Castle Rock/Diablo Foothills/Pine Canyon


The morning offered up some fine birding, and I was happy to 
take advantage of it. A few yards beyond the entry gate to Castle Rock
park, right where the creek passes beneath the paved road, I found 
a Rock Wren standing atop a wooden fence post to my left. After a brief
display, it flew off well into the hilly field. Shortly thereafter, in that same field,
there were four splendid Lark Sparrows, two of which were gathering
nesting materials. 

While searching for Bullock's Orioles (which I never did find), I was able to
spot a single male Brown-headed Cowbird high in a Locust Tree near the
basketball court adjacent the pool area.

Shortly after passing through the first cattle gate, I found a Rufous-crowned
Sparrow singing in a shrub on the right side of the road. This bird has, of late,
been quite regular along this stretch. In addition, there were several singing
Orange-crowned Warblers. I heard many more during the morning, double, I 
would say, from my walk of four days ago.

When I made it to the Castle Rocks, I was able to find a single Peregrine Falcon
roosting in one of the smaller grottos. I heard, and then saw, a pair of Hairy
Woodpeckers moving rather hastily through an oak on the west side of the road.

I continued to the State Park boundary at the second cattle gate, and decided to
sit awhile at one of the wooden tables. I've done this "sit" many times before, as
the nearby stand of tall oaks tends to host a decent variety of species during
the spring. Again I found another pair of Hairy Woodpeckers, a pair of Nuttall's
Woodpeckers, a Cassin's Vireo, Hutton's Vireo, and at least three Warbling
Vireos. Also found, a Pacific Slope Flycatcher, confirmed by its vocalization.
And before I left, a bright Wilson's Warbler

Generally speaking, the numbers of White-crown and Golden-crown Sparrows
have noticeably declined over the last week. Likewise with Yellow-rumped Warblers.

'Tis the season.

Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek