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Morongo Preserve & Black Rock Campground: Trip Report 4-5 May, 2013

May 7, 2013

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The weekend turned out to be a series of life birds for several people.  Jean finally got the Pinyon Jay on Saturday at Black Rock.  They were in a flock and, as Chuck Almdale  pointed out, moved down the slope and across the valley as Bushtit flocks roll from bush to bush, trailing birds flying past leading birds and landing, so you are given a lot of chances to see them. When that show was over a Scott’s Oriole posed for us for several minutes, giving us every view we could wish for.  Thanks to Chuck’s good eyes we even found a Brewer’s Sparrow.  Then there were the Eurasian Collared-Doves with their strange sounds, Western Bluebirds, Gambel’s Quail, Cactus Wren, and Ash-throated Flycatcher.

Scott's Oriole on a Joshua Tree seed pod (D. Roberts 5/4/13)

Scott’s Oriole on a Joshua Tree seed pod (D. Roberts 5/4/13)

At Morongo Canyon Preserve on Sunday, the wind was blowing about 10 knots, and we were not sure if the birding would be affected.   At the entrance where the trailer sits with several bird feeders , we saw the Townsend’s Solitaire who was brown, indicating a 1st year bird and it was obviously exhausted judging by the lethargic movements.  I don’t know if anyone has ever had such an opportunity to repeatedly look at a solitaire. But that wasn’t the only show.  Lillian said, “is that a Calliope [Hummingbird] on the feeder?”  We all looked and realized it was one.

Hummer at the Morongo feeders (D. Roberts 5/5/13)

Hummer at the Morongo feeders (D. Roberts 5/5/13)

He came back several times in case everyone had not gotten a picture and then a female started coming to the feeder.  For a lot of people, that bird is not easy to get a good view of. We also had Costa’s & Black-chinned Hummingbirds at the same bird feeders. Because of the wind, it looked like a fall-out of Western Tanagers because, as someone said, you could have a binocular filled with them.

Summer Tanager looking for a quick meal (D. Roberts 5/5/13)

Summer Tanager looking for a quick meal (D. Roberts 5/5/13)

The Summer Tanagers were also around so everyone saw a least four of them and fortunately the male & female Vermilion Flycatchers were near their nest.  Also, in a tree nearby, a pair of juvenile Red-tailed Hawks were found in their nest, stretching their wings.  Later, we could see one of the adults hunting for food.

The lump in the tree is a nest holding two young Red-tailed Hawks (D. Roberts 5/5/13)

The lump in the tree is a nest holding two young Red-tailed Hawks (D. Roberts 5/5/13)

We did pretty well with warblers seeing seven, including the Yellow-breasted Chat, who teased us until he finally perched where all could see him.  The two more unusual warblers, for Morongo, were the Hermit & the Black-throated Gray.  All I can say is this was a good year so any one who didn’t attend missed a great week-end.   [Jean Garrett & Liz Galton]

Trip List  
Code: B – Black Rock, M – Morongo Valley
H – Heard only  
Name 5/4-5/13
Gambel’s Quail MB
Turkey Vulture M
Cooper’s Hawk M
Red-tailed Hawk M
Virginia Rail M-H
Rock Pigeon MB
Eurasian Collared-Dove M
White-winged Dove MB
Mourning Dove MB
White-throated Swift M
Black-chinned Hummingbird MB
Anna’s Hummingbird MB
Costa’s Hummingbird MB
Calliope Hummingbird M
Ladder-backed Woodpecker MB
Nuttall’s Woodpecker M
American Kestrel B
Olive-sided Flycatcher M
Western Wood-Pewee MB
Willow Flycatcher M
Pacific-slope Flycatcher M
Black Phoebe MB
Vermilion Flycatcher M
Ash-throated Flycatcher B
Brown-crested Flycatcher M
Cassin’s Kingbird MB
Western Kingbird MB
Loggerhead Shrike M
Bell’s Vireo M
Cassin’s Vireo M
Warbling Vireo M
Pinyon Jay B
Western Scrub-Jay MB
Common Raven MB
Mountain Chickadee M
Oak Titmouse M
Bushtit M
House Wren M
Bewick’s Wren MB
Cactus Wren B
Western Bluebird MB
Townsend’s Solitaire M
Swainson’s Thrush M
Northern Mockingbird B
California Thrasher MB
European Starling MB
Phainopepla MB
Orange-crowned Warbler M
Nashville Warbler M
Common Yellowthroat M
Yellow Warbler M
Yellow-rumped Warbler – Audubon M
Black-throated Gray Warbler M
Townsend’s Warbler M
Hermit Warbler M
Wilson’s Warbler MB
Yellow-breasted Chat M
Spotted Towhee MB
California Towhee MB
Brewer’s Sparrow B
Song Sparrow M
Summer Tanager M
Western Tanager M
Black-headed Grosbeak M
Blue Grosbeak M
Lazuli Bunting M
Great-tailed Grackle M
Brown-headed Cowbird M
Hooded Oriole M
Bullock’s Oriole M
Scott’s Oriole B
House Finch MB
Pine Siskin M
Lesser Goldfinch MB
Lawrence’s Goldfinch M
House Sparrow MB
Total Species 76

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