Roadrunners and Phainopeplas mission half accomplished.
- On September 10 I posted a request for advice on where to find
Greater Roadrunners and Phainopeplas in the general area of San
Francisco. I got too many responses for me to thank everyone
personally, so thank you to everyone who sent their advice.
Unfortunately, I was in Illinois the next two weekends and I was
unable to follow up on the alert about a roadrunner at Alviso Marina
The consensus of the responders was that I should try the Panoche
Valley in San Benito County. So on Sunday, September 26 I drove
along county road J1 from Paicines to Interstate 5, with a side trip
off towards New Idrias. I never did find a Roadrunner, but I did see
a Phainopepla near Summit Ranch, exactly where Bill Bousman said it
would be. As a consolation prize for not finding the Roadrunner, I
saw two other life-list species: Loggerhead Shrikes (about half a
dozen) and Lark Sparrows (twenty or thirty). I also saw some species
which I had only seen once or twice before (Merlin, Rufous Crowned
Sparrow, Nutall's Woodpecker) and one that I hadn't seen in years
(Horned Lark). I also saw a couple of Peafowl near the Paicines end
of the road, but I assume that was somebody's livestock and not a
fourth life-list bird. The Shrikes all by themselves would have made
the whole trip worthwhile. What a beautiful bird! All in all, it
was a very good day.
San Mateo, California and Lincolnshire, Illinos