Guided by Michael Retter.
For birders working on an ABA list, a trip to California is a must. This private tour targeted regional specialties like California Thrasher and Wrentit while also concentrating on pelagic trips. We passed through a variety of different habitats, including two very different deserts. In the cooler, high-elevation Mojave Desert, we found highly-prized and hard-to-find species like LeConte’s Thrasher and Sage Sparrow. The hot Colorado Desert hosted birds like Gila Woodpecker and Ruddy Ground-Dove. Between birding the deserts, we crossed mountains covered in tall pine forests and low oak and manzanita scrub. A special trip to Santa Cruz Island produced the endemic Island Scrub-Jay. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the tour was the time spent on the ocean: we found a wide variety of pelagic species, like Black-vented Shearwater, Black-footed Albatross, South Polar Skua, and Flesh-footed Shearwater.