Thursday, July 29, 2004

AV04/23 Malki Museum 29th July 2004

When Ernie Siva gave us a fascinating grounding in Indian history, culture and music last year, Jane and I said that we must visit the Malki Museum soon. Soon became today - Big Morongo is not a speedy place.

Nine Big Morongan Birders met at the museum (on the way to which we saw a pair of Golden Eagles) and spent some time in the gardens and the museum proper, which have an interesting collection of artifacts and plants, and have a greater involvement in publishing than some of us had previously appreciated. Debra provided us with background of the activities held at the museum periodically and a history of the forty plus years of the museum.

We left to seek the 'foothills North of Banning' and via the most circuitous route imaginable stopped to bird at the dead centre of Banning. It was a most pleasant spot but we did not see many birds; very many young quail families, an anonymous woodpecker and an anonymous hawk - at long distance!

After what I am told was a truly memorable taco lunch at Fields Road we returned to the museum to meet Roy Mathews, a tribal member, who had volunteered to take us to the canyons North of the Museum. This was quite something; loaded into Roy's SUV and Dorothy's 4WD, we went way north through cattle meadows towards the foothills of the National Forest and stopped to overlook a small lake, with wading cattle, beyond which were wide meadows then Eagle and Sycamore canyons. Lots of Western Kingbirds throughout the foothills and also Lark Sparrows and Nuttall's Woodpecker. We diverted to an area known for it's very old, and quite striking Black Walnut trees. Several of them have fallen down in part, but continued to grow from a horizontal position, with root systems out of the ground! When I remarked to Roy that it would be a young boy's paradise, he told me that he brought his children there.

It was a memorable day and we are indebted to Debra and Susan in the Museum, and Roy Mathews for our excursion to the interior. Many thanks indeed.

Reminder for Oak Glen; Tuesday August 3rd, Denny's Palm Springs at 7.30am, bring water and picnic but fairly early finish.


Barry Parkes