Friday, 18 November 2016

Phainopepla, Lizards, Black-throated Sparrow(20161023) A quick trip to 1000 Palms-an oasis in the desert

Even before we headed out to return home from Palm Springs I was able to get a nice shot of a Northern Mocking bird to get the day started on the right foot.
As you can see from the background we had overcast skies once again today. On the way back to Irvine we were going to make a couple of stops to see more of this strange and wonderful countryside. We headed off to 1000 Palms an oasis just outside of Palm Springs. As we arrived I was able to grab a quick image of a Phainopepla. It is a bird a little large than a Cardinal but very close in body shape. It is all black with a red eye. This image was take at quite a distance.
As we walked around the oasis it was was pretty evident there was plenty of life around, but it was all staying pretty well hidden or quite far off.  I Think this next bird may be a repeat for the trip. Is this another Rock Wren with some nesting material?
As we made our way from 1000 Palms to the next oasis in the link, only a couple of kilometers away, I grabbed this little lizard. I believe this is a Western Long-Tailed Brush Lizard yet another blog and lifer first for me and the trip.
Things were rolling along pretty well. Even in the heat (94F) there was still activity in the watery areas. I was able to get a little closer to this Black-throated Sparrow, so the detail is a little better. I believe this to be a female.
Here is a closer, though very conditions, shot of a Phainopepla. You can see the red in the eye, and even though there are many branches in the way, a better overall look at this bird.
There was activity all around the water and many of those movements were being made by the wintering "Butter-Butts". Here is a decent shot of another Yellow-rumped Warbler.
I am a little disappointed with myself as I took some photos of a small Orange minnow in one of the ponds and the images are not presentable. On the other hand I did manage to get an acceptable shot of these three little fishes. I have no idea what they are, they could be Pupfish. Yet more newbies for the blog!
Walking back from McCalum Grove, which was the second Oasis, we found this beautiful example of a Blue-sided Lizard. I love how his claws show on the rock.
I am pretty confident this is a second Western Long-tailed Brush Lizard of our walk today. Beautiful, quick and elusive!
As we stopped for a super Ice Cream, we were guided there by Yelp :) , I grabbed this image of another female Great Tailed Grackle in the parking lot.
As we swung over the mountains we took a couple of side roads to have a look at some of the views. At one of the stops, inspite of the wind, I was able to spot and quickly shoot this Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel, a favourite while in Alberta.
At another stop we grabbed some images of a Mountain Bluebird and this trio of Snow geese, two of which were in the Blue phase.
I'll end the post here, once again showing how easy it is to put some "wild" in your life.

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