Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Two new birds for my life list!

Chuck Sexton, the refuge biologist, picked me up today shortly before eight and we headed out to try to find some black-capped vireos. We drove to an area with the correct habitat, which is shin oak stands. Shin oak is quite bushy and dense which is what the vireo needs. They build their nests at a fork in the branches and usually at just about waist height. It's a bit early to find many nests, but the males are quite vocal in defining their territories.

After walking a bit, we began to hear a male singing. Hearing them at this time of the year isn't too difficult in the correct habitat, but actually seeing one is another story. They love that dense growth and they're hard to spot. Eventually I was able to get a brief view of the bird. His black cap and big white eye ring were very distinctive.

We circled back around the brushy field and began to hear another male singing. We thought we had the clump of shin oak he was singing in pegged, and after about five minutes, he conveniently hopped out on some branches lacking leaves and showed off for us. What a thrill that was!!! We had a long enough look at him to determine that he was not banded. That means we'll let Juan Pablo, a researcher staying at the Flying X, know where we found him. He is involved in a banding study of this endangered species.

I was back to the rig shortly after nine and very pleased with the morning's trip. After making a late breadfast, I headed into Marble Falls to get some more birdseed, a new water bowl for Emma to replace the one shattered in the hail storm, and some rawhide chews for her.

When I got back, I refilled the nijer feeder. The pine siskins went through all my seeds in very short order. They may have moved on in the few days I've been out of seed, but we'll see. I also spread some seed on the ground to attract the ground feeders, and because the winds around here knock all of the seeds out of the feeder.

While viewing the variety of sparrows that came in to feed, I found one clay-colored sparrow. That was the second new species for the day for me. I later took a picture of it, but as usual, my connection is giving me fits. I tried for several hours to upload a picture, but no luck. I'll try again tomorrow.

The forecast for tonight is for another round of severe storms. I moved my car under the ranch house carport in case there is hail. These storms will arrive late tonight or early Easter morning. I hope they take a different route. That hail storm two weeks ago was more than I want to experience again.

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

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