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Targets for Texans (or, Sparrows in the Rain...)

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  • MiriamEagl@aol.com
    Hi, all! After three days straight with Don and Marjorie Hastings, visiting Texans Arlene and Marilyn got stuck in the rain with me for a half day today to try
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 28, 2002
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      Hi, all!

      After three days straight with Don and Marjorie Hastings, visiting Texans
      Arlene and Marilyn got stuck in the rain with me for a half day today to try
      and clean up some of their missed lifers. We weren't really sure of our
      success, cuz it was NASTY out there, but the way the weather can be around
      here, we went for it!

      We met at Lake Murray, piled into "Jip", and went around to the "back side"
      off Golfcrest to try for Golden-crowned Sparrows. This has proven to be a
      pretty reliable place for them, so we braved the drizzle and trudged down the
      bike path, stopping at every "seep" in the bushes. I tried to keep a mental
      note of what else was around (Lesser Scaup, Redwings, a lone American Pipit
      hanging out with the Killdeer), when finally amongst a flock of Whiteys a fat
      brown Goldie popped up and gave us excellent looks at point blank range! We
      hitailed it back to the car and headed over to Lindo Lake from there for a
      shot at the Thayer's Gull.

      He wasn't there, but White Pelicans and plenty of Shovelers and Coots and
      Mallards were, in addition to a beautiful pair of Wood Ducks and a single
      Spotted Sandpiper bobbing along the shore. A bedraggled-looking Say's Phoebe
      sadly whistled right overhead, so feeling pretty bedraggled ourselves we
      hopped in the car and headed for Mount Gower up in Ramona.

      Still misting somewhat, but we made our way up the steep trail when I heard
      that junco-like "seep", and sure enough, a Sage Sparrow hopped briefly up on
      a rock (which I never saw, but they did)! Wanting to try for a better view,
      we hadn't gone far before one flew into a bush ahead of us and proceeded to
      feed on the ground, again practically at point blank range! Both the girls
      were tickled pink and said that was the bird of the day for them! I was
      particularly pleased because, even though they ARE here and I consider this
      the most reliable place for them, this time of year (and I would think in
      this type of weather) they can be incredibly difficult to kick up.

      Next destination was Lake Hodges, but since they hadn't seen a Golden Eagle
      in awhile we made a couple of quick stops in Highland Valley, since we were
      heading out that road anyway. No eagles, but we did see two gorgeous
      Ferruginous Hawks, in addition to lots of TVs, which were new for the trip
      for them. A Kestrel gave us a show by noisily chasing a Redtail across the
      road! An American Goldfinch sang from the little riparian area, and the
      meadowlarks singing antiphonally were just gorgeous!

      With the water level at Hodges so low, I felt the best bet for Clark's Grebe
      was Del Dios Cove, so over we went, hiking through the lovely oak woodland
      and picking up three woodpeckers, Oak Titmouse, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet for
      the day in here. When we finally got to the overlook I was amazed at how low
      the water was even here (lowest I've seen it in 20 years), but a big mob
      still occupied the shoreline, made up of White Pelicans, Ring-billed Gulls,
      Coots, and dowitchers. And there was no shortage of Clark's Grebes: Marilyn
      had dragged her scope along and we all got crippling views of this bird,
      including one good comparison view of both species! No sooner had I
      mentioned to them that the grebes should be starting to dance pretty soon,
      when bingo: a pair got up and skittered across the water! Talk about "Ask
      and you shall receive"! There were also Forster's Terns and Bonaparte's
      Gulls batting around over the lake, stilts and avocets, gorgeous Pintail, and
      a nice Osprey and White-tailed Kite in the dead trees as a bonus.
      White-throated Swifts were flying WAY overhead.

      Even though they had dipped on the Thayer's at Mission Bay earlier, another
      friend had seen it yesterday, so the plan was (since it was eleven already)
      to pick up their car at Lake Murray and follow me to Mission Bay and try for
      it again. At Lake Murray nature called, and while we were at the restrooms
      we decided to check out the gull flock, and lo and behold, what should be in
      there, close up and personal (as they were all being fed), but a Thayer's!!
      He eventually flew over to the dock, so we went over to the OTHER dock and
      set up the scope, and were treated to not only wonderful views of the
      Thayer's, but a similar-looking Western/Glaucous-winged hybrid that sailed in
      next to him, giving GREAT comparisons, and before long a first-year
      California joined the crew, then a first-year Western! So we had four
      similar first-year gulls in one scope view! We also had an adult Herring on
      the lamp post, and an out-of-place Common Moorhen poking around amongst the
      cormorants! On the way out we checked the gulls on the other side of the
      parking lot and found the bona fide Glaucous-winged that had been hanging out
      there for awhile, along with another probable hybrid.

      Not having to drive them to Mission Bay after all, I kissed them goodbye and
      headed home after a very successful morning! One thing I found interesting,
      though, was the overall number of White Pelicans: we had them at Lindo,
      Hodges, AND Lake Murray, and I just don't recall seeing so many of them in so
      many places over the county!

      Bird List:

      Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
      Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
      Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis
      Clark's Grebe Aechmophorus clarkii
      American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
      Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
      Snowy Egret Egretta thula
      Wood Duck Aix sponsa
      Gadwall Anas strepera
      Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
      Northern Pintail Anas acuta
      Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
      Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
      Bufflehead Bucephala albeola
      Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
      Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
      Osprey Pandion haliaetus
      White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus
      Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
      Ferruginous Hawk Buteo regalis
      American Kestrel Falco sparverius
      Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
      American Coot Fulica americana
      Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
      American Avocet Recurvirostra americana
      Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
      Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
      Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
      Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
      Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens
      Western Gull Larus occidentalis
      Thayer's Gull Larus thayeri
      Herring Gull Larus argentatus
      Bonaparte's Gull Larus philadelphia
      Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
      Rock Dove Columba livia
      Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
      White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis
      Anna's Hummingbird Calypte anna
      Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
      Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus
      Nuttall's Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii
      Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
      Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans
      Say's Phoebe Sayornis saya
      Cassin's Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans
      American Pipit Anthus rubescens
      Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
      Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
      Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
      California Thrasher Toxostoma redivivum
      Wrentit Chamaea fasciata
      Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus
      Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus
      Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
      American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
      Common Raven Corvus corax
      European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
      House Sparrow Passer domesticus
      House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
      Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
      American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
      Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata
      Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
      Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus
      California Towhee Pipilo crissalis
      Sage Sparrow Amphispiza belli
      Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
      White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
      Golden-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia atricapilla
      Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
      Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta
      Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus
      Great-tailed Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
      Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater

      75 SPECIES

      Mary Beth Stowe
      San Diego, CA

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