Sunday, October 03, 2004

AV04/35 Big Morongo to Lake Hemet & Idyllwild via Hurkey Creek 29/30 September 2004

For the last time this season, twelve Summer birders had a fine morning in cool weather on Wednesday finding 43 species across the meadow and the park - plus pleasing and lengthy sightings of a Summer Tanager at the feeders. Of note were good hawks - Cooper's, Red-shouldered, and Red-tailed; a Barn Owl, rare on our walks; Lark, Sage, White-crowned and Lincoln Sparrows; a Western Meadowlark and Violet-green, and Barn Swallows. The Tanagers and BH Grosebeaks are still with us, as was an Ash-throated Flycatcher.

On Thursday, ten of us assembled at Lake Hemet under the direction of Dianne, who was (voluntarily) under test to produce Eagles for us: she produced in spades and we saw two Bald Eagles plus Osprey, and Great Blue Herons seeking food on the lake and a total of 42 species.

Northern Harrier Great Blue Heron White Pelican
Red-winged Blackbird Bald Eagle Crow
House Finch Raven Osprey
Cedar Waxwing American Kestral Black Phoebe
Chipping Sparrow White-headed Woodpecker Yellow Warbler
Red-shouldered Hawk Phaneopepla White-breasted Nuthatch
Double-crested Cormorant Western Grebe Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird Mallard Acorn Woodpwcker
Merlin Mountain Chickadee Oak Titmouse
Anna's Hummingbird House Sparrow American Robin
Stellar's Jay Scrub Jay Red-shafted Flicker
Western Bluebird Pygmy Nuthatch Dark-eyed Junco
Band-tailed Pigeon Lesser Goldfinch Red-tailed Hawk
Red-breasted Nithatch White-crowned Sparrow

Leaving Lake Hemet, a most charming spot, we called at Hurkey Creek campground which was good for Acorn Woodpeckers, Chickadees and Nuthatches, en route to Idyllwild, and Dianna's cabin where we stayed for a picnic lunch. It was quite delightful and with a zillion feeders on decks around three sides of the cabin, birds abounded. It was a fitting end to a super day's birding; thanks to Dee for suggesting it and Dianne for her hospitality.

In passing, and a benefit of the delay in releasing this report, Linda York's first walk of the season was a great success. Sandy led a group of ten (be thankful for small groups!) on a walk remarkable for the added shorebirds following the removal of some of the reeds. It was wonderful to see the Stilts returning in force, and we enjoyed seeing a Northern Harrier hunting in the alfalfa field.

Henceforth, all walks at Big Morongo will start at 8am.

Reminder for Malki Museum on Tuesday. Meet at Denny's Palm Springs at 9.30am. Call me if you would like to join us.

Apologies for the delay in releasing this report, blamed on 'technical problems'

Barry Parkes