Hooded Grebes - Patagonia - November 2016

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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

California - Day 8 - 19/1/16

I expected today to be average compared to previous days in this very birdy state. However my expectations were short lived as from the off we were seeing great birds, and these were just from the car park at Big Morongo State Park. A walk around here produced further good birds, but no Mountain Lions rather predictably.
Next up was Joshua Tree NP entered from the north and exited from the south, which made it very easy to head down to the south end of Salton Sea, staying the night in Brawley. 
Joshua Tree again was quite good despite the lack of ideal habitat (clue in the name). The main highlights here were just outside the park, with one of my main targets, the Cactus Wren being seen in good numbers by the visitor centre, but these got triumphed by my first Greater Roadrunner running across the road in front of us, before giving good views.  Inside the park, we even came up with the goods by finding a pair of Le Conte's Thrashers and good number of Sparrows. 
The day ended birding the north end of Salton Sea finished off with a spectacular sunset. 
A very good day!! 

Big Morongo State Park
Red-breasted Sapsucker - 1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker - 6
Cedar Waxwing - 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 1
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Anna's Hummingbird - 4
Mountain Chickadee - 10
Verdin - 1
Marsh Wren - 1
California Thrasher - 4
Hermit Thrush - 1
Purple Finch - 8
Pine Siskin - 1
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2

Joshua Tree NP
Cactus Wren - 5
Greater Roadrunner - 1
Rock Wren - 2
Brewer's Sparrow - 20
Sagebrush Sparrow - 10
Black-throated Sparrow - 2
Loggerhead Shrike - 3
Le Conte's Thrasher - 2
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher - 1

North Shore, Salton Sea
Gambel's Quail - 4
Ring-billed Gull - 100+
American Avocet - 1
Killdeer - 1
American White Pelican - 8
American Herring Gull - 3
Cooper's Hawk - 1
Snowy Egret - 3
Red-shouldered Hawk - 1

 Red-breasted Woodpecker at Big Morongo. The car park for the first hour of daylight was incredible with continuous new birds being found just here.
 female Ladder-backed Woodpecker at Big Morongo
 Greater Roadrunner - the star of the show. Had the lucky fortune to see this chappy run in front of the car
 Rock Wren showing very well in Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree
 This Brewer's Sparrow was among a group of this species, plus many Sagebrush Sparrows and a couple of Black-throated Sparrows
Le Conte's Thrasher in Joshua Tree NP - after trying a few sites in the previous two days, I thought our chances of this superb bird were gone, but thankfully Richard spotted this pair just as we were giving up. A major target for me so happy days.
 Big Morongo State Park

 Cacti in Joshua Tree
 Joshua Trees in you know where
 no Sage Thrashers, but an excellent sky

a cracking sunset at the Salton Sea




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