BIRDS and BIRDING - December 2011
By Kathy Lahti

Bird walks begin at 8AM Wednesdays and Saturdays except the first Saturday. They last about two hours and the pace is leisurely. Meeting place is in the parking lot of Big Morongo Canyon, Morongo Valley.

December 21, 2011
Big Morongo Preserve and Covington Park offer opportunities for birding. On this warmer and sunnier Wednesday, we saw 42 species which is a little bit less than the previous Wednesday.
On this day, we saw in addition to normal residents a Merlin which is extremely rare in the winter; a Scott’s Oriole which is rare in the winter; a Hermit Thrush which is frequent in the winter; and a Bewick’s Wren which is common in the Preserve.

December 14, 2011
Big Morongo Preserve and Covington Park offer opportunities for birding. On this week’s walk, 20 of us birders saw 44 species. That is a bit more than the past two weeks.
On this Wednesday, we saw a Townsend’s Solitaire which is rare here in the winter time; White-throated Swifts which are uncommonly seen during the year; a beautiful Red-tail Hawk sitting atop a Cypress Tree; an American Robin and the usual sightings of many White-crowned Sparrows and Western Bluebirds. Unusual among the Western Bluebirds was one Cedar Waxwing.

December 7, 2011
Morongo Canyon Preserve and Covington Park offer good birding. This week 37 species were seen. The weather was sunny, warmer and less windy than last week.
On this Wednesday’s walk, 15 birders saw more flocks of Cedar Waxwings, a common winter resident; Red-shafted Flicker which is common in the winter and a Yellow-shafted Flicker which is rare; both Black and Say’s Phoebes, the first common and the second unusual in wintertime; and some pale breasted American Robins.

December 28, 2011
Big Morongo Preserve and Covington Park offer opportunities for birding. On this Wednesday, 15 of us saw 38 species. This again is less than on the 21st which may be because of the number of Hawks present.
In addition to the normal residents, we saw two Barn Owls which are frequent year round residents but not frequently seen; an Oak Titmouse which is uncommon; a Mountain Chickadee which is unusual in the winter time; Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Ann’s Hummingbird which common in the winter.


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