Date: 4/5/21 11:04 pm
From: Chuq Von Rospach via <chuqui...>
Subject: [southbaybirds] Coyote Valley 4/5
I did a bit of scouting for my big day for the Birdathon this week (you can still support SCVAS and sponsor me: and I will definitely appreciate it). I headed down to Coyote Valley hoping to tick the box on the Swainson's Hawk. At the charter school, I ran into another birder also looking, but no hawks. We had a chance to talk to a teacher working there, who wasn't aware the hawks were back (he is now) and noted no problems so far (but: also noted last year someone flew a drone up to the nest for pictures. Pro tip: DO NOT EVER DO THAT). We did identify what I think is their nest, but nobody in it. I decided to leave and check out some other places and circle back on the way home.

Also seen near the school -- a small group of about six crows making a big ruckus. When I got close enough to take a look, two of them were copulating and the others were... egging them on? jilted suitors? Whatever. Also saw a couple of crows chasing a red-tail, which was trying to make a regal exit without acknowleding them biting his tail.

As I was driving up Bailey towards 101, in the big trees to the S of Bailey I saw a hawk shift from one branch to another up there. It was a brown bird with white chest -- I noted the brown was more "Hershey's milk chocolate" rather than a darker/redder brown, and no belly band, so it wasn't a red-tail. It was one of the Swainson's. So yeah, tick that box (red-tails to me always look very dark brown that has a lot of internal texture/color accents in it. Swainson's always look to me to be rather plain brown without a lot of texture).

I hit traffic going south towards 152, so cut off into the golf course to circle back around. In there I didn't see too much but did note a couple of grackles in among the other black birds.

I went off to Coyote Valley OSP. No orioles seen, no kingbird seen (sigh). But I did run into 5 Eurasian Collared Doves, which solved a call problem I had my previous visit, where I knew the call, but my brain kept trying to make it Great Horned Owl which I knew was wrong. It was these kids. A couple of them looked like they were expressing interest in each other, so I think they may nest there this year. Lots of blackbirds (red-winged and brewers) and both nested in the area last spring and they seem to be in that mood again.

The rock wrens showed up immediately, and in fact one of them came and landing on my car hood before I could get out of the car and stared at me, mocking me. Also seen when I was there -- I suddenly heard a raven go into full bellow mode and looked up to see it madly trying to gain altitude. It closed on what at first thought I considered a likely turkey vulture, and when the raven to close enough, it tweaks its wing a little bit and shifted from a moderate glide to a fast one. It easily left the raven in its dust, with the raven looking like it might dislocate a wing trying to flap fast enough to catch it, bellowing non-stop.

Welcome to spring.


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

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