Friday, December 2, 2016

In the chaparral around Dixon Lake

I went out birding for the morning on November 20th in the chaparral north of Dixon Lake on the edge of Daley Ranch.

The two primary plant species in this area are chamise and laurel sumac, with yucca (our Lord's candle), and mission manzanita, with scrub oaks and coyote brush in the ravines. So it seems to fit the sparse waist to chest-high chamise chaparral habitat type tending toward the thicker southern mixed chaparral in the wetter ravine bottoms.

chamise chaparral habitat type

I took the 1/2 mile long and unlabeled Chaparral Nature Trail starting at Jack Creek Picnic Area of Dixon Lake Park and found the typical chaparral species--California Towhee, Wrentit, California Thrasher, Bewick's Wren, Spotted Towhee, House Wren, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, California Gnatcatcher. I was also looking for wintering Fox Sparrows. There are three forms possible: Sooty, Thick-billed, and Slate-colored. I don't have any photos of the local Thick-billed Fox Sparrows (stephensi?). I heard a half dozen Fox Sparrows, but didn't get good looks until I saw a Slate-colored form at the Jack's Creek picnic area--the most common, based on my relatively few personal winter sightings.

Oak Titmouse in scrub oak
Inquisitive Oak Titmouse in scrub oak, Dixon Lake, California. November 20, 2016. Greg Gillson.
California Thrasher
California Thrasher
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
eBird list for the morning.

Birding site guide to Dixon Lake.