Monday, April 25, 2005

25th April - Joshua Tree NP

A quick stroll down to Cottonwood Spring was a nice way to start the day. Along the way there were lots of Lawrence’s Goldfinches and Gambel’s Quails as well as a couple of Bell’s Vireos. At the spring there were Hooded Orioles but no sign of the Scott’s Oriole I was hoping for. Returning back to the campsite an unfamiliar song on the hillside eventually proved to be the elusive Scott’s Oriole, although it remained a fair way off.

Travelling across the national park we found 2 Say’s Phoebes and a couple more Loggerhead Shrikes. The wildflowers were spectacular. We had been told there was an exceptional spring showing for desert flowers following an unusually wet winter, but had been a little disappointed in Anza-Borrego. Here though it was pretty cool, although probably past its best.

Barker Dam provided a pleasant walk and some more interesting wildlife. Highlights were Canyon and Rock Wrens, a stunning Townsend’s Warbler and a Violet-green Swallow. The latter was seen well in excellent light where it really showed off its bright colours – an amazing bird (the others I saw later didn’t seem nearly so remarkable). Back at the car park a Coyote wandered by – a wolf-like animal famous for its howling which we had heard several times.

Finally Vitty wanted to pay a visit to Desert Christ Park near Yucca Valley. This was a slightly bizarre collection of bigger than life-size statues of Christ and his apostles. The heads of the apostles provided excellent perches for birds like Gambel’s Quail, Mourning Dove and Black-throated Sparrow!



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