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NVBIRDS  May 2014

NVBIRDS May 2014

Subject:

The "Desert Loop" on Wednesday

From:

Martin Meyers <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Martin Meyers <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 15 May 2014 10:36:00 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (91 lines)

I spent yesterday (Wednesday) birding the "Desert Loop".  Weather was
good, with very little wind and warm but not hot temperatures. And,
while no rarities were encountered, there were plenty of birds to keep
it interesting.

I started in Tonopah. The cemetery was very quiet, with only a flock of
Cedar Waxwings for diversion. Similarly slow was Highland Park -- the
first flock of Lark Sparrows for the day, and a few pale-lored
White-crowned Sparrows, but little else.  The White-crowned Sparrow
migration was interesting -- in Las Vegas and Pahranagat the previous
couple of days, I had nothing but dark-lored birds.  On the Desert Loop,
pale-lored birds at Tonopah, and a mix of pale-lored and dark-lored
birds in Fish Lake Valley.

Miller's Rest Stop was active with the expected migrants. One Cassin's
Vireo started things off nicely.  There were plenty of Yellow and
Yellow-rumped (all Audubon's) Warblers, Western Tanagers, and
Black-headed Grosbeaks. Other migrants included one Wilson's Warbler,
three Orange-crowned Warblers, and one Western Wood-Pewee.  There was a
single Pine Siskin and one Lincoln's Sparrow.  Numerous Bullock's
Orioles, some Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and lots of Western Kingbirds
provided the musical accompaniment.

I met up with Rose Strickland and Dennis Ghiglieri in Fish Lake Valley. 
At a private ranch, there was a very attractive breeding-plumage
HARRIS'S SPARROW and the first of the day's four WHITE-THROATED
SPARROWS. The sparrows were congregating with a dozen or so Black-headed
Grosbeaks and some White-crowned Sparrows.  A flock of about 100 Pinion
Jays flew over just before Rose and Dennis arrived.  There were lots of
Cassin's Finches all over the valley. A few other odds and ends at this
ranch were Wilson's Phalaropes and White-faced Ibis.  Also many of the
same species seen at Miller's.

At the Sagehen Road trees, we found the second White-throated Sparrow of
the day, a Green-tailed Towhee, the first Empidonax flycatcher of the
day (Dusky), and a very pretty "Myrtle" Yellow-rumped Warbler that posed
(sort of) for photos.  More Western Tanagers, Cassin's Finches,
Black-headed Grosbeaks, Bullock's Orioles, etc.

Circle-L Ranch had more of the same expected migrants, plus two
additional White-throated Sparrows.  One Lazuli Bunting and a
Yellow-breasted Chat were added to the day's list. Changes are happening
here -- lots of fixes to the main ranch house, for example. However, the
birder-friendly access that has been granted for at least the past 30
years does not appear to have changed. Hopefully that will continue.  It
is critical that birders visiting this property be on their very best
behavior! Park so as not to obstruct traffic, and do not bird past the
orchard.  

The Dyer Pond changes have been described previously by Greg.  It is
very different from past years, with massive numbers of trees and much
vegetation removed.  Also (and contrary to what I told people at the
Lahontan Audubon presentation recently,) new fencing on the south side
of the pond has eliminated the long-used open "gate" there, although
other access is available.  (This is also part of the Circle-L complex.)
 

At the pond, there were many Spotted Sandpipers, and Rose spotted a
SOLITARY SANDPIPER.  I know of no other location in Nevada where that
species is so reliable (typically May and September.)  This particular
bird caused some excitement, as leg color was hard to ascertain due to
lighting, and my first quick look at the bird in flight gave the
suggestion of a pale rump (hey, if a Marsh Sandpiper can show up in an
agricultural ditch in the Central Valley of California, why not a Green
or Wood Sandpiper in Nevada?). But it was not to be -- better looks
confirmed that it was the expected Solitary.  A single Red-necked
Phalarope was the only one seen all day.  Because of all the removal of
vegetation, the shoreline has little cover, which was, I'm sure,
disappointing for the two Soras we observed. One flew off immediately
but the other walked around just below our feet for quite a long time. 

A visit to what we call the "Abandoned Ranch" (also part of the Circle-L
complex) yielded the only Townsend's Warbler of the day, spotted by
Dennis. Also a few more empids (one Hammond's, one Dusky), and a
Black-chinned Hummingbird at the same nest site used last year on the
porch of the house.  A very brief glimpse of a fly-by raptor was
tantalizing, with a suggestion of Broad-wing, but we never got even a
remotely decent look.

I heard one warbler song at Abandoned Ranch that was different, but we
were unable to find the bird and it never sang again. 

Martin

---------------
 Martin Meyers
 email: Martin  (...AT...) SierraBirdbum.com
 Photo website: http://SierraBirdbum.com
 Truckee, CA

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