Saturday, September 13, 2008
A Rocky Adventure
Life is frustrating. The last couple days, when I've been sitting around indoors blowing my nose off and coughing my lungs out, the first major wave of migrants have come through. I was too sick to do much more than make an abbreviated sally outside, and I got tantalizing glimpses of migrants - Wilson's Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Warbling Vireos, and more. I was feeling a bit better this morning, so I decided to take a quick hike at Santiago Oaks Regional Park to see if there were any migrants left and also to chase a Rock Wren that had been spotted on the Villa Park Dam at the south end of the park several days before.
I've heard rumors of Rock Wrens around the dam in the past, but I had never found them there despite searching several times. Just getting to the dam this morning was an adventure in itself; as we rounded a bend in the trail, we were confronted with a raging torrent of water gushing over the trail. I quickly skipped across the makeshift bridge without a thought, but my half a century year-old dad was reluctant to fjord the creek. I guess they weren't kidding when they said the trail was "washed out".
We reached the dam at last. We poked around, scanning the crevices and boulders for Rock Wrens. Nope, no Rock Wrens, and very little else. After loitering around for awhile, I heard a suspicious-sounding scratchy little song drifting over from the dam. I trotted over there and found a Rock Wren perched on top of a large mound of dirt and stones near the dam. It was rather distant (and behind a fence liberally plastered with "Trespassing and Loitering Forbidden By Law" signs), so decent photos were impossible.
After several minutes, the wren popped down behind the mound and we started the hike back to the parking lot where we had locked up our bikes. Rock Wren was a new Bigby bird for me (#217), and it was the first I've seen at Santiago Oaks. Hopefully, I'll be able to get out and find some more interesting birds before the end of the weekend. I also hope to get over my illness before the new week starts - I know, I probably should not have exerted myself so much chasing that Rock Wren, but you've gotta do what you gotta do...
Posted by Neil Gilbert at 2:02 PM