Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 11, 2019

Mt. Diablo: Mitchell Canyon Birds, Wildflowers & Butterflies 5/11/19

Today I went to Mitchell Canyon at Mt. Diablo with several friends from the Masterbirding program. Highlights included seeing Mt. Diablo Fairy Lantern which is still in bloom, seeing a good number of butterflies and  We had identified 33 bird species including Western Tanager, one of my favorites, 8 butterfly species and 19 wildflowers in bloom. It was a busy day for birders as we ran into two Golden Gate Audubon birding class field trips and a number of other birders on the trail as well. If you go stay on the trail/road as there is an abundance of Poison Oak in the area.

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Butterfly List

Western Tiger Swallowtail
Pale Swallowtail
Lorquin’s Admiral
California Sister
Painted Lady
Calcedon Checkerspot
Northern Checkerspot
California Ringlet

Plant LIst (I used the Mitchell Canyon Plant List from 2009 by Yulan Tong

Mt. Diablo Fairy Lantern/Calochortus pulchellus (endemic to Mt. Diablo area)
Blue Dicks/Dichelostemma capitatum
Ithuriel’s Spear/Triteleia laxa
Poison Oak/Toxicodendron diversilobum   (not in flower but abundant)
Cow Parsnip/Heracleum lanatum
Yarrow/Achillea millefolium
California Sagebrush/Artemissa californica (not in flower but abundant)
Coyote Bush/Baccharis pilularis (not in flower but abundant)
Narrow-leaf Bush Sunflower/Ericameria linearifolia
Slender Madia/Madia gracilis
Blue Elderberry/Sambucus mexicana
Silver Lupine/Lupinus albrifrons
California Buckeye/Aesculus californica
Pitcher Sage/Lepechinia calycina
Black Sage/Salvia milleifera
Wood Mint or Hedge Nettle/Stachys ajugoides rigida
Winecup Clarkia/Clarkia purpurea
California Poppy/Eschscholzia californica
California Blackberry/Rubus ursinus
Chinese House/Collinsia heterophylla
Bush Monkeyflower/Diplacus aurantiacus (formerly Mimulus aurantiacus)
Common Monkeyflower/Erythanthe guttate (formerly Mimulus guttatus)

Bird List  Mt. Diablo SP–Mitchell Canyon, Contra Costa, California
Protocol: Traveling 2.5 mile(s) 33 species
compiled by Anna Sojourner

California Quail  6
Wild Turkey  6
Band-tailed Pigeon  25
Mourning Dove  1
Anna’s Hummingbird  12
Turkey Vulture  7
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Acorn Woodpecker  6
Nuttall’s Woodpecker  3
Olive-sided Flycatcher  2
Western Wood-Pewee  1
Ash-throated Flycatcher  5
Hutton’s Vireo  2
Steller’s Jay  1
California Scrub-Jay  4
Tree Swallow  1
Violet-green Swallow  4
Chestnut-backed Chickadee  1
Oak Titmouse  3
Bushtit  6
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
House Wren  1
Wrentit  3
Western Bluebird  1
Lesser Goldfinch  4
Dark-eyed Junco  3
California Towhee  2
Spotted Towhee  8
Red-winged Blackbird  2
Wilson’s Warbler  1
Western Tanager  2
Black-headed Grosbeak  8


  1. Not Blue Dick, rather it is Uthuriel’s Spear Triteleia laxa.


    • Thanks for the correction. You are absolutely right. The photo is Ithuriel’Spear/Triteleia laxa. I did see Blue Dicks as well yesterday although I think there were more IThuriel’s Spear in bloom


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