Saturday, June 02, 2012

Black Diamond

.Although I would have added more birds to my year list by spending most of Saturday at Mitchell Canyon, I left the park in the late morning to drive over to Black Diamond Mine Regional Park. This isn't the most productive birding site in the East Bay but I think it's one of the most beautiful. Also, it doesn't attract as many visitors - and particularly bike riders - as other parks in the area.

After entering the park and driving a mile to the parking lot, I made the short walk up to the main (but small!) picnic area. On the way I spotted more California and Spotted Towhees and Lesser Goldfinches.

On this visit I didn't walk up to the pretty little cemetery, where (mainly Welsh) miners and their families are buried.

Instead, I stayed in the picnic area, which was busy with resident birds, including a House Wren and a couple of Western Bluebirds.

I sat down at a table to have a midday snack and was immediately joined by a very friendly White-breasted Nuthatch.

One of the reasons that I love this park is that the picnic area has a water fountain whose overflow gathers into a small stone basin. Since there isn't any other water in the area, the basin attracts lots of birds. Even better, the basin is right next to the path and so the birds are used to people, making it easy to sit and observe them from just a few yards away.

In the half-hour I sat or stood near the fountain, it was visited by a whole succession of birds: White-breasted Nuthatch, Lesser Goldfinches, House Finches, Dark-eyed Juncoes, Oak Titmice and even an Anna's Hummingbird.

Although Black Diamond isn't known as a birding hotspot and doesn't attract many unusual species, I hope you can see why I like it so much!

On my way out, I stopped near the entrance kiosk to look for Phainopepla. I didn't see any but I did add two more species to my year list: Violet-green Swallow and Bullock's Oriole.

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