Don Doolittle and I returned from a short trip to the deserts to see some
spring birds and the incredible wildflower display! Sorry this is a little
We headed to Baker on April 7th. Checking out the pond in town after dinner
at the Mad Greek's Resturant, we were surprised by a KIT FOX. Next morning,
we birded the Mojave National Preserve, finding most of the usual suspects:
singing BLACK-THROATED SPARROWS, GAMBEL'S QUAIL, and CACTUS WREN, among
others. The prize of the day was a singing BENDIRE'S THRASHER. No LeContes'
Thrashers, though. The wildflowers were amazing.
Mid-day, we headed for Death Valley National Park. My car got a flat on one
of the dirt roads, so we had to abort most of the afternoon, and head to
Beatty, NV. Four new tires later, we headed to our local motel.
Next day, we entered Death Valley and visited Stovepipe Wells, Furnace
Creek, and Scotty's Castle. The wind was howling, and there seemed to be a
dearth of birds. Our favorite flowers were the Desert Five Spot and Prickly
Poppy, both on the road to Scotty's Castle. Leaving the park, we went
through the Panamint Mountains where the we saw a male COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD
among the gorgeous flowers. Spent the night in Ridgecrest.
Next day, we went to Butterbredt Springs. The road to the springs is quite
passable, but not graded, with lots of washouts. The springs were teaming
with birds, mostly western migrants: about 15 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, 2
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 1 NASHVILLE WARBLER, 2 CASSIN'S VIREOS, 2 PACIFIC
SLOPE FLYCATCHERS, 1 WESTERN WOODPEWEE, 3 RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, 1 male
COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD, 2 ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS, 12 HERMIT THRUSHES, 1 ROBIN, 2
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, WHITE-CROWNED AND CHIPPING SPARROWS, 1 BLACK-CHINNED
SPARROW, and several BLACK-THROATED SPARROWS. A GREAT-HORNED OWL, along with
two large young were perched in the cottonwood trees. The other usual
suspects were around.
Stopping by California City, the previously reported ROSS' GOOSE and TUNDRA
SWAN were still present at the City Park, on the lake. We stopped to see the
California Poppy show in the Antelope Valley, but the wind was roaringfar
too much for birding.
The wildflowers, alone, were worth it. I highly recommend this trip. You'll
want to do the higher elevations as the weeks wear on. Nice desert birds!
Debi Shearwater <debiluv@...
P.O. Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024