Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sierra Club hike??

After spending a good portion of the morning helping to set things up at headquarters for the Songbird Festival weekend, I headed back to the rig to relax for a while before getting ready for the evening hike. I was to be the birding expert for the hike that was lead by a member of the local Sierra Club.
We would be hiking the trails at Warbler Vista. When I do my weekly bird census there, it takes me three hours to do the three+ mile hike, and this hike was scheduled for three hours. So I figured that was about right.

Many of the people that had showed up for the hike had binoculars and one gentleman had a camera with a huge lens. Obviously they were hoping to see some birds and a golden-cheeked warbler or two. I told the leader that I would bring up the rear, and we headed out. It became very obvious in short order that this hike leader was not interested in birding. He was definitely on a mission! I think that mission was to cover as much territory in the shortest amount of time possible. That doesn't make for very good birding in a habitat where frequent stops to listen for bird songs is mandatory.

Now, I have lead quite a few hikes, and to me rule number one is that you don't leave anyone behind. As I was bringing up the rear, the couple ahead of me was unable to keep up and worried about it. I told them not to worry, and we took a pace that they were comfortable with. The leader kept on going and soon we were out of sight and sound of them. This couple was most interested in birds and we were able to identify, by sound, a few warblers. We continued on the route I take for my census. We arrived at the end of the trail at the Sunset Overlook without finding the main group. It turns out, they added an extra trail to the hike and arrived only a few minutes after we did at the overlook. I can't imagine that they got to really see and enjoy much at the pace they were taking.

We still had a one mile hike back to the vehicles, and once again the main body of the group took off in hot pursuit of the leader. By the time we all made it back to the parking lot, only two hours had passed and everyone was really ready for a chilled bottle of water that was in the back of the pickup I was driving. I must say that it was the quickest hike I've ever taken down these trails and the least productive bird wise.

I'm thinking this was more like a forced march rather than a leisurely hike. ;)

I'll be up very early tomorrow and heading out to headquarters to see if I'll be involved in some strictly birding tours.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

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