Thursday, 9 June 2011

Californication - Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Back in California

The last 24 hours have been given over to transiting part of California, as having 'ticked' the Yellow-footed Gull I am now in search of Yellow-billed Magpie, Tricoloured Blackbird and Lawrence's Goldfinch. In the main the 13 hour journey was uneventful, but happy just to sit there and watch the USA go by has always been therapeutic for me. The trip took me from Mexicali, via Long Beach, San Diego, San Pedro,

and The Salton Sea where, in 2007, Sue Hallam and I had decided to visit this saline waterway in search of the Gull seen yesterday. However, having been given warnings of bad doings we re-jigged our trip accordingly.

Desolate for much of its course there is certainly a bad feel to it, but then again

much of the south shore is given over to agriculture, mostly fruit growing. As if any endorsement were needed at the next stop some way out of the town of Desert Springs, the coach was met by an 'armed' police office as so serious some of the incidents have been.

There was also 29 Palms (which had me singing the Robert Plant classic of the same name) almost to Los Angeles and of course Barstow and San Bernadino which are the last 2 towns mentioned in the song Route 66. From there it was overnight to Merced where I sit at the moment just before catching the bus to the local nature reserve - more of that later I hope. Birdwise, it was not that inspiring with just Purple Martin and Common Raven (identified on distribution rather than anything else) so now I'm off to see what I can find!

A final scenery shot (all in a smoggy mist) of whet the locals call Windmill City so many of them are there. Arriving Merced 04:00 daylight was soon on its way and there was no need of a hotel. Sat at the bus station in shirt sleeves, first bird to appear was a noisy

American Crow followed by over 100 others.

Scrub Jay were in evidence, at least 3 pairs, and

a little bait laying encouraged them even closer. Deciding on a wander around the neighbourhood a single

Black-chinned Hummingbird was found perched on a power cable.

While atop a telegraph pole in the garden of the lady who was just watering her lawn as I passed by were a pair of Wood Duck.

This poor shot of a Tricoloured Blackbird is a World First for me and one of the 3 target birds much sort after today,

Western Kingbird proved to be common throughout the day,

while this accrobat, one of a pair, seemed to have a lot of 'red' about it but thought to be a Grey Squirell.

Later in the morning I caught a local bus to

which is the start of the Merced Wetland Reserve. Unfortunately, be about half the size of Dorset this was the nearest I could get to the reserve itself.

Red-winged Blackbird were abundant but difficult to photograph

but seemed to be very flighty.

Add ImageBrewer's Blackbird was nice to see again while

a milk cow herd bigger than any I remember seeing before,

Tomorrow is to be another day of travel, so I have held a few photos back which will be published then.

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