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Tilden Regional Park

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Wildcat Canyon trail, Tilden Regional Park.
Wildcat Canyon trail, Tilden Regional Park.

United States, California


[edit] Overview

Tilden Regional Park, east of Berkeley, California, preserves two thousand acres of the Berkeley Hills, including riparian forest along Wildcat Creek and chaparral on the slopes above.

[edit] Birds

[edit] Notable Species

The park's Nature Area is centered around Jewel Lake. The section of trail between the parking lot and the lake passes through evergreen forest, while an alternate route to the left follows a boardwalk through the thickets along Wildcat Creek.

Resident birds in this area include Anna's Hummingbird, Steller's Jay, Chestnut-backed Chickadee and California Towhee.

In spring and summer, look for Allen's Hummingbird, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Swainson's Thrush, Warbling Vireo, and Wilson's Warbler. Winter visitors include Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Townsend's Warbler, Golden-crowned Sparrow, and Fox Sparrow.

In winter the creek bottom and the fern-covered hillside to the west should be checked carefully for Varied Thrush.

The tall evergreens to the east are home to Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, and Nuttall's Woodpecker, the last of which can usually be found in the pines along the trail behind the park visitor center.

For such a small body of water, Jewel Lake attracts a surprising diversity of wintering waterfowl, with Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, and Common Merganser joining the resident Mallards. The lake margins are often home to a visiting Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret or Snowy Egret. Yellow-rumped Warblers winter in the low vegetation around the lake, while a pair of Black Phoebes nests at the lake's outflow dam.

Beyond the lake the trail diverges from the creek, entering drier and grassier habitat. This oak savannah is home to numerous Spotted Towhees and what sometimes seems like every squawking California Scrub Jay in a twenty-mile radius. In the spring, listen for singing Lazuli Buntings and California Thrashers in the chaparral above.

Throughout the park, careful examination of dense vegetation near water may produce a look at one of the resident Wrentits. Alternatively, in winter keep an eye on the sky above for the possibility of Band-tailed Pigeons.

[edit] Rarities

Most of the park's rarities are eastern vagrants. The wooded areas around Jewel Lake have attracted a variety of stray passerines, including Red-eyed Vireo, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and American Redstart. A Red-naped Sapsucker was present in the eucalyptus grove above Jewel Lake in December 2007.

One exceptional record was the Worm-eating Warbler present in the summer of 1978.

[edit] Check-list

Birds you can see here include:

Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Green Heron, Mallard, Gadwall, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser, Double-crested Cormorant, Wild Turkey, California Quail, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, White-tailed Kite, American Kestrel, American Coot, Band-tailed Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Anna's Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, White-throated Swift, Belted Kingfisher, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Northern Flicker(red-shafted form), Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood Pewee, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Say's Phoebe, Barn Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Warbling Vireo, Hutton's Vireo, Cassin's Vireo, Steller's Jay, California Scrub Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Oak Titmouse, Bushtit, Pygmy Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, House Wren, Bewick's Wren, Wrentit, Cedar Waxwing, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, California Thrasher, American Robin, Varied Thrush, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, White-crowned Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Western Tanager, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, Lesser Goldfinch

[edit] Other Wildlife

The park's two most visible mammals are Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus and Western Gray Squirrel Sciurus griseus. Mountain Lions Puma concolor are present but rarely seen.

The most common butterfly is the California Sister Limenitis bredowii californica.

Banana Slugs of the genus Ariolimax are often seen oozing their way across Tilden trails.

[edit] Site Information

[edit] History and Use

to do

[edit] Areas of Interest

Lake Anza (accessible off of Central Park Drive) is the park's largest body of water. In winter it has larger numbers of the same waterfowl found on Jewel Lake (Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck and Mallard) as well as a pair of species rarely found elsewhere in Tilden: American Coot and Pied-billed Grebe.

The park's upland areas boast some dry-country birds not found around Jewel Lake.

Inspiration Point at the park's eastern entrance has been used as an autumn hawk watch. Nimitz Way, the paved footpath leading north along the crest of the ridge, is a good spot for California Quail. The pine groves along the trail should be checked thoroughly for Pygmy and Red-breasted Nuthatches as well as more Nuttall's Woodpeckers.

The Big Spring Trail hosts the park's only nesting Rufous-crowned Sparrows.

[edit] Access and Facilities

The park is accessible from the west off of Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Wildcat Canyon Road in Berkeley. From the east take San Pablo Dam Road from Orinda and California Highway 24. On weekends AC Transit bus #67 serves the park from downtown Berkeley.

[edit] Contact Details

East Bay Regional Park District.

[edit] External Links


Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

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