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11/1/10: Kern River Valley

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  • Bob Barnes
    Hi: Spent yesterday morning, 11/1/11, birding the Kern River Valley before an afternoon of meetings with the hopefulness of filling several all time
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2010

      Spent yesterday morning, 11/1/11, birding the Kern River Valley
      before an afternoon of meetings with the hopefulness of filling
      several all time (1900-2010) eBird gaps for the first week in
      November. The success rate was very high with eight gaps filled:
      Mountain Quail, Western/Clark's Grebe, Ferruginous Hawk, Pinyon Jay,
      Canyon Wren, American Dipper, Wrentit, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and
      Black-throated Sparrow. Success may have been due to the wonderfully
      bright, clear, and warm weather after a few days of unsettled
      weather. Birds were calling, fussing, hopping, and singing seemingly
      at each birding stop. It was one of the most memorable of days spent
      out-of-doors and birding.

      Canebrake Ecological Reserve was visited at first light with Western
      Screech-Owl bring missed, but replaced by two Great Horned Owls.
      Sierra Way just off CA Hwy 178 had a PFOF (Personal First of Fall)
      Ferruginous Hawk perched on a telephone pole and Slippery Rock Launch
      site produced an American Dipper exuberantly frolicking in shallow,
      rushing water of the Kern River below Isabella's Main Dam.

      The next stops were two informal point counts (Stationary Counts in
      eBird parlance) along Sawmill Road c. 0.6 and 0.7 miles west and
      above CA Hwy.155. Two Rufous-crowned Sparrows at the first stop
      adopted a "Look at us! Look at us!" attitude along with a
      Golden-crowned Sparrow (observed at other locations during the
      morning). Another Rufous-crowned Sparrow was around a steep hillside
      flank corner as was a singing Canyon Wren and vocal Wrentit. The
      portion of Sawmill Rd. from c. 0.4 miles to 0.75 miles above Hwy 155
      is particularly reliable for both Canyon Wren and Rufous-crowned Sparrow.

      The area around the metal and wooden gate at the upper end of an
      especially large pull-off on the left side of CA Hwy. 155 above
      Wofford Heights was alive with birds in chaparral habitat. Four
      Mountain Quail from four different directions spent considerable time
      giving what might be considered contact calls. One even gave a
      variation of the "quark" call in the form of a relatively quiet,
      stumbling series of three to four syllables. Wrentits are abundant
      here and Purple Finches are fairly reliable as both were yesterday
      morning. Phainopeplas were about, too.

      The Joshua tree woodland in the vicinity where Kelso Valley Road and
      Kelso Creek Road meet is often a good place to find Black-throated
      Sparrows in non-breeding/nesting season. Six individuals (in groups
      of 2 and 4) were found this day, along with a Ladder-backed
      Woodpecker, Pinyon Jay, and numerous and very active Cactus Wrens
      including one seemingly battling a Loggerhead shrike atop a Joshua tree.

      In ag. fields farther north on Kelso Creek Road a flock of 400
      blackbirds was made up of Red-winged, Tricolored, and Brewer's
      Blackbirds. Visits to Scodie Park in Onyx (woodpecker magnet) and
      Isabella Reservoir added Clark's Grebe, American White Pelican,
      Osprey, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Hairy
      Woodpecker, and Red-breasted Nuthatch to the morning's mix of 70 or
      so total species.

      A happy and productive morning of birding in the Kern River Valley.

      Continued Happy & Productive Birding,

      Bob Barnes, Ridgecrest, Kern County, California
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