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Henshaw Basin (San Diego Co.)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! Today escorted visiting birder Joe Church from Harrisburg, PA around the north county area, and was it a GORGEOUS day! The open, oak-studded Henshaw
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2001
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      Hi, all!

      Today escorted visiting birder Joe Church from Harrisburg, PA around the
      north county area, and was it a GORGEOUS day! The open, oak-studded Henshaw
      Basin is one of my favorite areas, anyway, and we saw some good stuff.

      Met at Santa Ysabel and stopped first at the Mission, where House Finches
      were the most exciting thing, then headed up Mesa Grande Road, stopping every
      mile or so. At the bottom of the hill had what was probably a Wilson's
      Warbler chacking, but wouldn't come out for sure (it was giving a Winter
      Wren-like double chack, which had me wondering). Further up the hill Joe got
      his first-of-many good look at a Scrub Jay, found a treeful of Western
      Bluebirds, and saw a knock-out Ferruginous Hawk on a telephone pole. Acorn
      Woodpeckers were of course all over, but couldn't find any Lewis' yet.
      Red-winged Blackbirds were along Black Canyon Road instead.

      Heading down the hill towards Lake Henshaw, we enjoyed the view then set up
      the scope on the dirt overlook. Superficially it looked pretty dead, but we
      were able to spot White Pelicans, flocks of American Wigeon, a few Great Blue
      Herons, and (thrills) a pod of coots. I heard a Rock Wren calling from the
      main parking lot, so since that was a life bird for Joe, we tootled on over
      there and kicked the thing up while the head guy there was asking me about a
      dark gull he had there earlier. At that vantage point we were close enough
      to the flock of Aechmophorus grebes to positively ID at least one as a
      Western, along with some Ruddy Ducks.

      Headed up to Palomar after that, where we dumped his car at the Palomar
      Market parking lot (since I have a state park pass), picking up his life
      Mountain Chickadee across the street (the potentially life Nuttall's
      Woodpecker was considerably less cooperative). A Hairy called down the road,
      a Butterbutt flew over, and lots of White-breasted Nuthatches made their
      little noises, tapping quietly. After that we drove on down to the state
      park where we hiked the Silver Crest Trail; Spotted Towhees were very
      cooperative, and Joe finally saw his life Oak Titmouse. The Ruby-crowned
      Kinglets were back, and two potential lifers, California Thrasher and
      Wrentit, called enticingly from the overlook but just wouldn't come out (I'm
      sending him to Torrey Pines for those two...). Down on the paved road a very
      tame Gray-headed Junco hopped up for pictures; later we saw the more typical
      Oregon. In the meadow on the way back to the car was a Band-tailed Pigeon
      and a Cedar Waxwing in the same treetop (we scared up a big flock of the
      pigeons on the way up), while Phainopeplas called in the background. A
      Purple Finch called from another tree, and I thought I heard a sapsucker, but
      then Joe said he saw an accipiter take off, so it was probably a Cooper's
      doing that maddening "sapsucker" call! Back at the car a Brown Creeper was
      hitching up a tree, and we got great but brief looks at a stunning female
      Townsend's Warbler.

      Headed down to the San Luis Rey Picnic Area, where we added Belted Kingfisher
      and Orange-crowned Warbler to the list, plus two more lifers for Joe: Lesser
      Goldfinches giving stunning views in the sun at the rocks near the end of the
      trail, and a curious Hutton's Vireo back at the cars. In typical frustrating
      fashion, a Lawrence's Goldfinch tinkled unseen overhead, but a Yellowthroat
      in the reeds was more cooperative.

      From there we headed to the PCT at highway 22 in hopes of picking up Mountain
      Quail, but it was terribly quiet there by this time; we DID see a couple more
      Hutton's Vireos, however. A Fox Sparrow was in with a flock of Whiteys, but
      unfortunately Joe didn't get a look at it; he wasn't too concerned until I
      reminded him that they may split them in the future!

      Joe was headed to Brawley eventually, so I showed him how to get to the
      "LeConte's Thrasher Spot" (and also where to pick up more possible Fox
      Sparrows in the Lagunas on the way back), and we went our separate ways with
      56 species for the day. Bird List:

      Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis
      American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
      Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
      American Wigeon Anas americana
      Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
      Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
      Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
      Ferruginous Hawk Buteo regalis
      American Kestrel Falco sparverius
      American Coot Fulica americana
      Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
      Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
      Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
      Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens
      Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
      Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus
      Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
      House Wren Troglodytes aedon
      California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum
      Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      Mountain Chickadee Poecile gambeli
      Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus
      White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
      Brown Creeper Certhia americana
      Steller's Jay Cyanocitta stelleri
      Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
      House Sparrow Passer domesticus
      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
      Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
      Townsend's Warbler Dendroica townsendi
      Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
      Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
      California Towhee Pipilo crissalis
      Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
      Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca
      Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
      White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
      Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
      Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
      Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta

      56 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA
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