China Ranch migrants

Observers: Mary & Nick Freeman
Verification: MONO
Remote Name:
Date: 10/02/2007
Time: 02:21 AM -0400


Hi Birders On Sunday, 9/30/07 after attending the WFO convention in Henderson, NV, Nick and I headed out to China Ranch in Inyo County, about an hour north of Baker, near Tecopa Hot Springs. After having a blast this past spring, we made time to drive over from Nevada into California to see the autumn birdlife at the China Ranch B&B. It's a great drive, and only 1 1/2 hours from Vegas! We arrived mid-morning to be greeted by a SUMMER TANAGER. We had two, one bright and and the second a duller plumaged bird, both males. In the willows just outside the B&B, we found a snappy-looking PLUMBEOUS VIREO. We came across YELLOW, TOWNSEND'S, YELLOW-RUMPED, MACGILLVRAY'S, ORANGE-CROWNED and WILSON'S WARBLERs on both days. A GREEN HERON flushed out of the stream area in front of the B&B. WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWs (1 Oriantha and oodles of Gambel's) were abundant. Also pleasing was a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. LAZULI BUNTING and a single INDIGO BUNTING were seen down the road feeding in the grass. LINCOLN'S SPARROW was present as well. PINE SISKIN were flying over the premises both days. Both expected phoebes were our only expected flycatchers! Saturday night, I tried the call of a Western Screech Owl but so far, no luck. On Saturday afternoon, we visited the area just north of Tecopa Hot Springs. A week ago, a rainstorm that lasted 20 hours straight according to the owners of "Pastels Bistro" hit the area. There were signs of the rain alongside the road and the dry lake beds north of town were filled with water! We had two GREATER YELLOWLEGS, AMERICAN AVOCET, PIED-BILLED GREBE, LEAST SANDPIPER, 1 WHITE-FACED IBIS and NORTHERN SHOVELERS. We were surprised to find a female and immature/eclipse (?) male WOOD DUCK. And the big find here was a COMMON TERN. This morning we hiked down the China Ranch Wash trail alongside the mesquite-covered river coarse and came across SAGE and CHIPPING SPARROW and ROCK WREN down at the Amargosa River overlook. BARN, VIOLET-GREEN and CLIFF SWALLOW made appearances over the river as well as WHITE-THROATED SWIFT. A single RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER was on a cottonwood over the river coarse. With the heat of the afternoon sun, we made our way back from our hike towards the B&B, we found a single visual BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER (good for the county). It called as we watched it foraging in the vegetation alongside the trail between the two rusted cars and the Nature Conservancy sign. Although nothing extraordinarily rare was seen, visiting the B&B to see what it's like during the fall was a nice way to end the weekend. It was a bi-state birding weekend! BTW, Cynthia the innkeeper is encouraging birders to visit the premises at China Ranch B&B. Even if you don't stay there, stick your head in and report your finds for her and others. Happy migrant/vagrant watching!! Mary & Nick Freeman Glendale, CA