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Spring Birding | Cottonwood Spring Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Habitat: Desert

The resident Black-throated sparrow greeted us upon our arrival at the Cottonwood Campground.

Dark-eyed Junco, rare in the area foraging nearby.

On our way to Cottonwood Spring Oasis, a Northern Mockingbird perched on a California Juniper was starring at us.

We spotted a Ladder-backed Woodpecker in the distance.

We reached the Cottonwood Spring Oasis.

We took a peak amongst the palm trees but did not stay long as it was getting late. We saw a Common Yellowthroat, Warbling Vireo, Lesser Goldfinch, several Chipping and Black-throated Sparrows getting a drink. View inside the Oasis.

View from one of the slippery rocks.

Hermit Thrush.

Near the entrance of the Oasis, there were many Turkey Vulture and a male Hooded Oriole.

The following morning, as we were getting ready for our hike, a Loggerhead Shrike was hunting near our campsite.

We parked on the Oasis parking lot and checked out the Oasis for a few minutes, the Hermit Thrush was still present together with a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

A pair of Black-tailed Gnatcatcher was visible for a while as we started our hike to Lost Palms Oasis.

Orange-crowned Warbler feasting on Ocotillo flowers.

Female or juvenile Costa's Hummingbird.

In the distance, the Salton sea.

We turned around after three miles and noticed an handsome male Costa's Hummingbird.

Long-nosed leopard lizard.

Western patch-nosed snake.

Back to our campsite, we grabbed lunch, rested for a while and decided to try a new trail.

Say's Phoebe catching bees.

We reached the former Winona Mill site.

Common Raven letting us know we were not welcome.

Hammond's Flycatcher.

We observed a shy MacGillivray's Warbler and this Anna's Hummingbird.

We decided to return to the Oasis late afternoon on the following day. Male Cassin's Finch, rare at the Oasis.

Townsend's Solitaire getting a drink, rare as well.

As we hiked back to our campsite, we met with an other Townsend's Solitaire by the road.

When we reached the campground, a pair of Cactus Wren was present being very vocal while chasing each other around.

The Northern Mockingbird seemed intrigued by the brouhaha.

The following morning we briefly stopped at Lake Tamarisk, then drove to find Joshua Trees at a higher altitude. This was the only tree we could find with flowers.

As we had to go home the next day, we decided to return to the Oasis one last time. We sat between the palm trees in our camping chairs and waited. It was very quiet despite the wind blowing with gusts and we could hear Gambel's Quail in the distance. Soon enough, over 20 Quail gracefully descended the steep granite rock face to our left to get water available on the ground hidden under palm fronds. It was fascinating, Suddenly they all went back up in a hurry while human visitors came in the Oasis.

Gambel's Quail put on a great show on our final Oasis visit.

The resident Hermit Thrush, still on duty, was monitoring the Quail event, did not seem amused!

This Western Tanager landed and seemed unfamiliar with the environment.

Back at the campground, Greater Roadrunner on the hunt.

Overall this was a rewarding trip, with 10 new life birds. Other species observed were Red-tailed Hawk, Phainopepla, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Brewer's Sparrow, Mourning Dove, Wilson's Warbler, House Wren, White-crowned Sparrow, Black-headed Grosbeak, Warbling Vireo, House Finch and Common Yellowthroat.


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