What a beautiful day filled with 66 species of birds!
The day started off great at 6:30 am with a perfect temperature of 65 degrees, the gorgeous morning sun, and a light breeze. Today, It only heated up as high as 80 degrees, which is fantastic considering much of the rest of California cooked in the triple digits. Our trip was booked full which is awesome, but we did have a few no shows. The rest of the group consisted of lots of positive, great people, including some long time and even some brand new GGAS members.
Before we left the parking area we already had seen 20 species. The Alameda Creek Regional Trail and the Staging Area often have great bird activity and we weren’t disappointed. Bushtits bounced all around us. Next we headed up to the levee greeted by our first Black Phoebe of the day and watched Cliff Swallows going in and out of their nests under the bridge. Heading west towards Coyote Hills Regional Park we picked up a number of other species including Barn and Tree Swallows, and American White Pelicans. An adult and juvenile White-tailed Kite greeted us right next to the trail. By 7:30 am, we had already hit our day’s target of 40 species for the day, with good looks for most of the species as well. We watched some Common Gallinules, heard a Virginia’s Rail, and briefly saw an adult Ring-necked Pheasant flying (he continued to make a fair amount of noise even after we saw him).
We looked for the resident Great Horned Owls in the Eucalyptus around Hoot Hollow and tried for Rock Wren and Blue-gray gnatcatchers in the California Sagebrush and Radiolarian Chert outcrops, but came up short. Fernando the Chilean Flamingo also did not make an appearance, but the plethora of Nuttall’s Woodpeckers (10 in total) and amazing views and weather made up for it. We were surprised we did not see or hear any other woodpecker species today. There was so much to see between Alameda Creek Regional Trail Staging Area and the hills around the visitor center which remained the focus of the first part of the trip. Most folks left at the official ending time of 10:30 am, having seen 54 species. Ebird:
Those remaining started a new list and headed out west to the former salt ponds and National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Once we reached the NWR, we biked the levee all the way to the Bay seeing an additional 11 species, including: Least Sandpipers, Marbled Godwits, Willets, Caspian Terns, Forster’s Terns, and Brown Pelicans. Peaceful and beautiful, the bike ride all the way to the Dumbarton Bridge and then circling back to the Bay Trail all along the western edge of the Coyote Hills reminded us of how fortunate we are that folks had the foresight to protect and preserve these important habitats and create these fantastic trails for us to explore!!
Upon returning to my car after everyone had left, a male Bullock’s Oriole greeted me and bid me a bon voyage et à bientôt!