Stellar’s Jay Hiking Buddy


This Stellar’s Jay hiked alongside me for over a hundred yards while I was hiking the Desert View Trail that takes off behind the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway upper station.  Alas, he did not get the handout he wanted so he probably did not enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed his!

Links:   previous related post

Osprey in San Elijo Lagoon


A couple of weeks ago we hiked Annie’s Canyon Trail and passed by this beautiful osprey hanging out in a dead tree (which my SE Lagoon Conservancy volunteer friend told me was called a “snag”).   Interestingly, other names for osprey include fish eagle, sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk.

Links:   previous related post      previous related post

Acorn Storehouse on Palomar Mountain


This pic shows a so-called “granary” tree on which every crevice has been filled with acorns for later retrieval as a tasty dinner. The industrious storekeeper responsible for this phenomenon is the Acorn Woodpecker.  The largest recorded number of acorns stored in this manner in one tree numbered 50,000.  This tree was in the Palomar Observatory parking lot.

Shelter Island Osprey


There is an osprey nest on Shelter Island in San Diego and one can often see osprey on the nest or on nearby poles.  On this day, an osprey had caught dinner and was chowing down.  The nest is located in the roundabout at the far western end of the island.

Links:   Shelter Island Seal

Snow Geese at Sonny Bono NWR


This pic shows hundreds of snow geese taking flight at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, which is located at the southern end of the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley.  The refuge sits at 227 feet below sea level in the Colorado Desert, and is on the Pacific Flyway.  The Salton Sea is the only area in the U.S. to see the Yellow-footed Gull.

Links:    SBSSNWR

California – A Birding Paradise


California is a fantastic place for birding as the state boasts 662 species in the latest CA Bird List, while San Diego County alone has 517 species on its checklist.  The little guy in this pic is a burrowing owl which we encountered on a dirt road just south of the Salton Sea.  Burrowing owls generally live underground in the abandoned burrows of mammals.

Links:      CA bird list     San Diego County bird list

Salton Sea Pelicans


The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake at approximately 350 square miles, lies on the San Andreas Fault in Imperial and Riverside counties.  It is a great birding area and this pic captures a silhouette of a few of the many pelicans we encountered just before dusk.

link to more info