Lucas Rot’s Birding Blog: Spring Break 2017

March 22:

On March 22, me and my family arrived in the Palm Desert, where we would spend the next four days. I was very excited to get out birding because I had 99 birds on my ABA life list, so I was going to try to reach triple digits. Turns out, I didn’t even need to leave the car, because on our drive I spotted a Northern Rough Winged Swallow (Lifer #100) flying over a bridge. After reaching my grandparent’s house in a resort, where we would be staying. I went out and swam in the pool. This turned out to have great birding, I saw my first Verdin (Lifer #101) and Common Raven (Lifer #102). Then on the way back to the house, I spotted an American Kestrel (Lifer #103), it turned out that this kestrel along with another, liked the tree outside my grandparents house. Later, we went out to dinner with my grandparent’s while we were waiting for our food, I went out on the golf course at sunset. This turned out to be a great idea, because the first thing I saw was a Black Phoebe (Lifer #104), a Snowy Egret (Lifer #105), and finally a MALE VERMILLION FLYCATCHER (Lifer #106). When I saw the Vermillion Flycatcher, it was very backlit and high in a tree, so I had to get a better angle to view it. Once I identified it, I was very excited, and ready to bird tomorrow.

March 23:

On March 23, I birded the resort I was staying at and the surrounding valley. In the morning, I road around with my grandma in a golf cart looking for birds. We saw a flock of American Wigeons (Lifer #107), a Snowy Egret, two Loggerhead Shrikes (Lifer #108), and both Anna’s and Costa’s Hummingbirds. Later, around 9:00, me and my family departed for the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center. The Coachella Valley Wild Bird Center is a rehabilitation facility for injured birds. There, we went inside to observe this aid including a blind Great Horned Owl that was roosting on a bookshelf, we also met the kind woman who ran the establishment, she gave us a tour of the rest. After our tour, I went looking out looking for wild birds, in the  sewage treatment pond. There we saw many Northern Shovelers (Lifer #109), two Black Necked Stilts (Lifer #110), a Spotted Sandpiper (Lifer #111) and I went looking for resident Abert’s Towhees to no avail. Then we went to a weird date farm and got good milkshakes, there I saw a Northern Mockingbird and a Brewer’s Blackbird (Lifer #112). Since I had been out most of the day, I decided to relax in the hot tub, this turned out to have great birding again. I saw a Say’s Phoebe (Lifer #113) and a Western Bluebird (Lifer #114). Later, I took my grandpa birding with me to show him some of the cool birds that I had seen already. While we did find a lot of the birds we were looking for, we also found 20 Ring Necked Ducks (Lifer #115), ten Great Tailed Grackles (Lifer #116) and two Western Kingbirds (Lifer #117).

March 24:

On March 24 me and my family explored Joshua Tree National Park. We started our day with a one mile walk in the Hidden Valley. While there I saw Black Throated Sparrows (Lifer #118), Bushtits (Lifer #119), a Spotted Towhee (Lifer #120), a Black Tailed Gnatcatcher (Lifer #121), a California Scrub Jay (Lifer #122) and a few Rock Wrens   (Lifer #123) along the rocky cliffs. While I had lots of fun birding, I also bouldered a lot with my family. I highly suggest going to Joshua Tree if you are in the Southern California desert.’

March 25:

On March 25 it was my birthday. I had wanted to do a big day this day but my mom didn’t want to drive that much, so we went to the Indian Canyons instead. While the birding was slow here, I did see a pair of Cactus Wrens (Lifer #124) on the drive into the park. Once we arrived, we hiked around with not many birds but the views were spectacular, while there the only notable birds were a few White Throated Swifts (Lifer #125)

March 26:

On March 26 I went out birding with my aunt at the Coachella Valley Preserve. We were trying to attend a bird walk scheduled for that day, but we arrived thirty minutes early. We ended up birding the preserve with a kind birder from Northern Minnesota. With her we saw Bewick’s Wren (Lifer #126),  Western Kingbirds, White Winged Doves     (Lifer #127) and Eurasian Collared Doves (Lifer #128). As we were returning to the parking lot we saw the group we had meant to join, so we joined the group. With them we saw Cactus Wrens, a Black Tailed Gnatcatcher, two American Kestrels performing a courtship display, but the highlight was a Great Horned Owl on a nest with hatchlings (Lifer #129). Later that day, me and my family departed for Los Angeles.

March 28:

On March 28 me and my mom birded Runyon Canyon. There we saw California Scrub Jays, White Throated Swifts, a nesting Nuttall’s Woodpecker (Lifer #130), many Allen’s Hummingbirds (Lifer #131), a Ferruginous Hawk (Lifer #132), a Wrentit (Lifer #133), a California Thrasher (Lifer #134), many California Towhees (Lifer #135) and we heard a California Quail (Lifer #135).

If you have any questions about my trip contact me at

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