Christmas Bird Count 2010

This year, HF, KP and CB joined me. We left my place at 8:45, having seen one Oak Titmouse at the feeder. It was rainy and around 50F, challenging conditions.

As usual, we headed over to MB’s place. She had previously told me that the birds were down, so we missed some things, but did see two Red-breasted Nuthatch. After about half an hour, we took a drive through Five Canyons. It was drizzling or foggy in parts, so there were some visibility issues. However, that didn’t seem to impact what we did see, which wasn’t a lot. Because of the ornamental pear street trees, there were a large flocks of American Robins and Cedar Waxwings. At the end of Boulder Canyon Dr., we took a short walk partway up the hill, and saw an American Kestrel on the snag. In our section this is probably the best raptor place.

We skipped the Shady Canyon Trail which would have been wet and muddy. On our scouting trip, we heard White-tailed Kite:

and Wild Turkey hens:

plus a couple of Varied Thrush, which we usually seem to miss. There were not as many fungi as last year.

We headed over to Don Castro and got there at 10:30.  KP and CB saw a Northern Flicker with yellow shafts, but didn’t get a look at the head. By this time, the rain had stopped so we walked around the lake and along the creek and back around. Waterfowl were mostly Mallards, with a couple of Ring-necked Ducks.  It started to rain when we were along the creek, so we turned back. HF spotted a Green Heron as we skirted the lake on the way back. We got back to the lot at noon.

After lunch at the usual spot, we drove through Lone Tree Cemetery at 1:50. A large flock of Rock Pigeons flew around, but we missed the bluebirds and Killdeer.

We continued on to Five Canyons park at 2:05, and got two Killdeer, then revisited Crestview Ct. to see if we could get bluebirds there. They still weren’t around, so we drove to Century Oaks Circle to look for Rufous-crowned Sparrow at 2:25. We missed those too, but the Western Bluebirds were there. We walked a short way up a trail behind the houses instead of walking from the Boulder Canyon entrance.

Close to 3:00 we decided to try some new places. We drove under the overpass on Castro Valley Blvd. for a quick check for any swifts hanging around underneath, then drove Palo Verde Road. This was in someone else’s section, but we did see some Wild Turkeys there.

At 3:15 we went to Carlos Bee Park. I have checked this park out while scouting but we’ve never actually counted birds there while I’ve done this. It did add some birds we didn’t see already, including a Townsend’s Warbler. We were there for about 45 minutes, and it remained dry.

Next, we stopped briefly at Sulphur Creek Nature Center at 4:10 to see if the Barn Owl was in the nest box. Unfortunately it wasn’t. Finally, at 4:30 we checked the back part of Don Castro from the Ursa entrance. There were fewer cattails on this side than there were last year, for some reason, and by 4:45 there were no blackbirds coming to roost. We didn’t hear any, either. KH told me that he had some at Cull Canyon around 4:15.

We arrived back home at 5:00.  It was a long, wet, day, but surprisingly, we got more species than we did last year!

List to follow…here.