Champions of the Flyway!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Joshua Tree、California - August 2011

After the Grand Canyon & Flagstaff, we greyhounded south to Phoenix, with a single mission to fulfill - to do nothing of consequence or requiring of effort for three days. Once there, a cab to the hotel, lazy luxury and swimming in the 100+ degree heat (we figured we deserved it); if there were other life forms present, we didn't notice.

White-tailed Antelope Squirrels

From Phoenix, back to L.A. (via our last Greyhound of the trip) for ten days in the city with friends, concluding a wonderful three months in North America. But not before one last excursion into the wilds of the south-west, this time an overnighter to Joshua Tree National Park in the Californian desert.

Western Scrub-jay, Black-throated Sparrow

Another place on the wish-list for its unique natural beauty, we saw the national park and its flora and fauna at its mystical and undisturbed best, untainted even by side orders of dehydration and rattlesnakes....

Loggerhead Shrikes

Avian highlights included Black-throated Sparrows, White-throated Swifts, pleasingly widespread Loggerhead Shrikes, Western Scrub-jays, American Kestrels, a Northern Flicker on cactus (and a long, long way from the nearest tree), Say's Phoebes, Cassin's and Western Kingbirds, and numerous, noisy and entertaining Cactus Wrens.

Cactus Wrens

A few other local birding excursions aside (taking the personal-firsts species list beyond 100 for North America), the rest of our time was spent enjoying L.A., a city which was a real blast on many levels, and suffers from an unfairly bad press. From there, a fond farewell, and onto a new continent south of the equator.