Birding at Del Valle Regional Park

Katherine and I just recently returned from a brief but fun camping trip to Del Valle Regional Park. I had never been there before (I fear the East Bay heat!) and I was pleasantly surprised. The campground was well-maintained, dogs were allowed off-leash in some areas and there were a variety of birds to see.

As of this writing, the lake is off limits to most activity due to the presence of blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria). We were warned to keep the dogs away from the water. However, the water still provided habitat for grebes, pelicans, and other shorebirds.

Near the campsite, we saw Acorn Woodpeckers and California Scrub Jays.

Acorn Woodpecker with acorn
Acorn Woodpecker taking off with its acorn
California Scrub Jay tossing leaves about
California Scrub Jay hopping about

Further afield, on our hikes, we saw many different birds–though the Acorn Woodpeckers and California Scrub Jays were always present.

We saw colorful Western Bluebirds. Below are photos of one bathing.

We saw three different kinds of grebes: Western, Pied-billed and Eared. Below a Grebe dives for its meal.

Western Grebe eating a fish
Earred Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe

We saw birds that I had either never seen or never identified before.

Yellow-billed Magpie
Phainopepla (don’t ask me to pronounce that)
Sora (This I can pronounce!)

The high point of our trip was seeing a Golden Eagle (a bird I’d never seen before). Bald Eagles, a Golden Eagle, Turkey Vultures, a Red-tailed Hawk and American White Pelicans circled and flew above us.

Turkey Vulture, American White Pelican and Bald Eagle amicably flying together
Bald Eagle
Golden Eagle (ID’d by a new friend, Allan!)

Near the end of one hike, I saw a squirrel sounding an alarm. I thought it was concerned about the Great Blue Heron several feet behind it.

Alarmed squirrel with Great Blue Heron in background

I’ve seen a Great Blue Heron eat a gopher. Apparently, its diet does not include squirrels. And this squirrel knew it. Both the heron and the squirrel are looking at Sasha. She was the threat.

And finally, because this is blog is named after Katherine’s nickname for the Turkey Vulture, here is a picture of two of these social creatures sitting close together. They were two of several Turkey Vultures in this tree.

Pair of Turkey Vultures perched in a tree
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