Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Horse Canyon (San Diego Co.)

Expand Messages
  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! This morning I met Niel Ferguson to hike up Horse Canyon Road (I m assuming that s the name of it: it s where all the hang-gliders go south of Buckman
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 15, 2002
      Hi, all!

      This morning I met Niel Ferguson to hike up Horse Canyon Road (I'm assuming
      that's the name of it: it's where all the hang-gliders go south of Buckman
      Springs). We were hoping to see some snakes, but they just weren't
      cooperative. We drove up to the hang-glider jump-off point; the road starts
      off great, but it shortly becomes quite steep and rocky--not a road I'd take
      anything but a 4WD (and preferably high-clearance) on! There's plenty of
      room to park up there, and the road really becomes impassable for a vehicle
      at that point, so that's where you start walking! It was moderately uphill
      (I still had to go slow), and after about 15 minutes the road turns into a
      tricky trail with a beautiful view of Horse Canyon but one heckuva drop-off!
      That's when I said, "Okay, this is where I turn around!" so we sat for awhile
      and yapped away, solving all the world's problems, and not adding much to the
      morning bird list except for Black-chinned Sparrow, Bewick's Wren, California
      Thrasher, White-throated Swift, and a Flicker! Niel had had Gray Vireos back
      up in here in the past, but today they were quiet along with most everything
      else (including the herps)! He shared some interesting snake stories, but
      I'll let HIM tell those!

      Anyway, he wanted to go on, so we said our goodbyes and I headed back down
      the road (that's how I knew it was a 15 minute walk cuz I timed it going
      down--but come to think of it it probably took a lot longer going up...). I
      came to an intersection we had passed that had what looked like a flatter
      trail, so I was about to turn in when what should start singing behind me but
      a Gray Vireo! Not only that, but without provocation (read pishing) he made
      his way right over to where I was, singing the whole time! It was at that
      time that I realized that a bird I had earlier with Niel could have been this
      guy: a dull sparrow-sized bird flew across the trail and landed so that only
      the back half was visible, and based on the long tail that kinda "fattened"
      at the end I guessed that it was probably a Black-chinned Sparrow. But later
      in conversation Niel had commented on how long-tailed Gray Vireos looked to
      him, and as I watched this guy bounce around, he indeed had that same "jizz"
      that the Black-chinned Sparrow had--long, fat-ended tail and all!

      The side trail ended at what looked like an alien camp (lots of tarps and
      remains of campfires), so I headed back, adding a female Bullock's Oriole of
      all things flying over. But just down the road (which turned out to be just
      five minutes from the parking area, if that much) was yet another pair of
      very cooperative Gray Vireos! This whole time I was praying that Niel had
      some SOMEWHERE on his trek; he'd be sick to discover they were all back the
      trailhead practically!

      Enjoyed the view from the jumping-off point (I'm DEFINITELY gonna start
      surveying this road, just to gawk if nothing else!), then headed back down,
      stopping every half mile to listen. Probably the most unusual bird of the
      day sang at the very first stop, where the big burn is: a tinkling song had
      me thinking, "Naw, not up here!" But sure enough, a little coaxing and a
      stunning Black-THROATED Sparrow came whizzing in! Then, interesting, when he
      came in closer, a Sage Sparrow popped up with him, and the two of them took
      off together, almost as though they were a pair! Now THAT would be strange!
      A Black-chinned came in as well for knock-out looks; what a threesome!

      Nothing outstanding after that: added both Red-shouldered and Red-tailed
      Hawks soaring over the freeway, and Spotted Towhee closer to the bottom.
      Took a nap at Boulder Oaks Campground and added Oak Titmouse while I was at
      it... Something small was chasing a Cooper's Hawk over Mission Gorge Road on
      the way home, so that was a nice addition! (The Yellow Warbler was singing
      at the complex when I got home...) Bird List:

      Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
      Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
      Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens
      Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans
      Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
      California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus
      Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
      House Sparrow Passer domesticus
      Gray Vireo Vireo vicinior
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
      Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
      Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
      California Towhee Pipilo crissalis
      Black-chinned Sparrow Spizella atrogularis
      Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata
      Sage Sparrow Amphispiza belli
      Bullock's Oriole Icterus bullockii

      30 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.