Red-Naped Sapsucker, Pygmy Owls, Migrants -- Mines Rd. 4/26

Max Laubstein

Hey yo bird people,

Today I ventured deep into the backcountry wilds of Alameda county via Mines rd in an exploration caravan complete with myself and ornithological expert Oscar Moss. Much of the activity of the day occurred at mile marker 9.76, where 2 Northern Pygmy Owls tooted from not too far down in the canyon. Unfortunately, the pygmy owls never allowed our retinas to enjoy the pleasure of their rotund bodies. Another time ms. and mr. pygmy owl, for now I will have to fantasize about the adorable sight of your pygmy family. While exploring the oaks around the pullout here, we were treated to a medley of breeding/migrant birds, including bullock's oriole, western tanagers, nashville warbs, hammond's fly, laz buntings, cassin's vireos, and more. The unequivocal highlight here was when I noticed a sapsucker climbing around in a tree, got bins on it, and realized it was a yellow-bellied/red naped type. Aggravated, Oscar lashed out on me as I proved incompetent on getting him the bird, treating me with compliments like "you sure it wasn't a nuttall's?" Eventually, the sapsucker reappeared, and we were able to get better looks (and Oscar photos) of what we confirmed as an adult female Red-naped. Continuing down the road we stopped at mile marker 11.56 or something where Alex Henry had reported a Bell's sparrow the other day. Unfortunately, no bells for us, but a female Calliope hummer flicking her little two-lobed tail and a singing black-throated gray warb were nice consolations. Further down the road at the Horse Corrals, Lawrence goldfinches flying feet over heads and tinkling, and a green heron, were awesome too. After I left, Oscar continued down the road, where he found several Phainopeplas. Wow wow wow, awesome morning!

The eBird checklist with photos (eventually) is below.