No Indigo, but some fun in the rain nonetheless

Richard Bradus

Hi all

No luck with Dominik's Indigo Bunting on a visit to Corona Heights late this afternoon/evening, but there was some interest to make getting caught in a cloudburst worthwhile. While the only blue I saw was Scrub Jay, there was a female Lazuli Bunting (the first female I've seen this spring), and some orange from two Black-headed Grosbeaks and a bright male Hooded Oriole (not the Baltimore from yesterday, unfortunately). Also some signs of breeding, with juncos carrying food and a juvenile Black Phoebe being fed right out in the open by both parents. And, stoically suffering through the rain with me, the Great Horned Owl that Dominik saw around noon was still perched in a pine, keeping tabs with just one eye open.

Earlier, on a quick walk through Alta Plaza Park, I got some accipiter action. Alerted by the repeated alarm calls of two Black Phoebes [interesting in itself; I'm accustomed to only seeing one here, so maybe there is some pairing going on...?], I soon spotted a small immature Cooper's Hawk hiding in an ornamental plum tree. Apparently fed up with their constant chatter, the hawk soon flew out and furiously chased after one of the phoebes, then a finch, then back to the phoebe before giving up temporarily. Trying to get a photo with my old iPhone, I scared it off again, whereupon it perched atop a light post. That didn't last long as a robin made two passes at its head, prompting the hawk to chase after the robin, then flail around chasing whatever smaller bird was nearby - without any success. Not a seasoned hunter, that's for sure! 

And, just a heads up that baby birds are popping out all over. In addition to an active nest at Lafayette Park, there was a family of Bushtits in a street tree along Scott a couple of blocks down from Alta Plaza, with what looked like at least three recent fledglings, one I saw being fed by a parent. So, it pays to listen and look up as you are walking about town, as you never know when or where those babies may show up.

Good luck staying dry and have fun!

Richard Bradus
San Francisco

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