Clark's Nutcracker at Vollmer Peak
Sorry, George, it was not five minutes after you left, but more like half-an-hour.
Rosita and I took a late afternoon drive from Walnut Creek, thinking it might be a little cooler at the top of the hills. It was. Almost immediately out of the car, Rosita told me the Nutcracker had landed just above us. Another birder coming down the hill and I went up the paved trail just a bit to see this large, grayish bird. Well, it flew around and came back, letting us know it was a Band-tailed Pigeon.
I returned to the car to put on some walking shoes and the two of us headed uphill. We walked until we had the great views of Contra Costa County and a little farther along we found George Payton waiting patiently. We shared stories until he had to leave. He said in five minutes we would see the bird.
Rosita and I walked to the nearby fork and walked around toward the other side of the hill and pine trees. Not seeing anything of note on that side, we wandered back. Just before we reached the section of fencing in front of which George had been standing, Rosita said, "There it is." Sure enough, The Clark's Nutcracker was perched on some bare branches at the top of one of the pines directly across from George's spot.
We saw the bird for less than a minute when it flew to the north right past the sun and we lost it. Rosita said she has a couple of bad photos which were taken right about 6:30.
I was prepared to miss two good birds in two days, having goofed the timing for the Red-necked Stint. Now, I'm batting .500 and ready for the All-Star Game. Oh, that was last week, wasn't it . . . .
Hugh B. Harvey