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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Palm Springs Trip Report

                                                                Authored by Gary Becker

        Two weeks ago my wife Susan and I spent a wonderful week in the Palm Springs area of southern California. We stayed at the Wyndham Resort which included the Terra Loga golf courses. There was a lot of acreage to bird and hike starting on our own back deck. The first morning Susan sprinkled some Cheerios on the deck railing and floor and within minutes we were attracting Brewer's Blackbirds and great-tailed grackles. 
Great-tailed Grackles
        Cliff swallow nests were under the eves of many of the buildings but it appears the swallows and swifts had moved on. 

        The lazy river pool right next to our condo attracted a group of 20+ mallards every morning.  In spite of the pool guys vacuuming activities the birds didn't budge until the human guests arrived and started their daily ritual of walking the lazy river against the current as part of an hour long aerobics ritual. Susan and I occasionally joined the group but most days we walked the golf course and grounds for an hour or two. Several ponds and waterfalls attracted a host of birds including a large flock of coots, snowy and great egrets, green herons, killdeer, spotted sandpiper, and black-crowned night herons.
Black-crowned Night-Herons
       There were 2 courses but one was closed for sodding so we could walk there without running into golfers. On the other we walked the back nine early before the golfers caught up with us. We always ran into several of the resident roadrunners in our walks and one in particular could be reliably spotted on the first tee and approached within a few feet. 
Roadrunner that missed his Tee Time

Say's Phoebe
There were four Anna's hummingbirds hanging out in the shrubs at the end of our building and several verdin tending to their surprisingly large nests(for such a small bird) in some trees nearby. Say's and black phoebes were regularly seen along with yellow-rumped warblers, white crowned sparrows, house finches, house sparrows, blue gray gnatcatchers, white-winged doves and mourning doves, and the ubiquitous ravens. 

Black Phoebe

         Raptors were few in number: only a single kestrel and several redtails. I did not see any crows the entire week there and it was not until we traveled over to Arizona the following week that I encountered American crows.

        A pair of Crissal's thrashers, a pair of Inca doves, Abert's towhee, loggerhead shrike, and ash-throated flycatcher were all great one time sightings. 
Crissal Thrasher
Loggerhead Shrike

Anna's Hummingbird

       We were busy with side trips every day and were pretty exhausted by the end of the week. We spent two days at Joshua Tree National Park, made two trips via the Palm Springs aerial tramway to the San Jacinto state park, and visited a desert oasis owned by the Nature Conservancy. These were beautiful areas and I would like to share some photos with the bird club.                      

1 comment:

  1. A nice read Al, thanks. I'll be birding Palm Springs for a week at the end of April and the Thrashers are among my main targets (it's a whole genus I've not seen on previous visits to New England and S America). Can you tell me where your Crissals were please, as they seem from eBird to be rather unpredictable in the area and I'd love to look for them. Thanks!


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