.At 7:15 on Saturday morning I drove out of San Francisco and across the Bay Bridge, heading for Mount Diablo. My plan was to start with a couple of hours of birding along Mitchell Canyon, usually one of the most productive - and most beautiful - sites in the Bay Area.
Within a few minutes I had seen California and Spotted Towhees, Ash-throated Flycatchers, Dark-eyed Juncoes, Oak Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatch, American and Lesser Goldfinches, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Cassin's Vireo and California Quail.
Unfortunately, though, all of the birds were either too distant or too concealed in foliage for me to get photos. A Lazuli Bunting was typical. It perched in the open, positively glowing in the sunlight, and sang its heart out for 10 minutes but there was no way I could closer than this.
A Bewick's Wren was a little more cooperative.
An Anna's Hummingbird let me get close, too.
Back in the parking area, Acorn Woodpeckers were now up and active, looking as comical as ever.
So was the first Black Phoebe of my trip.
Then a Western Scrub-jay swooped in.
By now it was late morning and so I decided to leave Mitchell Canyon to drive over to my favorite California nature site - Black Diamond Mine Regional Park. It's a small park but it's really beautiful and it's usually a great place to get close-up photos of birds.