03-31-11

I stopped at Geng Road in Palo Alto specifically to search for Orioles. Immediately upon opening my car door I heard a Bullock's Oriole high in the eucalyptus trees above the golf course pond. After repeated failures to actually see the bird I moved to San Fransciquito Creek trail (at the far end of the parking lot), walked about 100 yards to the left, and saw spectacular male Hooded Oriole . It was wheeping and chattering in the top of a large bush. I watched it for several minutes and then heard a second Hooded Oriole across the creek in San Mateo County. The first bird also heard it, rushed over the creek into enemy territory proceeded to chase and harass the rival male. The two continued to quarrel until I returned to my car several minutes later. Of course, they visited the nearby palms several times as well.





When I came home from work I caught the tiny trumpeting of Red-breasted Nuthatch across the street from our home. A moment later I saw two of them cavorting and vocalizing in the redwoods across the street. We live on Flynn between Whisman and Tyrella. You can't miss the huge redwoods there.





03-13-11

I did some scouting on Mount Hamilton Road above Grant Park and Twin Gates this morning. It was cool and drizzly so not much was happening, At Smith Creek however, there were a dozen (or so) Varied Thrushes singing their eerie dissonant songs and moving wraithlike through the shadowy trees. As I left, two Wood Ducks flew upstream over the tops of the trees and out of sight. Other than that, all was quiet, except for the incessant calls of Hutton's Vireos and the occasional song of lingering Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

On Kinkaide Road there was a flock of 15 Band-tailed Pigeons gathered in one tree by the horse enclosure, a few Western Bluebirds working along side Red-winged and Brewer's Blackbirds, a pair of Killdeer and two Western Meadowlarks by the water trough and three Yellow-billed Magpies at the base of the oaks. A Belted Kingfisher made one pass over the small pond, deciding, like me, that there was nothing else to see and it was time to move on.

 



03-12-11

In addition to my first-of-season Bullock's Orioles at Pichetti Winery this morning, many Orange-crowned Warblers, Hutton's Vireos, Purple Finches (familiar song, plus many imitations) and California Thrashers were in full voice.

Stevens Creek Reservoir had two Wood Ducks just below the overlook, as well as 5 Common Mergansers.

The American Dipper pair was coming and going every 2-3 minutes from beneath the third bridge on Stevens Canyon Road by the huge moss-covere rock. Also heard here was the first of two Pacific-slope Flycatcher.

I visited Long Ridge as well as Upper Stevens Creek. On the Santa Clara County side there wasn't much, but a Sharp-shinned Hawk made a dive at a Dark-eyed Junco (lucky Junco got a way!). A flock of Cedar Waxwing and many Band-tailed Pigeons were in the trees over the trail.

Headed down Page Mill I had nothing of note, however on last week's class field trip there was a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher singing just downhill from Montebello (gate 3). I did not hear it again today.

Stopping along Old Pagemill Road I searched for suitable Owl roosts, and managed to find a roosting Barn Owl near the entrance to the Stanford preserve. A Cooper's Hawk was performing an aerial display and calling loudly overhead. White-breasted Nuthatch, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet were also very vocal, as were several "Audubon's" Yellow-rumped Warblers singing with enthusiasm.

Crossing the valley toward Calaveras Reservoir I managed to view the new Bald Eagle nest (and occupant) thanks to the recently posted description of the rag tied to the fence. My description goes thusly: Find the old nest. Look down and to the left the width of your two hands held at arms length. Look for the mistletoe clump with a big white head on the top. A second Merlin and an adult Golden Eagle also made an appearance.

The field on Marsh Road off of Felter had a small flock of Lark Sparrows, Yellow-bille Magpies and Western Bluebirds. Some guy was photographing a female fashion model in a slinky dress as she lay on the road... it was a weird scene.

Returning through Alviso, a Burrowing Owl pair was at the VTA entrance (off of Zanker), and another pair on Disc Drive near the Jubilee Church. Still many Gulls and Wigeons on the main pond. The ponds along entrance road is now quite water-filled and a dozen or so Mew Gulls were foraging there.




03-04-11

Today's Green Heron from the unnamed pond at Gate 5 of Montebello.








03-04-11

Among the many Gulls assembled at the Palo Alto Flood Control Basin during lunch today was a first-cycle Glaucous Gull. Large, bulky, and bit darker than the one I saw last month at the Dump, it was almost as dark than the many Glaucous-winged Gulls, but with very pale (nearly white) primaries, and a decidedly ink-tipped bill. The bill was stumpy-looking and less flared than the other Gulls' bills.






03-01-11

Geng Road pond and San Francisquito Creek in Palo Alto during lunch.A male Merlin was hunting between the lot and the metal foot bridge. An Orange-crowned Warbler was trying to hide from me in the coyote bushes beside the creek. A Spotted Sandpiper was bobbing up and down along the muddy edges of the creek. It has an interesting flight, a few rapid, almost rubber-band-tempoed wing beats, if you can imagine such a thing. Then it glides on bowed wings with it's head ever-so-slightly raised. A singular Sandpiper of reservoirs and creeks. There were also 3 Greater White-fronted Geese were avoiding golf balls in the far northwest corner of the course.