Saturday, September 19, 2015

All these photos were taken this morning.
Birding nearby Shoshone is excellent in the fall.
Tecopa Marsh and China Ranch are two of the best local birding spots. 
This morning a new bird species was added to the Tecopa Marsh bird list. A Sage Thrasher joined us on the fence for a while making it species # 134 for Tecopa Marsh since 2009.
Sage Thrashers do not breed along the Amargosa but migrate through the area in spring and fall, usually foraging in Mesquite for Desert Mistletoe berries, gaining body fat, before moving on.

      After the Sage Thrasher I watched young Coyote silently hunting on the marsh.

 More on Tecopa Marsh later.

    Then, a trip to China Ranch allowed me to get some early morning Turkey Vulture photos.

 The Turkey Vultures roost nightly in the tallest Date Palms at China Ranch from March until November. China Ranch is the best place that I know to see them close up daily as they warm their wings and wait for a thermal current to lift them into the sky for their day’s work. The adults have a pink head, the juveniles have a browner or darker head.
Juvenile Turkey Vulture

 A Chestnut-sided Warbler is rare bird anytime in the west. It is an east coast Warbler species. Strange, that I found one at Torrence Ranch in Beatty, NV on Wed this week, and found another at China Ranch today.
Chestnut-sided Warbler female

Note the solid eye ring, yellow green head and back, and two big white wing bars.

This appears to be a female young Chestnut-sided Warbler in her first fall plumage. Where did she come from? What causes eastern birds to arrive here?
Chestnut-sided Warbler female

The Willow Flycatcher found Thursday, remains at China Ranch and has been frequenting the parking lot and adjacent trail.

Willow FLycatcher
 Finally a Willow Flycatcher photo in Mesquite!Note the wide yellow-orange lower mandible, the white throat and breast, and overall brown coloration.

Willow Flycatcher
Phainopepla are beginning to return to the Amargosa. China Ranch held a few today.
This Rock Wren was foraging along the railroad bed trail downstream of China Ranch.
Rock Wren

Many other species were seen as well. What a great desert morning!

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