Date: 7/17/20 2:35 pm
From: Chuq Von Rospach via <chuqui=<>
Subject: [southbaybirds] East of Milpitas July 17

Today was "get outside for a bit and test the knee post-cortisone" day, so I thought about where I haven't birded for a while, and headed out past Milpitas into the hills. I made three stops, first at Ed Levin Spring Valley unit, second Marsh Road, and finally went up and over Sierra with a stop at the Sierra Vista OSP.

At Ed Levin, I drove back to where the equestrian classes are and birded the back areas, with a walk up and down the hill to the lake (success!). Highlights included both Acorn and Nuttall's Woodpecker, a juvenile American Robin, Western Bluebirds and a personal favorite Oak Titmouse. There was a single Tree Swallow hunting over the lake which eBird tagged as unusual there.

Marsh Road was moderately quiet, it's the dry time of year with the stream dry. The troughs for the horse/cattle on the ranch were dry which limited activity, but there were some good birds. Near the intersection a Cooper's Hawk flushed and flew over me. On the wires next to the road near along the first third of the road I ran into three birds, the first two being American Kestrels, and the third, to my surprise, not being a kestrel; it was a Purple finch in all it's "fell in a glass of food dye" glory. The wooded area gave me both Stellar's Jays and a Northern Flicker.

I did not list the drive along Sierra, not much to list. The usual suspects, doves and mockingbirds and juncos. The stock pond was half empty of water and completely empty of ducks.

Sierra Vista OSP was more interesting; the Rangers told me they'd just seen a golden eagle, and sure enough, it was patrolling the hills just below the OSP and I got three good looks as it passed by repeatedly. It was immature, no golden head yet. I got the indication from the rangers it was a fairly regular visitor.

One intriguing bird: on the way up Sierra between the stock pond and the OSP I saw a swallow-like bird that caught my attention; seemed to be a dark/black bird top and bottom, no white underside like a tree swallow, but flying very much like swallows do. My brain started yelling "PURPLE MARTIN" but it disappeared before I could stop and get binoculars on it, so I'm leaving it off my ID list, but wanted to mention it because I don't think they've been mentioned in that area that I remember. I may try to get up there and look around again to see what I might find...

A very pleasant and low-stress couple of hours outside...

Ed Levin:

Marsh Road:

Sierra Vista OSP:


Chuq Von Rospach
Email: <chuqui...>
Twitter: @chuq
Silicon Valley, California

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