Saturday, April 18, 2015

Thrasher search, Part 2: Mesquite Bosque at Borrego Springs

Black-throated Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow. Borrego Springs, California. March 22, 2015. Greg Gillson.
I had arrived right at dawn at the Waste Treatment Ponds. After an hour I left, without finding any of my target species. [See Part 1] Next stop was the Mesquite Bosque at the end of Yaqui Pass Road. [Site guide to Borrego Springs WTP and Mesquite Bosque]

There were two species I was really hoping to find here: Crissal Thrasher and Lucy's Warbler. I also hoped to possibly find Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrikes.
The mesquite had fresh new yellow-green leaves and were much greener than when I last visited in December. A family of Loggerhead Shrikes flew around making noise, but didn't allow close approach for frame-filling photography.

My directions from the site guide were as follows: "From the end of Yaqui Pass Rd, walk the dirt track "road" that starts west and then immediately turns NE about 1/2 mile to an abandoned cabin. From there follow the dirt road another 1/2 mile East to the densest part of the woodland. Here, somewhere, is an abandoned yellow van that is in the best birding spot."

I actually found the yellow van. It is about 1/10th of a mile East of the cabin. Go north past the cabin, then leave the road and head East.

Shack in Mesquite Bosque
Cabin in Mesquite Bosque
Guess what? Singing from the top of a mesquite right over the yellow van was a Crissal Thrasher! The light wasn't good right then. Better overcast and 85F than clear and 100F, I guess.

Crissal Thrasher
Crissal Thrasher! Mesquite Bosque, Borrego Springs, California. March 22, 2015. Greg Gillson.
I then heard a weak trill that I thought might be Lucy's Warbler. Unfortunately, no. It was the Black-throated Sparrow that introduces this article.

Next, try to find LeConte's Thrasher....