Del Puerto Canyon


Sorry for the late post, folks.

Yesterday I met Richard Brown and Xavier Sandoval (Xavi) in Del Puerto Canyon to look for poorwills, Richard needed that one for his life list. I caught up to them at the Pygmy Owl Pullout at 4:45am and in our own vehicles we drove up the canyon. At approx. 5:15, and approx. half-a-mile beyond the entrance to the OHV park, a COMMON POORWILL flushed from the road in front of Richard's car, he was in the lead, needing to see the bird more than Xavi or I. The bird did some aerial acrobatics then flew over all three cars and disappeared into the darkness. We got out to look for it and did not refind it, but Xavi and I heard one calling from the hillside across the creek when we exited our vehicles.

Later, between Peach Tree Creek and mile post 20, we had a nice assortment of migrants and summer arrivals. We found one, possibly two, HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHERS, a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, several Ash-throated Flycatchers, a Hutton's Vireo, three Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, two of which were acting like a pair, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, two Hermit Thrushes, several Orange-crowned Warblers, only one was seen but there were quite a few singing, a few NASHVILLE WARBLERS, some Yellow-rumps, at least two singing MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLERS, some Wilson's Warblers, many Western Tanagers, one flock was made up of at least 20 birds and only one of them was a female, several Black-headed Grosbeaks, at least one Lazuli Bunting (they have become quite reliable at Peach Tree Creek) and a somewhat surprising male TRICOLORED BLACKBIRD. The blackbird was surprising due to the location and habitat. Richard and I also ran into Sandi Schoeppe and we saw a 2 foot+ rattlesnake. While driving up to meet the guys I also saw a Heermann's Kangaroo Rat sitting in the road.

When Richard started back toward home I headed over to Mines Road and came back via Coral Hollow Road. When I passed the pond where Tricolored Blackbirds have nested in the past (Del Puerto Canyon Road in Santa Clara County) I did not detect a single Tricolored Blackbird, which makes the one that Richard and I saw even more surprising. There was nothing unusual along the Santa Clara County stretch of Mines Road but in Alameda County I spotted a Yellow-billed Magpie, which was a county bird, and a Rich Cimino, who was out with his wife. I had stopped in a shady spot to eat my lunch, a car passed by headed south while I was eating and I thought "That looks like Rich." A bit later I had stopped to bird along the road and the same car passed going north and I thought "That IS Rich." He passed by, then made an abrupt stop and backed-up to say hi.

As always, happy birding, stay safe, stay sane and may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank

P.S. Why did they put the SEND and DISCARD buttons so close together? This is the second time I've had to type a message twice because of their unfortunate placement.