Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Articles written by Ernie Cowan

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 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Northern Harrier"

I thought it might be a bush blowing across the desert in the strong winds last week near Hawk Canyon. Looking closer I spotted a northern harrier maneuvering just above ground level and being chased by an angry raven. This... — Updated 2/15/2024

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Visitor's View: Coachwhip Canyon

You might zip right by Coachwhip Canyon while traveling east on Borrego Salton Sea Way, but this short desert wash at the rugged toe of the Santa Rosa Mountains is well worth a little time to explore. Coachwhip Canyon is one of... — Updated 2/15/2024

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Yellow-Rumped Warbler"

Watching this little winter visitors flying away as you approach will quickly tell you how it got its name. At the base of the black and gray tail feathers there is a bright yellow patch. This is the tell-tale name tag for the... — Updated 2/15/2024

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Black-tailed gnatcatcher"

Like a tiny bouncing ball, the movement in the palo verde tree caught my eye. It was a black-tailed gnatcatcher and I stopped for a moment to see where it was going. Tucked into the thicket of green branches there was a tiny nest,... — Updated 2/15/2024

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Visitor's View: Canyon Sin Nombre

How about a desert adventure to a place that has no name? Tucked away in the curdled landscape of the Carrizo Badlands is an incredibly scenic canyon worthy of exploration, but like the rabbit hole to Wonderland, takes travelers... — Updated 2/15/2024

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Dodder"

Wandering through a desert wash recently, there were several shrubs that looked like they had been covered by thick strands of orange string. This yellow to orange material is actually a parasite plant known as desert dodder, a... — Updated 2/15/2024

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Vermilion flycatcher"

When you spot one of these occasional visitors to Borrego Springs, you will quickly understand why some bird lovers refer to them as "The Christmas Bird." The vermilion flycatcher, with males sporting brilliant red and jet black... — Updated 2/15/2024

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Salton Sea, Winter Birding Paradise"

As the triple-digit heat of summer fades to more comfortable temperatures, migrating birds will begin to arrive at nearby Salton Sea, transforming this great inland saltwater lake into a birding paradise. Until spring, hundreds of... — Updated 11/21/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Visitor's View: Pumpkin Patch

Halloween may be over for this year, but that's no reason to stop looking for the Great Pumpkin tucked away in the eastern fringes of the Borrego Badlands. After all, desert season is here and it's time to explore some of the more... — Updated 11/21/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Visitor's View: Hawk Canyon

It doesn't take much imagination to let your mind travel back in time as you first enter this mystery canyon with growing expectations of stumbling upon some wild west hideout of a bygone era. And why not? You are traveling into a... — Updated 11/9/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Visitor's View: Light Pollution

Residents and frequent visitors to Borrego Springs understand the thrill of being able to see a night sky emblazoned by a sparkling overhead view of the Milky Way. It's not that way in many places, and the bad news is that... — Updated 11/9/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Ocotillo"

Those iconic desert plants known as ocotillo are usually something written about in the spring when their spindly coachwhips are tipped with fiery red wildflowers. But if you have been out and about, you may have noticed the... — Updated 11/9/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Visitor's View: Coyote Canyon – Miles of Adventure, Beauty

For visitors who enjoy one of the more remote areas of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, October 1 is somewhat like New Year's Day as "Desert Season" arrives, and the summer closure of this area is lifted. Coyote Canyon is closed to... — Updated 11/9/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Sphinx Moth Caterpillars"

Those rare summer visitors to The Slot last week discovered they were not alone. In the deep shadows of this narrow, eroded canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park were thousands of colorful caterpillars that are the larval phase... — Updated 11/9/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Visitor's View: Metal sculptures

It's that time of the year when temperatures have been well into the triple digits, but that's no reason to stay away from some of the interesting and unique things Borrego Springs has to offer. One of those attractions is a... — Updated 11/9/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "American Kestrel"

While more common to coastal and inland areas of San Diego, the American kestrel is a small, but colorful raptor found in Anza-Borrego. Lacking oak woodlands or stands of sycamore trees, the kestrel nests in eroded alcoves of... — Updated 11/9/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Annual Bighorn Sheep Count Results Tallied

Mild summer temperatures and an abundance of natural food for bighorn sheep resulted in a unique year for volunteers who participated in the annual Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Bighorn Sheep Count. Results of the count were... — Updated 11/9/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Celestial Events Bring Visitors to Borrego

It looked more like mid-winter on the dark-sky weekend of mid-August as eager sky watchers flocked to Borrego's famous dark skies to get a good look at the annual Perseid Meteor shower. There were mini-traffic jams in town, hotels... — Updated 11/9/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Tarantula Wasp"

Fall is tarantula season in Southern California and desert travelers may see more of the large, hairy spiders out looking for a mate this time of the year. That also means you might encounter a large, colorful wasp that is one of... — Updated 11/9/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Scaly-breasted Munia"

If you spot one of these little birds at your seed feeder, your first reaction might be, "oh, someone's pet has escaped from its cage." You would be partially correct. The scaly-breasted munia has long been a popular cage bird. It... — Updated 9/14/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Visitor's View – Desert Survival Handbook

An old desert sourdough once warned me, "everything you encounter out here either pokes, bites, scratches or stings." With more than 50 years of sand in my boots, I can truthfully say that's an accurate statement. From the... — Updated 9/14/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Snake ID"

Summer in the desert often means you might encounter snakes, especially at night when they are more active while trying to avoid high daytime temperatures that can be life threatening for them. Unlike mammals, snakes are unable to... — Updated 9/14/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Visitor's View – Inspiration Wash

The days may be sizzling right now, but it's not too soon to begin planning those fall desert adventures when mild weather and the vast open spaces of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park welcome your exploration. A good way to launch... — Updated 9/14/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Visitor's View – Blair Valley

Summer can be a challenging time to visit Anza-Borrego Desert State Park as searing daytime temperatures create dangerous and unpleasant conditions. But evenings are often mild and comfortable and the desert's dark sky away from ur... — Updated 9/14/2023

 
 By Ernie Cowan    News

Nature Watch: "Great Horned Owl"

There is something quite comforting about the monotoned hooting of a great horned owl on a dark desert night. It's a sound you will often hear in November or December, marking the start of courtship for this large, powerful bird.... — Updated 9/14/2023

 

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