Wednesday 18 April 2012

Death Valley birds - Furnace Creek

Death Valley itself was a birdless wilderness. The temperature rose steadily throughout the morning reaching 96f by 11am. By 11.30am I was pleased to reach Furnace Creek, a lush green oasis in the desert, surely jam packed with birds? Well yes and no. It was too early for lunch and with a good 4 hrs still to drive to our overnight stop, we couldn't spare too much time on site. I left my wife and kids enjoying the shade and a cold drink while I braved the midday sun for about 30 minutes birding. As well as the below I found a large flycatcher, which I did not manage to photograph but I think was a Western Wood Pewee.

Chipping Sparrow - a small flighty group

There was a small group of Brown Headed Cowbirds feeding on the ground, nearby was this darker bird. I think it is a Brown Headed, going by the shape of the head, but there was no colour differential on the head at all, unlike the other birds present, so I am not 100% convinced it is not a Bronzed Cowbird. It would be very unusual to find this species in Death Valley though. I only ever saw it on it's own in this tree, so I had no direct size comparison with the distinctive male Brown Headed Cowbirds. Comments please.

Juv type Yellow Rumped Warbler

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