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.
Another first-of-season bird today was Costa’s Hummingbird.
Costa’s Hummingbird ~ Calypte costae
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
Clark’s Nutcracker was named for William Clark of Lewis & Clark fame. Lewis had an oddly colored woodpecker named after him – Lewis’ Woodpecker.
Lewis’ Woodpecker ~ Santee Lakes 2007
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.
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.
This spiffy Lincoln’s Sparrow appeared at my water feature this morning.
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
The Pyramid, AKA the Heptolith, at the Wizard’s playgound
Above taken with Nikon D7000/ 24mm lens.
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.
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
Hre are rock wall remains at the old (1889) stage stop at Mountain Springs. The stage coach trail is visible behind.