04-27-03

Brian Christman and I scouted Long Ridge OSP in preparation for next week's class trip. (We spent most of our time admiring the landscape which was stunning. The view from Long Ridge trail was particularly spectacular!) The bird activity at noon was of course not at its highest, but the area still produced some nice species. Highlights included 3 Cassin's Vireos, 4 Black-throated Gray Warblers, 2 Western Tanagers, a very cooperative Winter Wren and innumerable Black-headed Grosbeaks. The full list is below. (The wildflower show was also wonderful with Shooting Star being my favorite.)

Mallard
Turkey Vulture
Band-tailed Pigeon
California Quail
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Pygmy Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
American Robin
Cassin's Vireo
Hutton's Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Orange-crowned Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Western Tanager
Black-headed Grosbeak
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Lesser Goldfinch



04-13-03

This afternoon Kelly and I saw a pair of Peregrine Falcons involved in an aerial display at the intersection of El Camino Real and Shower's Drive in Mountain View. One bird's legs were dangling below its body and both birds were doing rapid, wide circles. The observation was made from the car but thanks to the sunroof, which I quickly slammed open, the birds were clearly seen for a few seconds before the traffic light turned green and we had to move on. If this is a breeding pair, I wonder where they might set up nest. Kelly and I both thought the tall buildings just south of the intersections might be suitable nest sites. I'll have to keep an eye on those buildings for the next few weeks.



04-06-03

Brian Christman and I scouted out Stevens Creek Park today in preparation for next week's class trip with the group. Activity was low because we arrived at exactly the wrong time--noon! Despite the relative quiet, we were able to find many, many Orange-crowned Warblers and several Townsend's Warblers in the low areas. Mixed in were a few Yellow-rumped Warblers in full alternate plumage, a lingering Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a single Wilson's Warbler. Most of the activity was in the area around the Ranger's station near the lower parking area. As well, there were several singing Warbling Vireos and Bullock's Orioles chattering in the canopy. Purple Finches dominated the upper picnic area and a single Sharp-shinned Hawk crossed the sky. There was activity overhead as well, with Band-tailed Pigeons in groups of 12-15 birds at a time and multitudes of Tree Swallows and a handfull of White-throated Swifts.

Closer to home, a pair of House Finches have begun building a nest in a hanging bicycle helmet on Kelly's and my balcony. I haven't seen any activity this afternoon, but this morning the birds were active, bringing various materials to the nest. I've closed the living room blinds so they won't be bothered by us. It's very exciting...