I got on an airplane! That is a statement in itself. It had been awhile. I went to Palm Desert/Indian Wells California to do some birding in 100 degree weather. It was worth it. I saw a ROADRUNNER!!! It looked like a cartoon creeping around an old rusted down 50s Ford. Very cool.
I spent a day at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve where it was cooler. They have feeders and lots of water elements hanging up where Tanagers and Grosbeaks hangout along with Costa's and Black-chinned Hummingbirds; all there picture ready. Hiking is easy along boardwalks, little creeks, and arid open fields. Those areas attract all sorts of little yellow birds, flycatchers that are hard to ID, and birds of prey. The most exciting find was the Yellow-breasted Chat! (first photo in grid below). Loved the challenge in IDing the birds. Here are my eBird lists from the day: 1, 2, 3
The next day I stayed closer to the hotel and went to this excellent attraction called The Living Desert. It was a place with plants and animals from deserts around the world. Some of the exhibits had not survived the shut down and much of the staff had been laid off but it was good to see people back to work. I have to say that the best part was taking pictures of the Bighorn Sheep and the Common Ravens. My eBird lists from that day (and I'm still not sure I have the wren right) 1, 2.
The third day before heading home was really the highlight as I visited Coachella Valley Preserve and one of the real Oasis there. It was super hot but with my hat, sunscreen and cold water on my back (and some weight loss and in better shape) I was able to handle it longer. There had clearly been a fire in the Thousand Palm Oasis as the trunks of the large palm trees were scorched but many little birds were around and little palms were growing at their bases. I was alone - it was marvelous. Here's my eBird list from Coachella