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LeConte's thrasher        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Le Conte's thrashers are pale, long-legged, fast-running wraiths of desert scrubland and washes in arid regions of California, Arizona, and Nevada.   They are a prized sighting for visiting birdwatchers and can be very difficult to find despite the open habitat they favor.   I was pleased to find the bird above singing vigorously in a dry wash in Joshua Tree National Park, in southern California.   Other birds were in the alkali scrublands of the Owens Valley, just east of Bishop, California; they were photographed just after dawn, in the shadow of the White Mountains just to the east (lending a bluish cast to the images).

  • Canon 10D or 1D IV, 500 mm IS lens plus 2X converter or 800 mm IS lens plus 1.4X converter, fill-in flash (2004, 2010)