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Palomar Divide Road (San Diego/Riverside Cos.)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! Today I only had time for one stop, but it was a biggie: Palomar Divide Road, a rough dirt road which starts way up in north San Diego County and
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8 4:56 PM
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      Hi, all!

      Today I only had time for one stop, but it was a biggie: Palomar Divide Road,
      a rough dirt road which starts way up in north San Diego County and dumps off
      in Riverside County. It was pretty warm and pretty quiet, so there wasn't a
      real big list, but there were larger numbers of certain species
      (understandably this time of year) like Wrentits, California Towhees, and
      Scrub Jays. The only Hutton's Vireo of the day was in the oak woodland at
      the very start of the road, and got brief glimpses of Mountain Quail running
      across the road (and heard several more with their flicker-like chuckle).
      Things that are normally very conspicuous in the spring, like Black-chinned
      and Sage Sparrows, were virtually nowhere to be seen or heard, except for a
      couple individuals that popped up in response to pishing. Several Rock Wrens
      called, which I had not recorded up here before, and a family of Phainopeplas
      was new as well. The views of Lake Henshaw and environs were spectacular, as
      always, making the drive up there worth it for that alone!

      The oak grove at the top wasn't as pretty as last November, but there were
      several unique things such as Purple Finch and Western Wood Pewee.
      Chickadees were up here along with the titmice, interestingly, as well as
      lots of Acorn Woodpeckers and a few House Wrens and White-breasted
      Nuthatches. Instead of heading straight down the other side I decided to
      backtrack, because I remember that part of the road into Riverside County
      being so bad last time that I told myself I wouldn't do it again! Turns out
      I really should have braved it: the drive back was almost an hour, although I
      did pick up what was probably the most unusual bird of the day on the way
      out: a Hairy Woodpecker in the chaparral!!

      I had wanted to go up the other end anyway, just to see how far I could get
      before running into the really bad stuff, but it was getting late in the
      morning and things were pretty quiet; I DID get a Loggerhead Shrike "whisper
      singing" at the start of the dirt road just inside the Rancho California RV
      Park. What makes this leg of the road so bad is that, after the oak grove,
      it becomes rough, windy, and goes STRAIGHT down, so your car has to tread
      carefully! After going UP said road a bit, I decided that, rough road or no,
      it's better just to grit your teeth and take the whole thing through. But I
      will say this: do NOT try this road without a 4WD vehicle ("Jip" had a few
      new rattles by the time we were through)! A Canyon Wren calling on the way
      back down was a nice compensation for my efforts, and a Roadrunner going up
      highway 79 was a real treat, too!

      Bird List:

      Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
      Mountain Quail Oreortyx pictus
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus
      Great Horned Owl (at home) Bubo virginianus
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Costa's Hummingbird Calypte costae
      Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
      Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
      Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens
      Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens
      Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus
      Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus
      Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
      House Wren Troglodytes aedon
      California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      Mountain Chickadee Poecile gambeli
      Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus
      White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
      Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
      Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
      Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni
      Purple Finch Carpodacus purpureus
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
      Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata
      Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
      California Towhee Pipilo crissalis
      Black-chinned Sparrow Spizella atrogularis
      Sage Sparrow Amphispiza belli
      Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
      Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis

      41 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA
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