Pigeon Guillemot

   
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Southern California in May 
2-8 May 2004
Narrated by Henry Detwiler

Dennis & June Schwartz and I spent an excellent week of birding in southern California, starting in the southwest deserts and going north to Morro Bay.  
198 species -- complete list at end of page
Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.
   

  
THURSDAY, 6 May 04


Western Gull with Starfish - Scene 1


Western Gull with Starfish - Scene 2

As we watched the Pigeon Guillemots feeding in the surf and resting on the cliffs, we saw this Western Gull land on the rocks. It has spied a starfish, which it snapped up and started to swallow, completely gobbling the creature up in seconds flat.  A truly amazing feat, considering its big size and odd shape.
   

Western Gull with Starfish - Scene 3
In the valley east of the headquarters we tracked down Nuttal's Woodpecker and Purple Finch, while California Quail paraded around the picnic grounds.  Along a wash we spotted an American Goldfinch feeding its young.

American Goldfinches - adult & young

Black-crowned Night Heron
Along Morro Bay we found Chestnut-sided Chickadee, Red-shouldered Hawk, and this Black-crowned Night Heron, which didn't move an inch as we watched it.  At Morro Rock we marveled at the precarious-looking nests of Brandt's and Pelagic Cormorants, and a lingering Brant.

  

FRIDAY, 7 May 04

This morning we drove back east into the mountains.  In the scrub we looked at several spots and then found this cooperative Black-chinned Sparrow.

 
Black-chinned Sparrow

In the pines at the base of Mt. Pinos we located a Red-breasted Sapsucker and this fine family of Pygmy Nuthatches.


Pygmy Nuthatches

  
   
FRIDAY, 7 May 04


White-headed Woodpecker

On the slopes of Mt. Pinos we hiked to the back of a closed campground and found a variety of high elevation birds:  Clark's Nutcracker, this White-headed Woodpecker, California Towhee, and a Fox Sparrow. 
    

California Towhee


Common Raven eating/drinking snow
    

At the summit of Mt. Pinos we were greeted by brisk winds and patches of snow!  A Common Raven was scooping up and swallowing mouthfuls of the white stuff.

We spent most of the afternoon driving east to the Yucca Valley, taking in the Joshua Trees and stark desert scenery.


  
SATURDAY, 8 May 04

  
At Covington Park and Big Morongo Nature Conservancy Preserve we saw our first Brown-crested Flycatchers, Costa's Hummingbirds, Summer Tanagers, more orioles, and several pairs of Vermilion Flycatchers.


Vermilion Flycatcher


Western Scrub Jay
   

As we walked the Canyon Trail we saw additional delightful birds, like Bell's Vireo, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and Scrub Jay.

Along the trails we also got to see several butterflies, including a variety of hairstreak--a butterfly with marks and antennae on the rear of its wings that look like another head!  Before it heated up too much, we hit the road for Yuma, stopping at the Salton Sea once again, adding several more shore birds and trying once again for the Ruddy Ground-Dove in Calipatria.  Mid-afternoon Dennis and June dropped me off at home, finishing up a great week of companionship and non-stop birding!

 

 

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California, 2-8 May 2004
 
# Species
1 Pacific Loon
2 Common Loon
3 Pied-billed Grebe
4 Eared Grebe
5 Western Grebe
6 Clark's Grebe
7 American White Pelican
8 Brown Pelican
9 Brandt's Cormorant
10 Double-crested Cormorant
11 Pelagic Cormorant
12 American Bittern
13 Great Blue Heron
14 Great Egret
15 Snowy Egret
16 Cattle Egret
17 Green Heron
18 Black-crowned Night Heron
19 White-faced Ibis
20 Greater White-fronted Goose
21 Brant
22 Gadwall
23 American Wigeon
24 Mallard
25 Blue-winged Teal
26 Cinnamon Teal
27 Redhead
28 Surf Scoter
29 Long-tailed Duck
30 Barrow's Goldeneye
31 Red-breasted Merganser
32 Ruddy Duck
33 Osprey
34 Cooper's Hawk
35 Red-shouldered Hawk
36 Red-tailed Hawk
37 Rough-legged Hawk
38 American Kestrel
39 Mountain Quail
40 California Quail
41 Gambel's Quail
42 Virginia Rail
43 Common Moorhen
44 American Coot
45 Black-bellied Plover
46 Snowy Plover
47 Semipalmated Plover
48 Killdeer
49 Black Oystercatcher
50 Black-necked Stilt
51 American Avocet
52 Greater Yellowlegs
53 Willet
54 Spotted Sandpiper
55 Whimbrel
56 Long-billed Curlew
57 Marbled Godwit
58 Sanderling
59 Western Sandpiper
60 Least Sandpiper
61 Dunlin
62 Long-billed Dowitcher
63 Wilson's Phalarope
64 Red-necked Phalarope
65 Turkey Vulture
66 Franklin's Gull
67 Bonaparte's Gull
68 Heerman's Gull
69 Ring-billed Gull
70 California Gull
71 Herring Gull
72 Western Gull
73 Caspian Tern
74 Royal Tern
75 Forster's Tern
76 Least Tern
77 Black Tern
78 Black Skimmer
79 Pigeon Guillemot
80 Xantu's Murrelet
81 Rock Pigeon
82 Band-tailed Pigeon
83 White-winged Dove
84 Mourning Dove
85 Inca Dove
86 Common Ground-Dove
87 Eurasian Collared Dove
88 Red-crowned Parrot
89 Greater Roadrunner
90 Western Screech Owl
91 Burrowing Owl
92 Lesser Nighthawk
93 Vaux's Swift
94 White-throated Swift
95 Anna's Hummingbird
96 Costa's Hummingbird
97 Allen's Hummingbird
98 Acorn Woodpecker
99 Red-breasted Sapsucker
 
# Species
100 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
101 Nuttal's Woodpecker
102 Hairy Woodpecker
103 White-headed Woodpecker
104 Northern Flicker
105 Olive-sided Flycatcher
106 Western Wood Pewee
107 Pacific Slope Flycatcher
108 Black Phoebe
109 Say's Phoebe
110 Vermilion Flycatcher
111 Ash-throated Flycatcher
112 Brown-crested Flycatcher
113 Western Kingbird
114 Bell's Vireo
115 Plumbeous Vireo
116 Cassin's Vireo
117 Hutton's Vireo
118 Warbling Vireo
119 Stellar's Jay
120 Western Scrub Jay
121 Island Scrub Jay
122 Pinyon Jay
123 Clark's Nutcracker
124 Yellow-billed Magpie
125 American Crow
126 Common Raven
127 Horned Lark
128 Wrentit
129 Purple Martin
130 Tree Swallow
131 Violet-green Swallow
132 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
133 Cliff Swallow
134 Barn Swallow
135 Mountain Chickadee
136 Chestnut-backed Chickadee
137 Oak Titmouse
138 Verdin
139 Bushtit
140 White-breasted Nuthatch
141 Pygmy Nuthatch
142 Cactus Wren
143 Bewick's Wren
144 House Wren
145 Marsh Wren
146 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
147 Western Bluebird
148 Swainson's Thrush
149 American Robin
150 Northern Mockingbird
151 California Thrasher
152 European Starling
153 Cedar Waxwing
154 Phainopepla
155 Common Yellowthroat
156 Yellow-rumped Warbler
157 Orange-crowned Warbler
158 Hermit Warbler
159 Wilson's Warbler
160 Yellow-breasted Chat
161 Townsend's Warbler
162 Yellow Warbler
163 Summer Tanager
164 Western Tanager
165 Green-tailed Towhee
166 Spotted Towhee
167 California Towhee
168 Abert's Towhee
169 Rufous-crowned Sparrow
170 Chipping Sparrow
171 Black-chinned Sparrow
172 Lark Sparrow
173 Black-throated Sparrow
174 Sage Sparrow
175 Fox Sparrow
176 Song Sparrow
177 White-crowned Sparrow
178 Dark-eyed Junco
179 Black-headed Grosbeak
180 Lazuli Bunting
181 Red-winged Blackbird
182 Tricolored Blackbird
183 Western Meadowlark
184 Yellow-headed Blackbird
185 Brewer's Blackbird
186 Great-tailed Grackle
187 Brown-headed Cowbird
188 Hooded Oriole
189 Bullock's Oriole
190 Purple Finch
191 Cassin's Finch
192 House Finch
193 Pine Siskin
194 Lesser Goldfinch
195 Lawrence's Goldfinch
196 American Goldfinch
197 House Sparrow
198 Sooty Shearwater

Photos Henry D. Detwiler