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Kitchen Creek Road and Cameron Valley (San Diego Co.)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! Today I started up at the top of Kitchen Creek Road (KCR), birded the road, and hiked the three trails along said road before birding Cameron Valley
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 23, 2003
      Hi, all!

      Today I started up at the top of Kitchen Creek Road (KCR), birded the road,
      and hiked the three trails along said road before birding Cameron Valley Road.
      It was really a lovely day; didn't start getting really warm until you hit
      the PCT at the cattle guard along KCR. But there were lots of birds along the
      road, and things were especially thick up in the pines: White-breasted
      Nuthatches actually outnumbered the Pygmies, and I had a really weird Nuttall's
      Woodpecker that I thought might have been a hybrid (it really sounded more like a
      Ladder-backed), but since juveniles of any species can sound bizarre, I figured
      that's probably what it was (looked like it could have been; for all intents
      and purposes it looked like a good Nuttall's otherwise). Also had Hairy
      Woodpecker in here, along with Pewees and other high-mountain type things. Down in
      the chaparral ran into a family of Black-chinned Sparrows (learned THEIR call
      notes can sound awfully junco-like, too, so it isn't always necessarily a Sage
      Sparrow you're hearing!) as well as the common stuff expected in THAT
      habitat. Several quail kept exploding from the road but wouldn't land where I could
      see them; finally one of them gave me enough of a view to determine that they
      were Mountain Quail. A young hummer got in my face, which I assumed was an
      Anna's at first but then it started making Black-chinned noises! I sure
      wouldn't expect one in THIS kind of habitat, but with a youngster, who knows??? (I
      got a digi-photo if anyone's interested...)

      Hiked the Cibbet Flats Trail, which (not surprisingly) had lots of Lawrence's
      and Lesser Goldfinches, as they seem to be all over this year. A Band-tailed
      Pigeon was singing, and the place was alive with Selasphorus Hummers, but the
      only ones I could actually see were all female-types. The trail also had
      tons of Black-headed Grosbeaks, the juveniles giving their little mellow
      Cockatiel whistle. A nice Pacific-slope Flycatcher came in to say hello at the
      resting spot, and the jays were mad as usual (it always amuses me that there's
      always a group of Steller's Jays way down here) Got one lonely Hutton's Vireo to
      tentatively sing for me on the way out, but the star of the trail was a
      knockout male Western Tanager that sat out in plain view!

      Fred Canyon Road was finally open, so I crawled up to the PCT. Either I
      never noticed it before, or else they had just put up a new marker for the PCT,
      because I discovered the southbound trail, even though I had always apparently
      parked right next to it and never saw it! So since it looked rather flat, I
      decided to try it, and it was marvelous, much nicer than the northbound section!
      For one thing, you pass by a nice little riparian area (not right next to
      the trail, but close enough to hear stuff), and even though there IS a slight
      downhill slope after awhile, it's very mild, and the hike back up is nothing at
      all compared to that northbound trek! Had the normal chaparral and oak
      woodland stuff as well as more Lawrence's Goldfinches, and at the turnaround point
      something tentatively gave me one little phrase that COULD have been a Gray
      Vireo, but its delivery was so slow (what there was of it) I wasn't convinced it
      wasn't a Cassin's Vireo who had wandered down from the mountain. An
      Ash-throated Flycatcher flew up in my face as well, giving me more practice with the
      silly digital (because sometimes it doesn't wanna focus, and sometimes it
      doesn't wanna give me the right exposure--it's got a mind of its own). Also had a
      couple of young Lazuli Buntings pop up as well. A juvenile Rock Wren checked
      me out on the way back.

      As I mentioned, down at the next PCT crossing it was starting to warm up and
      I really thought I wouldn't get ANY birds for this trail, but at the overlook
      ironically things started to pick up with a group of hidden Mountain Quail
      giving quite a sharp alarm call! An Oak Titmouse scolded me on the way back, and
      some California Quail clucked down below not too far from where the Mountains
      were. But the jewel was the singing Gray Vireo, right where he always seems
      to be! The heat wasn't bothering HIM any!

      Headed down to Cameron Valley Road, where it was REALLY warm, but still
      beautiful, and managed to pick up a few new birds for the day, including Western
      Bluebird, Raven (!), and a couple of Red-tailed Hawks. Warning: they're doing
      major roadwork on Buckman Springs with long waits, so if you're out that way,
      try to find an alternate route! All in all, wound up with 50 species for the

      Bird List:

      Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
      American Kestrel Falco sparverius
      Mountain Quail Oreortyx pictus
      California Quail Callipepla californica
      Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus alexandri
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Costa's Hummingbird Calypte costae
      Rufous Hummingbird Selasphorus rufus
      Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
      Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
      Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus
      Pacific-slope Flycatcher Empidonax difficilis
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens
      Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina
      Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens
      Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus
      Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
      House Wren Troglodytes aedon
      California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum
      Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      Mountain Chickadee Poecile gambeli
      Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus
      Pygmy Nuthatch Sitta pygmaea
      White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
      Steller's Jay Cyanocitta stelleri
      Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      Gray Vireo Vireo vicinior
      Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni
      Purple Finch Carpodacus purpureus
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
      Lawrence's Goldfinch Carduelis lawrencei
      Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata
      Western Tanager Piranga ludoviciana
      Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
      California Towhee Pipilo crissalis
      Black-chinned Sparrow Spizella atrogularis
      Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus
      Lazuli Bunting Passerina amoena
      Bullock's Oriole Icterus bullockii

      50 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA

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