Daily Archives: January 29, 2014

Early Migrants January/February 2014

Sage Thrasher 2-2-14

Sage Thrasher 2-2-14

Here we have a Sage Thrasher.  According to Phil Unitt’s Birds of San Diego County (1985) this bird is usually not seen until late February.  But I believe that recent years have seen early arrivals.  Terry Hunefeld reported them at Clark Dry Lake near Borrego Springs last week.  So its safe to say that the arrival dates for this bird have gotten earlier.  Sage Thrashers are though to be more closely related to Northern Mockingbirds than our other Thrashers.  Both Thrashers and Mockingbirds are members of a family of birds called “mimids”

Sage Thrasher at Drip

Sage Thrasher at Drip

Sage Thrasher 1-29-14

Sage Thrasher 1-29-14

 

The same morning, as I was preoccupied with the thrasher, I heard the distinctive song of Scott’s Oriole in the desert juniper scrub .  There were two males, a bright adult and a slightly greenish one.  These birds could be migrants, or they could be birds that have wintered locally.  I’ve seen Scott’s Orioles twice in town this fall and winter.

Scott's Oriole

Scott’s Oriole 1-29-14

Scott's Oriole

Scott’s Oriole 1-29-14

Hermit Thrushes have been regular at the swamp.  These birds are winter residents.

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush

 

 

At the Sign of the 76

Union 76 Gasoline Rock Sign

Union 76 Gasoline Rock Sign

Bill Pape pointed this unusual piece of local art – a cultural artifact – on a hillside east of town.    If you stare at this photo for a while you will see the outline of the shield and the letters “UNION” and below, “76”.  This sign would have faced drivers going east on Highway 80 near the new intersection with Carrizo Gorge Road.  I wonder if anyone remembers when this rock sign was installed and who did it?  Is it art? – Or akin to the graffiti that we used to see scribbled on every large boulder.

Sign outlined

Sign outlined

Here’s the rock sign outlined green in Photoshop.

Here’s another version of the previous photo.

Union 76 Rock Sign

Union 76 Rock Sign

And finally, a wider angle on the signphoto 2-5The sign is dead center in this photo.  With naked eye its really not visible from town.  A decent pair of binoculars will allow a view.  These photos taken with my Iphone and spotting scope.