SBT County: Sep 12, 2007
- HI, Birders,
Yesterday morning, Laurilee Thompson (of Space Coast Bird Festival
fame) and I did a couple of hours of birding in San Benito County.
Highlights included: 360 LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCHES, 3 BALD EAGLES, 1
CASSIN'S KINGBIRD, 1 ROADRUNNER, and 2 CHIPPING SPARROWS.
At Paicines Reservoir, about 30 miles south of Hollister on Highway
25, we found: 3 BALD EAGLES ( 1 adult female, 1 first plumage adult,
1 HY); 1 CASSIN'S KINGBIRD was sitting in the willow tree that is
surrounded by water, along with 1 TANAGER sp. Both of these birds
flew to the west side of Hwy 25 to feed on the grapes in the
vineyard. Also present were: 1 Nuttall's Woodpecker, 1 Bewick's Wren,
4 Black Phoebes, Song Sparrows, Mallards, American Coots, etc.
—"regulars" at the reservoir. Best way to bird the reservoir is to
pull out on the large, dirt parking lot on Highway 25 just south of
the turnoff for Panoche Valley. Stand around and scope the area,
including the willow tree. There is no public access to other areas
surrounding the reservoir. The bald eagles generally sit on the high
power poles on the west side of the reservoir, or sometimes on the
top of the small oak tree on the levee on the east side. No
shorebirds, other than Killdeer, were present yesterday, even though
there are some good mud flats now.
Continuing south on Highway 25 toward Pinnacles National Monument, we
pulled over about 5 miles later, to see a ROADRUNNER. A CALIFORNIA
THRASHER was singing in the coyote bushes at this stop. A BOBCAT was
sitting under a large oak tree on the east side of the highway.
Further south, (just beyond Bear Valley Fire Station), we turned east
on Gloria Road. This well maintained dirt road is public, but all
areas off the road are private property. It is often patrolled by the
local landowners, who can be quite intimidating, even threatening.
So, please respect the private property, even if there is no fence on
the road in areas. The highlight of this road was 360 LAWRENCE'S
GOLDFINCHES, multiple flocks. The biggest flocks were at the summit,
in the open grasslands, just before you reach the Monterey County
sign. (If you reach the sign, go back). Driving slowly on this road
will likely put the goldfinches up in flocks and they will land on
the barbed wire fences. Best to stay in your car. The flocks are
almost 100% Lawrence's right now. It will be interesting to see if
the Lessers and Americans join them, as they usually do. Again, the
best way to see them is to stay in your car. Two CHIPPING SPARROWS
( 1 adult, 1 HY), were also on the fence with the goldfinches.
Also along Gloria Road: LARK SPARROWS, OAK TIT, YELLOW-BILLED MAGPIE
(50+ at the summit), BELL'S SAGE SPARROW, BELTED KINGFISHER, COOPER'S
HAWK, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, BLACK PHOEBE, CALIFORNIA TOWHEE, WILD
TURKEY, BUSHTIT, SCRUB JAY, DARK-EYED JUNCO, WESTERN BLUEBIRD,
BEWICK'S WREN, WILSON'S WARBLER, ACORN WOODPECKER, WRENTIT, and 1
BOBCAT, and 1 COYOTE.