This morning I birded CHWP/Claremont Hills Wilderness Park (a) looking for Willow Flycatchers (nope) and (b) hoping to get lucky, and see Black Swifts. It was overcast, cloudy, dreary, just flat-out depressing.
No swallows and one White-throated Swift.Where you first enter the park, immediately to your right in the willows east of the fire road, there is a trail that nobody takes. It goes maybe 100 yards. No Willow Flycatchers, but I heard a Blue Grosbeak sing
once, andgive its distinctive"Chink!" call note. Couldn't see it, despite standing there, motionless, scanning the willows where it washiding.
Left, hiked the lower portion of Evey Canyon (no new species from last week e.g. Swainson's Thrushes, and less species than last week). Gave up, drove up to the Padua Theater parking lot,that looks down at
Claremont Wilderness Park from the east. At this point the sun had come out, the clouds had dispersed, and it was warmer. Saw some small dark soaring things-with-wings off in the distance. Drove downhill, parked in the bend in Via Padova, got a somewhat better
look at the motley collection of swifts and swallows far off to the west of me. Drove further downhill, hooked a right, then another right, with my low-rent, wrong-side-of-the-trackssquare CHWPsticker in my window,
and parked in the Claremont Wilderness Park upper parking lot for beautiful thin people with the round CHWP parking stickers. Stood at the fence at the western edge of the parking lot, daring Parking Enforcement to write me up. A mixed flock of Violet-green
Swallows, Cliff Swallows, White-throated Swifts, and two Black Swifts swarmed a few hundred yards to the west of me, over the radio antenna towers and buildings southwest of the park. Eventually, the whole flock came closer and closer, almost to the parking
lot before saying, "Just kidding!" andturning around. I stayed for two more rounds of this form of aviary teasing, before putting the camera back into the car, and leaving at 1:30 p.m.
I may, or may not go back tonight at 5:00, to see if I can get photos of them overhead i.e. above the Cobal Canyon Trail...or I might wait until the weather is consistently warm and dry for several days
in a row.
Claremont until that next radioactive trash truck sets off an alarm somewhere...