On a cold and wet December day I felt like I needed another Mission Tennis Club fix. Here is another video I shot on the public easement of the club. In the background you can hear the cyclone fence being put up, so this was one of my last views of the club from this vantage point. It really does seem as if one could be in Tahoe, as other members have said.
What is that elusive brightly colored yellow and black bird flitting around? It seems to delight in confounding my efforts to get it on video. Here it is in motion:
Here is a frame grab from the video (click on any picture for a full-size version):
Townsend's Warbler on the Kimber Park Open Space
At last, using my trusty Peterson Field Guide Western Birds I have confirmed that it is a Townsend’s Warbler!
I am always amazed to find warblers, but this Townsend is right at home, per the field guide “Habitat: Tall conifers, cool fir forests… oaks”.
I have been on a mission lately to photograph some of the less seen but cool birds that make the Kimber Park Open Space home. Pat and Phil Gordon, from the local chapter of the Audubon Society, were here to confirm that White-Tailed Kites were breeding on the Kimber Park Open Space this summer. They published their finding in their November newsletter. I was astounded at their ability to identify birds.
They quickly pointed out the beautiful Golden Eagles which overfly the area. OK, how could we not notice Golden Eagles!
Phil also spotted Hutton’s Vireo, a small and inconspicuous yet pretty olive bird, which I did not even notice and then later what seemed to be a Nuttal’s Woodpecker.
I love woodpeckers, they are so boldly colored and eclectic in their behavior. I cannot believe I never saw them before. The one that Phil saw frequents the pepper tree at the extreme eastern edge of the Kimber Park Open Space. I have stopped by here often to try to photograph this guy. While there on December 13th I caught this pretty female Yellow-Rumped Warbler stopping by.
I could hear the woodpecker, but once again he was eluding me. Again. For months on end. Harrumph.
But now, thanks to Frank, one of the horse-keepers for the horses living along the foothill here, I am happy to report that I have at long last gotten a reasonable picture. Frank finished feeding the horses and stopped to ask what I was photographing. Well, I once again had missed the woodpecker (it is very camera-shy) just before he approached, but while talking to Frank it came back for a few seconds, which I was able to take advantage of.
It turns out to be a Red-Breasted Sapsucker.
The sapsucker appears to actually be doing just that!
Red-Breasted Sapsucker 2
Another less often seen resident is the Northern Flicker. Here are a couple of pictures of a Northern Flicker on the Kimber Park open space. It is a pretty big woodpecker, unique in appearance and behavior.
Northern Flicker showing distinctive white patch.
One of the obvious attractant for the wildlife here are the many large native Coastal Live Oaks, which offer a ready supply of acorns to the birds, squirrels, deer and I am sure other creatures on the property. One of the oaks is apparently already mature in the old Kimber picture from 1939! It is enormous and I would not be surprised if it is well over 100 years old.
Here is the one I am thinking of:
Ancient Oak flanked by Redwoods
Among the big oak tree fans is this Scrub Jay, shown enjoying an acorn on the Kimber Park open space on :November 30th, 2011:
Scrub Jay with acorn
I will close with one of the more well-known Kimber Park open space avian residents, the Red-Shouldered Hawk. This bold hawk has modified his behavior now that the cyclone fence is up. Feeling secure enough to feed on what was once the front lawn of the property (now a mix of mulch, grass and tree-fall), it behaves as shown in these pictures:
Red-Shouldered Hawk on front lawn of the Mission Hills Tennis Club.
Red-Shouldered Hawk looking for food under the mulch.
Red-Shouldered Hawk chomps down on a small meal.
To any readers not familiar with this property or the associated wildlife and woodland, I hope this may help you begin to understand why the neighborhood is so passionate about preserving it. The development plans submitted to the city call for the destruction of 186 trees, mostly Redwoods and Coastal Live Oaks that are over 60 years old. In and of itself this is troubling to consider, but on the mitigating Open Space at the centerpiece recreational facility of a Planned Community in Fremont it is inconceivable.