Saturday, June 4, 2016

Islay Creek Riparian Habitat - Birding by Ear

Montaña de Oro State Park - Islay Creek is located in a lush Canyon.  From the road one is looking down into a creek that is dense with Willows, Oaks and occasional Sycamores.  On the other side of the road, the north side, are the chaparral covered hills, favored habitat for the entertaining songster, the California Thrasher.  The above photo was taken at the only access point on the creek.  It allows one to cross from the Reservoir Flats Trail to the Islay Road.

If you enjoy birding by ear, spring is the perfect time to hike up the Islay Creek Road.  The male Swainson's Thrush flute-like sound can be heard throughout the creek.  It is difficult to describe the beauty of two miles of Swainson's Thrush song.

The birds that nest in Islay Creek may be difficult to see as the trees are dense with spring growth, and you are standing above them, looking down.  Once you hear the Swainson's Thrush song you will never forget it.  In the video, accompanying the Thrush is the male Wilson's Warble, whose song is not exactly dramatic, but it is persistent, forceful, and also not easily forgotten.  In the first frame of the video you will hear Swainson's Thrush, accompanied by Wilson's Warbler; second frame, you may need to turn up your sound to hear the quiet Pacific-slope Flycatcher, accompanied by the call of a California Quail and the song, once again, of the male Swainson's Thrush.