But before I start with this adventure, I’d like to ask our readers about this cactus. As you can see, this Beaver-tail like plant is red or pink. Most all the other cacti in the same area were green so what’s up with this guy? Maybe growing over a rock with a certain mineral content? Soil P.H. is another thing that comes to my mind. I saw a T.V. show, CSI I think, where plants growing over a shallow grave turned red because of the soil. That’s enough, what do you think?
Driving north out of Los Barriles we pass the quaint town of San Bartolo. Keep going a few scenic miles, we find Puente Agua Blanca and a sign that points to San Antonio. Today, my darling Debbie and I are heading for the mountains in search of the Cape Pygmy Owl. I might as well tell you now we had no luck with that bird so if you only want to see owls, read no further. Just as we make the turn and drive a few hundred feet Debbie says “please stop”. Birds are popping all around us on both sides of the road. The lighting was bad but through my camera lens I see a particular bird. Quickly I lower my camera, rub my eyes and look again. Sure enough, I’m seeing a Warbling Vireo. Struck it rich again! I know this bird and it is seldom seen here in Baja, at least by me anyway.
I Look over at Debbie to share my surprise to see her focusing on a bird of her own. We’re both pishing and the birds are looking back at us. A Western Tanager that is still growing up watches us.
I go wandering around hoping for a better photo opportunity with the Warbling Vireo. Looking back, Debbie had stayed put and was still shooting. I join her to see she found a nice, mature Chipping Sparrow. Good going Debbie!
Time to move on up the road and shortly Debbie’s at it again with “please stop”. We see a Crested Caracara. Handsome bird. “Move up a little” she says, I can see she’s behind a tree-branch. Okay, fire away!
Moving along we find a watering hole so we stop for a walk about. Not much here so I get out my Ipod. I have ibird pro loaded on the thing so I decide to do some Pygmy Owl calling. Often, lots of different birds come to take a look when I use this call. No owl but I see in the shadows a nice bird, a Black-throated Gray Warbler. This is another bird not often seen but it does winter here.
When using a call, I sit or stand and wait for the birds. Hard for me to sit still but here comes another good bird. A Gray Flycatcher.
Not to be confused with the elegant-looking Ash-throated Flycatcher which also came-a-running (flying) to see where the owl was.
I turn around as I continue the owl call and I see a Western Scrub-Jay banging his beak in a threatening manner at me. I don’t want to bug the poor bird so I stop the calling before he bites my head off. (Please don’t over-use bird calls, in my opinion).
Back in the car, moving along this time I stop and point. What’s that over there? Grabbing the camera I stealthily stalk up a steep bank to see a bird I, at first, think is a Pacific-slope Flycatcher. But no, this bird is more gray and stalkier. After taking this shot home and presenting it to Whatbird.com for positive I.D., I find out it is a bird new to me. A Dusky Flycatcher. A new bird for us.
The day (except for no owls) couldn’t be much better. Birds new and unusual to us. The weather is cool but somewhat cloudy. We head back. As if on cue a Sharp-shinned Hawk flies by overhead.
Halfway back to the highway I stop to take a photo of a California Towhee.
I suppose the personal joys of birding for some people can be satisfied by watching the feeders at home. For some that may be good enough and that’s fine. As you can tell from reading our blogs that “birding” for me and Debbie is a lot more than “bird watching”. To us, the satisfaction comes in the pursuit. Sometimes the target bird may not be found that day but we keep our eyes and ears open and ready for whatever pops up. ’til next time remember—
Like us, Buy some Birds We See books and…….Happy Birding from Chris and Debbie.