Up along Highway 24 in Riverside County, we turned on Fobe's Ranch Road and wandered amongst the pines and cows awhile. There was a smattering of birds, all already seen, so we started back out. Then I heard a honky, wheezy call. In flew a Pinyon Jay! And another, and more, until at least fifty had passed through the trees by us, all croaking with glee. They are one of those species that 'clumps'. We have been in their proper habitat a lot and have only crossed paths with their mobile colonies a few times. They are definitely fun to see, and John needed them. 624
Down the road a bit, we camped in Hurkey Creek County Park, beautiful setting and nearly empty on a Sunday night. We found an wooded corner, laid our sleeping bags out on a tarp and spent the night watching the stars and hearing owls. The Great Horned Owl started hooting, then a Northern Saw-Whet Owl peeped and shrieked (a new bird! 625), and finally a Western Screech Owl popped popcorn.
The rest of the last two days we spent on dirt roads in beautiful back country where we should have seen some new birds, but didn't. Frustrating, but fun, sort of.