Sea & San Jacintos
led by Henry Detwiler
Ben Griffith came down from New Hampshire to find some targets in
Southern California, so we birded the hot & humid Salton Sea, and
then moved up to the very pleasant San Jacinto Mountains.
133 species (list follows at end
thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.
Ben & Don
At 6:00 I met Ben, an expert
17-year-old birder, and his father Don at their hotel. We
piled in the rental and drove straight down to Johnson Road.
Terns, gulls, and shorebirds greeted us in abundance.
Our next stop along the
Sea provided Ben with his first lifer of the trip, a Yellow-footed
Gull. At Pound Road we added two more lifers: Snowy Plover and
Ben & Don at Bubbling
|We stopped to look at the bubbling mud pots, evidence
of the geothermal activity in the area. At Obsidian Butte we
saw the Reddish Egret, and south of there we flushed this large
flock of pelicans.
White Pelicans & Snowy
afternoon we drove up to the San Jacinto Mountains for more of
Ben's targets. California Towhees proved easy, and the
neighborhood feeders at Pathfinder Ranch yielded Lawrence's
Goldfinches. Ben's sixth lifer for the day turned out to be a
Nuttal's Woodpecker he spotted in a pine tree in the same
neighborhood. We searched in vain for Pinyon Jays--but fortunately
we still had Monday.
View from the top of Black
|The next morning I picked up Ben at 6:00 and we
drove up to the mountains in my Acura. Oak Titmouse was our
first target, and it proved very accommodating. Tri-colored
Blackbirds were a little tougher, but we found a flock at Hemet
Lake. The Pinyon Jays continued to elude us.
|On the way up to Black Mountain we got good views of
a California Thrasher. Then it was up a 6-mile dirt road up the
7800' mountain. We walked around quite a bit before we were rewarded
with nice looks at a small covey of Mountain
Quail. We also saw many other mountain birds like Stellar's
Jays and female Purple Finches. Another target was White-headed
Woodpecker. We heard its call, but it remained elusive. Finally we
tracked it down, and even got fine eye-level looks!
female Purple Finch
feeding furiously at Black Mountain
|After a quick lunch at Idyllwild we made one last
effort for the Pinyon Jay. Again no luck at Hemet Lake or
Hurkey Creek. But we scored with a whole tree full in the
Pathfinder Ranch neighborhood! A fine ending to a great
trip--Good Job Ben!
Pinyon Jay, San