Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sage Thrasher at Borrego Springs

Sage Thrasher
Sage Thrasher. Borrego Springs, California. December 26, 2014. Greg Gillson.
While searching unsuccessfully (again) for Crissal Thrashers in the mesquite trees near the Borrego Springs waste treatment plant, I spotted this Sage Thrasher. This species can be found from fall through spring here in the Anza-Borrego Desert, but most frequently are seen in March and early April on their northward migration.

Sage Thrasher
The rather short, straight bill (for a thrasher), yellow eyes, and the streaked breast makes identification of this species easy, compared to some of the other desert thrashers.

Unfortunately, I spent most of my early morning here trying to keep out of shotgun range from a couple of hunters chasing quail around this area of only about 10 acres. When they'd go around the waste ponds one way, I'd go the other way. I mean, I had traveled 80 miles the previous day. Marlene and I spent the night in a motel. I arose very early to get here at dawn to search for thrashers. I didn't want to go elsewhere, as this was my one chance during this trip.

It was 29 degrees at dawn, but the sun warmed me. By 10 o'clock the temperature would peak for the day at about 65 degrees. And there were good birds here, including a few Sagebrush/Bell's Sparrows, a calling Virginia's Rail in the ponds, and many, many Phainopeplas.

Sage Thrasher