Wednesday, May 19, 2004

AR04/09 Big Morongo Canyon Preserve 15MAY04

Nine birders, insiders as it were, except for a lady and her daughter from Riverside who were good company, if on a steep learning curve, gathered at 8am in the parking lot. Some were fascinated by Barbara's banding team, having not seen it before, and eventually we fought our way out of the parking lot, through Jerry Messerschmidt's 34 hikers bound for the Canyon hike, UC Riverside with a class of earnest students, and Gene Cardiff with his class of birders. Believe me, the parking lot was heaving!

The birding was good and the weather fine (when is it not?) and we saw

Gambel's Quail Black Phoebe Ash Throated Flycatcher House Wren
California Towhee Phainopepla Brown Headed Cowbird Hooded Oriole
Western Tanager Summer Tanager Brown Crested Flycatcher Lesser Goldfinch
Vermillion Flycatcher House Finch Bushtit English Sparrow
White throated Swift Starling Western Kingbird Yellow Warbler
Cassin's Kingbird Common Yellowthroat Black Headed Grosbeak Spotted Towhee
Marsh Wren Anna's Hummingbird Ladderback Woodpecker Song Sparrow
Mourning Dove Wilson's Warbler Yellow Breasted Chat Verdin
California Towhee Costa's Hummingbird
and a rather super Cardinal Dragonfly

For the benefit of those many miles away, we missed a Bell's Vireo, seen down the Canyon recently, and Virginia Rail chicks which have been seen. Blue Grosebeaks have been around but not today. We have a Lawrences Goldfinch nest in the Park with two Cowbirds in it, and a pair of Ash Throated nesting in a box behind Dee's trailer. I must tell you that some of us, en route to Big Morongo, saw from six feet a gambel's quail sitting on her nest of minimum nine eggs.

All in all a very fine morning and thanks to Dee for leading. We did so well that a few of us are meeting at Pipe's Canyon tomorrow Sunday at 7.30am for a little exploratory. We will be back to wherever before lunch and any who would like to join us will be very welcome. You can rely on hearing very quickly if we see anything remarkable.

As always, queries and comments to me at 328 6750 or cell 333 2366. If you would prefer to be removed from this distribution, just let me know.

Barry Parkes