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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Two Got Away - Two Sat Still

Just returned from a wild goose chase. Last week  two shore birds, one formerly known as a Mongolian Plover and a second, a Red-necked Stint, touched down in southern California. I was going to ignore them, but I oh-so-want to see them - I raced off in pursuit. Alas, as I arrived at the two target venues the little feathered darlings had flown. I'd missed both by less than 24 hours. I was racked with disbelief. Depressed? Down? Bummed? Kinda pissed? Aw, you bet.

The Red-necked Stint that flew the flats. Oh cruel & yet adorable tiny peep - how could you so forsake me?

A peep formerly known as Mongolian Plover: this species eluded me once before on Attu. By the time I manage see one, it will undoubtedly rank as the most expensive birdie gracing my life list.

What was I to do but turn my few days away from home for birding purposes, into a few days away from home for some sight seeing: I decided to visit two National Parks I've somehow managed not to get to, even though they're located in my own state: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

One thing you can say for National Parks, they stay the hell put as they are approached.  

A view in King's Canyon
My visit to the twin parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon was brief, just about six hours, but for that time I got a good overview of both parks. Amazingly, I did do a short hike in Sequoia, taking a nice level trail walk to see the 3rd largest tree on Earth - the General Grant. Mind - Sequoia Park also contains the world's largest tree, but I didn't take the time to see it, this trip.

The General Grant Sequoia
The General Grant tree was humongous. My first thought on reading its sign, "America's Christmas Tree" was, 'My god, how big a crane is needed to drag this thing all the way to the White House lawn every year!'

More interesting, to me at least, than even the General Grant Sequoia, was a huge fallen redwood, propped up so tourists can tromp up and down inside of it. 

You can see a hint of the crown wandering around inside of this HUGE fallen log
You could hold a conference in a tree this gigantic
Pretty photogenic for a downed tree, right?

Western Tiger Swallowtail - one of the few winged creatures that chose to show themselves to me all week.  Thank you Mr. or Ms. Tiger Swallowtail!

Of course I had my eyes open for birds while in the parks, but although I heard maybe four or five species, I only saw Scrub Jays and a Raven. And mind - I can stay home 50% of those in my own back yard. I guess I have a birding hex on me this week. What... has word gotten around in the birdy world that I been too slow to refill the bird feeders or something?

A shell of a cabin one can walk around in - Sequoia NP
Snow Drop

I always get a kick out of this odd little wildflower - Snow Drops - I found growing amid the Giant Sequoias.

Kings Canyon - a river runs through it

There! Another pair of California National Parks seen and appreciated. You know I got my National Passport book stamped for both parks. Great save in the aftermath of a wild goose chase if I do say so myself - and I do.

Kings Canyon Craigs

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome looking tree the General is. Great pictures, makes me feel like planning a trip.