Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Calero/Morgan Hill - Dec 2006
Casa Loma Rd. & OSA Rancho Property
Santa Clara County Open Space Authority
|This year's team included: (l.to r.) Paul Billig, Dave Tharp, Pat Congdon, Angela Boyle, Doug Reynaud, Mike Hutnik, Tom Cochrane, Craige Edgerton, Dave Burnham.|
|With early morning temperatures in the low 40s, the team headed west along Casa Loma Road towards a closed section of OSA's Rancho Canada del Oro Open Space Preserve.|
|Crossing a stream on a residents-only section of Casa Loma Road.
Along this same creek further up the road, we sighted 6 brightly colored wood ducks.
|A layer of frost blanketed the landscape. The chilly weather kept many birds under cover.|
|Checking the rafters of an old barn for owls. Nearby, high in the branches
of some sycamore trees, we sighted a score of Cedar Waxwings.
|The sun shown brightly as the team entered the Rancho property.|
|Both experts and novices relied on bird books to correctly identify species sighted.|
|Entering a narrow side canyon heading for Hidden Lake.
Note: This was the first time in five years we found the creek dry.
|We'd advanced only a short distance before noticing drops of blood along the trail.|
|On leaves, stones, and low hanging branches, we followed the blood trail up the canyon.|
|Keeping a watchful eye on the surrounding forest for more than birds.|
|At a spot just off the trail, we found disturbed earth in what appeared to be a cache site.
Hunters, both human and animal, often hide kill if intending to return later to retrieve it.
|Speculating among ourselves as to the source of the blood-trail mystery,
we nonetheless continued counting birds up the canyon.
|During past counts up this canyon, colorful wild mushrooms and
migrating California Newts have enlivened trail scenery.
|Less than normal rainfall year-to-date has resulted in a dry creekbed.|
|Along the shore of Hidden Lake. A huge flock of Ring-Neck Ducks took flight the moment they saw us. Circling high overhead, we counted 30 before they disappeared from view.|
|Team members confirm the Ring-Neck Ducks' ID as well as other birds sighted in the area.|
|It was quite cold in the canyon's deep shade, so after scanning the lake shores,
surrounding woods, we continued uphill into the bright sunshine.
|Bird Count volunteer Dave Tharp pauses to enjoy the view.|
|Team members make the long ascent to the ridge above Hidden Lake.|
|Team members pause near a pair of towering oaks as they approach the summit.|
|We paused at the summit for a breather. Those who brought sack lunches, snacked.|
|The team paused for this group photo before heading downhill.|
|I'm wait'n on you!|
|But not for long!|
|Last half-mile before reaching the OSA parking lot. Another successful bird count draws to a close. Special thanks to OSA and to the dedicated volunteers who made this event possible.|
|We counted 40 separate species during the day, including a Golden Eagle above Hidden Lake.|
|Return to Top.|