Northern Parula and Least bittern

Florence Sanchez

I got to the Parula spot a little after 6 a.m. this morning.  Glenn Kincaid gave excellent instructions:  Large sycamore overhanging Alisal road about 1 mile east of the entrance to Nojoqui Park.  When I got there, only few birds were singing, but in about five minutes, the rising sun hit the treetops and everything around burst into song, including the male Northern Parula.  It was very active in the sycamores, both in the one hanging over the road and the large one on the other side.  I got great looks.

Because it was a gorgeous morning and there was no traffic, I continued east on Alisal Road to the place where the road washed out a few years ago.  Some of my sightings along the way were Phainopeplas, a family of Bullock's Orioles, 3 very young Ash-throated Flycatcher fledglings; singing Yellow Warblers, Warbling Vireos, and Purple finches; Violet-green Swallows flying overhead, and many more common species.  I also heard both American Robins and Black-headed Grosbeaks singing.  On the way back, I made a brief stop at the park to watch some Purple Martins.

I then tried again to find the Least Bittern (I dipped yesterday).  I heard it calling from the dense tules that now clog the north end of the lake but it was impossible to see from that location.  I was standing on the service road  near Stow House at the point a very steep trail goes down the hill past a scruffy palm tree to the edge of the willows below.  I crossed the bridge to the east side of the lake and followed an access trail down to the edge of the tules on that side.  I heard the Least Bittern still calling, but though it had moved further west in the dense tules, it was still too deep in to see.

Florence Sanchez