Winter Bird Walk with Dave Quady, December 11, 2016, by Kay Loughman

 Photo of Townsend's Warbler taken in October by Kay Loughman from her deck overlooking Claremont Canyon.

Photo of Townsend's Warbler taken in October by Kay Loughman from her deck overlooking Claremont Canyon.

For the last two years rainy weather forced us to cancel the Conservancy’s winter bird walk. More of the same seemed likely this year when we had plenty of rain during the preceding week. But the forecast for Sunday, December 11, looked promising. So, before dawn we were out listening for owls and were rewarded with vocalizations from three Great Horned and one Western Screech-Owl. The break between owling and general birding was long enough for real breakfasts instead of just quick coffees at Peet’s; and, well-fueled, we were ready to appreciate a busy half hour with thirteen species of birds, some in large flocks, at Four Corners (Grizzly Peak Blvd and Claremont Avenue). Most exciting was a flock of at least eight Western Bluebirds, both males and females, who were attracted to a cotoneaster shrub loaded with red berries. We also noted a Red-tailed Hawk as it flew into a eucalyptus tree. It surveyed the scene for a while, flew off in an apparent circle, and later returned to the same tree, same branch. When bird life quieted and car traffic increased, we moved to Signpost 29, where we listened to a very vocal Hairy Woodpecker who never came out of the trees to give us a look. Finally we moved on to Gelston Street leading up to the old Marron house, where we enjoyed good views of a Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Townsend’s Warblers, Chestnut-backed Chickadees and several other species. The 25 species we recorded were typical for our area in winter. A few expected species were missed, among them: American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Fox Sparrow.

Here's our list for the day:

1. Red-tailed Hawk
2. Great Horned Owl
3. Western Screech-Owl
4. Anna’s Hummingbird
5. Nuttall’s Woodpecker
6. Hairy Woodpecker
7. Northern Flicker
8. Hutton’s Vireo
9. Steller’s Jay
10. California Scrub-Jay
11. Common Raven
12. Chestnut-backed Chickadee
13. Bushtit

14. Bewick’s Wren
15. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
16. Wrentit
17. Western Bluebird
18. Hermit Thrush
9. Townsend’s Warbler
20. Spotted Towhee
21. California Towhee
22. Song Sparrow
23. Golden-crowned Sparrow
24. Dark-eyed Junco
25. Lesser Goldfinch