Just the same, we made a short gas and restroom stop for the students at Shoshone, California, a small village just east of Death Valley National Park. Despite the dry desert conditions, the area is a marshy oasis due to groundwater being forced to the surface. The spot is used as a stopover spot by migratory birds, but there are year-round residents as well, and one of them is the Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens). It is a member of the silky flycatcher family, and is the most north-ranging of the group. They have been recorded in my area of the Great Valley, but I have yet to see one there.
|A female Phainopepla|