Coveney Trip - belated highlights
- Hi Calbirders,
Apologies for not posting sooner. I was without Internet access for the
latter part of our trip due to a firewall problem. Once we got home after a
hectic trip I was exhausted by jet lag and just getting work and domestic
tasks done so I am only revisiting our trip stuff now.
Overall, we had 250 species (subject to a final recount and checking the
latest splits) in 12 days. Of these 153 were lifers for at least one of our
group. We performed poorly on seabirds and with early spring migrants - we
hoped several species would have arrived in the south in mid-March from
Schram's bar-graphs, but they hadn't!
As always MANY THANKS to all who helped us with information and birding with
us during the trip. Apologies to anyone that I have not replied to directly.
I will post again as follows:
1. With a list of sightings that I understand should be reported - next 3-4
2. With a note of when the full text trip list is available - 7-10 days.
3. With a note when a photo website of interesting soecies is up - 7-10
4. With a note when a full report with pictures for my 2003 and 2007 trips
is available - est. 6-8 weeks.
Highlights for each day are as follows incl. some corrections for earlier
SUN 18 MAR
On our last morning we decided to have another try for PINYON JAY at Lake
Hemet on our way back to Los Angeles. We had no joy but we did get BROWN
Our last stop was PALOS VERDES for another look at CALIFORNIA GNATCATCHERS -
we had seen them very poorly at San Elijo Lagoon on our first day.
SAT 17 MAR
This morning we had two GILA WOODPECKERS at J Stand Rio Vista Ave.
Around the Salton Sea, we had 3 ROSEASTE SPOONBILLS (photos) at Red Hill Rd,
a CACKLING GOOSE (photos) with a flock of SNOW GEESE from the observation
platform at Poe Rd, We also had CLAPPER RAILS in the reed bed (one seen), a
1st winter YELLOW-FOOTED GULL at Obsidian Butte, 4 INCA DOVES at Eddins &
Sperry (no RUDDY GROUND DOVE or HARRIS'S SPARROW), and a SOUTHWEST SPARROW
at Ramar Lake,
FRI 16 MAR
Morning around Blythe again where we got closeup views of a ROADRUNNER, and
also saw PHAINOPEPLA and BREWER'S SPARROW (photos).
In the afternoon, we did the area between Brawley and Fig Lagoon. In Calttle
Call park in Brawley we had an empidonax flycatcher, which puzzled us. From
the RBAs we were expecting a GREY FLYCATHER. However, the shots of the bird
we saw showed two distinct features of HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER - a mostly dark
lower mandible and a strongly notched tail. However, it also showed the
following features that lean towards GREY - short tertials, pale appearance,
and a hint of a pale forehead - all features described with reference to
Sibley's North American Bird Guide. I hope to post shots of this and other
interesting birds we had on out trip a photo-website shortly. In the
meantime, if anyone is interested in seeing them, please email me. We also
had 2 VERMILION FLYCATCHER, a BELL'S VIREO and a male WILSON'S WARBLER in
Cattle Call Park. We had the female WHITE-WINGED SCOTER at a reservoir on
Worthington Rd - its named after a local water board staff member that I did
not note at the time. We presume this is the one that had been reported from
Fig Lagoon as there was no scoter there. We had 7 MOUNTAIN PLOVERS in the
ploughed field just north of Fig Lagoon.
THURS 15 MAR
Birding along the eastern Mojave desert, mainly along the CIMA road this
morning. Highlights were 3 LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKERS, 2 GILDED FLICKERS (as
well as NORTHERN FLICKERS), 2 BENDIRE'S THRASHERS (poor photos) and 2
In the evening we birded around Blythe, mainly the Mayflower Co. Park.
Highlights were VERMILION FLYCATCHERS, CHIPPING SPARROW, BRONZED COWBIRD, 4
LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCHES as well as many typical desert species.
WED 14 MAR
In the morning we drove south from Mariposa where we had CANYON and ROCK
WRENS (poor photos of both). In the afternoon we birded the Lake Isabella to
Ridgecrest areas where the highlights were COSTA'S HUMMINGBIRD and PYGMY
TUES 13 MAR
In Yosemite Valley the highlights were several AMERICAN DIPPERS on the
Merced River WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET at Badger
Pass, PILEATED WOODPECKER at El Portal (heard only) and VARIED THRUSH in the
MON 12 MAR
Merced and nearby areas: Highlights for us included the ROSS'S GEESE and the
SANDHILL CRANES, another BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, YELLOW-BILLED MAGPIES AND
In Mariposa highlights were WOOD DUCK and NUTTALL'S WOODPECKER,
SUN 11 MAR
Morro Bay to Salinas R. Mouth via the elephant seal colony at Pt. Piedras
Blancas, Big Sur, Monterey and Salinas R. Mouth
We had 1 tagged Condor which flew into the site of an A frame house being
built north of Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP (will include exact location in next
post). No CARACARA'S at Pt. Joe. An afternoon whale-watching pelagic was
very quiet for birds but we did have several Gray Whales - some also visible
from the CONDOR site. No luck with the SLATY-BACKED GULL at Salinas R. Mouth
but we did have about 25 THAYER'S GULLS on the beach and 1 BAIRD'S
SANDPIPER at the lagoon just north of the of the path to the beach on the
southern shore. I can send distant digiscoped shots of this to anyone
SAT 10 MAR
HWY 33 from Ventura to THE Carrizo Plain and onto Morro Bay via Hwy 58
Some chaparral birding including 2 GOLDEN-CROWND SPARROW and SLATE-COLORED
FOX SPARROW above Ojai. A FERRUGINEOUS HAWK near the junction of Hwys 33 &
166 (photos). We had a good selection of raptors on the Plain incl.
WHITE-TAILED KITE, GOLDEN EAGLE, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK and MERLIN.
Other good birds were
SAGE THRASHER (2 near Travers Ranch & 1 near KCL campground) and SAGE
SPARROW (interior here I think) in Sage near Traver Ranch
MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, 4 LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCHES (photos) and a roosting GREAT
HORNED OWL at the KCL campground
BURROWING OWL from Outlook? road.
Unfortunately we missed two key species, Prairie Falcon & Mountain Plover,
despite much searching
FRI 9 MAR
Heard SPOTTED OWL, NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS (2, 1 seen), WESTERN SCREECH OWL
(4), GREAT HORNED (4-5, seen), and NORTHERN PYGMY (2) San Gabriel Mtns.
Santa Cruz Is - quiet but got several ISLAND SCRUB JAYS and 4 prob. XANTU'S
MURRELETS aon crossing
Ojai - great views of ZONETAILED HAWK (photos)
THURS 8 MAR
We had Tijuana NWR HEPATIC TANGAER, the Point Loma PAINTED REDSTART (poor
photos) and poss. GRACE'S WARBLER, and the La Jolla AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER
(photos). No CRESTED CARACARA around Dairy Mart Road or PALM WARBLER at Camp
Surf at Imperial Beach.
Lots of other Californian lifers incl. CA GANATCATCHER at San Elijo Lagoon.
WED 7 MAR
No joy with the Marina del Rey Rock Sandpiper Wed. evening. We had a VESPER
SPARROW (photos) at the base of the middle jetty.
John C, Dublin
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