Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Baja California Sur: Fancy Lizards and a Yellow-throated Warbler Double-Take

After a splendid morning of birding in the gulf-coast deserts (Gray Vireo, Gray Thrasher, many others) an easy afternoon outing yesterday to San Bartolo didn't result in many birds, but these two lizards were accepted heartily as more-than-suitable replacements.

This one is the Cape Spiny-tailed Iguana, a rather large animal.

Much smaller, but many times more colorful is the San Lucan Rock Lizard. This is about as dull as they get; animals in breeding condition almost glow.

Today was a superb day of birding in the higher elevations. We started with a super rare Pine Siskin, though no one really got excited about that. Then on our way up to look for a Northern Pygmy-Owl (Cape) that had been tooting away during breakfast, I found a Yellow-throated Warbler. There are probably only around 10 records for the region.

Finding the owl wasn't so hard – it was at eye level in the trees downslope from the road and was utterly unperturbed by our presence (or the occasional mobbing Warbling Vireo, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, or Black-throated Gray Warbler).

We continued birding downstream, finding the Yellow-throated Warbler again but 300 meters away from where we had seen it. Then another 500 meters downstream we found it again! Or did we? Luckily I took photos of the birds at all sightings, and this lower bird turns out to be a second individual. Crazy.

Later, back upstream the car, we refound the first individual, but this time only 125 meters from where we had first found it.

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