Blinding sunrise this morn, clean blue sky all day. I found my first Le Conte’s Thrasher perched atop a saltbush. A few burrowing owls flushed as I approached their territory today; it’s quite the opposite experience of flushing a quail. Quail are always in pure panic mode, wide-eyed and horrified, frantically fluttering with dramatic clucks; they cause a commotion that leaves your heart beating as fast as theirs. The burrowing owls, in contrast, take flight in silence with deep and graceful flaps, landing calmly and quietly in a secret spot, never once glancing back. This central valley sun feels good on my skin and leaves me feeling exhausted in the best way.

Le Conte's Thrasher, Carrizo Plain NM
Le Conte’s Thrasher in the Carrizo Plain National Monument of central California. Pretty mediocre picture of a pretty spectacular bird. They have a very limited range, spanning just a small area of the desolate southwest desert. I jumped at the chance to do these surveys so I could get to see one!

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