Chipping Sparrows in Pleasant Hill Jan. 9


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I rode my bike today to the paved trail along Grayson Creek in hopes of seeing Alan Bade's Chipping Sparrows.  I joined the trail at Astrid, which is the road on the south side of the Sloat's Garden Center.  Walt Duncan parked there and found me on the trail.  The Chipping Sparrows were present, but way to the north, almost to Hookston Road.  We were behind the St. Vincent de Paul's facility when Walt and I saw the sparrows.  I had followed them from a bit farther south before Walt caught up with me.  In the dense foliage just west of Sloat's parking, we heard a Hermit Thrush, but never saw it.

The Chipping Sparrows made for my sixth sparrow species of the day.  Earlier I birded my usual patch in Heather Farm Park.  I had White-crowned, Golden-crowned, Song, Fox and Lincoln's Sparrows there.

My other good birds in Heather Farm were a female Common Merganser in the pond near the private Seven Hills School, Western Bluebirds along the road at the equestrian ring parking lot, a Northern Flicker with yellow underwing.  Cedar Waxwings were in front of the Walnut Creek Kindercare at Treat Blvd and Cherry Lane.

I wanted to study the Flicker more, thinking it had landed in an oak next to the road.  Unfortunately, it seems to have flown on and I was not able to study the facial characteristics further.  All the other Flickers I have seen in Heather Farm this winter have been of the Red-shafted flavor.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek