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SOCAL Trip (Long)

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  • scre@aol.com
    Did a little trip around socal with a friend of mine Ryan Shaw from Washington last weekend. Mostly had the regular birds (so I am only really going to say
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 16 2:18 AM
      Did a little trip around socal with a friend of mine Ryan Shaw from
      Washington last weekend. Mostly had the regular birds (so I am only really
      going to say the highlights for each place) with the rarest bird we had
      probably was American Pipits in the Antelope Valley. If anybody is
      interested in the details feel free to e-mail me. Sorry for the late report

      July 6
      Los Angles County Antelope Valley-
      The first Le Contes Thrasher site mentioned in A Birder's Guide To So Cal off
      of Ave O. No Thrashers but surprisingly we did have a couple of American
      Pipits (how many summer records are there for this area?). Coasta's
      Hummingbird, Verdin, Cal Quail, Catcus Wren (lifer for Ryan) and Brewer's
      Sparrow were the other highlights here. Also in the non bird category we had
      White-tailed Antelope Squirrel, and Ryan had a Desert Horned Lizard
      We then stopped at the second thrasher site mentioned in A Birders Guide to
      So Cal on Ave Q. Highlights here were 10-15 juv Sage Sparrows in a flock
      with no definite sightings of an adult. Other non birds were Zebra-tailed and
      Side-blotched Lizards

      San Bernardino County-
      Mojave Narrows Regional Park - getting towards late morning so we didn't
      really do a lot of birding here but we did see Western Bluebird, coots with
      babies grackles, Summer Tanager Nuttall's Woodpecker, and Ash-throated
      Our plans of heading up into the San Bernardino Mountains were foiled by an
      extremely heavy downpour and thunderstorm when we reached Bladwin Lake.
      Convington Park in Morango Valley was birdy. The highlights that we had were
      Summer Tanager family (one fledgling only had half of its adult feathers), a
      female Western Tanager (an early fall migrant I would guess), a yellow
      canary, heard a C. Peafowl, Lazuli Bunting, Vermillion FLycatcher, Ryan heard
      a selasphorous hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummer, Nuttall's Wood, and a
      Gambell's Quail family unfortunetly we also had a cowbird. Over at Big
      Morongo Canyon Preserve (which was far less birdy then the park) we had
      Coasta's Hummer, Verdin, several Chats, Blue Grosbeak, Ash-throated
      Flycatcher, Turkey Vulture. We met a birder who told us that he had
      Brown-crested Flycatcher (lifer for Ryan state bird for me) just a couple
      minutes before in the park so we went back and found two of them in the
      residential next to the park. They then flew over into the park and then
      back into the residential.

      Riverside County-
      Joshua Tree NP
      Along the drive into the park from the West Entrance Station we had a Coyote
      begging for food next to the road. We stopped at Ryan Campground where we
      planned on camping that night because A Birders Guide to So Cal mentioned
      that Bendire's Thrashers can be seen around the campground. While this may
      be true we didn't see any around but there is a lot of habiat around the
      campground where they may be. The campground was really nice despite no
      facilities. That evening we had Black-throated Sparrow, White-throated
      Swift, Loggerhead Shrike, and Catcus Wren right around the campground itself.
      Also Desert Cottontail and Desert Spiny Lizard. Also two other species of
      lizard which I was unable to indentify If anbody knows anything about lizards
      and wouldn't mind looking at digital pic I have of it please e-mail me. Also
      as we were sitting around the campsite we heard a thrasher calling in the
      distance. We immediately walked out into the desert after it. There
      appeared to be several calling in the area southeast of the campground. We
      were able to track down one of the birds singing and discovered to our
      surprasied that it was a Le Contes Thrasher (lifer for both) and not the
      expected Bendire's Thrasher. There seemed to be at least 5 birds singing in
      this area and we managed to see at least two of them (it was hard to get an
      accurate count as they seemed to stay in one bush for only a short period
      before moving on to a new bush to sing). We also heard Scott's Oriole in
      this area. After it got dark we were able to find many calling Merriam's
      Kangroo Rats, Desert Woodrat less then two feet away chewing on a yucca in
      the darkness, Western Pipistrelle (bat) and a probable Big Brown Bat, heard a
      Barn Owl and Ryan heard a Great Horned Owl.

      July 7th
      Riverside County
      Joshua Tree NP Ryan's Campground
      Heard a Thrasher very near the campground just to the west of it. All the
      same birds as last night except seeing the Thrasher and we had Scott's
      Orioles (lifer for Ryan) and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers (lifer for Ryan) just
      west of the campground. The Scott's Oriole always seemed to be flying. They
      would only stay in one tree or bush for a few seconds before flying away from
      us (not that they were ever close). When we got back to the campground I
      went out in search among the huge rock pile in the campground in search of
      lizards and instead discovered a Mojave Rattlesnack (luckily from a good
      After we go back onto the parks road we had good looks at a couple of Scott's
      orioles just after we past White Tank Campground also a White-tailed Antelope
      Squirrel. A Quick note on the weather. It was great as long as we stayed in
      the Mojave Desert not to hot but once we dropped down into the Colorado
      Desert the temp began to rise. We then stopped at Cottonwood Spring and
      hiked to Mastadon Mountain I believe is the name nothing more along the trail
      then at the spring itself except for Cayon Wrens around the peak. At the
      spring we had Black-tailed Gntcatcher (state bird), Verdin, Hooded Oriole,
      Phainopepla, also Western Whiptail and Zebra-tailed Lizard Red-spotted Toad
      baby and a Coachwhip went across the road to the spring. Also had a
      Roadrunner (lifer for Ryan) on the road on our way out of the spring.
      Box Canyon Road on the way to Mecca we had White-winged Doves (Lifer for Ryan
      and a state bird for me [finally saw one in state]).

      Whitewater River Delta Lincoln Street lots of birds around
      Grackles, Western Grebes, both pelicans, Black Tern, Laughing Gull (state
      bird) Snowy Plover, Skimmers, Whimbrel, Yellow-footed Gull, and two
      Flamingos. We later learned that the Reddish Egret was seen about 10 mins
      after we left.
      Johnson Road Osprey, Clark's Grebe and Belted Kingfisher.
      At the Salton Sea NRA headquarters campground Bullock's Oriole and Verdin
      many Lesser Nighthawks (lifer for Ryan) where we camped that night,
      White-winged Dove. Also heard a Kangroo Rat.

      Imperial County
      Davis Road at the south end of the Sea White-winged Dove, Verdin, 2 soaring
      Wood Storks (lifer),
      Scrimpf Road - Gull-billed Terns (lifer for Ryan state bird for me), Desert
      Cottontail, Long-billed Curlew, Black Terns, Greater Yellowlegs, Gambell's
      quail on Sinclair Road.

      July 8th
      Riverside County
      Salton Sea NRA Headquarters campground, Lesser Nighthawk.

      Imperial County
      Roadrunner along highway 111 just north of Niland.
      around Ramer Lake Cottontail, lots of egrets, W Grebes, Fulvous Whistling
      Duck, Roadrunner, Abert's Towhee, Marsh Wren, Moorhen, C Ground Dove,
      Ladder-backed Woodpecker.
      Finney Lake- Verdin, cottontail, Lesser Nighhawks in the trees around the
      campground, Abert's Towhee, Moorhen, Lark Sparrow, a great look at a Least
      Bittern, Black-tailed Gntcatcher, Clark's Grebes, Spotted Sandpipers. We
      tried to find the spot that is mentioned as a consistent spot for Crissal
      Thrasher in A Birder's Guide to So Cal and were unable to find it. I'm not
      sure if it was just to early for us to have followed the directions correctly
      or if the situation has changed since the book was published. We had
      Burrowing Owl on Titsworth Road where Smith Rd ends at it.
      Rio Vista Ave in the residential we had an Inca Dove (lifer for Ryan, state
      bird for me), Gila Woodpecker (state bird for me).
      Cattle Call Park- C. Ground Dove (5 dove day), Bronzed Cowbird near the rodeo
      grounds towards the river past the horse stabbles. Gila Woodpecker.
      Sinclair Road-some flooded fields with egrets and ibis and shorebirds.
      Garst Road - Brown Pelican, Yellow-footed Gull, 5 Wood Storks maybe more,
      Red Hill Marina - Wood Stork, both pelicans, Yellow-footed Gulls, Green
      Heron, Black Terns, Western Grebe.
      Kalin Road - 20+ Burrowing Owls
      Salton Sea NWR at the end of Vendell Road nothing out of the ordinary though
      there were a lot of birds on ponds marked off limits to the public.

      San Diego County
      Kitchen Creek Road above the gate Oak Titmouse, good looks at a wrentit,
      Steller's Jay, a lot of Lawernece's Goldfinches (seems to be a really good
      year for them), Canyon Wren, I got a couple of brief glimpses of
      Black-chinned Sparrow (would have been a lifer for Ryan if he had seen it),
      Phainopepla, Lazuli Bunting, Ash-throated Flycatcher.

      Otay Lakes - at the pull out along Otay Lakes Road Grasshopper Sparrow,
      California Gntcatchers(lifer for Ryan), Western and Clark's Grebes. At the
      boat lunch and picnic area Grackles being chased by Cassin's Kingbird,
      Tricolored Blackbirds, Western Gull, a lot of swallows,

      Camped at a county park campground near Sweetwater Res. had a roadrunner

      July 9th
      Smuggler's Gulch no Black-backed Oriole but we did have two Bullock's
      Orioles, Cal Gntcatcher, Phainopepla, Cal Quail, and a Pacific-slope

      Tijuana Slough NWR from Seacoast Dr. - Elegant and Least Terns, Long-billed
      Curlew, Violet-green Swallows, Snowy Plover, Black Skimmer, a White Pelican,
      Western Grebe, Belding's Savannah Sparrow.

      Took the train back to my home in Ventura from San Diego as Ryan who's car we
      used was staying work on a research vessel off the shores of southern
      California looking for pelagics. On the train right around San Clemente I
      had a imm Glacous-winged Gull flying along the beach.
      Good Birding

      David Vander Pluym
      Ventura California

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