Swainson's Hawk - Contra Loma R. P., Antioch - 4/10

Paul Schorr

Today, Nancy and I took a midday walk at Contra Loma R. P. We parked at the end of Frederickson Lane and began the walk from there, maintaining social distancing, as were others. When we reached the slight crest before the road begins downhill to the entry kiosk, Nancy spotted a raptor. When we got our binos on it, we clearly saw that it was a Swainson’s Hawk, which was a new species for us at the park. As we continued past the kiosk to the boat launch area, we encountered four Bullock’s Orioles, chattering loudly and clearly visible in their stunning breeding plumage. When we reached the boat launch area, two large birds oh the reservoir caught our attention and they turned out to be a pair of Mute Swans, another new species for us at the park. The additions of the Swainson’s Hawk and the Mute Swans brought our total species count for the park to 152. As we continued along the margin of the reservoir, we could hear Common Yellowthroats, saw at least three Lincoln’s Sparrows and a pari of Common Gallinules. When we got to Loma Island to check on the nesting Killdeer, an adult was on the nest. Today is approximately day number 20 in their incubation cycle of 24-28 days. Leaving Loma Island, we walked to the palm trees at the end of Channel Point parking lot, hoping to see the Hooded Orioles that nested there last year; however, we did not find them. During our walk out of the park, I spotted what I thought was a kiting Say’s Phoebe, but when I got the binos on it, it turned out to be a Western Kingbird. We located two more Bullock’s Orioles before ending our walk. After the recent series of welcome spring rains, it was good to be outdoors to enjoy moments with nature.

Stay well and be safe, and Happy Birding.

Paul Schorr