Pines to Palms – oops, forgot to post earlier

The 5000+ foot air in the San Jacinto Mountains was rough on our virus-addled lungs. We walked up in Humber Park and then went on to Black Mountain where we hung out at a fire tower with juncos and hummingbirds – and the forest ranger. Once you are in the mountains amidst the towering pines (Jeffrey’s, Coulter, Yellow) and the Incense Cedars the hustle and smog of Los Angeles are hard to imagine. The change is not only visual it is almost spiritual. Life here in the mountains (and the desert) is so different from city life.

While in the mountains we enjoyed the Steller’s Jays, the Acorn & White-headed Woodpeckers, the Mountain Chickadees, and the company of Pete and Suzon Caparelli. We were out all day every day and walked, looked, explored, wandered, drove, and photographed the countryside. It is a rather vertical countryside that seems a rock-climbers delight. We did not do any rock climbing but we did explore the rocky woodlands.

Of all the birds the harlequin-faced Acorn Woodpeckers were the most fun. They are gregarious and the families live in the same area generation after generation. They find a dead pine that has lost its bark and drill hundreds, thousands actually, of acorn-sized holes, each of which they then try to fill with an acorn. This larder-tree will house enough food for the family to make it through a cold and often snowy winter. They are always busy and their clown-like looks make them a treat to watch. Yes, now Google Acorn Woodpecker and check the images section.

One of the nice birds we had was Red-beasted Sapsucker. this is a high country bird that we found in the Boulder Basin Campground up on Black Mountain.

We had some good birds and lots of fun in the mountains and then we drove Route 74 down into the desert where we are going to stay in the town of Palm Desert.

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