Date: 5/7/19 5:57 pm From: Lisa Larson <lisafaylarson...> Subject: [MBBIRDS] Arana Gulch SCBC walk this morning
The morning started off with light drizzle which fortunately waned before we began to walk inside the park. From the street, we observed a male & female Black-headed Grosbeak in the same tree. They flew into the large property to the west of the Mentel entrance. Several other males were heard singing this morning as well.
Right away, we noticed both male & female Western Bluebirds visiting Box #3. Many swallows were alight overhead including Violet-green, Barn, Cliff, and Tree Swallows. Violet Greens were predominant.
The first dead tree has active Downy Woodpecker and Pygmy Nuthatch nests. At the end of the walk, we noticed that at least one pair of Violet Green Swallows were showing an interest in the same tree, which had 5 or 6 holes that we could see. The DOWO hole is at the top and the PYNU hole is perhaps 2/3 of the way up past and to the left of a broken branch sticking out on the right side. (Most of the branches are broken, as it is a mostly dead walnut tree with some green growth at the bottom.) Certainly an interesting tree to watch.
An Olive-sided Flycatcher was at the top of a Eucalyptus tree on a snag. At the end of the day, it chased around with another bird - perhaps another Olive-sided? The one we observed at the beginning and end of the walk did not sing.
A pair of Red-tailed Hawks were seen flying together and one was carrying nesting material. We tried to see where it went with it, but it faded out of sight. Margaret taught us the word *patagium*, which is the dark bar on the leading edge of the wing that extends from wrist to shoulder. I was reminded of Norm Kukuchi teaching us about Ruby-crowned Kinglets having *scutillated* toes - something about partial webbing between the tarsi? Anyway, I cannot find details about the latter online because I don't know how to spell it. Norm swears he didn't make it up to vex me. (The real bummer is having scutillated patagia. But that is extremely rare and I digress.)
In a tree near the intersection of the east/west and north/south paths, I was pleased to spot a beautiful male Yellow Warbler - red streaking and all! That was my first-of-season Yellow Warbler. Not too many other warblers were heard - a couple of Orange-crowned and Wilson's Warblers. We did not see them, though. Warbling Vireos were singing away high up in trees, but I did manage to spot a lower one in the shady oak path in the northeast part of the park.
Another first of season bird was heard and then seen from the bridge - a Swainson's Thrush! How nice to hear that beautiful song again. Another was heard on the northeast side toward the end of the walk.
Robins were fairly numerous and one was seen carrying food.
Overlooking the yacht harbor we were able to see nesting Great Blue Herons and saw on Great Egret low in some trees. Some Double-crested Cormorants were seen flying.
Oak Titmice chattered loudly and I felt they had nests in some of the oaks, but I couldn't spot any.
At the end of the walk, I saw a fledged Western Bluebird in the shady oak path area. Then once we came within view of the nest box, we saw more bluebird activity, with two mature males, a female and later, saw 2 fledglings. Both parents were still feeding them. That was fun to see! I think at least one of the babies is a male. He may become a helper for a second brood as the adult pair were still sitting atop box #3 from time to time.
Arana Gulch yielded 47 species this morning. Nice! I'll be back there soon!