Southwest Birders
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April 2013
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Alma Canyon
Filed under: California
Posted by: Bob @ 2:28 pm

Hi all,

It has been a very busy and fun winter so I will have many more adventures to share when I can!

Steve Ritt was interested in hiking up Alma Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert SP in search of Gray Vireo and asked if I would like to go along. Well YEAH!! I had never been up that canyon so we met at sunrise on February 3, in the Elephant Tree Discovery Trail parking area several miles south of Ocotillo Wells on Split Mountain Road. The morning started out overcast, which is my favorite in the desert, and the sun was out by mid morning. We never did find Gray vireo but had a grand day of exploration. I ran out of gas about a mile short of Starfish Cove so Steve pressed on and we met up back at the mouth of the canyon on the way down. I hiked about 10.3 miles and Steve did another two miles on top of that!

The full set of pictures from this day can be viewed on my flikr page at this LINK

The sun reaches Split Mountain to the south.

Halfway to the mouth of Alma Canyon in the distance.

A most unusual Fish-hook or Nipple Cactus (Mammillaria dioica)

Side-blotched lizard genus Uta are abundant but a complicated family and this is probably Common side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana)

Male Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens)

Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata)

Steve at an Elephant Tree.

Paper-like bark on the trunk of the Elephant Tree or Torote (Bursera microphylla)

Wright’s Metalmark (Calephelis wrighti) on its host plant Sweetbush (Bebbia juncea).

Looking east across the Salton Sea, Imperial Valley, Algodones Dunes and the Chocolate Mountains.

Below is my eBird report for the day.

See ya at the sea………………………………….

Anza-Borrego Desert SP–Elephant Tree Forest, San Diego, US-CA
Feb 3, 2013 6:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
10.34 mile(s)
Comments:     With Steve Ritt
19 species

Red-tailed Hawk  1
Eurasian Collared-Dove  1
Great Horned Owl  1
Costa’s Hummingbird  10
Ladder-backed Woodpecker  1
Say’s Phoebe  5
Loggerhead Shrike  3
Common Raven  4
Verdin  5
Rock Wren  10
Canyon Wren  6
Cactus Wren  2
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher  4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3
Phainopepla  15
Orange-crowned Warbler  2
Black-throated Sparrow  15
House Finch  5
Lesser Goldfinch  5

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

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