Cricket and I scouted out the Hawyard Shoreline in preparation for our upcoming trip. Say's Phoebe, several singing Savannah Sparrows, a Cooper's Hawk, Greater Scaup and Surf Scoters were located, as well as Clark's and Horned Grebes. A group of roughly 10 Horned Larks were foraging on what we decided was probably "Mount Trashmore", a grassy plateau that hides a landfill below. Of course, American Pipits were present as well. The most exciting discovery was our first Selasphorus Hummingbird, a gleaming male Allen's which perched on a leavless bush and surveyed his newly-claimed territory by the trailhead. As expected Shorebird and Waterfowl populations were way down from our previous winter trips. Perhaps the recent mild weather has helped the species make an early return north. Whatever the explanation, we have decided to change next week's destination to a woodland habitat in the hopes of catching some migrant Passerine species. We will likely visit Grant Park at the foot of Mount Hamilton with the possiblility of Orange-crowned Warbler or other early arrivals.
On a second reconaissance mission, we made a dash to the Sunol Regional Wilderness to see what the activity was like there. We found a pair of Golden Eagles circling the first parking area near the foot bridge that leads over the creek. Orange-crowned Warbler was heard and seen along the riparian trail, as well as Hermit Thrush, Song Sparrow and Spotted Towhee. Ruby-crowned Kinglets were numerous along the Shady Glenn trail, each singing confidently and flashing their red crown occasionally. Hutton's Vireo was also located in various locations. Generally though, it seems like the location will be better in 2-3 weeks, so we have opted to visit Grant where we expect there may be more variety.
An amazing discovery has been announced--a lost world with dozens of previously unknown species of birds, mammals, amphibians, insects and plants has been found by an international team of scientists in Indonesia! To all outsiders, the area appears like a virtual "garden of Eden" with exotic species completely unafraid of humans: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/02/07/papua.species.reut/index.html
The Northern Waterthrush was still present today at Charleston Marsh around 2:00pm. Brian and I made an afternoon tour of this unfamiliar location and found the bird calling loudly from the marsh. It finally appeared in the lower branches of a small tree within the marsh. This was in the previously reported location across from the parcourse #4 marker (knee lift) along the paved trail. To reach this area, North Shoreline Boulevard from Hwy 101 and turn right on Charleston Road. Look for 1225 Charleston Road (MIPS Technologies) and park. The trailhead is across the street to the right of a large wooden trellis. Walk along the trail (doing each of the training exercises mentioned on the markers) and stop at #4. Catch your breath and listen for the rich chwip! call notes.