Carrizo Plains

Kevin Zimmer

On Thursday (5/18), Gary Rosenberg and I spent the day birding Carrizo Plains, primarily along Elkhorn Road. We recorded 2 Prairie Falcons along Hwy. 58 before reaching Elkhorn, and 1 Golden Eagle over Elkhorn Road. Best birds were a Brewer’s Sparrow (photographed) and at least 6 Lesser Nighthawks (also photographed), all in the same arroyo not far beyond the parking area for the San Andreas fault trail.

Bell’s Sparrows appear to be having a banner season, with lots of fledged juveniles following their parents around. We saw only two Le Conte’s Thrashers. Interestingly, there were a few migrants (Western Wood-Pewee, Wilson’s Warbler, Western Tanager) out in the Ephedra and Atriplex scrub (and 1 Pacific-slope Flycatcher at the Cal-Fire station along Soda Lake Road).

The abundant ground cover resulting from this year’s rains made lizard observation difficult, but we did find 9 Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizards and a couple of Blainville’s Horned Lizards. San Joaquin Antelope Squirrel numbers also seem to be rebounding nicely from the lows of the past several drought years.

Kevin Zimmer

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