Wednesday morning in Heather Farm Walnut Creek


I left a little later today, about 8:30, so I did not actually see some of the regular, human morning park visitors.  But the birds were still there, including three White-crowned Sparrows.  Like others reported yesterday, their numbers plummeted overnight Monday to Tuesday.  The Golden-crowned Sparrows are still present and looking ever sharper with their broad black stripes and the yellow and white patches on their crowns.

A Green Heron was around, as was a Common Moorhen.  Two Killdeers were very vocal flying around over the area west of the big pond.

Yesterday three of us watched a mother Mallard shepherd her dozen new ducklings past us toward the pond.  I did not see them today, nor have I seen any sign of goslings since the seven I saw on Palm Sunday.

While on the west side of the pond watching the sparrows, I heard a song I was having trouble to identify.  It was equally hard to find the source, but after at least five minutes of looking, I finally found a beautiful male Wilson's Warbler high in the willows.  Well, I am not sure I actually heard one last year, so maybe it has been two years.  No wonder it seemed strange.

I was more familiar with the squawks and other weird sounds of the Great-tailed Grackle I was hearing.  It was on the pond side of the reeds on the west side, and it was not until I reached the wooden railing near the parking lot that I had a good chance to see it.  Still, it was going in and out of the reeds when I finally did see it; pretty hard to find even though it was quite vocal.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek