Phainopepla-palozza on Mt Diablo


This morning John Toldi and I had a very enjoyable time hiking Green Ranch Road on Mount Diablo.  We parked slightly downhill on Summit Road from the trailhead and immediately had some nice migrant activity and also breeding Bell’s Sparrows.  We got a nice list together but what especially stood out was the density of Phainopeplas; we counted eleven in a one mile stretch which is the highest number ever submitted to eBird for Contra Costa County.


We were curious as to how this hike would compare to Mitchell Canyon and in looking at separate checklists submitted this morning by Kai Mills and Denise Wright (who got a Black-chinned Sparrow) they were fairly similar.  Mitchell Canyon obviously has it benefits but Green Ranch Road can be a nice stretch of birding and has the added benefit of Phainopeplas, much better probability of Bell’s Sparrow and less human traffic.  There was a large fog back that reached the edge of Mt Diablo this morning which might have affected the activity John and I saw.


Keep in mind that the park officially opens at 8:00am but we have found the North Gate Road gate typically opened at around 7:00am.


Derek Heins