We had already dropped by Mono Mills, a small park, where other birders have repeatedly seen Pinyon Jays. We suspected the other birders of being no-good-horrible, double-dog liars, because we saw no Pinyon Jays there and we're v-good-wonderful, double-kitten truth tellers. Still, we kept checking Mono Mill, hopefully & with the same desperation one keeps checking the kitchen drawers when your car keys go missing.
At one point, after a short & jay-less search, we returned to the car, to find, I kid you not, a White-breasted Nuthatch IN THE CAR! No, it wasn't trying to hot wire the car & didn't seem to be planning to wait for us to enter the car, then jump out and hijack the vehicle. Don unlocked the car and after a couple of horrifying bird/glass collisions, the poor thing flew away - that would be the bird, not Don. We were stunned. How the heck and when the heck did that bird get into the car? As Don drove us away, I pondered on the strange occurrence of birdie car invasion, as I gazed at the blue skies above, through the open moon roof.
|Mono Mill, where lying birders 'claim' to have spotted Pinyon Jays. Yeah, right.|
A massive flock of Pinyon Jays winged their noisy way over the sage brush.HURRAH and about time! I had to perform my 'I got a lifer dance', which is only performed in my head, for the safety of those nearby.
|A lower flying flock of Pinyons|
|Don Marching down to the Tufa formations for a look-see at Mono waterfowl|
|One little Pinyon Jay|
Now, I could end the day here and you wouldn't know the difference, but truth is, it was our last day so after a brief visit to the Mono Lake Visitor Center, we headed west, up over the Tioga Pass and into Yosemite. It's a terrific drive with loads of giant craigy bits of granite to oogle at as you drive past.
Pretty eh? Decided to stop for lunch so at Tenaya Lake, which was milling with happy picnikers, I hopped out the car and headed over to a picnic table. I was just wondering where the heck Don was, when he came over, all happy and preening proud. He explained he found a female Pine Grosbeak by the parking area - a lifer he had hoped to find, but of course being more or less sane, hadn't expected to find. Not a lifer for me, but then I've only ever seen one Pine Grosbeak and at that time got only one photo, taken through the cloudy window of a van with a pathetic 2 pixel digital camera.
|My one other sighting of a Pine Grosbeak, Churchill Manitoba, a b'jillion years ago|
|In all her loveliness, a sweet little Pine Grosbeak|
|Not sure what she fed on, but must have been tasty|
|Oh yeah, it's tasty all right!|
So, again I arrive at the end of the great Pinyon Jay Hunt, but once again... not quite just yet... we drove from Yosemite, taking the back roadways of Highway 49 through the weensie towns of Sonora, Angel's Camp of "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" fame, and Jackson. Then, we made one more stop before heading to my house. We birded Meiss Road just before sunset and spotted one more good bird for the day, this little Vesper Sparrow. Whew! What a day!
|Vesper Sparrow on Meiss Road|