Days 10 & 11 – Antelope Valley, San Bernadino Mtns., San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Palm Springs, CA

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Days 10 and 11- Antelope Valley, San Bernadino Mtns., San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Palm Springs, CA

After 2 days of birding in high winds, cold and rain, my new count is 261 species.

We started in desert scrub at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at the edge of the Mojave Desert. I see why this area has so many wind turbines! The wind was strong as we hunted for Bell’s Sparrows and LeConte’s Thrasher while raptors like Prairie Falcons flew overhead.
I hate cold weather so at this point I’m thinking “I’m freezing my butt off and I’m in California, what happens when I get to Alaska??”

As we worked our way up into the Angeles Forest in the San Bernadino Mountains, we added rain and fog to the mix. Halfway up we realize we hadn’t been paying attention and we’re out of gas. No cell phone service, no help nearby. So we head back down coasting as much as we can while praying we don’t get stranded. Of course our main concern as birders is that we have enough daylight to make it back up the mountain after gassing up!

A couple hours later we find 2 White-headed Woodpeckers as darkness looms and our collective mood brightens. Lifer for all!!!

Day 11 started in the wetlands of the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. Even in the rain, the beauty of these mountains takes your breath away. We spend a couple hours watching Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Harriers and our first Golden Eagle.

We then head to the quaint mountain town of Idyllwilde in the San Jacinto Mountains. Raining again!! I’m bummed because I can’t take pictures of the beautiful birds we see today.

Highlight birds were Golden Eagle, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Tricolored Blackbird, Thayer’s Gull, Prairie Falcon, White-faced Ibis and White-headed Woodpecker.

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