Sunday, May 29, 2011


Unbelievable as it may seem I was on the Islay Creek Trail a tad after 8:00 a.m. In the morning there is less wind, better lighting, and the birds are active. The day was sunny with a deep blue sky.

The top photo is the view from the beginning of the trail. Actually, the trail, for the first couple of miles, is a narrow dirt and rock road.

During my walk, I was accompanied by a choir of bird songs. Swainson's Thrush, Wilson's Warbler, Wrentit, and Song Sparrow. Cliff Swallows swooped over my head. Spotted and California Towhees were everywhere. A Great Egret flew up the creek - such a beautiful bird.

Meandering through the center of the willows and oaks on its route to the sea, is Islay Creek. (see photo) Reservoir Creek Trail is on the left side of the creek and Islay Creek Trail is on the right. The dense vegetation provides nesting and resting for many species of birds, including Owls.

All along the trail and particularly in the shaded areas were wild flowers and flowering shrubs. Saw several little white-tailed rabbits. At one month of age they are ready to have a family of their own. Except for a couple of runners, I had the trail and Islay Creek to myself.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Weather this morning was cool, breezy and overcast. Singing deep in the willows of Islay Creek were Wilson's Warbler and Swainson's Thrush. Saw a few Quail but no little ones, yet.

In the creek also saw a Brown-headed Cowbird - the third this month. I had never seen a Cowbird in this area until a few weeks ago.

The Brown-headed Cowbird is a brood parasite. It lays its eggs in the nests of other small perching birds, particularly those that build cup-like nests. Brown-headed Cowbird eggs have been documented in nests of at least 220 host species. The young cowbird is fed by the host parents at the expense of their own young. Brown-headed Cowbird females can lay 36 eggs in a season. In a nutshell, the Wilson's Warbler and the Swainson's Thrush, may be raising the much larger and aggressive Cowbirds instead their own nestlings.

Pigeon Guillemots (see photo) were flying between their nests in the cliff and the water - delightful to observe. Seven Black Oystercatcher's on the big rock formation where the Pelagic Cormorants hang out.

Spent some time in the Native Plant Garden taking photos for the MdO plant book. Click on the link for a few plant photos. Flowering Plants of Montana de Oro State Park

Monday, May 9, 2011


Sweet Springs Nature Preserve , which includes the Willow wetlands on 4th near Ramona. Weather, sunny with a cold wind blowing off the bay. Precious little Juncos were busy doing what ever it is that Juncos do. On a narrow board in the pond were 6 male Mallards. Joining them on the board were 2 pond turtles. Bird count for the morning, 27 species.

It was much warmer at the entrance to the Preserve, so sat on one of the tree stumps and looked for movement in the trees. Within a few minutes saw an immature male, Western Tanager - not an every day sighting.

In the Willow wetland Mr. Wilson's Warbler was singing. In the distance could hear Common Yellowthroat, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, and Black-headed Grosbeak. The major treat of the morning was watching 2 Tree Swallows and a White-throated Swift consuming insects. The Swift was true to its name - flew higher and much faster than the Swallow.

Sunday morning a quick trip to Montana de Oro. I was standing outside the ranch house talking to a ranger when a bobcat ambled by. He turned and looked at us as he passed. A few minutes later he climbed into the old Buckeye tree in back of the ranch house. Two crows were very upset. Was able to get a photo and a short movie. I have included a link to the photo. Male Bobcat (Lynx rufus) Montana de Oro State Park | Flickr - Photo Sharing! May post the movie later.