Date: 6/6/18 8:59 pm From: Garth Harwood <gharwood...> Subject: [pen-bird] Willow Flycatcher and BLACK-CHINNED SPARROW at Burleigh Murray SP 6-6-2018
I went to Burleigh Murray today to check in on the continuing Willow
Flycatcher in its preferred hemlock patch just past the second wooden
bridge. I could not locate it on my way in at about 9:30, perhaps because
it was still gloomy at that hour with a steady cold wind. But it was easy
to find on my way back at about 11, singing from the very same bush (now
deceased with brown leaves) where it first turned up 2 years ago.
Perhaps because I spent such a long time loitering around that spot
initially, I began to detect a weirdly familiar yet out-of-context bird
song from the chaparral slope across the canyon. It took a long time and a
couple of dozen iterations of its song to become confident about what I was
hearing - a Black-chinned Sparrow! I poked around a bit trying to find some
way to bushwhack over there but could not do it due to abundant poison oak,
nettles, and brambles, so no visuals or photos.
The song was a match for this one on xeno-canto.org:
XC391163 · Black-chinned Sparrow
<https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Spizella-atrogularis> Its voice was often drowned out by closer birds, and also grew stronger and
weaker at times as if moving closer then farther away. This would be a
tough one to capture on a recording, but might well be worth the effort if
you've got the technology!
By comparison, 4 Red Crossbills that flew over close to the entrance were
anticlimactic, but still pretty cool.
BTW, the gate was never unlocked this AM even though there was no signage
suggesting a closure was in effect. I had to walk in from the nearest legal
spot along the road.
Happy trails, Garth Harwood
*Director of Education,
The Trust for Hidden Villa
26870 Moody Rd., Los Altos Hills, CA 94022