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Kitchen Creek & Sunrise Highway (San Diego Co.)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! Today I went out with my friend Carol and headed up Kitchen Creek Road, hoping to wrap up a couple of trails for March. We started at the PCT where
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 15, 2004
      Hi, all!

      Today I went out with my friend Carol and headed up Kitchen Creek Road,
      hoping to wrap up a couple of trails for March. We started at the PCT where it
      crosses Kitchen Creek and went southbound; while there were lots of patches of
      fog going out, it was glorious at the trailhead, and we heard several typical
      chaparral things such as Wrentit, Bewick's Wren, and Mountain Quail. Several
      Hermit Thrushes "thooked" around us, but very few things allowed looks; in fact,
      I think the only thing we actually saw was a perched Anna's Hummingbird! At
      the overlook a Rock Wren was singing on the other side of the creek, and on
      the way back a California Thrasher sang. I told her this was one of the "spots"
      for the much-sought-after Gray Vireo, but we're a little early for them yet.

      The one trail I need data for was closed (Fred Canyon Road), so we headed on
      to Cibbets Flat Trail, where the usual oak woodland fare was singing away,
      most notably House Wrens all over! A lone Bewick's Wren sang from the hillside
      for good comparison. We had a nice look at a lady Nuttall's Woodpecker
      (several were calling in there), and several Oak Titmice were dueling vocally; we
      also had a good "listen" of a Lesser Goldfinch. The Ruby-crowned Kinglets were
      tuning up, and we also had singing Hutton's Vireo that Carol likened to a House
      Sparrow call, which truthfully was one of the "handles" *I* used to learn
      that song: like a repetitive, monotnous, evenly-spaced House Sparrow! The local
      Steller's Jays also entertained her with their machine-gun calls!

      We wanted to bird upper Kitchen Creek Road but THAT was closed, too, so we
      decided to do something I had never done: do the drive-a-mile bit all the way up
      Sunrise Highway! So over we went, and it was fun; there's some beautiful
      habitat along there I had never stopped at before, so it was nice to be able to
      really enjoy the scenery as well! Had the usual thrashers, Wrentits, and
      towhees going up, as well as a pair of Ravens who both had nesting material! Once
      in the pines picked up both nuthatches, Acorn Woodpeckers, chickadees, and
      (ugh) Starlings. Had a beautiful Western Bluebird show off for us at one stop,
      and both Steller's and Scrub Jays were abundant. There were still patches of
      snow here and there, and Carol couldn't resist throwing a snowball at me (even
      though it felt close to 70)! Stopped at the new overlook where both
      Violet-green Swallows and White-throated Swifts were flying around (shades of
      Colorado), but once past Laguna Mountain Village we were both shocked to see the burned
      area: I hadn't realized the fire had gotten this far up into the Lagunas, but
      at least here you could stop and assess the damage close up. Surprisingly,
      there WERE a few birds utilizing the area: a Scrub Jay here and a Spotted
      Towhee there, as well as a sputtering Junco and a single White-crowned Sparrow
      singing its wheezy song! In areas where the grass was coming back picked up quite
      a few meadowlarks, and over by Pedro Fegas the Horned Larks were singing
      away! Couldn't pick up any Mountain Bluebirds, alas.

      Headed to the little restaurant at Cuyamaca Lake for lunch, then headed home
      with 40 species for the day. Bird list:

      Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
      Mountain Quail Oreortyx pictus
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris
      Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta thalassina
      Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
      Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus
      Bewick's Wren Thryomanes bewickii
      House Wren Troglodytes aedon
      Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
      California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum
      Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana
      Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      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
      European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
      Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
      Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
      Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
      California Towhee Pipilo crissalis
      White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
      Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
      Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta
      Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus

      40 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA

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