Monthly Archives: February 2014

Hooded Orioles Arrive 2-24-14

Hooded Oriole  Icterus cucullatus

Hooded Oriole
Icterus cucullatus

These spring migrants, a local breeding species, usually arrive at the end of February in small numbers in the county. They usually do not arrive in numbers until mid March.  Today (2-24-14) I was surprised to have two bright and shy males at my hummingbird feeders.

 

Hooded Oriole  Icterus cucullatus

 

EGK_0483EGK_0286EGK_0225Another first-of-season bird today was Costa’s Hummingbird.

Costa's Hummingbird ~ Calypte costae

Costa’s Hummingbird ~ Calypte costae

 

 

 

 

Legendary Clark’s Nutcracker at Laguna Recreation Area

Clark's Nutcracker - a mythical bird!

Clark’s Nutcracker – a mythical bird!

Laguna Recreation Area February 16, 2014.

The Clark’s Nutcracker is one of the most frustratingly difficult birds to find in San Diego County. It is relatively common in the nearby San Jacinto wilderness – just a tramway ride above Palm Springs – but here in San Diego County the recent sightings are very few and far between because, as the experts say, the bird prefers higher altitudes than we offer.

A relative of crows and jays, the Clark’s Nutcracker specializes in pine nuts and bugs that it pulls from under the bark of trees.  It is large and conspicuous.  They are known to raid campsites or hang around campgrounds for handouts.

Dan King located three of these mythical birds while out looking for Cassin’s Finches in the Laguna Recreation Area just off of Sunrise Highway.  Why are they here?  It is plausible that the ongoing drought has driven them from higher elevations looking for food.

A steady stream of birders and photographers have made the 20-minute hike off the road to see these fantastic creatures in the last two days.

What a treat!

The mythical Clark's Nutcracker

The mythical Clark’s Nutcracker

Clark's Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcracker was named for William Clark of Lewis & Clark fame.  Lewis had an oddly colored woodpecker named after him – Lewis’ Woodpecker.

Lewis's Woodpecker

Lewis’ Woodpecker ~ Santee Lakes 2007

 

Lawrence’s Goldfinch & Rufous Hummer 2-15-14

Three male Lawrence's Goldfinches

Three male Lawrence’s Goldfinches

Although I’ve found solo Lawrence’s Goldfinches on several occasions this winter, today I had five at the swamp and three in my yard.  These are the most striking finches we see around Jacumba.

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

I’ve not seen one of these, or its close relative, the Allen’s Hummingbird since October 11.  This is is a Rufous Hummingbird.  Allen’s have extensive green on their backs.  Some Rufous Hummers have green backs also, making them difficult to differentiate.  If there is no green on the back, its a Rufous.

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

This spiffy Lincoln’s Sparrow appeared at my water feature this morning.

Local Scenes around Jacumba

Railroad Shed

Railroad Shed

Here are some photographs of Jacumba.  They are not in any particular order.  Most taken with Iphone 4S.  Above, a random shot of a hardware shed in warm morning light.

Carrizo Gorge Railway locomotives

Carrizo Gorge Railway locomotives

The Pyramid, AKA the Heptolith at the Wizard's playgound

The Pyramid, AKA the Heptolith, at the Wizard’s playgound

Summer Storm

Summer Storm

Above taken with Nikon D7000/ 24mm lens.

 

Kirk Roberts art.

Kirk Roberts art.

The fence at rear is not electrified.  This is a cool object by artist Kirk Roberts, the owner of the Institute of Perception.

Water feature

Water feature

Tank at Mountain Spring

Tank at Mountain Spring

The spring at Mountain Springs is directed to this old (1940s?) tank.  Wildlife, especially the wild sheep use it.

The remains of the stage stop at Mountain Springs

The remains of the stage stop at Mountain Springs

Hre are rock wall remains at the old (1889) stage stop at Mountain Springs.  The stage coach trail is visible behind.