Where I've been/What I've seen
This past weekend, I drove out to Anza-Borrego for the first time, up and down the curvy roads of the mountains until I arrived. To not let a nearly two hour drive go to waste, I decided to check out some of the local birding spots around there, just to catch up on some of the desert birds that I had not quite seen yet this year. The first spot I visited was just a quick trip to the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitor Center, a nice, quick, reliable spot to see many of the more common birds that reside in the deserts of San Diego County. There I encountered a personal favorite, a Black-throated Sparrow, as well as Verdin, Yellow and Wilson’s Warblers, and numerous Costa’s Hummingbirds. This was a fairly quick stop for me, as I had seen practically all the birds that I wanted to almost immediately, and on the way out I saw a Cactus Wren flying from one cholla to the next.
. I then drove for around ten minutes to get to Mesquite Bosque, a place I had never birded before. Mesquite Bosque was...interesting to say the least. At the end of the road where I parked there was an abandoned little one-story house, with an old limousine parked in the side yard along with boats and cars in the very visible back yard. I continued to walk out into the bosque itself, with dead mesquite trees lining an old sand road that I used to get where I needed to go. A burnt down house was among one of the other things I noticed while walking along here, along with many trashed electronics, not limited to but including refrigerators, old, boxy TVs, and many other things that had been so scrapped, their original state was almost impossible to determine. I approached a clearing in the bosque, where the dirt flattened out and became firm, and the vegetation thinned out. I decided to look in the bushes for birds, and was not disappointed. A MacGillivray’s Warbler, a new bird for San Diego county for me decided to show itself, however hopping deep into the center before I could snap a photo of it. A few Western Tanagers flew over, their bright orange faces contrasting with their neon-yellow bodies and black wings. I went east from this point, trying to find the coordinates that a friend had sent me of where to possibly find a Crissal Thrasher. I continued to bird and head in that general direction and encountered a lone Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, not very cooperative, but some of the better looks that I have had of the species. I had just about given up on the Crissal Thrashers when I heard one far in the distance. Because Crissal Thrashers are incredibly loud, I decided not to try to find it, for it could be quite a ways away, and I accepted just hearing it for this trip out. I began the long walk back to the car, and along the way decided I wanted to make my last stop of the day Tamarisk Grove, a campground where I have had much luck in the past year.