Anza Borrego State Park


Imperial Valley & Laguna Mountains 
27 February 2005
Tour Guide: Henry Detwiler

Today I had a great time showing Gail Binder and her father, Harold Mudge, a sampling of the birds in the Laguna Mountains and the Anza Borrego Dessert.

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.  

Gail and Harold in front of giant ocotillo, in the town of Ocotillo

I met Gail and Harold at the Calipatria Inn at 0630 on a beautiful Sunday morning, and we set out on a large circuit starting at Fig Lagoon, heading north past Lake Cuyamaca to Julian, and then heading back east down the mountain into the Imperial Valley.

Our first stop was Fig Lagoon, in the southwestern corner of the Imperial Valley.  We watched Redheads, grebes, and a small flock of American White Pelicans floating about the lake. 

American White Pelican

Great Egret

Fig Lagoon is always a good spot to closely examine cormorants.  We saw them in both winter and breeding plumage.

Both Great and Snowy Egrets were fishing and posing in the trees along the bank.


Double-crested Cormorant

Green Heron





Several Green Herons perched on the tops of trees poking out through the reed beds, watching us intently until we moved on.
As the desert gives way to the mountains, ocotillos become more abundant.  While we were looking at this magnificent towering specimen on the western edge of Ocotillo, we also spotted a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher.

Ocotillo bloom






California Thrasher

Close to the town of Jacumba, we found this thrasher singing.  And then we heard, and glimpsed a couple of California Quail, too.

In the town of Jacumba are many residents that feed birds.  Several species of hummingbirds were coming to a feeder near this tree.  The light on the Rufous was spectacular. 
Rufous Hummingbird

Acorn Woodpecker

Farther up into the Lagunas, Mountain Chickadees became plentiful.  This one was also frequenting a feeder.

At Live Oak Springs we were entertained by numerous Acorn Woodpeckers.  Oak Titmice also roamed the same live oaks.

Western Bluebird

A stop at Lake Cuyamaca netted us several Western Bluebirds, including this female.  From there we headed farther north to Julian, and then down the grade to Anza Borrego State Park.  The flowers were spectacular, and we added a final target bird to our day's list: Black-throated Sparrow.  We got back to Calipatria after the dark, having spent a fine day birding!

Photos Henry D. Detwiler