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Coveney Trip - belated highlights

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  • John Coveney
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3, 2007
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      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
      days.
      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
      days.
      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
      days.

      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
      CREEPER.

      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
      CRISSAL THRASHERS

      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
      NUTHATCH.

      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
      Valley.

      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
      TRI-COLORED BALCKBIRDS

      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
      interested.


      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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