Showing posts from February, 2011

SoCal (Feb 19-20) - Island Scrub-Jay, Thick-billed Fox Sparrow, LA exotics, alcids +

Feb 19 - On this drizzly morning I took my last shot at Pacific Golden-Plover at Tijuana Slough but struck out for the third time. By this point I had spent about 8 hours in total looking for this species between here and Salton City...time to tip your cap and move on Nick! Knowing that the next bout of rain would be arriving in LA about mid-afternoon, I made sure to leave San Diego early enough to be in LA by noon. My two targets in the greater Los Angeles area were both established exotics: Spotted Dove and Red-crowned Parrot. Spotted Dove has drastically declined in southern CA, and there are only really a couple reliable locations left. The best spot is Salt Lake Park in Huntington Park. I parked by the ballfield and walked north through the park. After about 10 minutes I saw a pair of Spotted Doves on a powerline above a house across the street. On my way back to the car a third bird was calling from a tree in the park itself. Spotted Doves The Spotted Dove was purely a tick-and-r

SoCal (Feb 18) - Le Conte's Thrasher, White-headed Woodpecker, Mountain Quail +

Feb 18 - After pulling out the books and figuring out the weather forecast, I found myself immediately east of Borrego Springs at dawn. [There will be a separate upcoming post on how my iPhone was instrumental in planning my final 3 days of birding in CA, and seeing more birds because of it.] sunrise in the Anza-Borrego Desert The target bird here was Le Conte's Thrasher, my most highly sought-after bird of the trip. The thrashers have already begun their breeding cycle by mid-February, so the likelihood of a male singing or birds nest-building is high and increases one's chance of a sighting. Immediately apparent were several SAGE THRASHERS and "Interior" SAGE SPARROWS. Sometime around sunrise I heard a couple short runs of thrasher song to the north of my car. "Interior" Sage Sparrow Sage Thrasher After a few moments a distant LE CONTE'S THRASHER appeared at the top of a shrub before diving back down out of sight. first glimpse at Le Conte's Thrash

SoCal (Feb 17) - Bell's Sage Sparrow, Large-billed Savannah Sparrow, gulls

Feb 17 - I set out of San Diego pre-dawn and headed west towards the Salton Sea. En route I stopped at an area of sagebrush in Pine Valley for "Bell's" Sage Sparrows. This location was very birdy with many common species seen. In my hour there I located one singing male "Bell's" Sage Sparrow and a roving flock of 3 or 4 more. "Bell's" Sage Sparrows sage habitat in Pine Valley, CA After this successful stop I continued onto the Salton Sea for some gulling at Red Hill. While I didn't have any particular target gull species here, I couldn't in good conscience visit the Salton Sea without spending a few hours sorting through gulls. An interesting mix of gulls were present including an adult THAYER'S GULL and a couple first-cycle GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS. A few hybrid-type birds were also present, which I'll explore in a later post. I ran out of time just as I was really putting a dent in the of these days I'll have to