Gene Cardiff, on the right in the picture, is an 80 year old horse. He can run the legs off many younger birders and frequently does. I met Gene in 1968 and he taught me the art and craft of birding. Today Gene met John and me in Banning CA where he jumped in our car and we headed off to Joshua Tree National Park and adjacent areas. Most of the time was spent catching up on happenings since our last time together. But we did squeeze in some birding too. We were working a dry wash when Gene signaled that he had found a Sage Thrasher, a migrant. We converged on the area where the bird had been last seen and enjoyed great looks when it hopped to the top of a low bush. Our efforts to see Brewer's Sparrow were not nearly as successful, but we had a fine day tromping around in the high desert. We also visited Morongo Canyon and Covington Park where the goodie bird was a White-throated Sparrow, not especially exciting to eastern birders. We did add White-throated Swift so the species total now stands at 404.
After saying goodbye to Gene, we drove across Los Angeles to Solvang from whence we'll try for a recently found Yellow-billed Loon and some owls.