Borrego Springs, CA

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The end of festivities

Yesterday marked the last day of the Songbird Festival with one last round of bird tours. I helped Chuck, the refuge biologist, with his tour to find the two endangered species. Weather wise it was an iffy day. It rained off and on through the whole tour and the wind was pretty strong. I had to take a woman back to the van during the middle of the vireo hunt as she was not prepared for inclement weather. It turned out that the remaining group heard several black-capped vireos, but didn't get a chance to see any of them. That's the way it goes with these birds that inhabit very dense shrubby growth.

We headed back to the Flying X for a bathroom break and to check the weather forecast. There appeared to be about a half hour break in the rain, so the group hiked down the driveway to appropriate habitat and were successful in viewing the golden-cheeked warbler. We stopped at a few more places on the way back to headquarters and were able to find a white-eyed vireo's nest and a common raven's nest with young. All of the participants enjoyed the tour even though we were skunked with the vireo.
After the last tour, a group of us headed out to Jonestown for lunch. We went to the True Grit Grill, and sure enough, there was a big picture of the "Duke" (John Wayne) prominently displayed inside. This was a lunch to honor the volunteers that would be leaving soon. Chris and Connie pulled out this morning, and I'll be on my way in a week. The gathering was enjoyable, but the food was mediocre.
I was pooped after four days of tours and programs, so I just collapsed in my rocker outside for the remainder of the afternoon. Of course, I had my camera at the ready and had fun taking the following shots. I don't know what's up with my connection tonight....sometimes it double uploads and even uploads pictures that I haven't chosen (those bloops are at the end of the entry).
A female cardinal posed for a picture...

Then I couldn't resist a few pics of the male blue grosbeak...

After a while, a pair of dicksissels showed up...

The female hopped up on a branch, but the male was uncooperative.

And finally, a female blue grosbeak came along. This beauty is what all the males are thirsting after... ;)
After sleeping in until 6:45 this morning, I had domestic chores to attend to. I finally got a chance to do the laundry and headed into Marble Falls for grocery shopping. It was overcast all day, and rained again throughout the morning. Along about 4:00, we went outside and were treated to a Mississippi kite migration up in the sky. These kites are migrating to the prairies and what a show they put on this afternoon! Kettles of these birds would spiral upwards on the thermals and then head to the north. I didn't have too many birds under the tree this afternoon due to all the raptors in the sky. Just at sunset, fifty kites came down to roost in the valley to the east. I'm sure they will be up and on their way again tomorrow once the skies warm.
The Flying X is a great place from which to watch this natural cycle...
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

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