Thursday, April 14, 2016

Birding Coon Creek

                   The Coon Creek Trail Begins
Montaña de Oro State Park - Coon Creek is a coastal canyon at the south end of the park.  Round trip 5 miles. The trail follows the creek as it flows to the sea.

I volunteer for the state parks as a roving docent.  My duties involve walking the trails, answering questions, interacting with visitors, and in general being a presence in the park.  I know, sounds like a tough job, but someone's got to do it. 

 Yesterday morning roved with Mike (don't you love the pink socks).  The trail is narrow and has a few ups and downs and rocky areas and is more challenging than the Bluff Trail. The day was mild with no wind, a perfect day for a rove. 

As soon as we neared the creek, vegetation became intense.  In some areas the plants had grown over the trail. (photo, on right Hemlock, on left Mugwort)   In the willows between the trail and the creek, birds such as Wilson's Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Wrentit, and Bewick's Wren, were singing their hearts out.  Mr. Wilson has a piercing song.  In no uncertain terms he was communicating his territorial rights.  (Bird list at end of blog)
We stopped many times to listen to bird songs and to admire native plants.  Spring is a rare and fleeting time of year. I felt fortunate to be walking this beautiful trail.
Sticky Phacelia (above) was in dense patches on the steep hillsides. 

During our entire walk we were never without bird song.  I was hoping to hear the haunting song of a Canyon Wren.  Shortly after passing over the first bridge we heard the song.   On our return, the Wren was singing but at a distance.  The song sounded like it was coming from a high cliff or one of the many rocky outcrops, preferred habitats for the Canyon Wren.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get a usable video of the song.

I did manage to record a few other bird songs.  The video recordings are rather primitive, but the songs can be heard.  You might want to turn up the volume.

My favorite plant was the prolific Thimble Berry which has a beautiful flower and large velvety leaves.  The berry will be red and edible.
 Bird List for Coon Creek - Wilson's Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Canyon Wren, Bewick's Wren, Wrentit, Bushtit, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Purple Finch, California Quail, California Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Scrub Jay, Downey Woodpecker, Ann's Hummingbird, Red-tailed Hawk.

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