On Wednesday evening, while walking around the neighborhood, I noticed a couple Vaux's Swifts zooming around. Imagine my surprise when I realized there were at least two dozen of them! An unexpected lifer for me. While I was watching the swifts, I could have sworn I heard a Mountain Chickadee calling. I looked for it without success, but then tried some hearty pishing. It immediately popped out just ten feet in front of me - it was indeed a Mountain Chickadee! I was especially surprised because there are very few conifers in the neighborhood, and it was near none of them. To cap off the evening I spotted a Western Tanager nearby.
On Thursday morning I helped out with the monthly bird census at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. I was assigned to help Dick Purvis (bluebird guru of southern CA) cover several ponds. It was a pleasant morning, but relatively slow bird-wise. The best bird was a Peregrine Falcon that soared right above us for several minutes, and a couple White-tailed Kites and a bunch of American White Pelicans were neat as well.
This morning I spent awhile birding the neighborhood. Passerine migration has finally picked up a little bit, and I found a few interesting birds. I saw a colorful Wilson's Warbler and a not-so-colorful (but still beautiful) Orange-crowned Warbler hanging out with the resident Bushtit flock, and also Western Wood-Pewee, Western Tanager, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, and Acorn Woodpecker. The six new neighborhood birds I've gotten over the last few days - Vaux's Swift, Mountain Chickadee, Western Tanager, Wilson's Warbler, Western Wood-Pewee, and Acorn Woodpecker - put my 'hood list at sixty-eight. Not bad for less than three months!