01home02babybrain05lifelist04tastebuds08bbbs10roguewedding11nerdybirdy12travels

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Nerdy Birdy: Idyllwild Visitor’s Center & Owling

This is Part II of the Idyllwild post, see Part I here. Finding all 597 birds on my California Nerdy Birdy List is going to be a hard task. In the beginning I found new birds all the time however now that I am almost halfway through the list I am starting to see new birds less and less. So instead of just showing up somewhere new and just wandering around running into birds I am finding myself making sure to look at which birds are common in certain areas that I visit. That way I can target specific birds that I haven’t seen before, make sure I know what they look like, their calls, what kind of food they like and even hints from other birders that have seen them before. At Idyllwild I wanted to see the Brown Creeper, the Pygmy Nuthatch (both of which I saw this morning), the Mountain Quail, the White Headed Woodpecker and hopefully one of the many owls on the mountain. With two of the five crossed off my list I headed to the visitors center, what people said was a SURE place to see the White Headed Woodpecker.

050312_01_idyll_visitorCenter01
IDYLLWILD VISITOR CENTER

I did a quick search of the trees as soon as I got there and found 10,239,654,095 Acorn Woodpeckers. They kept throwing me off, I would hear a woodpecker, I would spend time finding it, and then get frustrated because it was only the Acorn Woodpecker not the White Headed Woodpecker. The Acorn Woodpecker is still a beautiful bird but by the end of this trip I was really hating that bird.

050312_02_idyll_acornWood
THE VERY NUMEROUS ACORN WOODPECKER WAS EVERYWHERE

I didn’t find the woodpecker right away but I wasn’t worried, it was after all mid-day a time when even the birds get a little quieter (naptime hello!) so I decided to check out inside the visitors center and maybe get some advice about seeing my last three target birds.

050312_03_idyll_visitorCenter
NESTS OF THE VARIOUS BIRDS IN THE AREA ON DISPLAY

This visitor center was awesome. Since Mrs. S the birding woman I needed to talk too was busy I set my big camera down and walked around to explore. They had various stuffed owls, and some cool creatures in cages.

050312_04_idyll_visitorCenter
FLAMMULATED OWL

050312_05_idyll_visitorCenter
WESTERN SHORT-HORNED WALKING STICKS

Everyone was super friendly, I even ran into the snake guy. We walked around talking about the various reptiles on display and when I got distracted by a pretty Gopher snake he even offered to take him out.

050312_06_idyll_visitorCenter
GOPHER SNAKE

050312_07_idyll_visitorCenter
GOPHER SNAKE

050312_08_idyll_visitorCenter
GOPHER SNAKE

And then I almost stepped on a Desert Tortoise. Seems like someone rescued this guy off of the road and he is right now acting like an ambassador to teach people about this elusive reptile. I had never seen the Desert Tortoise and although I would have rather seen him in the wild he was still cool to see.

050312_09_idyll_visitorCenter
DESERT TORTOISE

And of course I cannot forget to mention the OFFICAL Idyllwild visitor mascot. Sunny the OH so friendly cat.

050312_10_idyll_visitorCenter
SUNNY THE OFFICAL MASCOT

After I got some hints inside about the White Headed Woodpecker I headed back out to the Visitor Center trails. I spent four hours searching for the White Headed Woodpecker and although I found several other birds I sadly didn’t find my woodpecker.

050312_11_idyll_titmouse
OAK TITMOUSE

050312_12_idyll_mountainChick
MOUNTIAN CHICKADEE

I did also get to see a mating dance between two Mountain Bluebirds that was interesting. He was working so hard and she was just patiently watching, assessing. It made me smile.

050312_13_idyll_bluebird
MOUNTIAN BLUEBIRD

There were also a TON of Banded-Tailed Pigeons, a bird I had only seen briefly once before. They were pretty skittish and wouldn’t let me get anywhere near them which was frustrating but I did manage to get some good photos.

050312_14_idyll_bandedTailPigeon1
BANDED-TAILED PIGEON

050312_15_idyll_bandedTailPigeon2
BANDED-TAILED PIGEON

I kept hoping that the White Headed Woodpeckers were just resting but although I looked a long time they just weren’t there. I had to call it quits, I would just rearrange my schedule tomorrow to pop in one more time in the morning and hope I get to see it.

050312_16_idyll_greySquirrel
EVEN THE SQUIRRELS ARE SLEEPING

The hike back down the hill was MUCH easier than the hike up. Although I had to still watch my footing it went faster on the way down. I was a happy girl!

050312_17_idyll_trailDowna

I found some cool looking flowers called Snow Flowers

050312_18_idyll_snowFlower
SNOW FLOWER

I also loved the native Idyllwild Monzanita. They were old gnarly looking plants with ancient knobs and arms stretching every which way. Red and grey tinged bark curled and the beautiful little pink bell flowers made me smile.

050312_19_idyll_monzanita01

050312_19_idyll_monzanita02

I got back to the car, grabbed a quick dinner on the run and then started owling. As the sun sank lower I was entrapped by the gorgeous scenery. AHHHH I LOVE THE SUNSET!!!

050312_20_idyll_landscape01

050312_20_idyll_landscape02

050312_20_idyll_landscape04

050312_20_idyll_landscape03

There were several pull offs on the drive down and I couldn’t resist pulling off at a few. What a beautiful view.

050312_20_idyll_landscape05

050312_20_idyll_landscape06

The sun was setting and as dusk slowly transitioned to night I visited the campgrounds, some parks and drove the whole of the Idyllwild roads. I was trying to be safe owling alone. Although I heard a TON of owls I couldn’t get to any of them. I guess I was hoping to see or hear some closer to the road. I drove for a long time slowly with the windows rolled down and as it got darker and darker I got more and more frustrated. And cold!

050312_21_idyll_owling01

Every time I saw an owl I would pull over and check it out, only to find that it was either a Great Horned Owl or a Barn Owl. I found three Barn Owl nests, none of which were in a location where I could get a good photo unfortunately.

050312_22_idyll_owling02
BARN OWL RETURNING TO NEST

In the end I went home without seeing any new owl species. Any time I find an owl its exciting but I was really hoping to at least SEE a new owl.

050312_23_idyll_owling03

At midnight it was a 19 hour day of birding, I was pretty happy with the birds I found and tomorrow was a whole new day. Time to go back to my AH HEM... Cabin in the woods. Yea the owners are very in love with plaid; all matching plaid at that.

050312_24_idyll_silverPineLodge
MY CABIN IN THE WOODS

2 comments:

Jennifer Arens said...

Your photos keep getting better and better. Your face is also in this category :)

paul peggy zeus said...

LOVE that snow flower, really cool! Jenn is right, you know!

Post a Comment