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Fall Birding and Camping, SMBAS Style

November 5, 2015
Birders at dinner. At Keith Axelson's ranch )ct.31,2015 Photo Roxane Seidner

Birders at dinner at Keith Axelson’s ranch Oct.31,2015 Photo Roxane Seidner

It was a gorgeous fall weekend in the Mojave desert. Bright sunshine, not hot, and the waist high butter yellow rabbit brush in full flower.
At Butterbredt Spring, the White-crowned Sparrows had much to say, joined by the Golden-crowned Sparrows. A pair of Dark-eyed Juncos and a Nuttall’s Woodpecker greeted Liz as she parked her car. A great treat: a Ruby-crowned Kinglet flying up and down, his brilliantly red ruby crown fully erect, alone made the three hour drive worth while. A pair of Bewick’s Wrens scolded from a safe distance. The group (which finally showed up!) found a Great Horned Owl flying into his sleeping trees, and when we finally found where he had landed, we enjoyed the spectacle of his turning his neck 180 degrees to appraise us! We believe there were Bell’s (formerly Sage) Sparrows, but nobody would commit to having identified any.

A long day of desert birding can result in this (Roxie Seider 10/31/15)

A long day of desert birding may result in this (Roxie Seider 10/31/15)

Meanwhile, back at the Sageland Ranch, the usual cast of characters awaited: California Quail, Western Scrub-Jays in full voice, Pine Siskins edging out the slightly smaller Lesser Goldfinches at the feeders, hummingbirds whizzing to and from their feeders. Liz watched as a brilliant Red-breasted Sapsucker carried an insect around in his beak for a while until he found just the right place, stuck the insect into the bark of a tree and proceeded to dine on it.

Cactus Wrens favor the cholla for nest location (Roxie Seider 10/31/15)

Cactus Wrens favor the cholla cactus for nest location
(Roxie Seider 10/31/15)

Walking around outside the property, we observed a pair of Cactus Wrens examining each cholla cactus in turn, or maybe they were Cactus Wren realtors getting ready to make a sale. Keith Axelson said he hadn’t seen any there for two years. Driving home, a Greator Roadrunner crossed the road.

NOrthern Flicker Butterbredt Spring 10/31/2015 Roxane Seidner

Northern Flicker. Butterbredt Spring               10/31/2015 Roxane Seidner

A note on Keith’s ranch: a recent 10 minute long flash flood devastated quite a bit of Keith’s work: a dam plus PVC piping he had installed to create a spring and a pond on his property, much enjoyed by the birds, were completely washed away. The creek bed was appreciably higher and no greenery was to be seen on it.

A remarkable resemblance to Keith, all agreed (Roxie Seider 10/31/15)

A remarkable resemblance to Keith, all agreed (Roxie Seider 10/31/15)

As usual, pumpkin carving took place. A portrait of Keith, complete with glasses and mustache, competed with other ghostly images, including a Komodo Dragon (the original having been recently observed on a far away birding trip).

10/31/2015 Roxane Seidner

10/31/2015    Roxane Seidner

Butterbredt Spring Halloween Bird List – in no particular order
(S = Sageland    Sp = Butterbredt Spring and surroundings)

1. Great Horned Owl –  Sp, S heard only
2. White-crowned  Sparrow – Sp, S numerous
3. Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Sp,
4. Hermit Thrush – Sp
5. Rock Wren – Sp
6. Northern Flicker (red-shafted) – Sp, S
7. Golden-crowned Sparrow – Sp
8. Dark-eyed Junco – Sp, S
9. Yellow-rumped Warbler – Sp, S (very numerous)
10. Lesser Goldfinch – S
11. Pine Siskin – S (35 +/-)
12. Bewick’s Wren – S
13. Western Bluebird – S
14. Cactus Wren – S (female and male)
15. Sharp-shinned Hawk – S
16. Red-breasted Sapsucker – S
17. Oak Titmouse – S
18. Greater Roadrunner – Kelso Creek Rd, Sunday
19. Cooper’s Hawk – S
20. California Quail – Sp, S
21. Loggerhead Shrike – S
22. Mourning Dove – S
23. Common Raven – S
24. Phainopepla  – Sp
25. Western Scrub Jay – S
26. Williamson’s Sapsucker – female S
27. Anna’s Hummingbird – S
28. Spotted Towhee – S, Sp (?)
29. Nuttall’s  Woodpecker – S
30. Cooper’s Hawk – S ( glimpsed)
Also seen recently in vicinity by Keith:
White-throated Sparrow at Sageland & Ferruginous Hawk along Kelso Creek Rd.
[Produced by Liz Galton, Mary Prismon and Roxie Seidner]

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