Wow, sometimes folks are just so damn helpful that it can surprise you. Such is the case with one Bob Miller of Southwest Birders. Just a few days before my trip out West, and by complete chance, I came across his recent posting on Inland County Birds about a Le Conte's Thrasher sighting. Even though it would mean a 2-hour drive from San Diego for a chance on this bird, I wrote to Bob for some more info. He was incredibly helpful and gave me specifics on where, when & how to spot the thrasher. Additionally he gave me spot-on information about another target of mine the Saltbush Sage Sparrow.
The only trouble I had was due to the change from Daylight Time back to Standard Time. I was told that my hotel clock would automatically "fall back" at 2 am. Of course it did not, so the alarm went off at 2:30 instead of my desired 3:30 ! So, I went back to bed for an hour, getting up at the "real" 3:30.
Then, the Hotel's Wake-up call also got messed up with the time change. Their call came thru right on cue -- at 4:30 am ! Needless to say, my wife wasn't too thrilled about being woken up at 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30 on the first night of vacation...But really, she was actually ok with it all later on.
I left at 4:00 driving over the mountains & into the desert. It was a great drive, especially Banner Grade. Anyone who loves driving would enjoy this road! I got to the Thrasher spot just before official sunrise, but the desert was already light. Within 15-minutes or so employing Bob's technique of covering as much ground as possible I was able to see the Le Conte's. Later I saw another too. I was also able to briefly see one Sage Sparrow here.
credit:Peter Ericsson @ surfbirds.com
I then stopped at the recommended nearby spot for the Sage Sparrow and this spot delivered too. I saw a handful of the sparrows here, giving me nice long looks at the bird.
Thank you, Mr. Miller !