Live oak warbler and vireo birding!

Jim Chiropolos

Live oak habitats is almost a neglected habitat for birding, because it is so frustrating to see birds well in live oak habitat.

Today I walked a loop from my home up Lomas Contades, Vollmer Peak, Seaview trail, Inspiration Point, Wildcat canyon Road and El Toyonol in the mist and rain. Much to my surprise, the best birding by far was the last portion in live oaks. Aside from the common Wilsons and Orange-crowns along seaview trail, the Monterey Pine/Euc habitat was very quiet for warblers and migrants.

Once I left Inspiration Point, the birding really picked up in the live oak habitat with over 100 Townsends Warblers and 4 Cassins vireos seen in 8 large warbler flocks. The Cassins vireos are associating with the Townsend flocks. (eBird considers Cassins early now). 2/3 or more of the Townsends warblers are males. Of the 8 warbler flocks I watched, only 1 had yellow-rumps - with even numbers of both Myrtles and Audobons in the one flock. The last flock was one of the best warbler flocks I have ever seen in California with likely over 50 Townsends and two Cassins and the only warbling vireo of the day!

Using I Naturalist I was able to identify some new wildflowers I have not seen before in Tilden.

Stay safe out there - Wildcat canyon road would not be a good place to bird on a sunny day - too many bikes and cars.

Jim Chiropolos, Orinda

Ethan Monk

To add to Jim's post, this morning in Redwood Regional Park, I counted 142 Townsend's Warblers in the live oaks along the southern end of the Ridge Trail! They were often in large flocks of up to 40 birds, most of the time with nothing else mixed in--totally monotypic flocks. They're really moving along ridgelines in the Berkeley-Oakland hills it seems. Regular numbers of everything else this morning, and no Pileated.