Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Four miles and counting...

This was the sunset before the very windy storm with rain and a bit of hail the other night. Who would have guessed?

I'm not sure I'm glad I bought that new thermometer! When I got up this morning, the reading was 32*. I didn't need to know that. It was chilly when Emma had her first outs, but I didn't think it was that cold.
Anyway, after breakfast, I headed out for Warbler Vista for my first bird census. I started out on Cactus Rock Trail which led into the Ridge Trail which ended up at Sunset Deck.
Those two trails go up and down and around in old growth Juniper forest which is prime habitat for the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler. Of course, the warbler hasn't arrived from the south yet, but Chuck, the biologist, wanted a bird census leading up to their arrival in about three weeks or so. I looked and listened for birds all along the close to two mile hike, but was only able to find about three birds. The trail was not exactly thriving with bird life.
The view from the Sunset Deck was pretty nice. That's Inks Lake in the distance and the road to where I'm staying on the right.
It turned out to be another mile hike back down along the road to the parking lot where my refuge van was parked. Sure glad there was a port-potti in the parking lot. It had taken me about 2 and a half hours to do that circuit. I saw more birds walking the road than I did on the trails. All together I saw black-crested titmice, cardinals, turkey vultures, black vultures, and a red-tailed hawk. Today will provide a baseline for later hikes; hopefully with more species each week.
I drove home, took Emma out, and had lunch. Then it was down to the office to take the creek trail and document more birds. That short half mile hike resulted in more birds than I had seen all morning. There was a nice group of ring-necked ducks on the pond and I saw bluebirds, Eastern phoebes, more black-crested titmice, and a group of American goldfinches working the balls on the sycamore trees by the creek.
What with the bird hikes and outings with Emma, I know I've hiked over four miles today and my body is letting me know about it. If there was a way to get new ankles, I think I'd go for it. Some times it really bites to grow older. ;(
Tomorrow, I'm going to do several of the trails at Doe Skin Ranch for more bird surveying. It should be about the same amount of miles. I'm going to try wearing hiking boots tomorrow with more ankle support and see if that helps.
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

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