Phainopeplas on east side of Mt Diablo; Perkins Canyon

Alan Bade

Today we went to the east side of Mt Diablo. It doesn't seem to get a lot of birding visits, at least as evidenced on eBird. We went to Perkins Canyon up the utility access road past the high voltage towers, then along the stream in Perkins Cyn. We were hoping to see the Lawrence's Goldfinch that Sarah Lynch and Ethan Monk reported on their 4/25 list, but no luck. (I may have heard it, but I am not very familiar with their song.)

We saw at least 4 Phainopeplas here (37.899084, -121.875834), males and females seemed to be gathering nest materials. This has been a consistent place to see Phainopeplas, at least for us. Cliff swallows were in abundance closer to Morgan territory road. Here's our list;

The east face of Mt Diablo generates a lot of heat, so I'd go earlier than we did. We stayed longer than we thought we would, and it got hot. The turkey vultures were out in force using the thermals.

Despite lots of blooming monkey flowers, Yerba Santa, and waning sage, we didn't see any Calliope hummers, just Annas. (This area burned a few years ago.) The utility access road winds its' way up fairly steeply. There were blooming Mariposa lilies (Calochortus venustus) pretty high up. There's an even steeper single track trail that departs from the road and climbs further. But there's lots of great birding in the oak woodland below for anyone that wants off the beaten path birding. Single track trails can be followed up the riparian corridor to an archery range that is private land. (This trail can be a little brushy.)

The eBird hotspot is called Mt Diablo SP-Perkins Canyon, but the marker seems to be placed in the residential area outside of the state park. I thought I'd post this primarily to let other birders know of this area. There's a small parking area and gate about here; 37.899647, -121.873470

Afterwards, we stopped by Clayton Community Park to try for the Yellow breasted chat, to no avail. But it was nice to run into Paul and Nancy Schorr and their son. I imagine if they found it after we left, we'd know by now....

Good birding, Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill