1st Day of Spring Bird & Plant Identification Walk

Vicki Silvas-Young is a lifetime birder and native plant aficionado active in both Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society and the California Native Plant Society. When she offered to lead a beginner’s bird and plant identification walk at Lake Cunningham Park, I jumped at the opportunity. She chose the 1st Day of Spring, March 20, 2016, and what a wonderful day it turned out to be.

The weather was cool but not cold and mostly sunny. Some 30 people showed up, including members of CNPS, SCV Audubon, Open Space Authority, Silicon Valley Volunteers, Latino Outdoors, and the general public.

Vicki started the walk in the Marina parking lot, where we saw great-tailed grackle up close, and an American white pelican in the distance. On the way to the native garden, we encountered many more birds, including Anna’s hummingbird, black phoebe, bufflehead, California towhee, Canada goose, killdeer, mallard, ruddy duck, song sparrow, tree swallow, and yellow-rumped warbler.

Arvind pointed out common non-native plants like blue gum eucalyptus and London plane, as well as many native plants in the native garden, including Bee’s Bliss sage, black sage, blue elderberry, California sagebrush, chaparral clematis, Fremont cottonwood, hummingbird sage, purple needlegrass, valley oak, western sycamore, woodmint, and Yankee Point ceanothus. Members of Silicon Valley Volunteers have been working in the garden since fall 2015 on tasks like weeding, mulching, and planting.

The bird and plant list can be found here.

The walk was cosponsored by the California Native Plant SocietySanta Clara Valley Audubon Society, and Open Space Authority in cooperation with Lake Cunningham Park staff and San Jose Parks & Recreation staff.

Many thanks to Vicki, Ashok, and Steve Rosenthal for organizing/leading/supporting the walk. Special thanks to Susan Sundberg whose untiring efforts in the native garden have produced superb habitat that is also beautiful and charming.


View additional photos posted by Silicon Valley Volunteers here.

Stay tuned for the 1st Day of Summer bird+plant ID walk in June.

About Arvind Kumar

Native plant gardener in San Jose, CA. I have been growing native plants since 2000 in a tract home lot front and back.
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