BIRD LISTS #4, #5 & #6

Lake MeadMarch 30, 1988
NEVADA: Clark County
Lake Mead National Recreation Area about three miles east of Valley of Fire State Park

If for three hours two mornings ago, in our "two-treed forest," while a stiff breeze blew and the temperature rose from 21° to 35°, you'd have walked with me looking for birds, here are the ones you'd have seen:

That day bluebirds were very conspicuous among the junipers and towhees sang from their perches as if during a territory-defending day in mid spring. The towhees' "drink-your-teeeeee" song was a little different from the Eastern Towhees I'm familiar with.

If for three hours yesterday morning you'd have walked with me on the windy southern slope of Charleston Peak, at an elevation of about 6000 feet, where the temperature hovered around 37°, and the vegetation consisted mostly of Creosote-bushes and Joshua-trees... here are the birds you'd have seen:

Also a hummingbird zipped by so fast that nothing but an unidentifiable, blurred silhouette was seen.

If this morning, with the temperature rising from 35° to 40° you'd have walked with me among down steep-walled gullies in the Creosote-bush desert about a mile west of Lake Mead's north-jutting arm, here's what you'd have seen (unless the wind, even stronger than on previous mornings, had blown you away):

I've never seen a land as highly dissected with gullies as this we've driven into today. These gullies' walls are vertical or near-vertical and rise between twenty and forty feet high. Though most gullies are only fifty to a hundred feet wide, just about as much gully-floor exists as does flat uplands above the gullies. It feels like being in a maze.

As I was walking down one gully today a Raven flew from its stick nest about thirty feet up a forty-foot wall. As I passed by its nest the bird hovered above me, and then when I was about a hundred feet beyond its nest it flew up the canyon until it located its mate, who flew into the air with it.Then from high in the sky both birds kept an eye on me asIcontinued walking. Once I was about three bends from the nest, one bird broke off and flew back toward the nest, while the second bird landed on a high perch and watched me until I was far beyond their territory.

If I could be a bird, I think I might be a raven. How wonderful it would be to have a black mate with whom to fly into the air, and exchange deep, guttural croaks...

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