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2012-03-30 Borrego Turkey Shoot

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkeys near Lake Henshaw, north of Santa Isabel, California. San Diego County.

I have mixed feelings about Wild Turkeys in San Diego County. Going back thousands of years, there is no historical or archeological evidence they ever lived here. They were introduced to satisfy the special interests of “sportsmen” who wished to have them here to hunt. Species such as lizards, and other reptiles, along with wild root crops have suffered as they evolved no defences from this bird’s foraging habits.

On my Friday morning drive out to the desert, I passed several fields with Wild Turkeys on display and after the third group, I could not keep going without attempting to capture images north of Santa Ysabel. Just four miles down the road where the road settles into the valley that hosts Lake Henshaw, another even large group was on display. From this location I continued my route to Borrego Springs via Ranchita, but before reaching Ranchita, I encountered yet a third group to photograph. As a bonus, I got to see two bobcats working the opposite side of the road, though I did not capture images of them.

Passing through Ranchita I stopped in Culp Valley and met a cooperative Sage Thrasher before descending the steep grade to Borrego Springs in the valley below. The valley yielded no images, but after driving south over Yaqui Pass I stopped at the campground called Tamarisk Grove. Here on the desert floor, rather far from where you might expect to meet them, was yet another solo Wild Turkey. An engaging Hermit Thrush also provided me with some entertainment here.

I departed Tamarisk Grove and followed the San Felipe Creek upstream to Scissors Crossing and turned onto the S-2 until I crossed Teofulio Summit and completed a large circle as I passed the S-22 road to Ranchita. At the end of S-2 I stopped to enjoy a meeting with a large flock of Tri-Colored Blackbirds before turning for home through Santa Ysabel and Ramona.

The birds I met this day were Wild Turkey, Sage Thrasher, Hermit Thrush, Common Raven, Brewer’s Blackbird, Tri-Colored Blackbird.

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