Lawrence’s Goldfinches and other Birds, Black Diamond Mines

Jim Chiropolos

I biked the west half of Black Diamond Mines today.

The highlight was watching a scrub jay catch and subdue a 10 inch long ring-necked snake longer than the jay. (These snakes have a beautiful red belly). Wow! Jays are tough!

Other highlights were at least 20 Lawrence’s Goldfinches at the Black Diamond Trail where it turns to blacktop by the Cumberland trail intersection. Three male Phainopepla and Chipping sparrows were also in this area. This is one of the better birder areas in the park, but its three miles in from the closest and different trailheads.

Multiple Lawrence’s goldfinch sightings today in the bay, I think this may be an “invasion” year for them. I wonder if more Lawrence’s are in the northern part if their range due to the drought. It will be interesting to compare sightings of them through the state this year compared to previous years. Wings are a great tool to adapt to changing conditions!

Not many warblers in Black Diamond, nine birds of five different species. Amazed by how dry it it in early April - the hills are already turning brown and the trails have the soil shrinkage resulting in ground “splits” already that want to suck in and eat bicycle tires, making biking and birding harder because I have to watch the trail - its like late June already - scary. Bird numbers low except for the three finch species.