Sunday, April 29, 2012

Field Notes 4.28.12

 We started out for another fishing/birdwatching trip, this one to Big Meadow Reservoir, which lies halfway between South Fork and the summit of Wolf Creek Pass. When we arrived at the entrance the gate was closed and locked.  After some discussion we decided to hike the mile and half up the road to the lake and continue on undaunted.  During the hike we started seeing small yellowish/brownish birds.  They flitted in and out of the roadside willows and up to the fir trees. Their song was a musical trill.  We were a little stumped but later at home we studied our guides and listened to bird songs. We pondered whether they could be Cordilleran flycatchers or warbling vireos but after listening to the ruby crowned kinglet’s song we decided that was our bird.

Fishing was good at the lake.  In between bites we saw a northern flicker, a lone Canada goose and several small birds flying among the trees. I caught my limit of four fish within a short time. We had planned to hike around the lake but a storm started moving in. Since we had to hike back to the car we thought it best to leave the lake. During the return hike we saw a pair of mountain bluebirds. High up on a tree we saw a gray bird. In the flat light against the gray sky it was hard to tell what it was.  We think it might have been a Townsend’s solitaire.  Also, we saw a sparrow-like bird with a reddish cap, maybe an American tree sparrow.
Driving east on U.S. Hwy. 160 we saw more geese and ducks on flooded fields. In the air and along the roadside were hawks, red-winged blackbirds, crows and ravens.
Desiring just a little more in the way of birdwatching thrills, we stopped by Home Lake.  There we saw swallows, coots, western grebes and blue-winged teals. On the south side of the lake we saw a beautifully plumed snowy egret, a plain but efficient willet and more than ten long-billed dowitchers feeding in the mud.

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