Kinevan Road Oct. 24

Florence Sanchez

I walked Kinevan Road this morning. hoping to avoid some of the forecast heat and also hoping that I would see the Pacific Wren Mark Holmgren found earlier this week.  It was definitely nice and cool in the canyon to start, but it warmed up significantly by the end of my morning there.

Bird activity was generally slow, partly because this time of year, the canyon does not receive much sunshine until after mid-morning. Still I found a little activity at the first bridge and in various patches along the walk down the road to the second bridge (past the intersection with West Camino Cielo Road).   Birder of interest included Steller's Jays, both White and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Hermit Thrushes, two Canyon Wrens, multiple Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hutton's Vireo, Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped, and Townsend's Warblers and 4 species of Woodpecker.

I had two surprises.  While walking down the road, I heard a bird sing twice that sounded like one of the Cassin's Vireos that I heard last spring (and which may have nested there).  It would be unusual for a bird to sing this time of year, but the song was coming from a sunnier patch on the far side of the Canyon and in the same location of last spring's Vireos.  It lacked the up-down quality of the similar Western Tanager song.

The other surprise came while I was looking for the Pacific Wren near the pool where Mark found it.  Suddenly, I heard the sound of rushing water, like someone had turned on a hose full force.  I discovered that water had started to gush out of a small pipe at the top of the opposite creek bank.  The water continued to run in a cascade down the bank, eventually disappearing in the vegetation.  The effect on birdlife was immediate.  Birds started coming to the spot to drink and bathe and within a few minutes, I'd seen 2 RB Nuthatches, 3 Kinglets, 1 Hutton's Vireo, 1 Junco, 1 Spotted Towhee, 1 Orange-crowned Warbler, and a Townsend's Warbler there.  I stood and watched for almost a half hour, during which the water continued to flow.  Activity eventually slowed way down, so I left to go back up the canyon and I don't know how much longer the cascade went on.  However, it might be worth checking this spot again if you are in the canyon to see if the flood is repeated.  Water on a dry hot day is like a magnet.

I attach a snapshot of the area below.  It's just immediately upstream from the pool where Mark had the Pacific Wren, opposite the red and white house complex on the far bank.

Florence Sanchez