Sat-Sun, 11-12 July 2009 -- A group of eight of us also birded the high
country of the Mendocino National Forest a day behind Matthew Matthiessen
and Karen Havlena. On Saturday we followed M1 from the Eel River Ranger
Station to Spruce Grove. We spent the night at Spruce Grove, and Sunday
morning we continued south on M1 as far as Monkey Rock. Then we backtracked
and took M61 and M6 down to Lake Pillsbury and out.
On the way in along the Covelo Road, we stopped at the Dos Rios Bridge
and got glimpses of both WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS and VAUX'S SWIFTS. At the
sandstone bluffs there were two PEREGRINE FALCONS.
One of the most noticeable things of this trip was abundance of
CASSIN'S FINCHES. We saw them and heard them singing at numerous locations
between Charcoal Ridge and Monkey Rock. With over a decade of visiting this
area in summer, I don't think I've ever seen this many. On May 31st this
year Chuck Vaughn and I did not see or hear one. We also saw quite a few
WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKERS from Grizzly Flat to the extreme corner of Lake
County near where M61 meets M6. DUSKY/HAMMOND'S Flycatchers were evident,
and we saw a singing TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE along M1 near Charcoal Ridge and
saw another juvenile at Spruce Grove. GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES were numerous,
and we saw several HERMIT WARBLERS at Spruce Grove.
At Spruce Grove we found the main camping area occupied (a first for
me!), so we drove to another very nice site about 200 yards further to the
east. At about 9:30 p.m. a FLAMMULATED OWL began calling to the west in the
direction of the spongy meadow, and later in the evening another began
calling to the east - keeping some of the party from falling asleep!
At Spruce Grove we hit several fantastic mixed flocks of about ten
species - one flock seemed to be mobbing something unseen, and the other was
pished up. Juveniles of almost every species were found wherever we went.
About 80 species for the whole loop from Ukiah to Ukiah.
George Chaniot, with Janet Chaniot, Chuck Vaughn, Cheryl Watson, Geoff
Heinecken, Roger Foote, Barbara Dolan, and Dave Bengsten