Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Of course, I saw more than Greater Sage-Grouse during my recent stint in the Sierras. Here are a few belated photos and comments for your enjoyment.
Mountain Chickadees are the vermin of the Sierras. And to think, years ago, I fantasized of seeing one. Now I realize that they're basically Black-capped Chickadees with fancy makeup and scratchy throats.
The second greatest avian highlight after the grouse was our successful Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch expedition. Last year, one a hike to Gaylor Lake, I saw two distant flyovers. This year, they were still distant--that's right, about twelve feet distant! There were two families hanging around the perimeter of this gorgeous alpine lake.
The juveniles were uniformly clad in a distasteful gray and polluted the tundra air with their strident supplications for food. On top of this, they were irresistibly cute.
The Sierras are home to some hardcore scenery. Our group did a hike to Cathedral Lake and Tressider Peak. It was beautiful, strenuous, dangerous, and profoundly lacking in birds. The steep, several hundred yard-long descent down a glacier provided a thrill that fully compensated for the paucity of the winged ones.
This American White Pelican flew by while we were observing the sage grouse which I described in a previous post. Later, we snagged the grouse, Wilson's Snipe, and Wilson's Phalarope in the same scope field. Versatility!