great list of all of the expected birds. The day started with the Yellow-billed Magpies that are generally around Mile 2, some Bullock’s Orioles, and a heard only Common Yellowthroat, uncommon on Mines Road.  We had one Pac-Slope Flycatcher, which turned out to be the only empid of the day.

Past the junction with Del Valle, I always make a long stop at the farms before the bridge at about Mile 4.5. A dozen Bullock’s Orioles were chattering in the old Eucalyptus grove, as were Western Kingbirds, an early Yellow Warbler, and the usual sparrows, finches and doves. I startled a Barn Owl that was perched near the road who scurried deep into a crevice in a Eucalyptus stump.  A Killdeer was calling from the field. Great-horned Owls were missed, though they are generally up there. At the bridge we added a Lazuli Bunting and our first swallows (we had all five on both Mines and Del Puerto).   Surprisingly Phainopepla were not in the area, though we eventually had a smattering further up the road.

Heading up the hill we made frequent stops at various chaparral spots - I was hoping to hear Bell’s Sparrows but no luck on that. One productive patch of wildflowers at mile 8 had several Anna’s Hummingbirds - a female Selasphorus that was probably Rufous (by range), and a small zipper that could have been Calliope but that we left as unidentified.  We also started getting into Ash-throated Flycatchers, Black-headed Grosbeaks and Western Tanagers, which continued in small numbers all the way up the hill.   

Mile 10 is my favorite pull-out and we spent a lot of time here. I think if we would have been here earlier, as the sun was hitting the valley, we might have witnessed some major movement - but it was about 10am and quieting down - both upslope and downslope we had multiple Wilson’s, Orange-crowned, Townsend’s and a Nashville Warbler that came up close.  Western Tanagers were on the move too, and more Grosbeaks. The pull outs between Mile 10 and Mile 14 are often productive - various stops added Purple Finch, California Thrasher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Lincoln’s Sparrow in with the crowned sparrows, and a late Hermit Thrush.  At Mile 13 we had our first of several Rufous-crowned Sparrows, singing from a fence post.  Further up we encountered small flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons and two Steller’s Jay, though Acorn Woodpeckers become the dominant lifeform at this end of the canyon.  We also encountered four Golden Eagles - two in flight and two others perched at the top of a tree on a distant ridge.

I didn’t stop long at the cow pastures at Mile 18 - it was getting warm and dry for April. I was hoping to hear a Chat, but that was a no-show. 

The rest of the report is out of Alameda County - so EBB_Sightings purists should stop here.

After entering Santa Clara County and heading over the fire-damaged summit  Eddie almost immediately starting hearing the familiar tinkle of Lawrence’s Goldfinch.  The stream crossing at the bottom of the grade, marked Horsethief Canyon on Google Maps reliably produced a nice flock of Lawrence’s (this is my go-to spot for them).   It’s always amazing to me how much the Larrys seem to hate Alameda County - but they love this spot just over the hill.  I decided to drive a few miles past the junction on San Antonio Road to look at the two farm ponds that could, in theory, hold a migrating sandpiper or two.  Neither had any today - the water is still a bit high in both of them. The fields in the valley still have a lot of Tricolored Blackbirds, which made the detour worthwhile.

We got to Del Puerto Canyon Road right at noon and headed over into Stanislaus County.  The upper canyon held a smattering of hummingbirds and warblers but it was mostly quiet and burnt, without much regrowth away from the roadside.  Adobe Spring was totally dead.  (A side note, the last time I was here, on January 6th, I encountered Thick-billed Fox Sparrows - which had been unreported in Stanislaus Co.)   We failed on Canyon Wrens and Rock Wrens (our biggest miss of the day), but had better birding further down the canyon.  A long stop at the Frank Raines Campground was quite productive around the river and quite unproductive at the picnic sites.  Our best stop was around Mile 8 where we encountered a big flock of Lawrence’s Goldfinch that provided photo opportunities.  It was a burn area with some wilfdflower regrowth and with healthy oaks on both sides of the road - by now we were also picking up most of the western migrants that we had seen on Mines Road - grosbeak, tanager, Ash-throated, oriole, etc.   I spotted a single Prairie Falcon and Eddie spotted a single dark Merlin, both in flight.   The Graffiti Rocks at Mile 4 were great, as usual, with lots of Bullock’s Orioles and the full suite of expected swallows and swifts - Eddie had a single Vaux Swift that I missed.  Another Golden Eagle passed overhead.  At the Tree Tobacco plants below Mile 4, that grow on the west side of the road we found a few Anna’s Hummingbirds - but nothing rare this time, and surprisingly our first Lark Sparrows of the day. On our way out of the canyon we picked up Savannah Sparrows, two Loggerhead Shrikes, and many more Kingbirds and Meadowlarks.  We were out at 3PM.

All in all, the trip count was 97 species - a good number for this 50 mile route. This was the first time I’ve taken a full eight hours to do the drive, and it was by far the most stops I’ve made along the way.  It was great to bird with a serious young-birder, and to have the opportunity to learn from each other.

Good spring birding everyone,



Aaron Maizlish
San Francisco, CA 

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