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Sycamore Canyon Field Trip Report: 10 March, 2012

March 22, 2012
We had a bit of a surprise; there was a marathon being done on the same day so the parking lot was full.   After a late start, we saw a Hermit Thrush, some Yellow-rumped Warblers,  a Black Phoebe, and Lessor Goldfinches at the old highway bridge.   As we moved through the camp grounds, we found an American Robin, and the birds that like picnic areas:  American Crows, California Towhees, Song Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows.   Perched in the middle of all the campers was a Red shouldered-Hawknest with mom sitting on top of it.   Everyone got a good view because she was used to people and didn’t move.

California Thrasher singing (J.Kenney 2011)

As we walked further up the canyon, we were serenaded by several Orange-crowned Warblers but they were tough to see.   Just at the entry to the road going into the canyon we saw two California Thrashers at the water spigot and they were not shy.   Later,a Dark-eyed Junco joined them.   The walk on the road  (where the runners were) was exceptionally dry.   The two rivers we normally cross had no water at all.   We saw quite a show with a Common Raven mobbing a Red-tailed Hawk.   This was not the usual display for the Raven was exceptionally aggressive and the hawk was turning and showing talons.

Male Nuttall's Woodpecker at the nesthole. Note wide dark area at top of back. Same area on Ladderbacked is quite narrow; cheek is also whiter and breast is creamy, not white. (J.Kenney 2011)

A Northern Flicker was calling and we finally saw the bird.   An Acorn Woodpecker was there along with a Nuttall’s Woodpecker and Carol said she saw a Ladder-backed Woodpecker.   Later on an American Kestrel was seen along with a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and some Bushtits.   The most dominant sound on the field trip came from the Black-hooded Parakeets.   We probably saw about 10 of the parakeets, with several up-close views and lots of noise.
[Jean Garrett]

Black-hooded Parakeet cleaning its talon. All parakeets have long pointed tails and aren't necessarily small. This 12" bird is longer than many "parrots." (Mark Farber 3/10/12)

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