Home tweet home.

Just back from an amazing but bird- poor tour of California looking at its remarkable trees, including many “champions”, ranging from awesome Redwoods and Sequoias through scores of conifers, including the worlds oldest living single-trunked tree, the Bristlecone Pine, almost 5000 years old according to tree ring counts, looking like a giant bonsai with mainly dead branches but some green branches persisting.
Also the Monterey Pine and Monterey Cypress, once very restricted to the Monterey Peninsula, but now world- wide, the Pine called Radiata in Oz.
Also many lovely Oaks, Washingtonia fan palms, a common ornamental in Oz, and literally thousands in Palm Springs’ parks and gardens as far as the eye can see, it is a big city, with almost no high-rise buildings which might obscure views of the enveloping mountains.. A small oasis out of town had wild Livistonias,with thick ” petticoats” of dead leaves down to the ground. Birds nest in these but we saw none.
Did see three large quail-like birds without crests at a stop just east of Pam Springs, not Roadrunners as our tree guide hopefully surmised, and probably an introduced game bird.

Nearish to Palm Springs in the high altitude Mojave desert, thousands of Joshua trees, (giant Yuccas) difficult to age because they have fibrous trunks and no tree rings. the oldest thousands of years old. No birds seen.

Overall we saw mostly American Crows, a few Turkey Vultures (nice), Bluebirds in Napa Valley near a vineyard, one Bewicks Wren, a few LBJs, occasional Woodpeckers in the Redwoods. One Great Blue Heron.
Also Brown Pelicans, “cormorants” California and Heermans and Herring Gulls plus Seals otters and huge Sealions along the coast north of LA.
This was not a specifically birding trip, but on several previous California tours to some of the same places we saw many more species.

It was like birding Heaven as we drove up the drive home in Mulgoa,
Scarlet Honeyeaters calling all the time, YFHoneyeaters,Galahs,Corellas, White Cockatoos, Ravens Magpies and Currawongs. wrens and finches doves and Blackbirds, even Swamphens around the house, all revelling in Spring and adding an audible as well as visible dynamic background.
The only downside; presumably a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has eaten out the growing point of a prized Aloe. Apart from strangling or other forms of euthanasia, all illegal, can anyone suggest how to control these birds?


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