Re: Castle Rock, Walnut Creek (Sunday additons)
I spent 3 hours birding Castle Rock Sunday morning and in addition to what Steve reported, I spotted in the grassy ball field area the following: a Peregrine Falcon catching and eating a Rock Pigeon, a Lark Sparrow (which landed 15 ft. away), a Chipping Sparrow along with 2 Bullock's Orioles as previously reported. Along the trail, I spotted a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and spotted the Great-horned Owl in a large stick nest in the rock cliffs near where the peregrines nest. Lots of White-throated Swifts and Cliff Swallows on the cliffs too. Along the trail, I heard and spotted all 3 vireo species mentioned below but struck out on the tanager, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Lawrence's Goldfinch (but I turned around before the 1st stream crossing). My path crossed with another birder, Melanie King, at the ball field and cliffs.
On Apr 30, 2011, at 3:31 PM, SteveLombardi wrote:
A 4 mile round trip walk from the Castle Rock Park entrance out into Mt. Diablo SP provided a very birdy morning, with lots of migrants singing. As usual, half the species were seen in the Castle Rock picnic area. If you go, be aware that about 1 mile from the parking lot, you'll find the trail criss-crossing the creek many times. Be prepared for wet feet.----------------
Condor Country Consulting, Inc
815 Estudillo St.
Martinez, CA 94553
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Mines Road today
Sequoia Audubon's 2nd field trip this week to Mines Road was very successful. It warmed up nicely and the wind didn't seem to bother us very much. We saw most of the same species as Thursday - rufous-crowned sparrow, Lewis' woodpecker, wood ducks, green heron and phainopeplas in several locations. Also roadrunner along Del Puerto Canyon road.
This is a good time to visit Mines Road if you want to see Lawrence's Goldfinches and Chipping Sparrows. They were very visible today at the junction of Mines, San Antonio Valley and Del Puerto Canyon Roads. The Lawrence's could be viewed in the yellow fiddleneck flowers under the trees whilst sitting a the picnic tables at the bar. Maybe gas prices have kept the traffic down - it wasn't too bad today. We saw Chipping Sparrows there and at the Alameda/Santa Clara county line.
To add to what I reported on Thursday, it seems as though the migrants are moving - we had at least 2 flocks of Vaux's Swifts along Mines Road and at Frank Raines Park (which was amazingly devoid of humans on a Sunday and the bathrooms are deplorable) in addition to a continuing hermit warbler, there was Nashville warbler and Western Tanager.
We saw more rock wrens today than I ever remember and were treated to 2 male Costa's hummingbirds at the usual place on Del Puerto Canyon Road. One tried twice to dislodge the other from its perch.
I want to "correct" something I reported on Thursday. I said that we saw an adult male Allen's hummingbird in the sticky monkey flower at MP 5.74 on Mines Road. I was reminded that any selaphorus hummingbird seen away from the coast at the end of April must be a rufous in migration because all Allen's would been on their coastal breeding grounds by then. I stand corrected.
Nashville Warbler - Antioch
This morning we had a brief visit from a Nashville Warbler that was gleaning insects from shrubs. This was a new yard bird for us.
Paul and Nancy Schorr
Walnut Creek Birds--Sunday
The White-throated Sparrow put in appearance later this morning than I usually go. It was about 10 AM before I could visit Heather Farm Park.
A Spotted Sandpiper was standing on one of the floating boards in the large, mostly natural pond. These boards are often used by turtles taking a little sun. In fact, a turtle was climbing out of the water and onto the board on which the sandpiper stood. The sandpiper did not seem to be bothered.
The Chickadees in our patio have been calling for mom and dad for 2 or 3 days now. We can hear them from inside our house at times. They will probably fledge in a few days.
Hugh B. Harvey
Nest-cam box update
To review, I have a nest box with a camera with Chestnut-backed Chickadees. 5 eggs were laid between 3/21 and 3/26, all hatched on April 10. On April 11 there were only 4 chicks, presumably one died and was removed. Yesterday, April 30, 2 chicks fledged, and suddenly there was one more egg in the nest. This morning the other 2 chicks fledged, and a second egg was laid. The mom is bringing in more nest material and moving the eggs around. We'll see if she incubates them.
The Bewick's Wrens and House Finches are still nesting in my yard also.
Wildcat Canyon/Tilden area this morning - waxings, warblers
From 7:30 to 8:30 this morning I had about 400 CEDAR WAXWINGS Waxwings flying north in groups.
At least 1 BLACK-THROATED GREY and 1 HERMIT WARBLER are singing and showing themselves in a neighbor's big oak, along with what seem like extra ORANGE-CROWNED, TOWNSEND'S, and WILSON'S in the area.
What looked like a female SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was up already.
A pair of AMERICAN CROWS have been carrying nest material to I think a different neighbor's oak the last two days.
Mitchell Canyon: Warblers don't like wind...
My Palo Alto Adult School Birding class visited Mitchell Canyon
today. Breezy conditions made viewing VERY difficult. Most birds were
seen only with great effort, and songs were hard to hear at times.
Still, we had some real highlights:
We found a single CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD in the chaparral section of
White Canyon Trail, near a group of Paintbrush flowers. Reports form
other birders suggested more could be found in other areas further up
the trail that were sheltered from the wind. In this same area we
heard repeated songs of "Bell's" Sage Sparrow, but never did see the
bird. It sang several times, but wind kept it invisible. CALIFORNIA
THRASHER was vocal, but hidden hear too. Most exciting here was a
pair of COAST HORNED LIZARDS we saw copulating in the poison oak
beside the trail. They lumbered away, oblivious to us.
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATHCERS were seen at three locations along the
Mitchell Canyon Fire Road, Including one not more than 100 yards from
the parking lot.
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS were seen on the Mitchell Canyon Fire Road,
as well as White Canyon Trail, often easy to see as they perched in
PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHERS were heard singing and calling along the
creek in the first shaded area of the trail, and two HAMMOND'S
FLYCATCHERS were seen along White Canyon Trail near the grove of oak
trees on the upper end near the meadow. Their longer primaries,
blocky head, short bill and tail were easily observed. Nesting
BULLOCK'S ORIOLE were found here, as well as a singing NASHVILLE
HERMIT WARBLER was seen at the junction of Mitchell Canyon Fire Road
and Black Point Trail, as well as the base of White Canyon Trail. We
heard it in various other locations as well.
NASHVILLE WARBLERS were seen in various places on Black Point Trail,
White Canyon Trail and Mitchell Canyon Fire Road.
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER was heard at the north end of Black Point
Trail, but not viewed until we reached the junction of White Canyon
and Mitchell Canyon fire Road.
One member of our group reported LAZULI BUNTING singing and visible
on the Mitchell Canyon Fire Road south of the junction with White
NOTE: In this area we also found a 4-foot long Western Rattle Snake
beside the trail. BEWARE of these reptiles as well as the many ticks
in the area! It's easy to forget to look down when all the Warblers
are in the branches above us...
Less noteworthy species, but still welcome during our walk included
GOLDEN EAGLE, COOPER'S and SHARP-SHINED HAWK, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER,
all three species of VIREO (Hutton's, Warbling, and Cassin's),
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER, WESTERN TANAGER, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. Above the
quarry we also spotted all 5 SWALLOWS, and both species of SWIFT.
Mountain View, CA
. . .
Mountain View, CA
GGAS bicycle Alameda Creek to Coyote Hills Sat Apr 30
GGAS Quarry Lakes-Alameda Creek-Coyote Hills-Bicycle
Trip-Sat Apr 30
The water was running swiftly in
Alameda Creek and the majority of the birds were Mallards and Canada Geese, but
we managed to see a Spotted Sandpiper on the upper creek near Quarry Lakes and
were fortunate to see a Red-Shouldered Hawk at Hwy 880 where we have often seen
them in the past. The Song Sparrows and House Finches were singing and the
locust trees beautiful. At Coyote Hills we found a number of ducks including a
brilliant Ruddy Duck, some White Pelicans and Least Sandpipers and a Common
Moorhen; the small pond just outside the entrance kiosk had a few Western
Sandpipers but the pond was much reduced from a few weeks ago and will soon be
dried up. There was a Red-tailed Hawk nest near Willow Trail and the Alameda
Creek Trail. Quarry Lakes water level seemed quite high and we only saw a
couple of Western Grebes and some gulls on the water at the end of our ride.
There was road work on Shinn St in Fremont leading to the trail and we had to
endure some unpleasant road biking to get to the Sequoia Bridge; the workers on
site had no idea how to direct us and would not let us cross their worksite; returning
we went up to Mission Blvd and had even nastier biking to return to Mowry and
the Fremont BART station. 52 species.
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Rock Pigeon (I)
European Starling (I)
House Sparrow (I)
Calliope & Rufous Hummers at Lake Del Valle
I birded at the north end of Lake Del Valle today (EBRPD parking lot at the
south end of Arroyo Rd. in Livermore). I had both Calliope and Rufous
Hummingbirds at two different locations along the way. Also saw singing
Rufous-crowned Sparrows at those same two locations.
Castle Rock, Walnut Creek
A 4 mile round trip walk from the Castle Rock Park entrance out into Mt. Diablo SP provided a very birdy morning, with lots of migrants singing. As usual, half the species were seen in the Castle Rock picnic area. If you go, be aware that about 1 mile from the parking lot, you'll find the trail criss-crossing the creek many times. Be prepared for wet feet.
3 Ruddy Turnstones at EC/Richmond Bay Trail
Yesterday around 7 pm (tide was very low) I saw three Ruddy Turnstones, two
in full breeding plumage, one in transition, from the bench just south of
the dilapidated pier along the El Cerrito/Richmond portion of the Bay Trail.
Also saw among others:
Walnut Creek Birds
The White-throated Sparrow continues south of the equestrian area in Walnut Creek's Heather Farm Park. It still comes out when I throw a few seeds near the bushes here. The only other sparrows in the park which I can find are Song Sparrows.
Yesterday there were about 30 Canada Goose goslings on the lawn near the swimming pool and concrete pond. At the same time, the City has a professional Goose Chaser keeping the Canada Geese off the south ball fields. This is done by having a dog handler send a dog across the fields to chase the geese into flight.
In our patio just north of the park and across the Contra Costa Canal, a Scrub Jay has started coming for our seeds, the first in a lot of years. Today we also had a female Brown-headed Cowbird coming for the meal worms. This didn't please me, so I opened the sliding door a couple of times to make her fly away. An Oak Titmouse found some of the worms in a basket we sometimes use. Rosita says one of the California Towhees also goes there looking for them.
A new Mallard family of 9 ducklings was in the Contra Costa Canal, near where it goes under the creek. This is north of the Seven Hills School. Too bad they won't last long.
Hugh B. Harvey
Garin Regional Park Morning Sightings (PICs)
I spent couple of hours in morning at Garin Regional Park. The oaks
around the parking lot (next to the wood bridge) were resonating with
Wilson's Warbler calls. The Hammond's flycatcher continues and was seen
in the trees west of barn. Further down north of creek (Ranch Side
picnic area) there was Black-headed Grosbeak and Warbling Vireo near the
big Sycamore. An Ash-throated Fly catcher was also seen briefly. The
Bullocks Orioles and Western Kingbirds were seen along the hill slopes
near big Eucalyptus (North East across from Barn).
few pictures of the some of the mentioned birds can be seen here.
Lazuli Bunting & Chipping Sparrow at Sunol RP
Ken Wilson <kaeagles@...>
Earlier this evening I saw my FOS Lazuli Bunting and Chipping Sparrow off the trail 500 feet after you clear the bridge over Alameda Creek and before the second cattle gate off Camp Ohlone Road going east. Also seen or heard included:
Swallows - various
The photo of the Bunting and Sparrow can be seen at the link below:
Mines Road today - Sequoia Audubon Scouting Trip
We had a great day today on Mines Road. It was a bit nippy in the a.m. with wind following us throughout the day but ending well down Del Puerto Canyon Road, the temp was 75 - toasty!
Highlights: Definitely the most surprising bird of the day was a SOLITARY SANDPIPER at the tiny pond just across the road from the old Fire Station at the junction. We surprised it out the pond, but it returned only to fly out again when it saw us and then, unfortunately, gone. There were lots of Lawrence's goldfinches in several locations - mostly at the junction in the fiddlehead flowers; also chipping sparrows seen well from the picnic benches at the junction. We also had at least 3 golden eagles along Mines and Del Puerto Canyon roads. I think this is the best day I have ever had for Lawrence's.
The great horned owl chicks showed nicely as did the red-tails on the nest across from 6326 Mines Road. At MP 5.74 (the magic corner) we had singing rufous-crowned sparrows, CA thrashers and Allen's hummers in the monkey-flowers. We had green heron at the corral as well as Bullock's oriole. The Lewis's Woodpeckers are well down San Antonio road from their previous locations - past the large ranch on the left in the huge oak trees on the right of the road and before the large wood duck pond (where there were 4).
Also Frank Raines Picnic area had hermit warblers, Hammond's flycatcher (and we understand that early in the day there were lots more warblers than we saw at 3 PM). Owl Rock was devoid of owls but had a red-tail nest; the cottonwood in front of the rock however was alive - shrike, W. kingbird, Lawrence's goldfinches, lark sparrow, house finches, say's phoebe, phainopepla and bullock's oriole - all in the space of 15 minutes. Costa's hummer was in his usual location around the corner even though half of his tree has collapsed - he was still sitting on the dead branches - just a little closer to the ground!
Please feel free to email me if you have questions about specifics.
Re: calliope hummer
Amazing! - I also had a male Calliope Hummingbird today at 3 pm, at one of my feeders - Oakland Hills, northern intersection of Gravatt & Stephens - just a couple of miles north of John. It stayed for only a minute, and was pretty much chased away by a male Rufous Hummingbird. I had to leave for an appt. and have not seen either since I returned at 4:15 pm.toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
Oakland (Claremont Canyon)
John Luther wrote:
Calliope Hummers (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties) 4/24 late post
Sorry for the late post, but I was out birding in Mitchell Canyon Sunday morning from 8am till noon. I had the following highlights:
4 Calliope Hummingbirds ( 3 males and 1 female) - 2 of the males were giving display flights. The first male was on the fire road near the first bench. The other two males and the female were on the Red Road in White Canyon. None of these birds were in the large patches of chaparral.
1 Sage Sparrow - Singing from up the hill along the Red Road.
1 Chipping Sparrow - Seen near the beginning of the Red Road
2 Western Tanagers
1 Olive-sided Flycatcher
10-15 Lazuli buntings
2 Nashville Warblers
After seeing 4 Calliope Hummingbirds and still needing it for my Alameda County list I decided to make a quick run over to Mines Rd. I first stopped near MP 6 and quickly found 2 RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS but little else. I worked back towards MP 5.4 where there in a nice pull of on the east side of the road. Even though it was the middle of the day there was a lot of activity at this site. Highlights included:
2 California Thrashers
6 Rufous Hummingbirds
1 Calliope Hummingbird (female) - seen quickly perched but photos show the primaries extending well past the tail and light buffy flanks.
1 Prairie Falcon
1 Golden Eagle
Again I apologize for posting this so late
Just (6 PM April 28) had a male Calliope Hummingbird come to one of my feeders
in the Oakland Hills near Skyline Blvd and Carisbrook Drive. Be on the lookout
for these little gems full of energy and beauty.
Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve - 4/28
Today on our way back home from a Mt. Diablo Audubon field trip to Mitchell Canyon, we made a brief visit to Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and had the following sightings:
Great Horned Owl nest had an adult and an owlet. The nest is located in a large oak tree 0.5 miles south of the kiosk. The tree is about 100-200 yards west of the road and the nest is on the right side of the tree. Caution - the road is very narrow and very busy on weekends, and there isn't a shoulder or pullout in this area.
Red-tailed Hawk nest had one visible young bird and an adult was perched on a nearby branch. This nest is located 0.2 miles north of the kiosk and is about 1/4 mile away on the west side of the road. Look for a small grove of oaks on the hillside and the nest is located in the center-most tree. There is a shoulder along the road in that area.
Along the fence line adjacent to the road we observed:
Bullock's Orioles - 6+, both males and females
Western Bluebirds - numerous males and females
Lark Sparrows - 6+
Western Kingbird - 1
Paul and Nancy Schorr
Grasshopper Sparrow and more, Garin/Dry Creek RP
Photographer Michael Park gave me excellent directions on how to find the Grasshopper Sparrows at Garin/Dry Creek Regional Park. Park at the end of Tamarack Drive in Union City, and as soon as you enter the park through the wooden fence, turn left (don't go to the High Ridge trail) and follow the narrow footpath up the steep hill behind the houses. Within five minutes from your car, the houses end and you will be above Chapel of the Chimes cemetery. As you pass the traffic circle below, look and listen for sparrows in the long grass above the dirt ridge that follows the trail on the right as you're going north. I immediately heard buzzing and shortly a Grasshopper Sparrow flew out and perched on the chain link fence in full view.
I drove on to the main entrance to Garin where I found a beautiful, singing Black-Headed Grosbeak at the cut-through across the creek (on the way to Jordan Pond). A pair of House Finches was engaged in a courtship display, the female fluttering and gaping while the male repeatedly transferred the same seed to her bill over and over again. I also saw three Pacific Slope Flycatchers (surprisingly, all were calling), two at the creek and one at the red barn. A male Bullock's Oriole took issue with a flycatcher being in his tree and flew down and chattered at it. The park has installed new nest boxes along the hillside north of the red barn, and Tree Swallows have already moved in. A pair of Bewick's Wrens was investigating the boxes as well.
Spring is the best time to visit Garin with the hills green, the creek gurgling, wildflowers in bloom, and birds and birdsong all around.