Monday, September 30, 2013

CA ~ Tijuana River Mouth

This afternoon our trip was to the beach along Seacoast Avenue in Imperial Beach.  I walked out the beach to the mouth of the Tijuana River.  This river mouth is only about 1-2 miles away from the USA/Mexican Border.  It's a little disconcerting as there are border patrol helicopters that fly back and forth about every 10 minutes.  They are close enough to the ground that you can see the pilots.  It took a while to walk out and as the afternoon was getting late I didn't stay there as long as I would have liked to stay.  I saw tons of Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Marbled Godwits, Western Willets, Whimbrel, Forster's Terns, Elegant Terns, and smaller shorebirds and peeps not id'd as I didn't have a scope.
Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit and Western Willet


CA ~ Balboa Park, San Diego,

My Dad loved the Rose Gardens at Balboa Parks.  He loved rose gardens everywhere but these gardens were so special to him.  This morning we went to the park to walk around all of the gardens.  We never did find the Australian Gardens because they have been pretty much taken over by the Japanese Gardens.  I was hoping to find lots of hummingbirds which really didn't happen either but I did see about 15 species of birds.  There were great looks at Townsend's Warbler, Yellow-rumped Audubon's Warbler, Berwick's Wren, Black & Say's Phoebe.

Townsend's Warbler
Black Phoebe

Sunday, September 29, 2013

CA ~ Family Reunion

My Uncle Kenton's children, grandchildren and great grandchildren live on the West coast with many of them located in the San Diego area.  I met my first cousins when I was such a young girl that I don't remember any of them.  With the advent of FB I have "met" them through their postings.  Since we were coming West to San Diego area Cousin Jean organized a family reunion day in Mission Bay.  Only 2 of the 3 living first cousins were able to come along with their families.  We had a fun time seeing and getting to know them.
Jean Morgan Magarrell, Al & Jenny Morgan McCann, Hortensia & John Morgan, Beth Morgan Polvino (Lto R)

CA ~ Famosa Slough revisited

I enjoyed the slough so much yesterday that I decided to visit it again early this morning.    Today, I saw 33 species including some new ones including new life bird Little Blue Heron.
Forster's Tern
Brown Pelican

Little Blue Heron

Saturday, September 28, 2013

CA ~ Famosa Slough, San Diego

Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Yellow Legs and Western Willet
Today was a transition day with me driving from Palm Desert to San Diego.  My sister and hubby flew in from PA where I met them at the airport.  Since we couldn't get into our rental until 3 PM we decided to drive over to the Famosa Slough.  What a great decision!  We saw 25+ species of birds including great looks at Black-necked Stilts really up close and personal, Marbled Godwits, American Avocets, Brown Pelican, Egrets and Herons and new life bird Eared Grebe

Eared Grebe

Black-necked Stilt

Friday, September 27, 2013

CA ~ The Living Desert, Palm Desert

Dawn & Jim
Our trip today was to the Living Desert which is a zoo and botanical gardens in the desert.  It's mission is "desert conservation through preservation, educational and appreciation." There was a butterfly garden.  I saw more than a dozen Queen butterflies, Painted Lady butterflies and lots of unidentified skippers.  There were Desert Tortoises and lots of birds that are unable to be let go into the wild.

Queen Butterfly

Dawn &Jim

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CA ~ Fun times in the desert

Cooper's Hawk
Today's early morning walk was exciting! As I came out of the room there was a Cooper's Hawk sitting over on the fence and I was able to get a quick picture before the hawk flew off as I startled him. Then I went around the corner and saw a Greater Roadrunner chick jump into a bush, grab a bug and jump down onto the sidewalk again. Then the chick didn't seem to know how to get the bug broken into smaller pieces so he could eat it. What fun to watch him figure it out! On my walk I also saw 2 more life birds - Berwick's Wren and Gambel's Quail.

Greater Roadrunner chick catches breakfast

American Coot

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CA ~ Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

Western Tanager

Today's adventure's included a bird walk at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.  It started about 7AM and lasted about 3 hrs.  The leaders were excellent.  We saw 3 Mule Deer and lots of birds.  I saw 30 species though some in the group some more species.  12 were new life birds for me including Western Tanager, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Nuttall Woodpecker, Western Bluebird, White-winged Dove, Red-shafted Flicker, Coasta's Hummingbirds, Willow Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeck, Vermillion Flycatcher, Lark Sparrow and Western Wood- Peewe.
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Western Bluebird

Black-headed Grosbeck

Monday, September 23, 2013

CA ~ Mount San Jacinto Sate Park

For our afternoon we decided we would drive to Palm Springs and take the revolving tram up the Chino Canyon to the Mount San Jacinto Sate Park and do some hiking.  The tram ride up the canyon is really fun. It's a 12 minute ride up through the canyon up to the top.  You travel up 6500 ft to arrive to the top at 8516 ft.  As you travel up the tram rotates 360 degrees so everyone has great views.  We hiked out one of the trails arriving at the 3rd lookout point just about 1PM.  It's there we had some lunch sitting on the side of the mountain overlooking the town of Palm Springs and all of the valley.  From our vantage point we could see the Salton Sea some 50+ miles away.  New life birds included Mountain Bluebird, Pinyon Jay and Mountain Chickadee.  Sitting eating my sandwich I saw Ravens flying by and in a Jeffrey Pine Tree just by me was a White-breasted Nuthatch feeding.
Coming up the Chino Canyon - View out the tram

View down into the valley
Dawn & Jim enjoying the day
Stellar's Jay

CA ~ More life birds ~ Desert Willow Golf Resort

I have to say that I have never been a fan of early morning walks but with the 3 hr time difference from the East Coast and the heat of the afternoon it just makes sense to walk now.  Sunrise is about 6:30 AM and the temperatures comfortable so I went to look for some nature to enjoy pictures to take.  I saw 20 species of birds including new life bird White-faced Ibis.  There are at least 8-10 Ibis feeding along the edges of the different water features/ponds of golf course usually in pairs of 2.  I am also seeing at least 2 Green Herons on each water feature/pond areas.  Again,
I must say how spectacular the scenery is here in the desert.  It's every bit of gorgeous as Alaska but in a different way.
White-faced Ibis

Green Heron fishing