The Jack Sparrows Spring Birdathon
Friday 20 April 2007
Photos from this adventure are at: http://web.mac.com/wilmot/iWeb/Site/Jack_Sparrows_Spring_2007.html
On Friday we spent a wonderful day birding from 3:30am until
after dark, starting in the East hills and working our way westward.
Our total for the day was 126 species. Here is a summary.
The dawn chorus was somewhat meager on account of the cold rain,
which slowly dwindled as the morning progressed. We were in hills
behind the fire station at Smith Creek. First bird heard was a GREAT
HORNED OWL. First bird seen was CALIFORNIA QUAIL. On the hike back
down, a pair of WOOD DUCKs was seen in a small pond. In a cluster of
oak trees next to the gate for the Foothill trail we saw NASHVILLE,
ORANGE-CROWNED and WILSON'S WARBLERs as well as all three Goldfinch
species. The bridge over Smith Creek did not give us any flycatchers,
but we got great looks at a HERMIT THRUSH and LINCOLN'S SPARROW.
On the drive down we found another pair of Wood Ducks at Bass Lake.
At Grant Lake we saw a pair of CASPIAN TERNs mating. Across the road
from the lake we heard several GRASSHOPPER SPARROWs, which we got
glimpses of briefly near the parking area for the Hotel Trail in .
At Ed Levin we got selasphorus hummingbird (likely ALLEN'S
HUMMINGBIRD), our first-of-year ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, more
LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCHes and in the locust trees near the dog run a
flock of CEDAR WAXWINGs were hawking for bugs and passing berries to
each other. We found a GREAT HORNED OWL in a tree near the spot where
we had seen Long-eared Owl the previous year (perhaps the Great
Horned Owl chased away the competition?). We assume the owl had
recently dined on turkey, given the large collection of fresh turkey
gore and feathers directly below the roosting spot!
On the drive into Alviso several BONAPARTE'S GULLs flew over the road
from the dump to the water treatment plant. At the Alviso EEC we saw
a single NORTHERN PINTAIL resting on the far shore of the close salt
pond, A16. Also at the pond were EARED GREBE, SCAUP (likely LESSER)
and many species of gull. The BARN OWL looked at us from within its
box in the sycamores; we were relieved as we had seen a Barn Owl
roadkill on Zanker Road. We stopped at State & Spreckels, where the
only highlight was a smattering of SEMIPALMATED PLOVER.
Onward to Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake where we saw NORTHERN
HARRIER and many expected ducks and shorebirds. Two pair of
CANVASBACK were swimming on salt pond A1. Shoreline Lake had a
CLARK'S GREBE as well as WESTERN GREBEs.
Palo Alto Baylands, surprisingly, added only CLAPPER RAIL and RING-
NECKED PHEASANT to our list, although we got great views of more
Clark's Grebes and a giant flock (300+) of MARBLED GODWITs.
McClellan Ranch gave us our HOODED ORIOLE. Stevens Creek Reservoir
had an OSPREY flying overhead. Near the Villa Maria Picnic Area we
saw VAUX'S SWIFT and found a HUTTON'S VIREO by following its call.
Driving up Stevens Canyon Road we found an AMERICAN DIPPER in the
creek below one of the bridges.
We had a little bit of light left as we came back down out of the
valley so we drove to Oka Ponds in hopes of seeing a lingering
Wilson's Snipe, but we had no luck on our end-of-the-day "Snipe hunt."
The Jack Sparrows
Barry & Ginger Langdon-Lassagne
Species List for The Jack Sparrows Spring 2007 Birdathon
Friday 20 April 2007
Species in order of first heard or seen. (h) = heard only, never seen
Total Species: 126
Joseph D. Grant County Park (Smith Creek area)
Great Horned Owl
Joseph D. Grant County Park (Near Grant Lake)
Great Blue Heron
California Thrasher (h)
Ed Levin County Park
Purple Finch (h)
Marsh Wren (h)
American White Pelican
State & Spreckels
Common Yellowthroat (h)
Palo Alto Baylands
Clapper Rail (h)
Ring-necked Pheasant (h)
McClellan Ranch Park
Stevens Creek Reservoir
Stevens Creek Park - Villa Maria Picnic Area
Stevens Creek Canyon