Wednesday, September 7, 2011

 
     SHOSHONE VILLAGE BIRDING
I'm Len Warren Staff Naturalist for Shoshone Village, CA.
 I would like to invite you to Shoshone Village for excellent desert birding. Shoshone Village is a small oasis village which is the southern gateway to Death Valley, and sits along the riparian vegetation of the Amargosa River. The Shoshone-Tecopa bird checklist stands at 259 species. We welcome your additions to the checklist. There are 5 major birding areas here. Shoshone Village, Shoshone Wetlands, Tecopa & Tecopa Wetlands, Amargosa Canyon, and of course China Ranch. Comfortable rooms at Shoshone Inn can be your base camp, or Shoshone Campground has nice spots for RV or tent camping.   A key to the  Warm Springs swimming pool is included with your stay in at the inn or campground.(You'll not be disappointed) I'd love to take you on a private birding tour.
Warm Springs Pool
. At the Crowbar Restaurant , FREE weekly bird walks begin every Sunday at 8 AM. The Shoshone birding trails begin at the Crowbar with the Blue Trail. From one blue pole , one can see the next blue pole and so on along a path which may change your idea of desert birding. The blue trail hold several pairs of Crissal Thrasher,  Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, Verdin, and Bewick's Wren. Phainopepla are present from Sept until May. During migration they are joined by many mountain habitat nesting birds on their way back to Mexico, and Central and South America. During winter, Shoshone's Phainopepla's hold individual feeding territories beginning in Oct.In winter they compete with Mockingbirds, Western Bluebirds, and Cedar Waxwings for the sticky, glue-like, berries of the Desert Mistletoe. Juvenile Cooper's Hawks hunt the Shoshone Wetlands all winter. I often find their feeding spots , littered with feathers of their prey, often Gambel's Quail, or Northern Flicker in winter. Long-Eared Owls nested several spots throughout the village in 2010.

SHOSHONE WETLANDS BIRDING  TRAILS
Just follow the poles to discover Shoshone Wetlands Preserve. Please explore, respect, and enjoy this 1000 acre private nature preserve.
Crissal Thrasher, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Verdin, Bewick's Wren, Greater Roadrunner,Say's Phoebe,  and Loggerhead Shrike,are year round residents of the trails. Bell's Vireo,Lucy's Warbler, Yellow Breasted Chat, Hooded Oriole, Western Kingbird, Blue Grosbeak,Indigo Bunting, breed here in spring and summer.


During winter, Shoshone's Phainopepla's hold individual feeding territories beginning in Oct.pair up in February, and breed in March and April.In winter they compete with Mockingbirds, Western Bluebirds, and Cedar Waxwings for the sticky, gluelike, berries of the Desert Mistletoe, as they ripen. Juvenile Cooper's Hawks hunt  small birds on the Shoshone Wetlands all winter. I often find their feeding spots , littered with feathers of their prey, often Gambel's Quail, or the red-shafted  Northen Flicker in winter.

During migration? All birding  bets are off and Shoshone, Tecopa, Amargosa Canyon, and China Ranch are all known migrant traps , almost anything can be found here! (see our checklist)


The BLUE TRAIL ,an easy 1/2 hour walk,  Pole #1 begins at the Crowbar restaurant and heads straight out into the Shoshone Wetlands, a private nature preserve bordered by BLM Wilderness. Shoshone Wetlands is dominated by Honey Mesquite and Screwbean Mesquite trees. The Blue trail wanders through the wetlands and along the  Shoshone spring  and the Amargosa river , at pole #16 it splits off on a loop (10-15 extra minutes) that walks through prime desert riparian bird habitat.  .The loop returns to pole 16. The Blue trail returns to Crowbar or connects with the Aqua trail at the confluence of the Amargosa River, and Shoshone Spring.


The RED TRAIL ,
Red Trail- Just follow the poles.
  an easy 1/2 hour walk , begins at the Shoshone Campground, and heads North out to the Amargosa River, loops back to the South,  crosses a spring, and returns to the Campground. or connects to the Aqua-Connector Trail,   The Red tail is habitat to all the same species as the Blue Trail

GPS work along the Aqua Trail for the Amargosa Canyon Songbird Project
The AQUA-Connector trail, connects the Red Trail and Blue Trail , 1/2 hr from Red to Blue, along the path of the Amargosa River, as it has carved its path over time.On the East side are the mud-hills and washes coming off the mountains, and on the West side is the Amargosa River, often flowing above ground, supporting a unique habitat type and excellent birding for desert birds and migrants. This trail reconnects with the Blue Trail at the confluence of the Shoshone Spring, and the Amargosa River, a particularly pretty and interesting spot.

The SWIMMING POOL TRAIL begins behind the pool area and is marked  by Aqua poles soon to be tipped in white. This is a 5 minute walk and has benches to sit in the shade and enjoy a lovely marshy meadow,ans sometimes smalll ponds, both  unusual in the desert, and at times full of birds, as well as butterflies, dragonflies, and other wildlife.

1 comment:

  1. We visited Shoshone on 15th March and saw two birds of prey. A large hawk (same size as a buzzard here in England)with a dark brown back just taking off from a low mesquite branch over the 'blue' trail and a greybacked, kestrel sized bird perched on a pole near the Shoshone Inn swimming pool at dusk.
    Have you any ideas what they were?
    We loved the blue trail with the phainopeplas and the desert mistletoe, and watching the bats from the hot spirngs pool.
    Cherry

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