|Lark Sparrow hiding in bushes|
A gouged out ridge system on the mend after decades of quarrying activity, Sibley looks like a land tortured not only by the "hand of man" but by Mother Nature's ravaging forces. A ten million year old volcano, Round Top peak, has eroded and been laid bare, tilted on its side eons ago by shifting fault lines and crushing pressure to expose ancient bedrock. Sibley's protruding boulders, rocky bluffs and steep scree slopes give the place a veritable red rock desert look and feel. As for the birds and animals, Sibley's biodiverse ecosystem provides safe haven in a rugged nature refuge abutting a large metro area. What more could our urban nonhuman animal friends ask for.
|Western Bluebird Most Happy Couple|
From there, it's zoom zoom down to the Old Tunnel Road entrance in a fairly unfamiliar area. The main Skyline entrance to the park is about a mile up the gorge trail, with a final leg to choice viewing spots with interesting geology, labyrinths, and poppy painted hills.
|Varied Thrush Busy Seeking Sustenance|
Suddenly, I'm aware of all the "bird energy" emanating from the brush and copse, in the canopy and hillside and high above. Instantly enthralled, I pass through the gate onto Skyline Trail, following the gentle course of unpretentious Round Top Creek, on first glance one of those nothing little piss-ass ditches of a gully crick. But on more intimate communion soon reveals her true hidden nature of small miracles, subtle charms and nuanced beauty. Never fails.
|Subtle beauty of Round Top Creek|
A couple of weeks ago, along Wildcat Creek, repeated high-pitched "CHIT CHIT CHITS" of Wilson's Warblers fooled me, and they're fooling me again with their recondite ruckus in the trees edging Round Top Creek. Preferring to sing and play in heavy foliage, and being minute creatures who blend in to the point of disappearance - they're hard as heaven to spot! So when you do manage to connect on some level with this bird's secretive existence, it's a joyful revelation of "unseen birds, infinite, hidden." Still, a 2-second glimpse of a playful pair of Wilson's high in an oak tree is enough to cry triumphant, but that's it, except for their invisible presence and constant calls and responses that keep merry company.
|Quarry Pit bluffs & trail to "back side"|
Back on my bike, I pedal and push up the tough single track to the Staging Area, where, for the umpteenth time, I dutifully read each informational display on the geology and natural history of the Volcanic Preserve, always mindful of and impressed by the vast scale of history and extinction unfolding and on view here.
|Quarry pit with ancient rock exposed|
I love the private "out of bounds" setting for the beautiful rolling hills, ample forest cover and open meadows edged by brush, for the extensive Diablo Range views of the 3,849 ft. mountain and Las Trampas and Rocky Ridges, rising to over 2,000 ft. I kick back in silence, hoping, hoping, for the magical cameo of Black-throat, but only Anna's Hummingbird and Bewick's Wren show. Still appreciative. In the forest gully, it's a Hobbit's world of bent over trees with eyes and faces and gnarled roots. I rouse a pair of deer who hastily retreat up a steep ravine and out of sight. No birds in here, though, where you might expect to see a Varied Thrush or Band-tailed Pigeon maybe.
|Black-throated Gray Warbler spotted 11/2/14|
|Sibley impressive faux Desert Southwest look|
Read about my other Sibley adventure when I spotted the Black-throated Gray Warbler @
See slide shows of "exotic" Sibley and volcanic heritage @