Toscana Bird Watching

By Rick Sall

BIRD UPDATE: Good news – the weather has warmed and the Coots are “hitting the flyway” – no foolin’! The first of April is a pretty reliable date for the winter visitors to head for breeding grounds the north. This is why you just don’t see baby Coots here in the Desert. The birds, not unlike many people, prefer to spend the summer paddling around in more northern climes – I actually don’t blame them. Some early severely cold weather in the Sierra probably pushed more birds farther south and led to the highest population of Coots in Southern California in years. On the bright side, we also are seeing more species of other birds here at Toscana than ever in the past. Seeing, and photographing, a Prairie Falcon sitting on the 18 fairway was one of the highlights of the season. Team Coot was “one bird down” after this beautiful falcon’s visit.

The parking lot of the Sports Club is alive with sound each morning and this is not piped in artificially. There are avid golfers/birders who know when television networks use bird sound effects, but fail to realize those birds are not indigenous to that area! Verdins, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Anna’s Hummingbird frequent this area. If you hear two notes followed by short little trill, the Bewick’s Wren is near, and this little guy repeats this 6-12 times per minute.

Many are now realizing the health benefits of birding. The idea that bird watching can have great health benefits might lead to healthy skepticism or stun one momentarily. Debora Szekely, the founder of the first destination spa; Rancho La Puerta Spa, and Dr. Mechel Henry who conducts birding workshops at Rancho la Puerta, would respectfully disagree:

Dr. Henry teaches spa-goers the many medical, psychological and social benefits of bird watching. She covers such topics as: What is a birdgasm? And how do I know if I’ve had one? How is bird watching a form of pet therapy? What are the similarities between bird watching and meditation? While you probably won’t have your favorite wild bird snoozing on your lap like you can with a dog or a cat, bird watching has the same therapeutic and physiological benefits including: decreasing anxiety, lowering blood pressure, managing pain and helping you exercise.

Dr. Henry aside from being an avid birdwatcher holds a medical degree from the University of Texas. She completed her residency at Stanford University Medical Center in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.Dr. Henry is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and is a licensed Physician and Surgeon for the State of California.

If you enjoy birding, or have an interest in exploring the benefits of birding, we have another fairly rare visitor this year that I was able to photograph. The color in the photo does not do justice to what you see through a 10x binocular. Use the clues to solve this crossword puzzle (print it out and fill in the answers) and name this bird.

Send the name of the bird to rsall@toscanacc.com to be entered into a drawing to win a bottle of Newton 2007 ‘The Puzzle’ from the Toscana wine cellar.

You Might Also Like

21 Comment

  1. richard flasck says: Reply

    [name of bird removed by moderator] – I have been photographing along with other birds in Toscana. RAF

  2. richard flasck says: Reply

    [Name of bird removed] – I have been photographing along with other birds in Toscana. RAF

    1. Stephanie Willett says: Reply

      Hi Mr. Flasck, I modified your comment so the other Members have to do the puzzle to get the answer. 🙂 Thanks! – Steph

  3. cate Pace says: Reply


    1. Heidi brostrom says: Reply

      hi cate, the cardinal has a head dress and I wish I had one! How are you! I miss you in the sports club. I am now in toronto enroute the far province of Ontario and then Sweden.

  4. swillett says: Reply

    Make sure you email the name of the lovely red bird above to rsall@toscanacc.com to be entered into the wine drawing!

    1. Heidi brostrom says: Reply

      I miss Toscana! Soon I will post the birds of northern Ontario and Sweden! Then we shall see what memory problems twitchers havve in two continents!

  5. Denise Greco says: Reply

    Rick, we thought we saw a hawk flying low and onto our roof, about a month ago. What do you think?

  6. debbie craig says: Reply

    Hi Rick….. the red bird is a [name of bird removed]!

    Also, we watched a falcon or hawk take down a coot as we putted out on the 13th green a few weeks ago. Looks like a natural predator to me!

    Thanks for sharing! I enjoy waking up to the sounds of birdsongs outside!
    Much better than going to sleep to the noise of Coachella Fest!!!

  7. Heidi Brostrom says: Reply

    Is it a Scarlet Tanager? Very pretty! How about bird watching next season?

  8. Heidi Brostrom says: Reply

    I have a Great Horned Owl sitting atop my home 2 nights per week, usually Thursday and the weekend.
    Not every night, but the owl seems to have his/her hunting schedule. The hoots awaken me, and I run out to look up.

  9. Heidi Brostrom says: Reply

    I saw the greatest show! This poor, thin scraggly coyote was hunted and pursued by 7 ravens; they encircled the crouching animal, pecking at him. I had to intervene, and allow the coyote escape. Think of how many times I saw the cartoons before the main movies as a child, with “The Roadrunner”.

  10. Chuck Killion says: Reply

    why do I not see California quail at Toscana? They do show up at other venues in the valley.

    1. rick sall rick sall says: Reply

      Try the east wall along Orvieto- have seen them run along the wall. Mr. Duffy and I saw hundreds at Diamond Valley- I think they like rocky slopes like up by Hwy 74- they are everywhere up there

    2. rick sall rick sall says: Reply

      Also, I have never seen a California Quail here in the valley- the Gambel’s Quail are common here

      1. swillett says: Reply

        There is a cute quail named Quincy that lives at the Coachella Valley Wild Bird Rescue in Indio – http://www.coachellavalleywildbirdcenter.org/pic.htm – he is a “human imprint” so he craves human contact and is very chatty (because he imprinted on a human, he cannot be released back into the wild). I definitely recommend taking a visit there if you haven’t been there. The woman who runs the rescue (her name is Linda) funds it out of her own pocket and through private donations.

      2. debbie craig says: Reply

        I have seen California Quail here in LaQuinta…. ( the one with the little cute hats on their heads?)……. had a mom and her brood in our back yard…. so cute because the babies ran under the garden gate and mom had to fly over to keep up with the kids! I often hear them in the lots behind us….a very distinctive bird sound.

        1. Stephanie Willett says: Reply

          Yes, they are adorable! Send pics! 🙂

  11. rick sall rick sall says: Reply

    OK- you both saw the Prairie Falcon- I saw it again this week

    The other hawks we have small to large: Kestrel (Sparrow Hawk), Coopers Hawk, Red- Tailed Hawk

  12. Brenda Macklin says: Reply

    We have Osprey at Toscana, too ! Very cool! We have green backed herons on the lake in front of our house on hole #7.
    It was so special to see the bird in the puzzle on a late afternoon. He is very lively and a real beauty!

  13. Robert Altevers says: Reply

    The bird photographed is a [name of bird removed by moderator].

Leave a Reply