LeConte's Thrashers, Long-eared Owl - North Death Valley

Observers: Chris and Rosie Howard
Email: choward@telis.org
Remote Name:
Date: 05/08/2005
Time: 07:28 PM -0400


Cruising North Death Valley this morning, mostly in search of wildflowers, we spied a small willow cluster and seep 6.9 miles south of Crankshaft Junction, known as Little Sand Spring. It's fenced, presumably to keep burros out. As we pulled up, what caught our attention were 3 or 4 LeConte's Thrashers running and flying about. Long decurved bill, gray body, buffy/yellow undertail coverts. One was running with something in it's bill... food? nesting material? As we started walking around we flushed a Long-eared Owl, which was relentlessly harrassed by two Loggerhead Shrikes... we found out why. In the willows was a juvenile shrike with half a tail and fresh feathers. At Crankshaft Junction, the cacti are just getting going, but other flowers seemed to have peaked... of course the bar has been raised pretty high this year.