OSA's Boccardo Trail -- Dec 2006
Audubon Society Annual Bird Count (Eastern Foothills)
Clipboard in hand, bird count coordinator Dave Cook greets volunteers
participating in the 2006 Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
|Each set of volunteers was given a bird list to help them keep track
of the type and numbers of bird species sighted during the count.
|The Alum Rock Park bird count includes access to areas normally closed to the public.
Here, Dave arranges with a Park Ranger for transport to a remote area within the park.
|Our group's count began in the eastern foothills above the Boccardo Trail.|
|Windswept, grassy hillsides provide ideal habitat for both songbirds and raptors.|
|We passed through areas of deep shade; morning frost crunched beneath our feet.|
|Ice pellets still littered the ground from a brief hailstorm 36-hours before.|
|Scattered here and there in shallow recesses on sections of the upper trail;|
|At lower elevations, we found large drifts of ice pellets washed from narrow ravines.|
|Wild mushrooms thrive in the rich soil beside the trial.|
|Winter bare California Buckeye like this one accent sections of the Boccardo Trail.|
|Scanning hillsides and woodlands for any sign of birds.|
|As on previous counts, we slowly worked our way down the mountain.|
|Due to the recent rains, sections of the trail were very slippery.|
|In these areas thick layers of mud collected quickly on our boots.|
|Boccardo Trail affords sweeping views of the valley from San Francisco to Gilroy.|
|While our group kept mainly to the trail, one member ranged far and wide.|
|Bird and native plant expert Tom Cochrane covered an extensive area during the count.|
|The mid-winter sun climbed too slowly to illuminate the far side of the canyon.|
|This impressive California Buckeye is a well-known trail landmark.|
|We found numerous buckeye seeds scattered on the ground beneath its branches.
Some seeds were even trapped as they fell in recesses of its limb structure.
|The rich color of California Buckeye seeds stand out among trailside grasses.|
|As in the past, we paid particular attention to narrow canyons and wooded areas.|
|Entering a sheltered canyon in search of birds.|
|A pair of Golden Eagles is often seen gliding high above this narrow canyon.|
|In search of rare native plants as well as birds, Tom heads for parts unknown.|
|Our eyes and ears in remote areas, Tom sighted numerous birds while exploring.|
|The cold discouraged many birds from being active.|
|Normally quite tall, these broad Bay Laurels are groomed by the elements.|
|A particularly challenging section of the Boccardo Trail.|
|But during the annual bird count, it's downhill all the way!|
|View of the lower levels of the Boccardo Trail above Alum Rock Park.|
On the left, a tiny spring-fed pool near a stand of oaks. Cattle trails mark the area.
|Pausing briefly to scout for birds before continuing.|
|Although overcast, the air was noticeably less cold at higher elevations.|
|Morning cloud cover began to dissipate as we neared the trail head entrance.|
|Well done! Another successful winter bird count nears its conclusion.
Special thanks to these dedicated volunteers! Couldn't have done it without you!
|As on past counts, we saw a pair of red tail hawks in this area.|
|Keep gate closed! A small herd of cattle roam throughout the Boccardo Trail preserve.
Their grazing trims non-native grasses allowing more sunlight for native plant species.
|Wooden post marker shows distance between points along the trail.|
|Along a sunny section of the Todd Quick Memorial Trail in Alum Rock Park.|
|Trail traveler Tom with a view of the heights of the Boccardo Trail preserve.|
|Nearing the end of the North Rim trail at the conclusion of the count.|
|We set out from Sierra Road at 8:45AM, reaching the Alum Rock Parking Lot around noon.
We counted hundreds of birds during the day's count and noted 35 different bird species.
|Return to Top.|