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Inland Southern CA Question


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Hi there.

I am thinking about doing a trip to inland southern CA, specifically to Joshua Tree NP in March to look for breeding Le Conte's Thrashers, since it has been years since I've seen one. If I visit Joshua Tree, I'll probably visit Salton Sea as well and look for Snowy Plovers, Bonaparte's Gulls, Burrowing Owls, and possibly that Black-headed Gull that has been hanging around.

However, I have not birded extensively in southern CA, mostly in Orange County; I mostly bird in central and northern CA. I was wondering if anybody had tips of places to go that wouldn't be more than an hour or two from Joshua Tree / Salton Sea, or interesting spots to check out at Salton Sea or Joshua Tree. Recommendations on finding desert birds like Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Crissal Thrasher, or other interesting stuff like Long-eared Owl, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for any responses (if anyone responds haha this subforum doesn't get the most traffic).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ended up having a pretty successful trip. 

First stop Grassy Hollow in Angeles National Forest in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles, at 7300 feet elevation. Lots of mountain birds here, including a beautiful male Williamson's Sapsucker, but I missed Mountain Quail. 




Second stop was Joshua Tree National Park, early morning at Barker Dam, where there were lots of desert birds more typical of Arizona than California, then 49 Palms Oasis, where I had a nice male Costa's Hummingbird, then ended the day at Smoke Tree Wash where I finally had a Le Conte's Thrasher.





Third stop was Salton Sea SRA, where I saw a continuing Garganey and a Black-headed Gull - my only life bird of the trip. After that, I birded a few other spots around Salton Sea and the Imperial Valley, looking for a few targets like Neotropic Cormorant and Common Ground-Dove.





Final stop was Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the Borrego Springs area. I camped at the Tamarisk Campground, which is a well known spot for Long-eared Owls. At the Borrego Springs WTP, there was a nice singing Crissal Thrasher.






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On 3/5/2020 at 6:47 AM, Kevin said:

White-headed Woodpecker and Long-eared Owl!!!!:classic_angry::classic_angry: Glad you had a good trip!

Edit: Wasn't all the replies helpful?:classic_tongue:

I kind of saw that coming, this subforum sometimes gets neglected.

But if anyone asks about coastal central California I got them covered. And if I get the opportunity to go to Texas I'm counting on you to help me out - at least, if I'm in that Dallas-Fort Worth part of the state. Texas is so big it would be hard to know all the regions well!

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