Thursday, July 29, 2010
I slept in this morning and did not hit the road until 6, and then drove an hour to Mt. Pinos where I spent all morning birding. The main target for today was the white-headed woodpecker which you can see in the top and middle pictures above. The other bird of interest is shown in the bottom picture--the thick-billed race of the fox sparrow which is always on Mt. Pinos. I am pretty sure that I took some photos yesterday morning of some thick-billed fox sparrows that also summer in southern Oregon, but the quality of the photo is not great. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.
I had a very nice morning walking around one of the campgrounds that was empty because it had been closed to repave the roads (stimulus money at work). There was lots of birdlife, and of course since I finally saw cassin's vireos yesterday I saw another pair today. The mountain habitat (7-8,000ft) meant there were lots of mountain chickadees, pygmy nuthatches, western bluebirds, rufous hummers, clark's nutcrackers and stellar jays. I also saw a few olive-sided and pacific-slope flycatchers, and western wood pewees. Yellow-rumped and orange-crowned warblers were about along with green-tailed towhees.
I am now in Ventura, CA resting up for the 1st of 2 pelagic trips--1 tomorrow and 1 Saturday. Tomorrow I will be going out to Santa Cruz Island to see the jay that is endemic to the island. It is a type of scrub jay but is unique enough to be its own species. I have waited for the big year to finally take the time to go see it.
Saturday I will be going on the Condor Express--a large catamaran--that sails from Santa Barbara. We leave at 7 AM and return sometime after 5 PM. I have been out on this boat twice before and it is always a good pelagic trip.
Today marks the end of week #30. 26 more new birds were added for the week, and the woodpecker brings the YTD total up to 646. The jay will make 647, and who knows how many new year birds will be seen on Saturday. Stay tuned!