LeConte's Thrasher


Yuma Elderhostel Tour
Jan 12-17, 2003, Outstanding weather!
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

Heidi, Jeff and I took 26 fellow bird enthusiasts birding for 5 days along the Colorado River and at the Salton Sea.  
species total

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Townsend's Solitaire 
Senator Wash

Rails were our first goal, and at the north end of West Pond we squeezed our three vans in a small pull-out.  It took them a few minutes to warm up, but then Virginia and Sora really opened up, as well as a single call from the tiny Black Rail.  At Senator Wash we spotted the trusty wintering Townsend's Solitaire and a flock of Common Goldeneyes.  

At Betty's Kitchen we turned up Phainopepla, Gila Woodpecker, and Abert's Towhee.  On Mittry Lake we spotted many American White Pelicans, Vermilion Flycatcher, and lots & lots of waterfowl.  
American White Pelican

Searching for the Sora

Sora at Imperial Ponds

Tuesday we motored over to the Imperial Valley.  The New River Wetlands produced Blue-winged Teal, hundreds of Yellow-rumped Warblers and many fine marsh birds, including several Soras like this one in plain view!  From here we went north to the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR headquarters.
Here we enjoyed lunch and views of this Fox Sparrow.  From there we headed over to Obsidian Butte and were rewarded by seeing an adult Yellow-footed Gull!  Numerous waders & waterfowl completed the birdy day!

Fox Sparrow at SBSS NWR

Wednesday was a half day, and we spent the morning at Martinez Lake and running the Colorado River with Ronnie Knowlton.  We had great looks at Osprey and both Clark's & Western Grebes.  After lunch an adult Bald Eagle soared overhead.

Ron explaining about Herman the Great Egret

Thursday was another Imperial Valley day.  Sandhill Cranes, American Redstarts, a Spotted Towhee, and both Green-winged & Cinnamon Teal.  We missed the sapsucker that drilled the holes on the right, but we did see a Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

Sapsucker holes in eucalyptus tree

Whimbrel & Harbor Seal
Lunch was again at the headquarters, where I watched this hungry Cattle Egret swallow a writhing field mouse. Along English Road we picked up Mountain Bluebirds and Mountain Plover.  At Eddins & Sperry we snagged two of the Ruddy Ground-Doves and 50+ Eurasian Collared Doves.
At Red Hill Marina, in the famous cormorant trees, were no cormorants--just this lonely Peregrine Falcon.  We watched him in the scope for some time, but no visitors came to socialize...  We made a stop to see the bubbling mud pots and watch the mini volcanoes being formed.

Peregrine Falcon at Red Hill Marina

Some of our crew at the bubbling mud pots.

At Brandt and Eddins we didn't have to wait very long before spying this Lewis' Woodpecker flying between a telephone pole and a palm tree.

On Friday morning we headed east to Tacna.  In among the 4-winged saltbush, we found a pair of LeConte's Thrashers willing to perch for views.  Sage Sparrows, Verdins, and gnatcatchers rounded out the desert birds!  It was an awesome week.  :-)

LeConte's Thrasher

Yuma/Salton Sea Elderhostel Adventure, 12-17 Jan 2003
# Species
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Eared Grebe
3 Western Grebe
4 Clark's Grebe
5 American White Pelican
6 Brown Pelican
7 Double-crested Cormorant
8 American Bittern
9 Great Blue Heron
10 Great Egret
11 Snowy Egret
12 Cattle Egret
13 Green Heron
14 Black-crowned Night Heron
15 White-faced Ibis
16 Sandhill Crane
17 Snow Goose
18 Ross' Goose
19 Gadwall
20 American Wigeon
21 Blue-winged Teal
22 Mallard
23 Cinnamon Teal
24 Northern Shoveler
25 Northern Pintail
26 Green-winged Teal
27 Canvasback
28 Redhead
29 Ring-necked Duck
30 Lesser Scaup
31 Bufflehead
32 Common Goldeneye
33 Common Merganser
34 Ruddy Duck
35 Osprey
36 Bald Eagle
37 Northern Harrier
38 Sharp-shinned Hawk
39 Cooper's Hawk
40 Red-shouldered Hawk
41 Red-tailed Hawk
42 Ferruginous Hawk
43 American Kestrel
44 Peregrine Falcon
45 Ring-necked Pheasant
46 Gambel's Quail
47 Black Rail
48 Virginia Rail
49 Sora
50 Common Moorhen
51 American Coot
52 Killdeer
53 Mountain Plover
54 Black-necked Stilt
55 American Avocet
56 Greater Yellowlegs
57 Lesser Yellowlegs
58 Willet
59 Spotted Sandpiper
60 Long-billed Curlew
61 Marbled Godwit
62 Least Sandpiper
63 Long-billed Dowitcher
64 Wilson's Snipe
# Species
65 Turkey Vulture
66 Ring-billed Gull
67 California Gull
68 Yellow-footed Gull
69 Caspian Tern
70 Forster's Tern
71 Rock Dove
72 Mourning Dove
73 Inca Dove
74 Common Ground-Dove
75 Ruddy Ground-Dove
76 Eurasian Collared Dove
77 Greater Roadrunner
78 Burrowing Owl
79 White-throated Swift
80 Anna's Hummingbird
81 Belted Kingfisher
82 Lewis' Woodpecker
83 Gila Woodpecker
84 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
85 Northern Flicker
86 Black Phoebe
87 Say's Phoebe
88 Vermilion Flycatcher
89 Loggerhead Shrike
90 Common Raven
91 Tree Swallow
92 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
93 Verdin
94 Cactus Wren
95 Rock Wren
96 House Wren
97 Marsh Wren
98 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
99 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
100 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
101 Mountain Bluebird
102 Townsend's Solitaire
103 American Robin
104 Northern Mockingbird
105 Crissal Thrasher
106 Leconte's Thrasher
107 European Starling
108 Phainopepla
109 Common Yellowthroat
110 American Redstart
111 Orange-crowned Warbler
112 Yellow-rumped Warbler
113 Spotted Towhee
114 Abert's Towhee
115 Vesper Sparrow
116 Sage Sparrow
117 Savannah Sparrow
118 Fox Sparrow
119 Song Sparrow
120 White-crowned Sparrow
121 Dark-eyed Junco
122 Red-winged Blackbird
123 Western Meadowlark
124 Yellow-headed Blackbird
125 Brewer's Blackbird
126 Great-tailed Grackle
127 House Finch
128 Lesser Goldfinch
129 House Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler