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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mini-break to Switzerland (almost) - Day two

Smokey Does Tahoe Too

Saturday night, due to another 'Pooh-bear' moment of luck, we managed to get the very last campsite at Fallen Leaf Lake.

Mind - I don't mean, we got one-of-only-a-few, or one-of-the-last or the 2nd-from-the-last campsite; we got THE last campsite. *triumphant chuckle*

It's been a decade or so since I camped at Tahoe. Camping just isn't the same for me anymore. I still love it, but frankly, time passes for me so rapidly that by the time I set up a tent, it feels like five minutes have passed before it's time to take down the tent and go home. I'm living in a ever-shrinking time warp. Don has no problems with that however, so he pitched a tent. Me? I decided to overnight in my 'H.O.N.D.A'., that is, my 'Hollow Orbital Nocturnal Dream Annex' - in the back seat to be exact.

After claiming our campsite (via a yellow tag, not by peeing on the shrubber), we went back out in for an evening birdie search. My iPod was a failure at calling in any owls, but it did tempt a beautiful pair of Western Tanagers.

Male Tanager - bit out of focus, but obviously alert, isn't he?

Also, as the sun set we spotted a couple of Common Nighthawks. The photo below was not taken at Tahoe, but it was taken by me last May in Colorado.

Common Nighthawk - aka Stealth Fighter

View from Fallen Leaf Trail

Next morning we were up nice and early and hit the Fallen Leaf Visitor trail which, I am embarrassed to admit, though it was suitable for an old lady in a wheel chair, that suited me just fine, thankyouverymuch. The trail started with beautful view of sunny marshland, on a wooden balcony. We spotted Orange-crowned Warblers, numerous chickadees and the odd nuthatch. The two pictures below are one of two bickering Warbling Vireos.

Who's a sweet birdie dat sings so purdy?

Yes, you's a purdy birdie!

Don got a lifer when a Williamson's Sapsucker made a quick entrance, strickly for Don's benefit of course. Obviously the bird kingdom was making restitution to Don for cheating him out of his lifer Grey-crowned Rosy Finch.

Williamson's Sapsucker

The birds were fun, but there were also quite a few wildflowers to admire.

Ranger Buttons

Wild Hollyhock

Sierra Rein Orchid

Our last weekend hurrah was a few stops in the Loon Lake area that we birded last February. There the Lazuli Buntings showed off for Don but avoided me like the plague - retribution for my selfish thoughts about the Rosy Finches at Squaw Valley? Oh well.

And last point of the weekend, I'm happy to report the wildflowers were obedient, sitting without figgiting while I took their portraits. If only birds followed the lead of wildflowers I would be a deliriously happy woman.

Pussy Paws

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