Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Articles written by Ernie Cowan

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 By Ernie Cowan    News 

Nature Watch: "Migrating Birds at Salton Sea"

The roar of 100,000 birds taking flight all at once was both startling and intense. The quiet of the late fall desert morning was shattered as the visiting winter flocks of sandhill cranes and snow geese lifted off from the... — Updated 11/22/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News 

Nature Watch: "Winter Migrants Arriving"

They're back! Two popular winter visitors have returned to Anza-Borrego. We aren't talking about the snowbirds from Canada or the sunseekers from the coast, but these are real birds. As ice and snow arrive far to the north,... — Updated 11/14/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News 

Lawsuit Filed Against Anza-Borrego State Park

The widow of a man who died while hiking in triple-digit summer heat last year has filed a wrongful death suit against Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for negligence and reckless conduct. On June 19, 2021, Donald White, Jr., 68, from Culver City was hiking with a companion into Pal... — Updated 11/4/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Desert Cottontail"

Those large black tailed jackrabbits are a common site in the Anza-Borrego Desert, but the smaller desert cottontail is also found here and easily identified by the puffy white tail that resembles a cotton ball. While both species... — Updated 10/27/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Midnight Bandit"

They are cute, cuddly and secretive and many people are surprised to discover that raccoons can be found right here in the desert. While not often seen here, these fuzzy little bandits with the black mask and black and... — Updated 10/18/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Emergency Communications

A short article last year in the Borrego Sun about emergency communications in our remote community has resulted in the formation of a network of amateur radio operators and creation of the Borrego RAMS radio club. RAMS stands for... — Updated 10/4/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: Tarantula

Halloween is approaching and for some reason, homeowners seem to delight in decorating with big, hairy spiders to frighten those of us trick-or-treating for candy or cocktails. Depending on your love of big spiders, it can scare th... — Updated 9/19/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Desert Dust Storm – The Haboob

The shrill noise of the weather alert blared on my cell phone as I crossed Yaqui Pass. I had entered the danger zone and was being warned of possible severe weather, flash flooding and high winds in my area. Glancing eastward as I... — Updated 9/9/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Jimson Weed"

While the night-blooming flowers are large and beautiful, let's make sure that readers know that all parts of the datura plant are poisonous and can be fatal if ingested. Also known as sacred datura or Jimson weed, this widely... — Updated 9/2/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

2022 Bighorn Sheep Count Results

The delayed 50th anniversary Anza-Borrego Desert Bighorn Sheep Count was completed in early July and results of the tally have been released. COVID and the tragic death last year of a count volunteer prior to the annual census... — Updated 8/30/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Desert Outpost – 17 Palms Oasis

A bead of sweat ran down my chest as my thoughts drifted to another traveler who camped in this same spot over a century ago. It was 109 degrees at 10 p.m. as I sat in quiet solitude amidst the cluster of silhouetted palms while th... — Updated 8/26/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Perseid Meteor Shower"

The dark skies around Borrego Springs will ignite with blazing fireballs during the peak of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, expected between Aug. 11 and 12 this year. Borrego's dark skies attract hundreds of sky watchers who... — Updated 8/23/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: Common Raven

The common raven is one of the world's most widespread wild bird, not to mention being somewhat famous as the subject of Native American folklore, poets, authors, and playwrights. This large-bodied, silky-black bird is also a resid... — Updated 8/19/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Skunk Beetle"

Ewww, I almost stepped on it. It was almost dark, and the jet-black beetle was walking slowly along my path and was very hard to see. Not only would he not survive being stepped on, but I would suffer from the potent smell this... — Updated 7/12/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Sycuan Donates to Bighorn Sheep Conservation Fund

The Sycuan Casino and Resort has donated $25,000 to Anza-Borrego Foundation that will be used to launch a Peninsular Bighorn Sheep Conservation Fund. The donated funds come at a time when bighorn sheep are facing survival... — Updated 7/12/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Indigobush"

The colorful Schott's indigobush is one of those spring wildflowers that you might smell before you see it. This member of the pea family is also known as Schott's dalea and can be found in many areas of Anza-Borrego Desert State P... — Updated 6/27/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Bats"

As summer heat reaches triple digits, desert residents and visitors typically move their outdoor activities to evenings or after dark. In those fleeting moments of waning daylight, or in the glow of artificial lights, the... — Updated 6/13/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Verdin"

If Borrego Spring ever picks a town bird, the tiny verdin might be on the short list for consideration. The little gray bird with a yellow head is a permanent resident desert dweller found just about anywhere there are spiny... — Updated 6/2/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

State Park to Resume Bighorn Sheep Count

Dedicated volunteers who spend some of the hottest days of summer at remote waterholes counting bighorn sheep are rejoicing at the announcement by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park that the annual census will return this year. Park... — Updated 5/27/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Ancient shoreline"

Standing in the desert sands at the rugged toe of the Fish Creek Mountains, it's hard to imagine this was once under water. But looking up, you see a line near the bottom of the bouldery mountain that marks the high water of an... — Updated 5/16/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Impacts of Climate Change, Not Debatable

Headlines that climate change is ravaging our desert, triggered the expected reaction of philosophical polarization but also the wrong debate. For the man who has lived here and devoted his working life to the plants and animals of Anza-Borrego, there should no longer be a... — Updated 5/10/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Wildflower Treasure Hunt

Some years the desert wildflower bloom is like a rich gold mine, with nuggets scattered just about everywhere you look. When there is no Super Bloom, like this year, there are still wildflowers to discover and enjoy, but it's more... — Updated 5/10/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Mud Caves"

There is something both dangerous and attractive about caves, and the barren badlands of Anza-Borrego Desert State offer both in a serpentine wash called Arroyo Tapiado. In Spanish, Arroyo Tapiado means "walled wash," which aptly... — Updated 5/3/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Creosote"

You might call the creosote bush the Ford of desert plants. They are not particularly fancy, they've been around a long time, and they can be found just about anywhere, in the desert at least. But the creosote bush provides food... — Updated 4/5/2022

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Borrego Hawkwatch 2022

Any day now, you can expect Borrego Springs to see a flock of incoming visitors, and a well-organized welcoming committee is ready to greet them. These visitors make an annual appearance, but don't hit the traditional tourist... — Updated 4/4/2022

 

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