Kentucky Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak & more at China Ranch

Observers: Mary & Nick Freeman
Date: 05/21/2007
Time: 01:07 AM -0400

Hi Birders! Nick and I have just returned from spending a three-day weekend in China Ranch, Inyo County, a few miles from Tecopa Hot Springs. It was our first time visiting this beautiful oasis and we were quite excited and lucky to have found some great birds. The weekend's highlight was the great find of this morning's beautiful breeding plumaged male KENTUCKY WARBLER just outside the dining room of the Ranch House Inn B&B. As we were chatting with the innkeeper Cynthia, and I was finishing up my bagel, I heard an out of the ordinary chip note, "tsup". I looked out the window, and there was the Kentucky Warbler foraging on the base of a cottonwood. Nick and I ran out and watched it for one hour as it foraged on the lawn. I took some digiphotos of the warbler. At one time it appeared to have bathed as we saw it preening its soaked plumage. It continued feeding on the lawn. We searched the lawn later in the morning and found a sharp looking WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (white striped) feeding next to the abandoned pool. Yesterday morning, Nick found a male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK feeding on fig trees just outside the Inn. We continued to come across it today and it was singing. I took digiphotos of the sparrow and grosbeak. A pair of BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS were seen on the grounds yesterday and today. They were calling and that's what caught my attention during yesterday's first bird walk. Friday evening when we arrived I heard the song of a tanager and Saturday morning I finally confirmed it was a SUMMER TANAGER. BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS and WESTERN TANAGERS were quite abundant feeding in the fig trees. Five CEDAR WAXWINGS were still hanging around. We came across four BELL'S VIREO along the mesquite-covered Amargosa River course. I heard a single YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT calling from the same area. We took a short hike on the "Crack Trail". The late morning heat made us turn back and we came across ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS and LUCY'S WARBLER which we also saw near the Inn. Also abundant were WILSON'S WARBLERS with some YELLOW WARBLERS as well. Early Friday evening we watched AMERICAN KESTRELS darting after bats. We also came across nesting WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS on the road to the Inn. After Friday's dinner in Tecopa, we came across LESSER NIGHTHAWKS feeding under the street lights. This is an abbreviated report.  Happy Birding! Mary & Nick Freeman, Glendale, CA