Heather Farm in Walnut Creek Tuesday morning


The White-breasted Nuthatches are still feeding young on the west side of the large, mostly natural pond. In the top of the same oak tree, Tree Swallows copulated 15 or 20 times. The male would hover above and behind the female, move in to copulate, then pull back, hover and do it again. At one point he perched on a small branch, then proceeded to continue copulating. Eventually, they both flew off over the pond, though they later returned to the top of the same tree.

I parked my bike at the equestrian area to try and find the singing Ash-throated Flycatcher, which seemed to be in the trees between the two rings. Suddenly, it was singing right over my head in a smaller oak. I looked up, only to find the sun directly in my eyes--aarrgh! As I moved to a better place, it flew off from behind the tree and went somewhere else. It has been singing around the equestrian area or the private Seven Hills School entrance for about a week.

In the pond near the school, I found a Spotted Sandpiper along the edge closest to the school. Viewing is hampered here by limited access to actually see the pond. Here, too, were two Canada Goose families, one older with four goslings, another much newer with two.

A Red-shouldered Hawk flew through the trees west of the big pond, but I could not find a Red-tailed Hawk on the power poles near the school.

Cedar Waxwings are still abundant in the area. Some are along the ditch between the Contra Costa Canal and the dog park, some like the mulberry tree at the north end of the equestrian rings.

I was not in the park Sunday, but yesterday a family of 7 Mallard ducklings appeared in the concrete pond near the community center. They were present again today.

The Western Bluebirds may have fledged from the equestrian parking lot area, I do not see them flying back and forth hunting so aggressively. I did see a male, though, on an electric wire there today. A Robin was on a fence at the group picnic area south of the concrete pond and across from the now-closed volleyball courts.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek