Phainopepla, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Wildcat Canyon Park 9/7

Alan Krakauer

The highlight of my visit to Wildcat Canyon this morning was undoubtedly a Phainopepla. Definitely a new bird for me in the park. I saw it briefly, a little after 9AM, near the top end of the Bonita Trail. This is near the Monte Cresta Entrance (although I came up from the Park Ave Entrance). Traveling north/uphill on the Bonita Trail from Wildcat Creek Trail, approx 1/4 mile there's a lot of mixed scrub and thickets on the left (west) side, this is bounded on the north by the western extension of the Monte Cresta trail. If you hit the upper gate, or the path that makes the final accent up to the ridge on the right, you've gone just too far. The Phainopepla was up on a couple of bushes. I initially found it by calls. I didn't see it when I left but I didn't notice it fly off either. 

This patch of trees and scrub also had a Western Wood Pewee, a couple of Western Tanagers, a couple of Blue-gray gnatcatchers, 2 Cal Thrashers, and some wrentits. 

While somehow the Phainopepla didn't require documentation in eBird, an early Ruby-crowned Kinglet along Wildcat Creek in Alvarado Park did. That's also where I managed my only warbler of the day (a Wilson's).

Best non-rarity was finding a Great Horned Owl hunting mid-morning. After it's 3rd change of perch it just put out its wings and went to sleep.

Good birding,
Alan Krakauer
Richmond, CA