Recent reports on birding sites detail an embarrassment of avian riches everywhere around the Bay Area, including exotic sightings of Mountain Bluebirds off Patterson Pass Road, Tropical Kingbirds at Heather Farms in Walnut Creek, Lewis' Woodpeckers at Briones Reservoirs, and many of my own unheralded, miraculously small birding adventures in the Berkeley Hills, along San Pablo Creek, in Mitchell Canyon, and throughout west Marin County, including a super-hot spot for birds - Limantour Beach - and just about everywhere, anywhere, where there's a forest or brush for cover, it's a bonanza of birds. Aren't they blessed little souls!
|Odd Bird Fellows, SF Bay Trail|
Despite routinely spotting 20, 30 species in my side yard or local park, paradoxically, I've not seen one-tenth or twentieth, even, of the possible number of unique avian visitors to our great Bay Area, a mighty big place, and easily 300 or 400 species come and go and stay. Is it just me who hasn't seen, say a "common" Pine Siskin, Oven Bird, or Painted Bunting? Let alone a Tennessee Warbler, Cassin's Vireo, or Common Poorwill. (Thought: maybe I have spotted one and didn't know it.)
|Odd-looking European Starling 'twist Red-winged Blackbirds|
A Varied Thrush seen and well photographed at Mitchell Canyon, Mount Diablo State Park. Also spotted over twelve months in Codornices Park, the Regional Parks Botanic Garden parking lot area, John Hinkel Park in Berkeley, and on Thanksgiving Day, two in my side yard, a first ever sighting of the pretty thrushes showing up here.
A White-breasted Nuthatch spotted right off the bat at Mitchell Canyon, but not again after that.
A Red-breasted Sapsucker, spotted for the first time in the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, and again elsewhere in Tilden Regional Park later. Strange, two sightings, apart, of a bird I had never seen before. (There's that thing again!)
A Black-throated Gray Warbler spotted at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. A magical encounter of a unique bird flitting into my life ever so briefly, in a place I had no business being. (Check out prior post on it.) I'll be lucky to ever see one again. And yet . . . it's considered "not so uncommon" to see one!
Killdeers along the San Francisco Bay shoreline - true, I've never before seen one! Have I just not been looking for them? Amazing little dudes, I had never been aware, let alone noticed them before.
Wigeons at the Albany Bulb - ditto. Why would I ever notice a Wigeon before, and know it was a Wigeon I was noticing?
European Starlings spotted at McLaughin Eastshore State Park surprised me immensely for their otherworldly look and coloration. And besides, I don't think I could ever lay claim to actually positively ever having seen one. The photo here managed to stump a few experts for a while! (By the way, ME State Park is an amazing natural resource on our urban doorstep - rehabilitated, terraformed habitat in an upland area known as the Berkeley Meadows,)
|Great Blue Heron and Minions|
Come to think of it, even what you might regard as a pedestrian sighting in a local city park of, say, a common bird, like the American Robin, can thrill the heart with a voyeuristic glimpse into the mystery world of birds, a world where each small bundle of feathers and fat is a special and perfect miracle of creation. If you doubt, believe this: