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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

#51: Bewick's Wren - Cabrillo National Monument, CA

Long ago, it was possible to find the Bewick’s Wren in North Carolina, high up in the Appalachians. Apparently, the expansion in range of the House and Carolina Wrens extirpated them as a breeding species from the state, which means that in order to get my lifer, I had to travel West. Much more West.

I distinctly remember my lifer. Just after visiting the second parking lot down by the tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument, I heard an odd song coming from the chaparral brush by the sea. It honestly sounded like a weird sparrow, a far cry from the melodic Carolina Wrens I get at home. Yet, sitting atop some evergreen was a wren, a Bewick’s Wren, singing away not feet away from a steep cliff-face.

I brought James back to Cabrillo to find multiple lifers, but the Bewick’s Wren eluded us for some time. We saw Cooper’s Hawks drifting just off a viewing platform, and a covey of California Quails running through the thick cover before I recognized its song once again. A little pishing later, and the wren was chattering quite close to us, yet never giving us those perfect looks. This seems to be commonplace with wrens, and I’m grateful to get the view I did. I had to travel all the way across the country to see it, which is kind of a shame considering they used to nest in the mountains of North Carolina. Species' populations are always in flux, and perhaps they’ll make their way back East on day, but until then – I’ll just have to be satisfied with the Bewick’s Wrens of San Diego

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