Sequoia Audubon Society
                              San Mateo County, California

Field Trip Report

San Bruno Mountain
Sunday, April 18, 2010
By Laurie Graham & Jeff Fairclough

We led a walk for Sequoia Audubon, from 8:00 - 11:00, with 6 participants: Howard Higley, Margaret Blunden, Mike Bible, Doug Brown, and Pat & Larry Miller. Three Turkey Vultures were seen on lamp posts on our drive up to the park, and may or may not have been among the birds we saw later. The picnic area was full of activity first thing. There were California Quail in pairs in the parking lot, on the picnic tables, along the service road. The males kept watch while the females fed. When do male quail get to eat? In the small oak trees between the picnic tables and the service road, we had two Warbling Vireos, Two Black-throated Gray Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, a male Townsend's Warbler, and briefly, the Hammond's Flycatcher, seen by Donald Pendleton on Friday. Also present was a pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds.

The walk up the service road was quiet, except for one singing Winter Wren. There were no birds seen in the trees at the Day Camp entrance. Hoping for anything, we walked up the service road extension to the Saddle Trail. After a view of the city from the northern edge of the plateau, we walked west on the Saddle Trail. Fly-bys included California & Western Gulls, and two Caspian Terns. It was a beautiful day! Clear, sunny, t-shirt weather, and lots of wildflowers, which Margaret identified for us.

Next stop was Willow Pond, which still has a lot of water in it. A male Common Yellowthroat showed himself to a couple of us. As we passed the pond, two Mallards flew by us and landed in it. Overhead we had a Northern Harrier and a good long look at a Cooper's Hawk. Howard found a dead snake, about 2 feet long, very plain, grayish on top and pale on the belly. It hadn't been eaten.

Looking for color, we went out the Crocker Gate to check the residents' feeders, and had the usual American Goldfinches, House Finches, Purple Finches, and one lone Pine Siskin. Back along the Old Guadalupe Trail, we heard two more Winter Wrens and a Wilson's Warbler. Howard spotted a male Hooded Oriole in a euc, but the light was bad, and I don't think everyone got on it before it vanished. At the usual spot, opposite the .5 mile marker, we saw one of the Wrentits. Above it, out in the open at last, was a singing Orange-crowned Warbler.

While three went back to the parking lot along the OGT, five of us took the Lower Bog Trail. There wasn't much to be seen. Howard heard a Common Yellowthroat.

As we ended the walk near the restroom, Howard saw a Western Tanager fly up into the eucs. Some of us got on it when it flew again, but not to ID.

After the others left, Jeff & I tried again for the Hammond's Flycatcher for 45 minutes, to no avail. We got a reprise of the other birds that had been there 4 hours earlier.

Number of species: 49

Mallard 2
California Quail 14
Turkey Vulture 9
Northern Harrier 1
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 5
Western Gull 13
California Gull 12
Caspian Tern 2
Band-tailed Pigeon 17
Mourning Dove 4
Anna's Hummingbird 5
Allen's Hummingbird 5
Northern Flicker 1
Hammond's Flycatcher 1
Warbling Vireo 2
Steller's Jay 8
Western Scrub-Jay (Coastal) 5
American Crow 2
Common Raven 9
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 2
Bushtit 2
Pygmy Nuthatch 4
Bewick's Wren 1
Winter Wren (Western) 3
American Robin 25
Wrentit 12
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 25
Cedar Waxwing 37
Orange-crowned Warbler 11
Black-throated Gray Warbler 3
Townsend's Warbler 2
Common Yellowthroat 2
Wilson's Warbler 4
Western Tanager 1
Spotted Towhee 4
California Towhee 2
Song Sparrow 8
White-crowned Sparrow 8
Golden-crowned Sparrow 7
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) 7
Black-headed Grosbeak 3
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
Hooded Oriole 1
Purple Finch 4
House Finch 4
Pine Siskin 1
American Goldfinch 12

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