April 2nd, 2012, 05:22 AM
April Fool's Day Lifer
Happy April Fool's Day!
I had a great walk this morning. I left at 7:00. It was 78.4 degrees with less than 5 knots of wind. I hadn't gotten 100 feet from the marina when I saw Eastern Kingbirds; the first I've seen since they went through during fall migration. I was just saying to Gene yesterday that I wondered where they were. In the fall, they seemed to be at the top spike of every palm tree, and there are a lot of palm trees! I guess I jumped the gun and thought they should be migrating in March. We have had high winds for most of March and I thought maybe everybody was going inland or the Pacific side to migrate. I spent several weeks looking for the Willow/Alder Flycatcher, until I did my homework. I didn't find a lot of information, but apparently, they don't come through until April. Maybe the Eastern Kingbirds are the ushers. I hope so, and I hope I have a chance to see and hear the Empidonax's this spring. Right after I saw the E. Kingbirds, I did see a flycatcher. It was too distant to see well, but my guess is Eastern Peewee. Usually, they are not silent, but this bird wasn't calling. I didn't hang around because I wanted to get into the forest as early as I could and I was not able to get closer to the bird.
Between the marina and San Lorenzo road, I saw:
Common Tody Flycatcher
Rusty Margined Flycatchers
Clay Colored Thrush
As I walked into the forest, I heard the, "Who dropped the ball?" Doves calling to each other. I hear these birds fairly often and I ID'd the call as that of the Short-billed Pigeon, but I've never seen one. I followed the closest call and he was perched quite high in bare branches. Lifer #930. I seems like forever since I've had a lifer! The Short-billed is a plain bird but pretty in it's softness and plumpness. It's supposed to be ruddy/cinnamon, but it looked mauve in the early morning light.
Forest List (won't repeat birds seen before forest):
Common Black Hawk
Mealy Amazon Parrots
Keel-billed Toucans--about a dozen--so happy to see them--haven't seen them for weeks!
Western Slaty Antshrike
Howler monkeys all over the place-many carrying very young babies
Just before I got to Diablo Creek, I saw activity at ground level at the base of a tree and got my bins on a Barred Woodcreeper. There was movement next to it and I transferred my attention to a pair of Gray-headed Tanagers. Rufous wings lit by a ray of sun swooped in and there was now a pair of Barred Woodcreepers! Another low flight to the side of a tree caught my attention and a Cocoa Woodcreeper joined in. Then, a Plain-brown Woodcreeper. Wow! The Army ants were thick in the leaf litter and I guess breakfast was served as bugs leapt and crawled to get out of the swarm. I have been seeing and hearing the Cocoa quite a bit in the last two weeks, but they are still a treat--to see all these gorgeous things at once was really something!
I needed to head back because Gene was going to make breakfast, so I quickly scanned the small river--surprisingly quiet--not even a turtle!
Headed back and as I passed the water-tower road, I saw a Slaty-tailed Trogon land on a branch. I walked up the path to get a better look and saw he was perched with the Mrs.
I really needed to get a move on. Western Slaty Antshrikes called to each other and I took a moment to find them and then the drumming of a Woodpecker had me looking for and finding a Lineated Woodpecker. Then it was a looking for and finding a Crested Oropendola and focusing in on warbler movement for a Chestnut-sided Warbler. I heard a Southern Bent-bill, but moved on to get home. As I was passing the old shooting range(?), I heard a strange call and I was lured against my will to check it out. Some of the same birds as noted for today already and a Violet-bellied Hummingbird.
About this time, I figured I had missed breakfast--I hoped Gene made some for himself. Heard a White-tipped Dove and another dove that I need to look up. Just before the forest shade came to an end, a Dusky-headed Flycatcher drew my eyes to one of the last shady trees.
I came out of the cover of the forest road and out into the open where the 'T' is and felt like someone put me under a broiler. Damn, it was hot. The climate has changed dramatically in the last week--someone flicked the seasonal switch. As I passed the old American, "Ocean Beach" complex, I heard the high pitched complaining of a Common Black Hawk and looked up to see a pair circling low. I heard a Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet calling for me to "Come Play" so I took the back way around the buildings to try and see it--no luck. As I made the last to the last turn to the marina, I saw an American Kestrel fly toward the Canal Authority buildings. Haven't seen much of him this year. On the last stretch I heard a Red-crowned Woody and looked up to see him hitch up a palm next to the bay. Home again, home again. I checked the Great Kiskadee nestlings on the way down the dock--getting big!
Poor Gene didn't make breakfast for himself and had potato chips for breakfast. He will make one of his fabulous pizzas for dinner though. Such a guy!
Last edited by sue-o; April 2nd, 2012 at 05:26 AM.