Death Valley Weekend

From: Tom & Jo Heindel
Remote Name:
Date: 11/03/02
Time: 10:49:32 AM


It is obvious from all the postings for Inyo and Mono Counties that Halloween weekend brought lots of treats to the birders in the field. On 31 Oct we found and photographed a Sooty Fox Sparrow at Scottys Castle. On 1 Nov within a minute we found a juvenile Long-tailed Duck (First for DV National Park) on a pond at Furnace Creek Ranch right next to a male White-winged Scoter, only the 5th record for the Park (3rd in fall), and then a Broad-winged Hawk, casual visitor with about 14 records for the Park, soared overhead! As the day progressed we found 2 Hooded Mergansers, rare; a Black-bellied Plover, no fall records for the Park; 1 Dunlin (rare), 7 Lewis's Woodpeckers, irruptive visitor; 1 Palm Warbler, rare; 1 Tree Sparrow, rare; 1 Clay-collared Sparrow, rare; 2 White-throated Sparrows, rare, and 1 Golden-crowned Sparrow, uncommon. We called some birders to let them know that this was the place to be and left for Saratoga Springs where we found 4 Snowy Egrets, rare at this time. On 2 Nov we birded China Ranch where we found a Purple Finch, only casually seen in the County and the 2 record for this fall. We returned to FCR to find that other birders had found a number of other great birds which we will let them post. A number of great birds remained but some of the best (Long-tailed Duck and White-winged Scoter)were gone. Amazing was yet another Purple Finch found in the huge sparrow flock next to the playground. It was sad to see the sun set on one of the best weekends birders have had in the County in a long time.