The first birds were heard as I opened the car door, before I even got out. A dozen American Robins were there--some already apparently paired up. One of the robins had ugly swollen legs, as several did here last year--probably a scaly mite infection. Several Dark-eyed Juncos were feeding in the lawn, some House Finches were flying about, a Mourning Dove was cooing, and a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers were working the tops of the California pepper trees that were just getting the first warming rays of sun as they lined the parking lot.
I walked through the first picnic area and down the hill slightly to the adjacent Jack's Creek picnic area. There were fewer birds this morning here, still in shade. A Nuttall's Woodpecker was working the dead top of a sycamore branch.
|There was actually water running in the creek!|
|Wild Lilac (Ceanothus spp.) starting to bloom.|
Eventually, I spotted some very pale (pale for Sooties), but evenly-colored Fox Sparrows, with dense breast markings. I obtained two completely out-of-focus and useless photos, and one fuzzy photo that I present here. This probably represents unalaschcensis--the palest of the Sooty Fox Sparrows. It is also the form that breeds farthest north and west--in the Aleutians. Sooty Fox Sparrows have a leapfrog migration, with the northernmost breeders migrating the farthest south. The dark breeding form near Vancouver, Canada barely migrates at all.
|Sooty Fox Sparrow -- probably unalaschcensis subspecies|
|A dead yucca stalk stands as a sentinel over the chaparral.|
|Mission Manzanita starting to bloom.|
|Alert Rufous-crowned Sparrow.|
|Rufous-crowned Sparrow, typical pose.|
|What is it? Wild cucumber.|
My eBird Checklist of this hike.
eBird Hotspot for Dixon Lake.
My previous birding site guide to Dixon Lake (written June 2016).
Mary Beth Stowe's birding site guide to Dixon Lake (written about 2008).