July 1-2, 2006 * This past weekend Gary and Randy Maddox and I drove into the eastern mountains for some high elevation Mendo birding. We chose to approach from the north via Covelo. Saturday morning on our way to Covelo we birded the Dos Rios area and found at least five WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS flying around the Hwy 162 bridge over the Eel River and one ROCK WREN along the Eel just north of Dos Rios. Covelo itself yielded one GRASSHOPPER SPARROW along Dobie Ln.
Our first stop in the mountains was Grizzly Flat which produced CASSIN'S FINCH, HERMIT WARBLER, and DUSKY FLYCATCHER. Coffee Mill Flat a little further on added NASHVILLE WARBLER to the list. After turning onto M-1 we found MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER, and more CASSIN'S FINCHES and HERMIT WARBLERS at our first stop along Etsel Ridge. After setting up camp we worked Spruce Grove and added GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE, and HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER to the list. Also present were more MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, and CASSIN'S FINCHES. The meadow below the grove contained LINCOLN'S SPARROWS. After sunset we worked on owls but could only produce one uncooperative NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL during a two hour effort.
Sunday morning we drove to Hull Mtn and then walked to Windy Point. The walk yielded RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER and a single PURPLE MARTIN as well as more WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKERS, DUSKY FLYCATCHERS, MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, NASHVILLE WARBLERS, and GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES. Windy Point did not produce any Black-chinned Sparrows but of interest was a pair of BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS on the walk back. After descending the mountain via Boardman Ridge we easily found a pair of MACGILLIVRAY'S WARLBERS near the Pioneer Bridge north of Potter Valley.
In general the weekend was very successful missing only a couple of the high elevation specialties. The road from Covelo to Spruce Grove is in good repair but from Spruce Grove to Hull Mtn there are several places were high clearance is required due to deep ruts from erosion. There is no longer any snow on the road.
Ukiah, MEN, CA