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Agua Caliente / desert

Dear birders, I visited Agua Caliente again this morning. Most notable bird today was a White-throated Sparrow seen near the palms at the end of the Marsh Trail. There was also a Fox Sparrow in the same area. In the campground there were two Yellow-headed Blackbirds, who were very unpopular with the phainopeplas.

Overall, the number and variety of birds seems really low. This is the time period when I usually see peak numbers of many species there. I have yet to see a single Western Tanager on the desert. At Agua Caliente- no Bullock’s Orioles, no Warbling Vireos, no Mockingbirds, and only small numbers of warblers. Very small numbers of Costa’s Hummingbirds, although 2 weeks ago they were plentiful. Multiple Bell’s Vireos and Chats were present. The Palo Verde trees have not yet begun to bloom, though last year they were past their prime in the third week of April. The hillsides are covered with blooming brittlebush and there are acres of blooming ocotillo. It is possible that most of the birds have been attracted to blooming areas this year.

I checked a few spots around Borrego Springs as well. That area seems to have bloomed earlier than the more southern areas. The Palo Verde trees are about halfway in bloom, but the spots I checked had no WETA or LABU or warblers.


Nancy Christensen



Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports