Monday, January 13, 2014

Panoche Valley Birding - still no Chukar !

12 January 2014

Enjoyed a full day birding the Panoche Valley and Griswold Hills area along New Idria Road with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon field trip, led by expert leader Clay Kempf.

The trip began in Paicines, California, and the nearby Paicines Reservoir was extremely low and almost completely dry due to the record-low rainfall so far this fall and winter.  About a dozen American White Pelicans, with a few Northern Shoveler ducks and a Western Grebe were noticed far off in the distance.  The long winding trip along San Benito County Road J1 (Panoche Road) to reach Panoche Valley was equally uneventful.  Even the almost-always observed Rufous-crowned Sparrow was missing from its usual spot.  

Once in the Panoche Valley, the landscape was very dry, harsh, and dusty.  The Savannah Sparrows and Lark Sparrows were present as usual, along with plenty of Brewer's and Red-winged Blackbirds.

I was particularly interested in finding the elusive Chukar... my nemesis bird from this area.  It's now been over a dozen trips to the area over the years, and I've still never seen one.  Still searching to add this species to my Birding Lifelist!

Does this Chukar bird species really exist?

 New Idria Road in the Griswold Hills near Panoche Valley

Here's a scene of New Idria Road from the Griswold Hills area where I've spent a lot of hours searching and looking for the Chukar.   Still hopefull someday I'll get this very elusive bird!

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