California Thrasher


San Diego to Salton Sea
18-20 Jan 2004, 45-70 degrees
Led by Henry Detwiler

An excellent birding adventure, beginning on the Pacific Coast and ending at the Salton Sea

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

I met up with Carolyn, Jim, and Cindy in La Mesa, the morning after they arrived from Chicago.  Our weather was considerably better!  Our first stop was at La Jolla, where we found lots of cormorants, pelicans, gulls, and an accommodating Wandering Tattler.

Carolyn, Jim, & Cindy


Then it was off to San Elijo Lagoon where many varieties of ducks and shorebirds put on a show.  In addition, we saw several species of chaparral birds, such as California Towhee, California Thrasher (Jim's favorite!), and California Gnatcatcher.

Later that afternoon we were to round out the chaparral birds at Cabrillo National Monument, where we got mouth-watering views of two Wrentits, California Quail, and Golden-crowned Sparrows.

Green-winged Teal

Harlequin Duck

At Mission Bay we hunted down the wintering Harlequin Duck.  It was most accommodating--until I went back to the car and got my camera, that is.  Fortunately, we all had scope views by then!
On Monday we ventured over the Laguna Mountains.  At Live Oak Springs the birds were out in force.  These Lawrence's Goldfinches were drinking at the lip of the waterfall.
Lawrence's & Lesser Goldfinches

Lesser Goldfinch at Julian

Farther south at Jacumba, we tracked down the resident Tri-colored Blackbirds.  In the Laguna Recreation Area we found Oak Titmouse, Pygmy Nuthatch, and Mountain Chickadee.  And in Julian we got more excellent looks at Lesser Goldfinches.

Double-crested Cormorants at the Salton Sea

Black-necked Stilt &
American Avocet

On Tuesday we spent the day traversing the Imperial Valley and the Salton Sea.  Our first good birds, in Brawley,  were Lewis' Woodpecker and Gray Flycatcher.  East of Niland we missed the Harris' Sparrow, but saw Prairie Falcons and White-tailed Kites.  Among the many Black- necked Stilts and American Avocets, Cindy pointed out a different-looking shorebird, and we had our Ruff!


East of the Calipatria Prison we scored on Mountain Plovers and a forced march through the Bermuda grass field netted us a Sprague's Pipit.  Obsidian Butte gave up the Yellow-footed Gull, and the fields east of there were alive with Snow & Ross' Geese.
Ross' Goose

Sunset over Finney Lake

We ended the day at Finney Lake, surveying the egret and ibis rookery, and finishing up with a pair of courting Clark's Grebes.  A fine trip indeed!

San Diego to Imperial Valley, 18-20 Jan 2004
# Species
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Horned Grebe
3 Eared Grebe
4 Western Grebe
5 Clark's Grebe
6 American White Pelican
7 Brown Pelican
8 Brandt's Cormorant
9 Double-crested Cormorant
10 Pelagic Cormorant
11 American Bittern
12 Least Bittern
13 Great Blue Heron
14 Great Egret
15 Snowy Egret
16 Little Blue Heron
17 Cattle Egret
18 Green Heron
19 Black-crowned Night Heron
20 White-faced Ibis
21 Snow Goose
22 Ross' Goose
23 Gadwall
24 Eurasian Wigeon
25 American Wigeon
26 Blue-winged Teal
27 Mallard
28 Cinnamon Teal
29 Northern Shoveler
30 Northern Pintail
31 Green-winged Teal
32 Canvasback
33 Redhead
34 Lesser Scaup
35 Harlequin Duck
36 Surf Scoter
37 Bufflehead
38 Common Goldeneye
39 Red-breasted Merganser
40 Ruddy Duck
41 Osprey
42 White-tailed Kite
43 Northern Harrier
44 Cooper's Hawk
45 Red-shouldered Hawk
46 Red-tailed Hawk
47 American Kestrel
48 Peregrine Falcon
49 Prairie Falcon
50 California Quail
51 Gambel's Quail
52 Sora
53 Common Moorhen
54 American Coot
55 Black-bellied Plover
56 Semipalmated Plover
57 Killdeer
58 Mountain Plover
59 Black-necked Stilt
60 American Avocet
61 Greater Yellowlegs
62 Lesser Yellowlegs
63 Willet
64 Wandering Tattler
65 Spotted Sandpiper
66 Long-billed Curlew
67 Marbled Godwit
68 Black Turnstone
69 Sanderling
70 Western Sandpiper
71 Least Sandpiper
72 Dunlin
73 Ruff
74 Short-billed Dowitcher
75 Long-billed Dowitcher
76 Wilson's Snipe
77 Turkey Vulture
78 Heerman's Gull
79 Ring-billed Gull
80 California Gull
81 Herring Gull
82 Yellow-footed Gull
# Species
83 Western Gull
84 Caspian Tern
85 Royal Tern
86 Forster's Tern
87 Black Skimmer
88 Rock Pigeon
89 Mourning Dove
90 Inca Dove
91 Common Ground-Dove
92 Ruddy Ground-Dove
93 Eurasian Collared Dove
94 Greater Roadrunner
95 Great Horned Owl
96 Burrowing Owl
97 Anna's Hummingbird
98 Costa's Hummingbird
99 Belted Kingfisher
100 Lewis' Woodpecker
101 Acorn Woodpecker
102 Gila Woodpecker
103 Nuttal's Woodpecker
104 Northern Flicker
105 Gray Flycatcher
106 Black Phoebe
107 Say's Phoebe
108 Vermilion Flycatcher
109 Cassin's Kingbird
110 Loggerhead Shrike
111 Stellar's Jay
112 Western Scrub Jay
113 American Crow
114 Common Raven
115 Horned Lark
116 Wrentit
117 Tree Swallow
118 Mountain Chickadee
119 Oak Titmouse
120 Verdin
121 Bushtit
122 White-breasted Nuthatch
123 Pygmy Nuthatch
124 Cactus Wren
125 Rock Wren
126 House Wren
127 Marsh Wren
128 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
129 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
130 California Gnatcatcher
131 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
132 Western Bluebird
133 Hermit Thrush
134 Northern Mockingbird
135 California Thrasher
136 Crissal Thrasher
137 European Starling
138 American Pipit
139 Sprague's Pipit
140 Phainopepla
141 Orange-crowned Warbler
142 Yellow-rumped Warbler
143 Common Yellowthroat
144 Spotted Towhee
145 California Towhee
146 Abert's Towhee
147 Chipping Sparrow
148 Brewer's Sparrow
149 Vesper Sparrow
150 Savannah Sparrow
151 Song Sparrow
152 Lincoln's Sparrow
153 White-throated Sparrow
154 White-crowned Sparrow
155 Golden-crowned Sparrow
156 Dark-eyed Junco
157 Red-winged Blackbird
158 Tricolored Blackbird
159 Western Meadowlark
160 Brewer's Blackbird
161 Great-tailed Grackle
162 House Finch
163 Lesser Goldfinch
164 Lawrence's Goldfinch
165 House Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler