05-31-11

Yesterday proved the perfect opportunity to sketch Vaux's Swift! The trail to Bald Mountain from of Mount Umunhum Road had at least 4 Vaux's Swift foraging low overhead. There was also a White-throated Swift among them making for a nice comparison of structure and flight style. I've always been fascinated by Swifts and their un-birdlike ways...






05-29-11

Willow Flycatcher at the Mokelumne River Preserve outside of Clements. This was our target for the area and was easily found, you guessed it... in the willows beside the river.







05-26-11

American White Pelicans at the Palo Alto Flood Control Basin on Frontage Road.








05-25-11

An unusually late Cackling Goose at the Geng Road pond in Palo Alto appeared to be B.h. leucopareia.








05-21-11

Our car had a little extra time before the class was scheduled to meet in Patterson. We made a detour along Hwy 132 toward Modesto where we saw several Swainson's Hawks. During the trip proper, we had Lewis's Woodpecker along San Antonio Valley Road during the Del Puerto Canyon class trip.











05-20-11

Jesse and I toured Del Puerto Canyon today. We began in Patterson, and made our way up and over Mount Hamilton, finding most of our targets. Added excitement was when we found two separate Greater Roadrunners.








05-18-11

While waiting for the garage door guy to arrive and install our new roll-door, I heard and saw a male Western Tanager in the eucalyptus over our driveway.





05-14-11

Three sketches from Saturday's class trip to Del Puerto Canyon:
Blue Grosbeak, Costa's Hummingbird
and Canyon Wren.












05-12-11

Yesterday the Great-tailed Grackle was in Palo Alto, Santa Clara County. TODAY it was about 100 yards away, across the creek in E. Palo Alto, San Mateo County. Seemed to be traveling the Camellia Drive neighborhood and the Geng Road Pond. Other Icterids seen... both Orioles, Red-winged and Brewer's Blackbird, and Brown-headed Cowbird.

Today's (and yesterday's) Great-tailed Grackle. I did a proper scan at home, and added a faint blue wash in photoshop to suggest the ultra-dark blue-black gloss of the male. I also forgot to mention that in flight, the male seems almost to "drag" it's enormous plow-shaped tail through the air. Leslie Flint said there were three Grackles at the Geng Road pond this morning, so perhaps there is a nest in the reeds somewhere... It's worth another visit, if for no other reason, to hear that remarkable song again.






05-07-11

Two sketches from the recent class trip to Sunol Regional Wilderness.
Lazuli Bunting
and Ash-throated Flycatcher.











05-04-11

Following Rob Furrow's directions, I relocated the MacGillivray's Warbler on Stanford Campus. As he described, the bird was located on the palm-lined diagonal paved trail leading from Palm Drive to the turnaround on the south end of Lomita. Parking on Lomita is tricky, but pay spaces are in front of the Cantor Arts Center.

I would add to Rob's directions that I located the bird by its song, which was infrequent from noon to 12:30, but then became much more frequent after much pishing. It stuck to the dense cover of the heavy bushes beside the huge palm tree with the bat box (look for two metal straps fixing the wooden box to the palm)

Finally, I got exceptionally close looks at the bird as it poked through the shadows and sang at hip level about 6 feet away.

Also present in the general area were several Western Tanagers, 2 fly-over Western Kingbirds, Bullock's Oriole, one heard-only Hooded Oriole, White-throated Swifts, and bunches of juvenile Dark-eyed Juncos wearing spring-fashion streaks.

A lovely lunch break. Thanks Rob for the tip!