Jan. 20: A lovely, calm morning in Desert Hot Springs, though somewhat windier at Big Morongo. Found out there are 2 scheduled birding walks each week – Saturdays & Wednesdays. We want to find the quail, so will join one next Wed. Nonetheless, this morning we went found 2 more lifers: CALIF. THRASHER (which looks very similar to Crissal Thrasher which we searched for in Las Vegas). They were singing & courting, so easy to spot – even a decent photo, but really just to identify, not to post here. Then we had another surprise: WRENTIT, another lifer! We didn’t expect this one because its range is slightly west of here, but were able to confirm its identity in a photo as well! Yay!
Jan. 22: A beautiful morning to be up early & off to Joshua Tree. As a matter of fact it couldn’t have been a nicer day with mild temps, sun & hardly any wind! We walked in our short-sleeved t-shirts! We have only done this about 3 times since we left Canada! Not too much to be seen in the birding dept but lots of photo ops. Here are couple showing a very large Joshua Tree & rocks. This tree is about 20+ feet high & apparently the largest in the park is 45 feet. They do not indicate where it is located!
Jan. 23: A few clouds with sunny breaks – off to Big Morongo group birding walk! Unfortunately it was a bit of a bust. There were over 30 people (which makes it impossible for everyone to see & identify birds (especially if you’re short like me!) – plus the leader wasn’t much of a birder, but relied on others to make identifications. So we split off and did our own walk. We had found out from the expert (who was obligated to stay home for a conference call) that chances of seeing a Mtn. Quail here is pretty much nil! We will try elsewhere. Nothing new, but a very pleasant day for a walk and some nice views of a pair of Calif. Towhees singing & foraging. Also several Bewick’s Wrens singing. We ran into 2 SK women who we’d seen before & helped them identify a Nutall’s Woodpecker. They’re from Sasktoon, so we always have a soft spot for birders from SK. I think they’re beginners but are very enthusiastic, which we love.
Weather has changed to clouds & rain for a few days, so indoor activities: Bill working, I’m cleaning – and we catch up on our recordings of the Australian Open tennis matches. Very sad that Serena Williams lost – but I guess it’s time for the younger generation to take over!
We have finally broken the 150 mark in our species count. Currently at 154. Really we have no particular goal for out count, but would love to add a few more lifers!
Jan. 25: A rainy day which is a rare treat in the desert! Hoping it’ll bring some flowers in the desert, so may try Joshua Tree Sunday. Nonetheless, we drove out to Salton Sea just to check out a couple of areas & see if we could spot any new shorebirds. No luck, just hundreds of gulls feeding on Tilapia, which are prolific in this sea. Some of those gulls could hardly swallow the fish, they are so big. Didn’t stop them though – they just persevered until is went down! I’ve seen them do it with starfish on the west coast – unbelieveable!
We’re still struggling with worry about this motor home – trying to decide if we should get rid of it and buy another Airstream trailer (a bit longer than our 23′ one from last winter). Many decisions – influenced by more fixes still needing to be done to this beast. We take it in Jan. 30th for some repairs, then go on from there back to AZ. We’ve been visiting car dealerships, to see what vehicles are available which could tow a trailer since we don’t have room for a truck in our garage in the condo. More research necessary!