Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Belgatos Park and trail

Early in March, Red and I took advantage of the beautiful spring weather we were experiencing. We went to visit a nearby park that neither of us have ever visited before, yet I knew that local birders frequently visit. The park is located in Los Gatos, about a couple miles southeast of where we live. The park itself is nestled in a residential neighborhood at the foot of Blossom Hill, and the trails take you up around Blossom Hill where there is more housing with larger lots. Albeit, these homes are where the "wealthier" folks live. Homes around here can sell for more than $1.5 million.
The weather that day was perfect - a perfect temp for hiking uphill, and visibility was great as you will see in the photos I've posted here (near the end). As we headed up the hill Red and I would occasionally look back to get a view of where we started from. At one point Red noticed some deer grazing. So we took advantage of getting some shots. Take note there is a house just on the other side of the park boundary where the deer were located. (Don't forget to click on the photos so you can get a larger image.)
As we headed further up the hill we noticed quite a bit of bird activity. Some birds we saw but I did not get pictures of were a spotted towhee and a pair of hawks (we think they were sharpies). Other birds that were difficult to get were cedar waxwings. As you can tell from my photos the lighting was a challenge -- we were in a shaded area where the waxwings kept flying into. And as you can see in these two photos we dealt with a bright sunshiny day in the middle of the day.

Here is a chestnut-backed chickadee we saw on the trail. Actually there were several of them flitting around, but this one was a bit more cooperative as a photo op.
We also saw bushtits flying around with the chickadees. This was the only decent shot I could get. These little birds are much like chickadees and titmice - they don't sit still even for a second.
And the clowns of the bird species were there in abundance -- acorn woodpeckers. Here are a couple of photos I took of them. Isn't that a beautiful blue sky behind them?

And this is a shot of a woodpecker granary. See all the holes in the branches? Isn't that cool?
Here is a shot of Lick Observatory located on top of Mt. Hamilton, which is about 20 miles away as the crow flies.
And here is a shot of downtown San Jose with the Mt Hamilton range in the background. Downtown San Jose is probably about 8 miles away as the crow flies.


Linda in Erie said...

I'm always amazed when I see deer in or near residential areas.

That tree full of holes does look really neat. You saw some great birds and the view of Mt. Hamilton is beautiful.

Red said...

hum... my memory is saying we both said they were Coopers, not Sharpies. And I'm pretty certain the pics I ended up with say the same. Even the call was distinctive.

Your granary shot turned out very nice. Mine, not so much. And the Chestnut-backed Chickadee looks so proud... another nice image.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

That was a fascinating hike.The sceneery was beautiufl.Isn't it great to have clear skies on days like this?

Larry said...

Interesting birds for me-Acorn Woodpecker and Chestnut-backed Chickadee.-Nice photos of the deer.I hope they don't go over to the 1.5 million dollar homes and eat all the greenery.

dguzman said...

Hey there! Long time no see!

Beautiful shots--and that granary is so cool!

RuthieJ said...

What a pretty park. I'm glad you got to see so many birds and nice views.
I bet those people in the +$1 million homes aren't too happy about all those deer wandering around and munching on their landscape plantings....

Mary C said...

Hi Linda -- thanks. We'll have to get together some day and bird together. Any chance of a trip to the greater Bay area?

Red -- did we decide they were Coops? I guess I had forgotten. That's easy to do when I don't have a photo to document it. ;) Thanks for the compliments - that's nice coming from a "pro" like you have recently become! :)

Thank you, Ruth. It really was a clear blue sky that day. And that would be especially nice pondering that afternoon since we've been receiving some light rain this afternoon. Heaven knows we desperately need it. So I'm not complaining! We get lots of beautiful clear blue skies during the spring and summer months, so today's rain is a nice surprise - a nice blessing.

Larry, you had me chuckle about the deer possibly going over to the rich folks' yards. Hopefully the people are smart enough to landscape with plants that don't appeal to deer. Maybe some day you'll find your way out here in the western part of our country and you'll be able to see all those "western" birds we get, like the acorn woodpecker and chestnut-backed chickadee, etc. And I know the same goes for me should I ever get to your neck of the woods.

Hey, Delia! Have you moved west yet? The last I had heard was that you were moving to California. Good to hear from you girl. I suppose you know you are missing the New River Birding Festival this past week (in West Virginia).

Hi Ruthie - I would think these folks would be smart enough to consider landscaping with plants that don't appeal to deer. But I would also hope they enjoy the wildlife around them. It's funny, though, how many people desire to live with lots of land around them, but don't like having the wildlife "invade" their property. What a shame, what a waste not enjoying what God provides around us.

deinandra said...

Deer so close to homes... wonderful!

Jim said...

There's a trail map at:


There are lots of lovely wooded trails in the complex around Belgatos Park on Blossom Hill. At times it seems like you're 100 miles away from any urban area!

Mary C said...

Jim - thanks for visiting, and thanks for the link to the map. I totally agree that you feel like you are 100 miles away from urban/suburban setting while walking one of those trails.


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