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Curve-billed Thrasher Photo  Toxostoma curvirostre  Tossing Back a Fruit of the California Fan Palm  Washingtonia filifera

Foto de Cuitlacoche Piquicurvo

This Curve-billed Thrasher was discovered on November 9, 2010 by Enelda Wendelken and was photographed the next morning.

Very Rare 2010 California Sighting of Curve-billed Thrasher just east of the Salton Sea near Niland

© 2010 Peter W. Wendelken

Curve-billed Thrasher Photo - a Very Rare Sighting in California near the Salton Sea, 2010 Photo by Peter W. Wendelken

My wife, Enelda, was 60 feet ahead of me walking south along the overgrown and hidden "Nature Trail" at the Wister Unit near Niland, California on the eastern shore of the Salton Sea at 10:30 on the morning of November 9, 2010. She sighted the Curve-billed Thrasher featured in the photo above together with a Northern Mockingbird. At that instant, a Barn Owl vaulted out of the top of a palm tree where Enelda was standing and circled up the trail toward where I was standing. The Barn Owl let fly a string of white fragments of poop, the largest of which was descending right toward my head. I quickly took several steps backward and the large white blob landed harmlessly in front of my feet as the owl swirled overhead.

We then proceeded to observe the Curve-billed Thrasher, a bird I had never expected to find on our California trip, at very close range for about 20 minutes. We returned the next morning at 9 AM and I took photos as the thrasher divided its time between perching in the low vegetation and consuming fruit of a large California Fan Palm. This Curve-billed Thrasher acted quite tame and from time to time over the next 40 minutes produced a subdued, low volume warbling song which I recorded with my Sony TCM-5000 tape recorder. Periodically the thrasher opened its bill and out popped a red palm seed which the thrasher had regurgitated. This would be a surprising day for rarities as later that day we chanced upon a small group of birders with spotting scopes following the exploits of a Bean Goose in the midst of a large gathering of Snow and Ross's Geese.

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