Featured Post

Baltimore by the Sea

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Tahoe Redux

Day two of birding Tahoe started at the Donner Memorial State Park. Surprisingly, I've never visited the park before so I hardly kicked or screamed at all when Don recommended walking a park trail.

Donner Memorial State Park

The grassy pine forest on either side of the trail was filled with icy cold snow melt. Despite which, there were flocks of hundreds of little Pine Siskins hopping about.
One out of 100 Pine Siskins

A tiny little Mountain Chickadee landed near me, and ignoring me, busied itself, digging.

Not sure a big staring human is necessary...

Some of the trail was washed out by winter flooding but happily, wooden bridges were still serviceable.
Creekity  bridge over a swift creek

I was thrilled to finally get some good photos of Red-breasted Sapsuckers that explored nesting holes in a giant Lodgepole pine.

Our next birding stop was Squaw Valley, which is currently open for the ski season. High up on the slopes we could spot skiers shushing down the mountain.

Squaw Valley Olympic Village

Rocky craigs at Squaw Valley

There were zero birds at Squaw Valley so we headed over to Alpine Meadows where we could hear a bird singing. Before long a tiny bird could be spotted, singing its heart out at the top of a pine. It was a Sage Sparrow - no, really, a Sage Sparrow, no where near low land chaparral, but there was, to be truthful, plenty of sage on the mountain slopes.
The Arrow points to a birdie - see it?

Ok, not the best, but that bird was way the heck off in the distance

We visited our favorite meadow, which is along Alpine Meadows Road, and although it was past noon and there were few birds out, Don spotted a HUMONGOUS Bald Eagle winging its way east. Sadly I wasn't fast enough to get a shot of the impressive eagle.
After a leisurely lunch, during which Evening Grosbeaks were most notably absent, we drove south along the California side of Lake Tahoe. The scenery was, as always awesome. There was what I was certain was a glacier, but a closer look revealed it to be a a beautiful waterfall, composed of a white
torrent of snow melt.
See the white streak in the distance?
Close up of the wild white torrent of snow melt

On a hunch, instead of heading directly back to Sacramento, we headed back to our first stop of the previous day - Ice House Road. This time we trudged all the way to the top of the mountain, for a look at Loon Lake, where a huge Osprey soared over the ice covered lake.

Ice covered lake off Ice House Mountain Road

The top of the mountain was so pretty, and the ice covered lake - magical! I can hardly believe I'm less than an hour away from such beauty. Nice end to a two day birding spree.

1 comment: