Was this the windiest the Kerncrest Birdathon has ever been? It would be interesting to know. I can remember days when the wind came up during the afternoon and blew whitecaps on the China Lake Ponds, but this year it blew all day.
Nevertheless, we saw 104 species of birds, in spite of the fact that our usual birder of the high local canyons did not participate.
The high count might have been in spite of the wind, or it might have been because of it. Or it could have been because the event was a week or two later than in years past.
Flycatcher species were up (almost certainly as a result of the late date), as were warblers (likely staying below the wind), with highlights being a Black-throated gray warbler and a Yellow-breasted Chat in Terri Middlemiss’s mulberry tree. Both were spotted/heard by Team Barnes.
Highlights for Team Sutton were a Green Heron and 2 late Canada Geese at the golf course.
Probably the strangest birds of the day were 2 Snowy Egrets spotted by the Bushtits on Highway 14 just south of the intersection with 178 from Inyokern. The poor birds were hunkered down on the ground, above a road cut on the west side of the highway, pointed into a fierce south wind. We hoped they would find their way to water when the wind let up.
Another phenomenon of this count was that Phainopepla were migrating through. Every team saw at least one.
A complete list may be found in the Chat. The Chat May 2017
Don’t forget to mail your contribution to PO Box 984, Ridgecrest CA 93556, or call any board member to pick it up.