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California in mid April (1 Viewer)

njlarsen

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Barbados
Hello all,
not my first trip there, but a little location info would be nice. I will this time to spending time in Palm Springs and was thinking to go north or north-east of there for the vacation part. I have about a week. What would be worthwhile at that time? I have very few options for realistic ticks it seems, with Williamsons Sapsucker and Pygmy Owl some of the very few ones (Might have been more if I was going to spend the time on pelagics, but not this time). I do not expect that going for Sage Grouse is realistic for distance?

So another type of consideration: how about Kings Canyon/Sequoia, what would be the logic of visiting there in April (would snow be a big problem?) and what about recent fires?

thanks
Niels
 

connorco

Well-known member
United States
Are Williamson's Sapsucker and Pygmy Owl your only needs? They aren't too difficult in most mountain areas around the state. Kings Canyon would definitely have both. Sage Grouse is probably impossible unless you want to drive 4-5 hours each way for them.
 

njlarsen

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Are Williamson's Sapsucker and Pygmy Owl your only needs? They aren't too difficult in most mountain areas around the state. Kings Canyon would definitely have both. Sage Grouse is probably impossible unless you want to drive 4-5 hours each way for them.
Not truly. For example, I also need spotted owl, but did not expect anyone to disclose a location for those. I will just count myself lucky if I accidentally hear one of those one day.

Another question is: good general birding locations in the direction I was indicating.

However, I went through the list generated by my listing program, removed all of those labeled as rarities, and checked ebird for the rest, and not very many seemed realistic without going really far away from where i expected us to go. The reason I do not have many holes to fill is that I have been to western US a number of times. In CA, we have been in Joshua Tree and south of there a couple of times, we have been to Monterey and done a pelagic, we have been to the Channel islands for Island Scrub Jay, and we have spent time in San Diego a couple of times.

Niels
 

Tiraya

Well-known member
United Kingdom
If you don't have inside information on spotted owl, your best option is either the Chiricahuas in Arizona, or NE California in terms of "self-finding" one. So probably out of your reasonable distance range. I have not seen pygmy owl here myself but they are possible. Sage grouse is a tough bird and they are a bit random (drive a road, accidentally flush some), or you want to visit a lek site but I forget what months they are active. In any case, that would warrant a drive to Mono/Inyo County which is quite a way to go for just a chance at one bird.

I'll take it you're acquainted with all the thrashers (now would be a good time to try and nail LeConte's, for instance), as well as yellow-billed magpie. California gnatcatcher is locally common, but since you've spent time in San Diego you ought to have it.
 

njlarsen

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If you don't have inside information on spotted owl, your best option is either the Chiricahuas in Arizona, or NE California in terms of "self-finding" one. So probably out of your reasonable distance range. I have not seen pygmy owl here myself but they are possible. Sage grouse is a tough bird and they are a bit random (drive a road, accidentally flush some), or you want to visit a lek site but I forget what months they are active. In any case, that would warrant a drive to Mono/Inyo County which is quite a way to go for just a chance at one bird.

I'll take it you're acquainted with all the thrashers (now would be a good time to try and nail LeConte's, for instance), as well as yellow-billed magpie. California gnatcatcher is locally common, but since you've spent time in San Diego you ought to have it.
Thank you for the answer. I have the magpie and the gnatcatcher. I do not have LeConte's but my impression was that they were right at the Arizona border - in other words as far away as Inyo/Mono? And my visit is planned for mid April.

thanks
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
LeConte's Thrasher is definitely findable in and around Joshua Tree NP, not far from Palm Springs.

I've personally always had poor luck finding LeConte's but they are certainly there, have a look at eBird. I never seem to struggle much for Crissal or Bendire's, but LeConte's always seems a phantom, I've only seen the nominate twice and Vizcaino once.
 

njlarsen

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LeConte's Thrasher is definitely findable in and around Joshua Tree NP, not far from Palm Springs.

I've personally always had poor luck finding LeConte's but they are certainly there, have a look at eBird. I never seem to struggle much for Crissal or Bendire's, but LeConte's always seems a phantom, I've only seen the nominate twice and Vizcaino once.
It is strange, I thought I had done that except that I had chosen april only and the last 20 years. When I do that today the result for the thrasher is different from what I remember (I must have made an error last time). But I am happy I am not the only one finding this species difficult, I have chased it unsuccessfully before.
Niels
 

Tiraya

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Thank you for the answer. I have the magpie and the gnatcatcher. I do not have LeConte's but my impression was that they were right at the Arizona border - in other words as far away as Inyo/Mono? And my visit is planned for mid April.

thanks

You can find LeConte's thrasher in the Mojave Desert which is at least half of eastern SoCal -- Anza Borrego, Joshua Tree, Palm Desert. However you pretty much have to be there at dawn to find them singing from the tops of shrubs, else it's random luck seeing one run across a trail. Very elusive birds. It's a nemesis bird for me, still. The 2 sites I've heard most about are Clark Dry Lake and some reserve along Dump Road (both Anza). It's a fairly widely distributed species, just very very sporadic.
 

njlarsen

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You can find LeConte's thrasher in the Mojave Desert which is at least half of eastern SoCal -- Anza Borrego, Joshua Tree, Palm Desert. However you pretty much have to be there at dawn to find them singing from the tops of shrubs, else it's random luck seeing one run across a trail. Very elusive birds. It's a nemesis bird for me, still. The 2 sites I've heard most about are Clark Dry Lake and some reserve along Dump Road (both Anza). It's a fairly widely distributed species, just very very sporadic.
Thank you, I will keep an eye out for recent observations when I get there and hope the best.
Niels
 

njlarsen

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A little follow up. We had two days in Sequoia NP. First day at the elevation of the Sequoia trees, there was still snow on the ground in spots but OK to walk around. I had a White-headed Woody, first one for me since 1990! Second day we were told that they wanted everyone out of the high elevation by mid afternoon as they expect a storm to come through. We stayed in Foothill elevation that day.

We also spent a couple of days around Joshua Tree NP and Big Morongo. I finally caught up with a LeConte Thrasher, which flew over the road, landing in a JT and singing its heart out mid afternoon. Big Morongo also had a Hooded Oriole, first time I have come across one of those in CA. I also saw my first rattlesnake in CA.

Niels
 

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