Inyo and Imperial
- Hi all,
Kimya Lambert and I took a trip last week through Death Valley, into Arizona, and back through the Salton Sea area, seeing a few interesting birds along the way.
At Furnace Creek Ranch there were numerous Lewis' Woodpeckers in the date palm groves. I'd estimate 30+, which is quite a contrast to the very few in typical areas near Sacramento this year. On the morning of 11/26 we had an INCA DOVE, and, most surprising, a female WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKER on the power poles by the Borax Museum. A Western Scrub-jay was another odd find. We looked through a lot of sparrows, but didn't find anything unusual.
At the large golf course pond west of the campground, there were several Redheads, two Canvasbacks, and a fly-over Blue-winged Teal. Grazing nearby were three Ross' Geese and a Snow Goose.
On the morning of 11/20, we would have missed the ZONE-TAILED HAWK at Cattle Call Park in Brawley if Guy McCaskie hadn't pulled up and found it buried behind the limbs of a large palm on the bluff to the north of the road. By moving east to where the road begins to climb, were we able to get clear views of the bird. Look carefully. It was nearly impossible to pick out without a scope from our original angle, and even then it wasn't a good look until we moved. Guy knew exactly where to look.
We then went to Sperry and Eddins to look for the RUDDY GROUND-DOVES that we missed last February. We didn't find them near the pig pens where they had been reported in the past. Guy pulled up later, looking for a previously reported Band-tailed Pigeon (that he hadn't found by the time we left). Stupidly, instead of following him, we stayed near the pig pens. He came back and said that he had seen several Ruddy Ground-doves in the yards to the south. When we went over there, we found a couple of Inca Doves flying around, but no ground-doves of any description. After walking around for at least 45 minutes more, we were about to give up when Guy pulled up again. He was amazed that we hadn't seen them and lead us back to the spot. As if a switch had been flipped, there was a lot of dove activity. Several Ruddy Ground-doves were moving about, and three actually flew into a bush right in front of us. We were once again spared disappointment by local knowledge. Thanks!
Another highlight was nice looks and a chance to photograph roseate skimmers (dragonflies).
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]