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San Jacinto Wildlife Area Trip Report: 15 February, 2014

February 17, 2014

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It’s been at least five years since we last visited San Jacinto Wildlife Area. It hasn’t changed much, except that previously the dirt roads were often very muddy and difficult to drive.   You remember – that was waaay back in the old, old days when winters were wet.

We saw loads of birds: flocks of ducks or gulls rising into the sky, squadrons of White Pelicans, Long-billed Curlews or White-faced Ibis cruising by; power lines festooned with swallows, hawks and falcons sitting on seemingly every tree snag or stony outcropping.  An avian abundance.

We started well by quickly locating the female Black-throated Blue Warbler reported to be in the trees across the road from the gate. It looked much like a dingy Orange-crowned Warbler, but with a white vent, noticeable white facial markings and prominent square white mark in the folded wing. After that we went looking for an unlocked bathroom which we were not able to find.

On the trail (L. Johnson 2/15/14)

On the trail (L. Johnson 2/15/14)

We did a lot of “sorting out” of ducks, and raptors, and swallows, while keeping our eyes peeled for the occasional oddity, such as the Prairie Falcon perched high on a rocky hillside, or the Redhead, Cinnamon Teal or Lesser Scaup lurking among the hordes of Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Ruddy Ducks and American Coots. At one point an Osprey flew by carrying a fish in its talons – one foot ahead of the other – fish head first, in the traditional Osprey style.

A Burrowing Owl hiding in a hole in the side of a crevice and behind a bush gave us a bit of trouble as for a long time only one person could see it and the rest of us were beginning to wonder…

Yellow-headed Blackbirds (L. Johnson 2/15/14)

Yellow-headed Blackbirds (L. Johnson 2/15/14)

At the end, just before leaving, a single Vesper Sparrow – never a particularly common bird – flew from where it was lurking in a leafy tree down to the ground, close to where we were clambering into our cars – it was difficult to see both eyering and chestnut shoulder patch, but they were there.

Wonderful weather, fine companions, great birds, timely lunch – it was, all in all, a very enjoyable day.   [Chuck Almdale]
Key to Trip List
A = 1-10            B = 11-50          C = 51-100        D = 101-500
E = 500+           1 = actual no.    h = heard only

San Jacinto Wildlife Area   Trip List 2/15/14  
Canada Goose C California Gull E
Gadwall D Herring Gull A
American Wigeon B Burrowing Owl 1
Mallard C Anna’s Hummingbird A
Cinnamon Teal B Nuttall’s Woodpecker 1
Northern Shoveler E Northern Flicker Ah
Northern Pintail E American Kestrel B
Green-winged Teal C Prairie Falcon 1
Redhead A Black Phoebe B
Ring-necked Duck A Say’s Phoebe B
Lesser Scaup A Cassin’s Kingbird 1
Bufflehead B Loggerhead Shrike A
Ruddy Duck D Common Raven B
Eared Grebe A Tree Swallow D
Double-crested Cormorant B No. Rough-winged Swallow C
American White Pelican B Barn Swallow D
Great Blue Heron A Marsh Wren Bh
Great Egret B Ruby-crowned Kinglet A
Snowy Egret B Mountain Bluebird B
White-faced Ibis C Northern Mockingbird A
Osprey A American Pipit B
Northern Harrier B Common Yellowthroat A
Red-shouldered Hawk B Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Red-tailed Hawk C Yellow-rumped Warbler B
Rough-legged Hawk 1 California Towhee A
Sora 1 Brewer’s Sparrow A
American Coot E Vesper Sparrow 1
Killdeer B Savannah Sparrow B
Black-necked Stilt B Song Sparrow B
American Avocet B White-crowned Sparrow B
Spotted Sandpiper 1 Red-winged Blackbird B
Greater Yellowlegs B Western Meadowlark A
Lesser Yellowlegs 1 Yellow-headed Blackbird B
Long-billed Curlew A Brewer’s Blackbird B
Long-billed Dowitcher B Great-tailed Grackle A
Bonaparte’s Gull D House Finch B
Ring-billed Gull E Lesser Goldfinch A
   Total Species 74

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