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Baltimore by the Sea

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tahoe Time

You know, those birds  don't just watch themselves, so it is time to loosen up the dust on the annual birding lists. So, bright and early, so I threw a picnic bin in the trunk and with birder buddy Don, headed east. Soon we were buzzing along Ice House Road in Placer County. Ice House Road is great for me, the  closest alpine/montane habitat I can access. The birding gods were a bit stingy this trip, but the scenery is always great and sometimes a little Chipping Sparrow serenades you.

Chipping Sparrow, chipping out its little Springtime serenade

Trying not to jinx ourselves, we drove over to Markleeville, where we now annually look for the 'ever elusive' Pinyon Jay. You know Pinyon Jays - the little blue jaybird that has successfully evaded Don and myself for our entire lives. How do those birds even know we're looking for them, huh? Mind boggling, I can tell you.

No Pinyon Jays, but Don spotted some little Pygmy Nuthatches that seemed fond of an old wooden fence post. Turned out the little imps were interested in a knot hole in the post.

The Pygmy Nuthatches were interested in a knot hole in the old fence post"

Indian Creek Reservoir

We checked out a mountain road that led to a pond sized Curtis Lake where a few ducks and coots paddled about. Farther along we found Indian Creek Reservoir. There we found a few White Pelicans and a lot of little Eared Grebe. There were a lot of California Quail skittering about like over sized gray mice.

This little guy sports a nice herringbone grey suit

Something the Reservoir area has loads of are dead trees. Sounds awful at first, but for small birds, dead trees are like beautiful condos, up for grabs. And there were loads of small birds interested in every little nook and cranny on the snags.

A Western Bluebird wondering if it wants to build a home near noisy Chickadees

Yet another neighbor in the same snag - a Violet-green Swallow

Clark's Nutcracker

One of the fun things today was it was my first opportunity to try out a new iPhone app, called eBird. That handy little app allows me to post bird sightings, for my records and for other birders to know what is out there, while I'm still out in the field. Normally I post what what I've seen on eBird at home on my computer. There is nothing like enjoying yourself and making a small contribution to the record keeping that aids modern birding. Sort of like carrying out one's very own mini-Christmas Bird Counts. How about that? Now you can bird, play & contribute to birding knowledge, all in one fell swoop.

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