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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Chasing the Clay-colored Thrush

I left at 6 AM stoked to go find the thrush that had been discovered by a group of birders led by Bill Rowe on the 12th, two days ago. I just found out about it yesterday from Kelly. While I intended to take the dirt road shortcut (the old Maverick Road) inside the park to Cottonwood Campground, I decided not to as the area appeared to have gotten quite a bit of flooding (must be nice). So it took me a little longer to get there. For nearly an hour upon arriving, I looked where I was told it had been seen. When I didn't find it, I started looking elsewhere and located it just inside the campground entrance around this irrigated area.

It was aggressive toward other birds, and at one time I heard the thrush calling from two different locations so I'm pretty sure there are two of them. It's unbelievable all the human activity there. The bird was secretive anyway and constantly got flushed into hiding by vehicles going past. I despaired of ever getting good photos. One time I walked a ways away from my little red stool and a park employee picked it up and threw it into the back of his pickup, thinking it had been left behind by campers. I had to track him down to retrieve my stool. There didn't used to be any people camping there in July to my memory. It was a surprise. Here are a few of the best shots I was able to get. If I chased birds a lot I'd have to get an extender or bigger lens. But at least I documented it for today. Not as good as the group did two days ago.

I was amused by a Golden-fronted Woodpecker that tried to cram a seed pod into a crevice unsuccessfully. So it set the pod down and pecked the hole bigger

Ah, success! I have lots of shots of the whole process, but you get the idea.

Back at CMO I was happy to discover there's nearly two feet of water in the big tank. I'm pumping it out now. Scary, because what if the stucco tank springs a leak like it's prone to do? But I have no other way to get the water to the trees except through the stucco tank.

CMO historically gets monsoons when there's good hurricane activity in the Pacific. This year is the first year since 2011 that there have been no Pacific hurricanes in May or June. Nevertheless, the prediction is for a near normal hurricane season. Guess it's just late. 

UPDATE: I went out to check my pump and chickened out and turned it off. Too afraid of losing the water. It's a lot less work to set up the pump once than repeatedly like I've been doing. And less evaporation if it's all in one tank, but the risk.....   I have a couple weeks supply in the stucco tank for now. It was 108° when I went out there. Crazy!

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