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LA and western San Bernardino County Birders, Yesterday, Dan Maxwell, Adam Searcy and I birded the California Aqueduct from I-5 in the west to Hwy 395 in the east. We stopped and counted birds at all road crossings (and a few dead ends) - 53 locations in all. Many of these locations hadn't seen another birder (at least according to eBird) since all of the aqueduct crossing hotspots had been created by Mike San Miguel Sr back in February-March 2008. There were 6-7 more aqueduct crossings in Hesperia between Hwy 395 and the mountains, but exhaustion and darkness prevented us from getting to them. Most of the waterfowl in the Aqueduct were diving ducks: scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, and Bufflehead, though there were a smattering of others throughout. Numbers of ducks across the aqueduct were not uniform. The greatest concentrations were in the far west Antelope Valley (west of about 195th Street West), with occasional pockets further east. It seemed that the most remote places, where the Aqueduct was the only open water around, also had the lowest numbers of ducks. Anseriformes Totals: Canada Goose - 7 Gadwall - 18 American Wigeon - 1 Mallard - 275 Northern Shoveler - 3 Redhead - 6 Ring-necked Duck - 282 Greater Scaup - 1 Lesser Scaup - 1159 Scaup sp. - 651 Bufflehead - 481 Common Goldeneye - 62 Hooded Merganser - 4 Common Merganser - 71 Ruddy Duck - 56 Duck sp. - 15 We also counted these other aquatic birds in the aqueduct: Pied-billed Grebe - 3 Eared Grebe - 3 Great Blue Heron - 2 American Coot - 227 California Gull - 65 It was an interesting experiment, and the public road crossing are essentially our only access points to this deep water "river" of across the Antelope Valley. Since these crossings only occur every mile or so (usually more), it's interesting to imagine how many diving ducks are actually using it - quite probably way more than any other single body of water in the immediate area. Jon Feenstra Altadena
This morning I birded the west end of San Bernardino County. It was a great morning with 100 species by the time I returned home about 1pm. Rain was intermittent and then steady at the end of the morning. Mill Creek Wetlands is always fun; nothing really to report but I would mention that the past few times I have been here right at sunrise, an estimated 1200 White-faced Ibis come off the roost and move to the north in large flocks, cool to see. Had a nice view of a Least Bittern there this morning too. (checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21297315) I birded Prado Regional Park by bike, which really well. I managed to bump into the elusive TROPICAL KINGBIRD. It was initially in the area between parking lot 6 and the lake, and then moved over to the area of the Osprey shelter. As others have reported, the RED-THROATED LOON and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL continue from the boat dock. It took me some effort and a 2nd try in the rain, but I did see 1 SWAMP SPARROW back in along the west edge of the pond where it has been wintering. 75 species for the park and then a more steady rain forced me onward.(checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21303170) En route to the Mary Vagle Nature Center I had a nice Prairie Falcon along Armstrong Rd in Sunnyslope. At the nature center, 6 VARIED THRUSHES were around the parking lot. (checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21303598) Also, yesterday morning (1/10/15) I checked out Dunlap Rd near Perris once again. I finally connected with MOUNTAIN PLOVER, with at least 26 birds NW of the intersection of Dunlap and San Jacinto (mostly very distant). There was 1 cooperative MCCOWN'S LONGSPUR about 400 yds to the SW of the intersection. It was a bright bird and was approachable. (checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21289115) Yesterday afternoon, I checked the pond at Agate Ave and Salerno Ave in Mentone. A good mix of ducks including 2 Common Mergansers, 2 Hooded Mergansers, 2 Common Goldeneye.(checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21289229) Great birding,Michael WoodruffLoma Linda, CA
Paul is correct about there being multiple Fulvous Whistling Ducks in the Arizona area, but I just wanted to add a few more details about these birds that I think are worth mentioning on this listserve. The first reports were from 20 Dec 2014 and actually involved 9 individuals, a flock of 8 and a single bird near by (both locations are west of Phoenix). There have been subsequent reports from the location were the flock was first reported including a report of 12 from 6 Jan 2015. Back in winter 2005-2006 when Fulvous Whistling Ducks showed up in coastal California there were a couple individuals in the Phoenix area as well. All of this I think strengths the case for these birds to be of wild origin and likely the result of water conditions in their regular range. Good birding David Vander Pluym Lake Havasu City On Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 3:27 PM, Paul Lehman <lehman.paul1...> [inlandcountybirds] <inlandcountybirds-noreply...> wrote: > > > Well, here's a case where keeping tabs on the avian goings on in > adjacent regions outside the specific area of interest is of help: 2-3+ > weeks ago (approximately) a total of about 3 Fulvous Whistling-Ducks > were found at two separate locations in central Arizona in the Greater > Phoenix area (one site was west of the city near Buckeye)--very unusual > for Arizona as well, and perhaps especially so for winter (ditto here in > CA). So those AZ occurrences coupled with the multiple RIP birds at the > SJWA strongly suggests that these birds were of WILD origin and came > north as part of some "larger scale" event in to the southwest U.S. > Given their declining status in nw Mexico and especially in the > Southwest U.S. (where formerly regular in small numbers during summer at > the south end Salton Sea, but no longer), it is too bad that they met > their demise. > > --Paul Lehman, San Diego
Thanks for the input Paul, Chet, and Ed.If they are wild birds, it's really dumb i.e. counterproductive that they shot such a rare bird. Tom On Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 3:27 PM, Paul Lehman lehman.paul1@... [inlandcountybirds] <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: Well, here's a case where keeping tabs on the avian goings on in adjacent regions outside the specific area of interest is of help: 2-3+ weeks ago (approximately) a total of about 3 Fulvous Whistling-Ducks were found at two separate locations in central Arizona in the Greater Phoenix area (one site was west of the city near Buckeye)--very unusual for Arizona as well, and perhaps especially so for winter (ditto here in CA). So those AZ occurrences coupled with the multiple RIP birds at the SJWA strongly suggests that these birds were of WILD origin and came north as part of some "larger scale" event in to the southwest U.S. Given their declining status in nw Mexico and especially in the Southwest U.S. (where formerly regular in small numbers during summer at the south end Salton Sea, but no longer), it is too bad that they met their demise. --Paul Lehman, San Diego -- Thomas Geza Miko http://www.tgmiko.com/ Claremont, Los Angeles County, California 909.241.3300
Well, here's a case where keeping tabs on the avian goings on in adjacent regions outside the specific area of interest is of help: 2-3+ weeks ago (approximately) a total of about 3 Fulvous Whistling-Ducks were found at two separate locations in central Arizona in the Greater Phoenix area (one site was west of the city near Buckeye)--very unusual for Arizona as well, and perhaps especially so for winter (ditto here in CA). So those AZ occurrences coupled with the multiple RIP birds at the SJWA strongly suggests that these birds were of WILD origin and came north as part of some "larger scale" event in to the southwest U.S. Given their declining status in nw Mexico and especially in the Southwest U.S. (where formerly regular in small numbers during summer at the south end Salton Sea, but no longer), it is too bad that they met their demise. --Paul Lehman, San Diego
A few thoughts. As one who spends obsessive amounts of time at the SJWA, I agree. The good part of that is -- there is so much waterfowl habitat in the SJWA/duck club contiguous area, and limited access to most of it..The bad part -- how little nesting habitat for ducks and other water-oriented birds is maintained at SJWA beyond the shooting season. As to the the Fulvous-Whistling Ducks; I guess they could have been missed on the CBC, or released later. Or arrived on their own (major mistake). Searches (limited access) since the first fatalities were photo'd and proudly displayed have been unsuccessful. I don't know about the recent additions to that bunch, but the first one were not banded, to my knowledge. I have no doubt there are listers among the gun crowd and I'm pretty sure there were releases in the Santa Ana River in 2005. The only one I have seen in the county was a banded one in Hidden Valley, 2006, I think. Garrett and Dunn mention San Jacinto Lake as a former nesting site. I do not know the ramifications, probably none but confusion to birders, of releasing unbanded native birds outside of the known range of the species. Chet On Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 2:21 PM, Ed Stonick edstonick@... [inlandcountybirds] <email@example.com> wrote: Hi Tom! With the money spent on duck hunting (guns, ammo, tags, dogs, decoys, etc.) I wouldn't be surprised if they "stock" the flock, too. I have heard about hunters saying things like (wigeon hunters), "I'd sure like to bag a Eurasian!" With all the birders that check out SJWA, many of which are quite skilled, it's pretty amazing that no FUWDs have been seen before. Ed
Hello,A friend said something interesting, the other day: he speculated that the Fulvous Whistling Ducks at SJWA are escapees i.e. released for hunting purposes. I gather he said that because of the photos on FaceBook of hunters holding them up, as prizes. You never know, but it would seem like too much work to go out and buy 4 or 5 Fulvous Whistling Ducks, drive them to San Jacinto, then hope that they cooperate, so that I can shoot them, when the place has thousands of ducks and geese flying, walking, and swimming between me and my Fulvous Whistling Ducks.I would think that inasmuch as all of us birders would like to drive out to SJWA to see them, and get them on our state/county/year lists, hunters have the same desire to be able to say "Yeah, I shot one of those in San Jacinto Wildlife Area," then show you a photo on his cell phone. Any thoughts??? -- Thomas Geza Miko http://www.tgmiko.com/ Claremont, Los Angeles County, California 909.241.3300
According to the hunting report, another 3 Fulvous Whistling-Ducks were shot during today's hunt (1/7/2015), so perhaps 1 or more may still be out there. Matt GrubeRedlands, CA On Sat, Jan 3, 2015 at 7:53 PM, mario.pineda90@... [inlandcountybirds] <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: Just saw a photo on the San Jacinto Wildlife Area Facebook page and it shows two Fulvous Whistling ducks were shot today (1/3). It's a shame they were killed instead of found by birders. Here is the link to the facebook page. (warning, shows photo of the dead ducks, just in case people don't like seeing that) https://www.facebook.com/SanJacintoWildlifeArea/photos/pcb.555797964556771/555796191223615/?type=1&theater Mario Pineda Fontana, CA
Not that I'm trying to rain on anyone's parade, but despite the fact that the appearance of six Fulvous Whistling-Ducks at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area is interesting and intriguing, isn't their appearance in winter at least a little concerning with regard to their status as wild (i.e., countable) birds? Tom Benson San Bernardino, CA
Joyce Schwartz and I saw four Fulvous Whistling-Ducks at the pond at the headquarters of San Jacinto Wildlife Area today. Rose Marx East Hemet
Just saw a photo on the San Jacinto Wildlife Area Facebook page and it shows two Fulvous Whistling ducks were shot today (1/3). It's a shame they were killed instead of found by birders. Here is the link to the facebook page. (warning, shows photo of the dead ducks, just in case people don't like seeing that) https://www.facebook.com/SanJacintoWildlifeArea/photos/pcb.555797964556771/555796191223615/?type=1&theater Mario Pineda Fontana, CA
This afternoon while hiking on the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve in Murrieta, we found 12 Varied Thrushes. 11 of them were along Adobe Loop trail, where there may have been more, these were the only ones we had a visual on. One was also found along the Trans Preserve Trail in the riparian section between Coyote Trail and Hidden Valley Rd. Other good birds we found included Pine Siskin, Merlin, Golden-crowned Sparrows, and lots of American Robins. The Vernal Pools have lots of water in them which is attracting a good assortment of ducks and shorebirds as well. Charity Hagen Lake Elsinore
Tony Metcalf and I set out this morning to look for Lapland Longspurs in the San Jacinto Ave field between Perris and Nuevo. As Lake Perris was along the way we decided to look for the White-winged Scoter and Red-throated Loon, limiting our search to the east end of the lake. On arriving we immediately saw a large flock of small (Podiceps) grebes, seeming to be mostly Horned Grebes. They proceeded back and forth across and around the bay with much synchronous diving. We made numerous counts noticing that at any time there was likely 25% underwater. So our numbers are estimate -- an impressive 90+ Horned, 40+ Eared. Purely speculation as to whether they were present on the weather stricken CBC day or came in more recently. I have noted very low numbers of both species on the lake this fall. We did not see the Red-throated Loon and were about to leave when we found the White-winged Scoter quite far away but in good light. It was diving in a loose flock of scaup, and both species were appearing with some crustacean looking item. In our hour of scans we also found several Greater Scaups, Red-breasted Merganser and a male Hooded Merganser, the latter may have been seen on the CBC. Still no Common Mergansers on the lake; that is normally the easy and numerous species. On to the fields along Dunlap and San Jacinto Ave where the first bird we saw was a Ferruginous Hawk. Tony and I split up to cover more wet, muddy ground and after awhile Matt Grube arrived with a pizza, and joined the fun. American Pipits, Horned Larks, Savannah Sparrows, Western Meadowlarks, and Common Ravens--210, were about. Tony independently, and before we knew of the longspur identification change, found what he cautiously called (based on less than satisfactory looks) a McCown's Longspur. This was generally in the same area reported by Michael Woodruff, who deserves the big kudos for self-policing. Meanwhile I'm fields away scanning for longspurs and Mountain Plovers and finding neither, but enjoying Horned Larks. Back to the vehicles where Matt shared some mighty good pizza, thanks Matt! To the Ramona Expressway and the egg ranch where the near 1000 gulls of two days ago was down to about 30. A check of the Lark Bunting spot was unsuccessful as all checks have been since Howard found it on the CBC. In the process of bunting hunting a flock of 90-105 Long-billed Curlews flew in; that's the largest flock I know of in the valley recently. A Prairie Falcon came through and put them up. Then the day got interesting! We drove out the duck club road and were surrounded by birds - Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels, Mountain Bluebirds, Vesper Sparrows, ducks, ducks, more ducks, Black-necked Stilts, etc. It was quite interesting watching three Northern Harriers deciding who would get to eat the Ruddy Duck. Tony, very familiar with the late afternoon action as he is of the type that goes to work in the morning, pointed out some truly amazing and interesting things: flock of blackbirds, certainly numbering in the many thousands in distinct waves zip by for thirty minutes, south to north, from lands south of SJWA to lands completely north of the valley -- he has seen them pass over the freeway; where are they going? I counted 42 Yellow-headed Blackbird that dripped out of the flocks for some sort of reunion/staging on a power pole and were joined by ~100 Tricolored Blackbirds. A short stop and they were all gone to the north. Then... as clouds were building, we made an effort to count gulls even as we laughed at ourselves for trying. Clearly, from the direction of Banning Pass we saw, very high wave after wave of gulls. For about thirty minutes they passed, our estimate was 10,000. They seemed to be going to Lake Perris; it would be interesting to be in a position to see if they pass the lake and continue to Lake Matthews, or further west. The question of where they are coming from is intriguing; I don't think the few landfills to the east can account for this many gulls. If they are coming through the pass, as we could almost plainly see... well... we know of a Larid connection to the Salton Sea; Gull-billed Tern. I don't know. Them birds can fly. If you got here, thanks for your patience. Chet
All, To follow up on Brad's post about the evening grosbeaks, I'm sitting at a picnic table behind Big Bear City hall where I've been hearing at least several grosbeaks intermittently for the last 2+ hours. They've been hard to see well because they're staying at the treetops and calling only occasionally, but when they call I've been recording them. Audio spectrograms indicate that most of the birds are type 1 grosbeaks but that there's at least one type 2 among them. I uploaded two recordings to Xeno-Cantoand embedded them in an eBird checklist. The recordings are available on Xeno-Canto at: http://www.xeno-canto.org/205681 and http://www.xeno-canto.org/205682 The ebird list (with a description of the calls) is at: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S20819023 In addition to the grosbeaks, a couple of red crossbills flew by and sounded like flight call type 2s, but I wasn't able to get a recording to check. Regards, Lance Lance Benner Altadena, CA On Sat, Dec 6, 2014 at 10:30 PM, bcsinger@... [inlandcountybirds] wrote: December 6, Doug Karalun and I spent a cool but sunny day in the mountains from morning until mid afternoon. My first stop before picking up Doug in Running Springs was the Lake Arrowhead dam where the resident adult Bald Eagle was perched on its favorite snag in the southwest corner of Papoose Lake. I also happened to spot a Lewis's Woodpecker nearby working the oaks. I picked up Doug and we headed to Green Valley Lake Campground in search of the ubiquitous Varied Thrush. We didn't see any but did find a calling male Red Crossbill. From there we headed to Big Bear Civic Center and tracked down the continuing 20-25 Evening Grosbeaks about 50 yards west of the west parking area. A quick stop at the Von's Marsh turned up an adult Herring Gull and a FOS flock of Common Mergansers. The recent rains added water to the nearly dry Stanfield Marsh, where we found another Herring Gull (1st winter bird) and the continuing Franklin's Gull. A stop at the Big Bear Sewage ponds yielded a variety of ducks including Lesser Scaup and Common Goldeneye. Doug had to get back, so I dropped him off at his car, headed back to Green Valley Lake Campground where I eventually found two pairs of Varied Thrush near campsite 36. Brad Singer Lake Arrowhead
December 6, Doug Karalun and I spent a cool but sunny day in the mountains from morning until mid afternoon. My first stop before picking up Doug in Running Springs was the Lake Arrowhead dam where the resident adult Bald Eagle was perched on its favorite snag in the southwest corner of Papoose Lake. I also happened to spot a Lewis's Woodpecker nearby working the oaks. I picked up Doug and we headed to Green Valley Lake Campground in search of the ubiquitous Varied Thrush. We didn't see any but did find a calling male Red Crossbill. From there we headed to Big Bear Civic Center and tracked down the continuing 20-25 Evening Grosbeaks about 50 yards west of the west parking area. A quick stop at the Von's Marsh turned up an adult Herring Gull and a FOS flock of Common Mergansers. The recent rains added water to the nearly dry Stanfield Marsh, where we found another Herring Gull (1st winter bird) and the continuing Franklin's Gull. A stop at the Big Bear Sewage ponds yielded a variety of ducks including Lesser Scaup and Common Goldeneye. Doug had to get back, so I dropped him off at his car, headed back to Green Valley Lake Campground where I eventually found two pairs of Varied Thrush near campsite 36. Brad Singer Lake Arrowhead
Compelled by regional and continental weather I didn't think it to be too foolhardy to have a look at a favorite desert oasis. Mentioning Prairie Falcon and male Vermilion Flycatcher covers the landbirds; three Savannah Sparrows, approx 60 White-crowned Sparrows, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a few Yellow-rumped Warblers had to be worked for. Conspicuous only: Eurasian Collared-Doves, Great-tailed Grackles, Black Phoebes, American Kestrels. The waterfowl was fun: Snow Goose 3 imms, Ross's Goose 3, one imm, Canada Goose, kinda small, Northern Shoveler 150, Ring-necked Dunk 70, American Wigeon 5, Lesser Scaup, Redhead 5, Gadwalls a few, Mallards, Ruddy Ducks, Green-winged Teal, continuing Western Grebe - not a duck. On the way home I couldn't resist the gravitational pull of the Salton Sea so I had a couple of hours at 84th Ave; only species to mention - Laughing Gull. Chet
With Bob McKernan, an interesting day around the north end of the Salton Sea on Tuesday. Most remarkable was an estimated 18,000 Western/Clarks (very largely Western) Grebes observed in a mega raft extending from North Shore southward. Second most exciting was a Tropical Kingbird (my first in the Salton Sink) observed from Lincoln in private land to the west, north of 68th Ave, Mecca. Typically, we spent a lot of time scanning flocks of gulls (abundant beyond estimate), resulting in: Western Gull - 5, Yellow-footed Gull - adult up the beach at North Shore, Thayer's Gull - first cycle at 84th Ave. A Horned Grebe continues at the State Recreation Area marina. 32 Greater White-fronted Geese flew over Lincoln, calling, as we studied the distant kingbird. Without getting carried away here, early morning at the end of Hayes Road was spectacular with a Peregrine swirling up flocks of shorebirds, the hundreds pelicans and gulls and ducks on the calm, glassy sea under clouds, amazing visibility. The other end of the day, en route home - rain, wow.Chet
I birded Fairmount Park this afternoon for a couple of hours. Starting in the area by the playground and restrooms, I sorted through mostly Yellow-rumped Warblers for a while but did not come up with any of the rare warblers, though one or two might well still be around.I worked my way along the south and west side of the main lake. On the lake there were a 2 Shovelers, 1 Western Grebe, lots of Ruddy Ducks, several Pied-billed Grebes, a wigeon, and a pure flock of Ring-billed Gulls. I found a particularly birdy area along Dexter (about 100 yds west of Redwood), along the SW shore of the lake. Here I found a White-breasted Nuthatch, a couple Western Bluebirds, dozens more Yellow-rumped Warblers with other flock-goers, and a CASSIN'S VIREO. I obtained a number of photos and a little bit of video and posted it to my flickr site (www.flickr.com/photos/ nightjar). It seemed to be a fairly bright individual, almost looking like a Blue-headed at some angles, but I feel confident in the ID as Cassin's. It sang in response to playback (responded with vigor to both CAVI and BHVI by the way) and the song was slightly burry, like a Cassin's would be. I birded last along the creek behind the armory. Lots of Scaly-breasted Munias in there and I had both a male and a female-type Wilson's Warbler in the willows. I believe Howard King had these birds early this week (eBird). Also had a Lincoln's Sparrow. Cheers,Michael WoodruffLoma Linda, CA http://www.flickr.com/photos/nightjar
Tony Metcalf and I led our annual November trip to the San Jacinto Valley yesterday, with most of our time spent at the Wildlife Area. Birders from Palm Springs, Orange County and LA County as well as our inland area participated. Despite dense fog at the start and strong winds at the end, we all had an excellent time and saw many typical birds of the area: waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors. Only one Ferruginous Hawk, but it gave us good looks, as did a female/imm. Merlin. A close encounter with a juvenile Golden Eagle impressed us all. Lingering Tree Swallows and at least one Violet-green flew overhead. Small numbers of Mountain Bluebirds graced the Walker Duck Club approach road, and a dozen species of ducks dotted the ponds and swirled overhead. The Varied Thrush invasion reached the Wildlife Area, with a beautiful male along the trail north of the viewing station. There were more shorebirds than we expected, with one Lesser Yellowlegs among the many Greaters, and a late Pectoral Sandpiper spotted by Tony and photographed by many. After the group had mostly dispersed due to the strong winds, a few of us returned to our cars at the Headquarters and couldn't resist a little more birding. We found a flock of 11 Black-bellied Plovers north of pond 1, and a Gray Flycatcher along the road south of pond 3. Thanks to all the participants, and we hope to see you out there again. Dave Goodward
My son, Michael, a friend of his, Neil Gilbert, and I ventured into the desert for some late-Fall vagrant trap birding yesterday. Arriving at Chiriaco Summit just after daylight, we were immediately rewarded by a VARIED THRUSH in a lawn. One each Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, foraged in the front courtyard. The small water reservoir pond behind the town featured an unexpected female Bufflehead. Overhead a group of 4 Ring-billed Gulls wheeled and circled most of the time we were there but never landed. At one point there were 3 Dark-eyed Junco including 1 each, "Slate-colored", "Oregon", and "Gray-headed"--all well marked. We then headed on to Desert Center where we enjoyed difficult to find (for the area) species. Along the entrance road there were 4 Snow Geese. At Tamarisk Lake, in a large gull flock, Neil almost immediately noted a Bonapart's Gull (3 total) and a crisp adult MEW GULL (most unexpected!) in the group of at least 90 Ring-billed and 8 California Gulls. The lake also held numerous waterfowl including a group of two male and three female Redhead, one female Lesser Scaup, and flocks of Ruddy and Ring-necked Ducks. 3 Western Bluebirds including one beautifully marked male highlighted by the morning sun were a surprise. (We found no Mountain Bluebirds all day). Lark Sparrow, W. Meadowlarks, a House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Hermit Thrush were a few of the passerines noted. As we exited the community, a Prairie Falcon was observed on the power poles along the road to the west. Both here and at Chiriaco Summit there were small numbers of American Robins which we looked over carefully for a hoped for Rufous-backed, but without success! Next we finally located the Desert Center waste water ponds. These were quite productive including a large flock of N. Shovelers and several other duck species, one Wilson's Snipe, an Osprey and a Northern Harrier. We also were able to study and photograph a Sagebrush/Bell's Sparrow that was a good candidate for Sagebrush designation if the taxonomy consensus can ever be achieved. This controversy is reminiscent of the dilemma we faced in Eastern WA, before moving down here this summer, where the split of Western Flycatcher put our area in the "hybrid" zone resulting in Pacific Slope and Cordilleran each vocalizing both songs and being indistinguishable otherwise. However, an arbitrary "split" dictated that the division occur along the WA/ID state line. So our "Pac Slopes" were identical to the "Cordilleran" in N Idaho just a few miles away! On our return trip we stopped by the north end of the Salton Sea at the 84th Ave hotspot. In spite of a continuing brisk cool wind the bird activity was outstanding. All the typical suspects including both Pelicans, Black-necked Stilt and Black-bellied Plover. Western and Eared Grebe flocks, and many Caspian Terns along with a few Forester's Tern, to name a few, were present. But there were two excellent gulls among the hundreds of usual California, Ring-billed, and Herring Gulls. Again Neil was our gull officionado spotting a well-marked adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. Michael then picked out what we initially hoped was a Yellow-footed Gull but instead turned out to be a bright adult Western Gull. Our day of Desert Oasis birding ended with a traditional Date Shake at Hadley's on the way home. See eBird for further descriptions and photos of the unusual (for these areas) birds.Roger D. WoodruffColton
Yesterday while traveling back home from a camping trip I stopped at Silver Lakes to see what waterfowl were present. On the lake was a Ross's Goose and 3 Lesser Scaup among the myriad coots. Also present were the expected Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, Shovelers and Western and PB Grebes. E-bird wanted me to justify my count of 3 DC Cormorants. After the lake I went over to the Waste Water Treatment plant and there were four more Ross's Geese. Also a Harrier, a Savannah Sparrow and lots of Horned Larks. If one was interested in searching among the Horned Larks for more rare species this would be a good place as there were thousands between there and at the nearby fields. I was limited in time and hopefully will be able to come back soon. My complete lists can be seen on a hotspot search on e-bird. Scott Duncan Apple Valley, CA
I have been out to the Baker area several times in the last week in between chasing vagrant pipits and warblers in other counties. Overall it's been pretty slow out there. The best bird was a stunning WHITE-THROATED SPARROW this morning at the Desert Studies Center at Zzyzx. Other birds of interest over the last week have been Pine Siskins in several locations and a couple of Wood Ducks, a Red-naped Sapsucker, and a continuing Merlin at the DSC. The Baker Sewer ponds have been birdy, but no vagrant warblers have met me at the gate or sought refuge from the desert sun underneath my car :) Bird numbers at Chet Huffman Park have been low probably due to the one or two accipiters hanging out there. With the desert temps dropping to freezing and the wind from the north, seems like something good could drop in anytime. Bill Deppe Apple Valley
Yesterday, Wednesday 10/29/2014, I birded a few areas at or near Brawley and Salton Sea (south), seeing 58 species. Some species I observed were a Gila Woodpecker at Cattle Call Park (Brawley), a Red-shouldered Hawk at Gentry & Walker Roads, and at Lack/Lindsay thousands of American White Pelicans & Double-crested Cormorants, 1 Willet, 3 Black-bellied Plovers, & several Marbled Godwits, Long-billed Curlews, Greater Yellowlegs & Long-billed Dowitchers. Not many ducks yet just a few Northern Shovelers & Ruddy Ducks. Gulls seen were 2 Bonaparte's, a few California and lots of Ring-billed. I did not go to Unit 1, but was told by other birders that several Sandhill Cranes were seen there, but no geese yet. The weather was wonderful 63 to 88 degrees, clear with little to no wind. Julie Szabo Wildomar, CA
Hi everyone. I'll give you a quick synopsis of some interesting stuff just on the border with Arizona. Other people do it all the time in the Parker and Lake Havasu areas on the lake and river up there, so I'll do the same for Cibola NWR which sits right on the AZ/CA border 12 miles or so southeast of Blythe. Most of it is anywhere from right on the border in AZ to maybe alt most 1/2 to a mile a mile over the border. I had 54 ( to maybe 56 ) species there yesterday (I'm confirming a few species by photos). One of question is simply did I get a late Wilson's Warbler or not. The other is did I get a very dark Red-tailed Juvenile Hawk (probably), or something way more interesting . Known notables were a slightly early return of over 350 Sandhill Cranes, a crazy migration of at least 800 Yellow-headed Blackbirds, another male Vermillion Flycatcher, a Wilson's Snipe, a very photo cooperative Sora, two Osprey, and two Belted Kingfishers. Back in Riverside County I did get 4 Dunlin sitting in a wet flooded farm field with 16 Killdeer just off the I-10 on Hwy 78 as I was coming back from Cibola. On the way home, like a complete idiot, I got lost somehow going to the Desert Center sewage ponds, and almost got stuck in the sand, so I missed Chet's Surf Scoter. I stopped quickly at the Lake Tamarisk Golf Course only to look at the regular ponds. Some coots and ducks like Ruddy's and Ring-necked, and a lone Western Grebe were there. The Grebe made me smile, remembering my good deed done last Sunday when I saved one stuck out in the desert on Amboy Rd., about 15 miles from 29 Palms. I put it in my car after I couldn' t get any rescue facilities to come get it, and I drove it back to the pond at the 29 Palms Inn. At my Desert Hot Springs fish hatchery, the only notables were a Cassin's Kingbird, a Belted Kingfisher and a Northern Flicker. That's it for now. Happing birding everyone. John McCallister Desert Hot Springs, CA
v1.23 - 12/08/11 - Added direct link to CBRC records. v1.22 - 12/03/11 - Corrected GMT offsets on dates. Added last 5 posts at top. v1.21 - 11/24/11 - Added direct link to range map for NA birds. v1.2 - 11/23/11 - Greatly improved graphing technology - separates month vs. year by posts. Added species auto-complete functionality. v1.14 - 11/22/11 - Added cloud bubble for common thread topics. v1.13 - 11/22/11 - Added integrated photos where available. v1.12 - 11/22/11 - Added multiple input boxes for additional refinement, negative search criteria (eg. -keyword). v1.11 - 11/22/11 - Added banding code, species look-up. Also direct link to recent eBird observations. v1.1 - 11/22/11 - Added 'date' functionality. Shows top 'month/year' combinations for a query. Restrict results to that 'month/year'. v1.0 - 11/21/11 - Initial version coded. Currently archiving 'lacobirds' and 'calbirds'.