Wednesday, April 11, 2012

eBirding California Thrashers

As many of you know, one of the delights of eBird is that this website allows viewers to discover where birds are seen across the country and the world. When we were in San Diego, I typed into eBird California Thrasher and California Gnatcatcher, two species I have never seen. To my surprise, both these species, along with Wrentits, which I only listed once before, (plus Bushtits, which have previously avoided my camera lens), were all recently seen at a park only a few miles from our hotel!

The next day we visited the Kate Sessions Park, a relatively small, dry brushland between La Jolla and San Diego. We never would have stopped at this park were it not for eBird. We quickly found all our target species and photographed all but the shy gnatcatcher. The photo above is of the California Thrasher. Perhaps our largest thrasher, this species is found only in the chaparral of coastal California and adjacent northern Baja California. Commercial development and house cats are both contributing to the decline in this species' populations. Although they do sing from bushtops, as in my photo, California Thrashers often prefer heavy cover.

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