I will be coming into San Diego for the big Nature Festival this next week and had a few last minute RFI for y'all.
Am planning on flying in mid-day 7 Feb, and heading straight toward Salton Sea. En route to and from I was considering stopping off at some of the Laguna Mountain areas listed in my older ABA guide. I was wondering if anyone out there can comment on accessibility of these areas at this time of year. In particular I'm interested in locating White-headed Woodpeckers and Mountain Quail here. Any suggestions here would be greatly appreciated. I half expect to hear the areas are snowed in and not accessible.
My other thought for a spot to hit en route, is Anza-Borrego Desert. My primary target here would be LeConte's Thrasher, but any suggestions on must see spots, and/or any recent locations for this species in that area would be huge. I will stay in Calipatria and the following morning will be looking especially for Ruddy Ground Doves and Yellow-footed Gulls. I know the "typical" spots to look for both, but would love to hear anything recent from the field including, "how to", "when to" tips, etc. Do the doves arrive early at the Calipatria spot? My thought was to go over there first since I'll be staying within a couple miles, but if they don't show up until later in the day maybe I'll make my way toward a spot to find the Gulls plus whatever else I run into along the way. Lord knows you can't go wrong birding the Salton Sea!
Back toward San Diego I have a number of easy target birds, and some others that are more difficult. The list is as follows:
Black-vented Shearwater - any being seen from shore around Pt Loma, etc.?
Mountain Quail - assume the Laguna Mt. area is closest, it's the wrong season, and the areas may be snowed in, but you have to ask... didn't want to come home and hear how one has been visiting a feeder somewhere in the desert or something! ;)
Thayer's Gull - haven't seen one in years, was curious if there were any about. I hated gulls when I saw my last one near a couple decades ago, now that I appreciate the subtleties involved would love time to study one at length.
Nuttall's Woodpecker - should be a slam dunk somewhere nearby, anyone have a good suggestion?
White-headed Woodpecker - a bird of a different feather obviously, any one have any ideas?....
Le Conte's Thrasher - was thinking Anza Borrego would be a best bet, as mentioned above if anyone has any other more specific or current info here, or know of any other spots to check near the Salton Sea, that would be good.
Wrentit - should be a slam dunk again somewhere nearby, who has a no miss spot?
Oak Titmouse - again should be an easy pick out that way somewhere...
Hermit Warbler - another long shot but I know there are ocassional records here and there throughout the winter in coastal CA
Lawrence's Goldfinch - anyone seen any recently?....
The only other bird on my list of wants that might be possible is Cassin's Vireo. Am I right in remebering there can be occassional winter records for this bird from time to time? If yes and someone knows of a wintering bird, I'd love to know about it.
Thanks in advance for any assistance you may give.
Leica Sport Optics
Port Charlotte, FL
PS - if some of you are thinking isn't this the same dummy we gave advice to in October near Irvine?!?... Well guilty as charged, I didn't get away from the event to do any birding at all that time, so before you go thinking, 'why should I waste my time helping this dork if he isn't going to find the birds anyway?!?....' Please give me another chance, I'll do better this time honest! ;)
PPS - for the benefit of anyone heading to FL this winter there are now 4 individual Western Spindalis being seen in the state, not as exciting as the TX rarity bonanza perhaps, but good news if you're going to be in the neighborhood anyway.
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