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MichaelLong
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I'm planning on going to the Utah Arizona Nevada border area with a small stop in Bakersfield in late July early August. I'm definitely going to Zion National Park because butterflies, Maybe Cedar Breaks National Monument to find Blue Columbine, and we might be able to stop at Desert NWR or Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve on the way to st George/something that starts with a s in Arizona near the grand canyon that I keep forgetting the name of. Anyone know some cool birding areas or areas with unique wildlife and plants in the area?

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Man, that can be a brutal time to visit the desert southwest.  Be careful and stay hydrated!

Zion is one of the ten most visited national parks.  Even in the COVID era, you may need reservations just to get in or park.  Definitely check their web site as soon as possible.  St. George is in UT near Zion, by the way.

I much prefer Zion over Grand Canyon; you're down in the canyon itself looking up, not standing on the edge looking down.  If you do any hiking, you'll go up while you're fresh; when you're tired and ready to go back, it's mostly downhill!.  It's a lot easier to access the cold Virgin River in Zion than the Colorado at at the bottom of the Grand. 

Valley of Fire State Park / Overton Wildlife Mgmt. are good hotspots near Lake Mead, just off I-15 between Zion and Henderson.

A few miles from Henderson Preserve is the Ethel M. chocolate factory, which include the beautiful Botanical Cactus Garden.  You'll be there relatively late in the bloom season but there should still be plenty of hummingbirds and butterflies, with a good shot at a roadrunner.  The free factory tour included a chocolate sample and an chance to get out of the August heat.

https://www.ethelm.com/botanical-cactus-garden

Blast it, we have members in that area, but I can't remember who to tag.

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Update, my family canceled the trip (we haven't booked the hotel yet) as the area has some of the highest rates of covid right now. We will be going to Point Arena and Bodega Bay instead (it was canceled last year and we still have the hotel points thingy)  

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2 hours ago, MichaelLong said:

Update, my family canceled the trip (we haven't booked the hotel yet) as the area has some of the highest rates of covid right now. We will be going to Point Arena and Bodega Bay instead (it was canceled last year and we still have the hotel points thingy)  

Would that be during late July as well. Pretty much the worst time to head up there. I would recommend Valley Ford wetlands, it was pretty good for shorebirds last year during late July, but who knows what the situation will be like with water levels.

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  • 2 weeks later...
19 hours ago, MichaelLong said:

update 2.0 point arena got canceled because some one got the space right after IT fixed there website so now were going to Mesquite NV one week and Brian Head the next instead

Back in the mid-'70s, We spent many summer weeks in a national forest campground about 20 miles south of Brian Head.  Beautiful country.  25 years later I went back with my Darling Bride.  The campground and surrounding area hadn't changed a bit.

I would definitely try to fit Zion in as you go from Brian Head to Mesquite.

It's now been 15 more years, and things may well have changed, and I hope everyone pardons my French, but

What the HELL is worth seeing in Mesquite, NV???  Geez, Vegas is barely another hour down the highway!

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  • 3 months later...

So revisiting this topic I want to know the best ways to find these birds

Mountain Bluebird and Townsends Solitaire - I just can't seem to find these guys I only ever hear them 

Gambles and Mountain Quail - I just have really really bad luck with quails

Lesser and Common Nighthawks + Poorwills - How to counteract camouflage

Wilson's Phalarope - I want to see the spinning

Swainson's Hawk - Anything other than RTHA pls

Any Sapsucker - I missed 4 chasable Sapsuckers and I'm salty as the Salton Sea now

Kingbirds - ^

Bells, Grey, Cassins, and Plumbeous Vireos 

Pinyon Jay

Horned Lark

Black-tailed and Blue-grey Gnatcatchers - Because I want to see the 😠 face 

Little lump called House Wren (+ Rock, Canyon, and Cactus)

Any Thrasher

Cassins Finch 

Rufous Crowned Sparrow and Green Tailed Towhee - Annoying skittish sparrows 

Lucys and Virginia, Warblers - The grey duo

Black-throated Grey Warbler - it's not all grey so I cant put it in the grey duo

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On 6/13/2021 at 3:46 PM, MichaelLong said:

So revisiting this topic I want to know the best ways to find these birds

Mountain Bluebird and Townsends Solitaire - I just can't seem to find these guys I only ever hear them 

Gambles and Mountain Quail - I just have really really bad luck with quails

Lesser and Common Nighthawks + Poorwills - How to counteract camouflage

Wilson's Phalarope - I want to see the spinning

Swainson's Hawk - Anything other than RTHA pls

Any Sapsucker - I missed 4 chasable Sapsuckers and I'm salty as the Salton Sea now

Kingbirds - ^

Bells, Grey, Cassins, and Plumbeous Vireos 

Pinyon Jay

Horned Lark

Black-tailed and Blue-grey Gnatcatchers - Because I want to see the 😠 face 

Little lump called House Wren (+ Rock, Canyon, and Cactus)

Any Thrasher

Cassins Finch 

Rufous Crowned Sparrow and Green Tailed Towhee - Annoying skittish sparrows 

Lucys and Virginia, Warblers - The grey duo

Black-throated Grey Warbler - it's not all grey so I cant put it in the grey duo

@AlexHenry @Connor Cochrane @DLecy @Tony Leukering

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Mountain Bluebirds - Open Meadows, I'm not sure if it's the case in Utah, but up in Montana they are in most open grassy areas because of how high the elevation is.

Townsend's Solitaire - They are often heard only, listen for their whistle calls, somewhat reminiscent of a pygmy owl. It's then pretty easy to locate them at the top of conifers. 

Gambel's Quail - You'll run into them fairly often driving around the desert, also listen for their calls.

Mountain Quail - Pretty hard to see, mostly heard only from long distances away.

Common Nighthawk - I doubt you'll have a problem finding them flying around in the evening. Even if you do, their peent calls are pretty unique

Lesser Nighthawk - They're only in far SE Utah, but they still fly around during the morning and evening. Shouldn't be hard to find if in range. 

Poorwill - Good luck seeing one at this time of year. Try to see where they've been reported and drive around at night. You might see them in the headlights of the car, but you can also hear them.

Phalarope - See where they've been reported, look in shallow lakes, they are usually not hard to find in the Great Basin. 

Swainson's - Just drive on I-5 in the central valley for 2 minutes and you'll see one. They are pretty regular anywhere where there are fields in the western half of the US.

Sapsuckers - Hard to give tips, look for their holes (different than other woodpeckers) as well as listen for mew calls. Will generally be higher up in elevation, but can usually be found in any wooded habitat in the Great Basin.

Kingbirds - It'll pretty much be Western. They are usually guaranteed if you stop at any area with a drop of water in it while in the desert. You can see them pretty easily while driving. 

Bell's Vireo - Only will be found in the desert in far SW Utah, will probably be in washes, listen for their scratchy song. 

Grey Vireo - First bird on this list that I don't have experience with. They are usually up in higher elevation, and will probably only be seen where they are reported.

Plumbeous Vireo - Will be up higher elevations, most likely in the mountains. Like all vireos it's best detected audibly. 

Cassin's Vireo - Like PLVI, but where Cassin's are (probably the Sierras). They are pretty common.

Pinyon Jay - Usually found within Piñon habita, travels in large groups. See where they've been reported and look for flocks. 

Horned Lark - Always seems pretty random, looking near lakes might be a good idea.

Both Gnatcatchers are pretty common in the desert, especially common in mesquite.

Most Wrens are pretty common in the habitats that they specialize in. All are best detected by voice, and can usually be found after hearing them.

Look on eBird for locations with thrashers near you. Listen for their songs, as they are often pretty secretive, and you often glimpse them flying directly away from you. 

Cassin's Finch - They, like Solitaires, are usually near the top of conifers, but will sometimes come lower. They have a song that's somewhat intermediate between House and Purple. Shouldn't be too hard. 

Rufous-crowned Sparrow - They like specific habitat, your probably best of looking for where they are reported on eBird. Even where they are they can be hard to find, and often are heard only. 

Green-tailed Towhee - I've never had problems finding them. They are pretty common up in the mountains. 

Lucy's Warblers - very common in mesquite in the desert, I doubt you'll have problems finding them.

Virginia's Warbler - More of habitat specialists. See where they have been reported, and listen for them.

Black-Throated Gray, pretty common in that area. They have a very distinct song which they sing pretty often. 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Day 0 : The drive, most of this day was made up of driving hoping to finding a Swainsons Hawk (although I wouldn't have been able to get idabel photos anyways) At around 3:30 we made it to our first stop, Bakersfield which was... not the nicest place. After checking in to the inn, we went to The Park at River Walk were I was hoping to see Rose- ringed Parakeet. After searching the trees for parrots I went to check out the delightful Kern "River" .

IMG_6928.thumb.JPG.4a7c8da3ca2af4c14b1bdb79ac3a6449.JPG

Where river 🤔????

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2 hours ago, MichaelLong said:

Day 0 : The drive, most of this day was made up of driving hoping to finding a Swainsons Hawk (although I wouldn't have been able to get idabel photos anyways) At around 3:30 we made it to our first stop, Bakersfield which was... not the nicest place. After checking in to the inn, we went to The Park at River Walk were I was hoping to see Rose- ringed Parakeet. After searching the trees for parrots I went to check out the delightful Kern "River" .

IMG_6928.thumb.JPG.4a7c8da3ca2af4c14b1bdb79ac3a6449.JPG

Where river 🤔????

What do you have against Bakersfield? Did you get Swainson's Hawk because it's virtually impossible to miss them if your on I-5 in the valley.

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10 hours ago, MichaelLong said:

Bakersfield which was... not the nicest place. After checking in to the inn, we went to The Park at River Walk ... check out the delightful Kern "River" .

What were you expecting?  It's a wide spot in the road between LA and SF, mostly notable for some '60s country music stars.  Plenty of smaller Southwestern rivers have run dry in the last few years due to a combination of diminished rain and increased use.

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10 hours ago, Seanbirds said:

??? Is this your trip report?

Nope just day 0 because this is just a small stop 

55 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

What were you expecting?  It's a wide spot in the road between LA and SF, mostly notable for some '60s country music stars.  Plenty of smaller Southwestern rivers have run dry in the last few years due to a combination of diminished rain and increased use.

Water 

9 hours ago, Connor Cochrane said:

What do you have against Bakersfield? Did you get Swainson's Hawk because it's virtually impossible to miss them if your on I-5 in the valley.

Nothing I just meant it was way to hot and their were not many birds 

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Day 1 : This day was made up with even more driving but this time with Joshua trees!! :)) We stopped at the Calico Ghost Town to see a old western town (and die of heat stroke). While there I saw HOSP HOFI and a Chukar (crossing sign). At around 5:00 we arrived at the Villa we were staying at, I soon learned that the particular building I was staying at had desert tortoises frequent the back, unfortunately I could not find any tortoises which were likely still in their burrows. However I did find several Quail and 6 Cottontails.

Day 2 Lytle Ranch Preserve. This was the first true day of birding. We arrived at around 7:30 (California time) and immediately went down the wrong road. Due to the detour I actually found one of my target species, the Virgin River Spinedace. That actually was a stroke of luck as the main river was completely dry. Near the ranches bathrooms I saw several Myiarchus and and Hummingbird feeding upon willow. In the orchard I heard the calls of Turkeys in the distance and watched Ravens eating fallen fruit. Suddenly a Kingbird burst out of the trees and started attacking one of the Ravens which was really cool to see. After walking by the orchard we reached a field dotted with Cottontails which were very cute but sadly no hawks wanted to look at them as well. We then crossed to the river side where a flock of Verdin became one with their inner Bushtit. I watched the flock for around 5 minutes and was just about to leave when guess who decided to join to party, 2 Lucys Warblers! Then we left because hot. Sadly I did not find my target bird, Bells Vireo which is known to breed in the area.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Day 3 : This day I just chilled at the Hotel, I did a bit of birding in the morning, where I saw a Rock Wren and baby Quails. At night I found a bunch of toads chilling on the lawn.

Day 4 : Grand Canyon At 7 we embarked upon the 3 hour drive to the North Rim. Around 20 minutes away from the park we stopped to fill up on gas at Jacob Lake, while there I saw many Swallows chilling on the trees. While my brother went to the bathroom I explored a big flower patch made up of Hairy Goldenaster, on the flowers were tons of cool leps, the most common of which was the Dun Skipper. In the parking lot by the Visitor Center I saw 3 Grey-headed Juncos. The first trail be went on was Bright Angel Point Trail, along the trail I saw many VGSW dotting the cliffside and flying around the trees, at around halfway to the end of the point I found a singing Spotted Towhee and more swallows. For lunch we ate at the lodge, which had a nice little overlook where I looked for Condors ahem totally saw it don't look at the checklist. After lunch we went to Point Imperial the highest point in the park, after Point Imperial we went to Point Roosevelt where I didn't see any birds, but I did find a Bup a rare variety of beetle. Finally we made it to Cape Royal where we hiked upon the Cape Royal Trail while on the trail I saw a juvenile Spotted Towhee chilling in the bushes, from a rock formation known as the Angles Window I saw several Ravens soaring over the river.

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9 minutes ago, MichaelLong said:

Definitely I definitely saw them a day later through a bus window   

If you go back to the area, we saw them at Navajo Bridge, just over the state line in Arizona.  This was before my bona fide birding days, so I wasn't looking for them.  We were doing a Rim-to-Rim with a group and our leader, who was from the area, was thoughtful enough to make a quick stop there for the sole purpose of allowing us to see them.  Also, the view is stunning.  

 

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