Austin Booth and I camped up near Hull Mountain this weekend, and saw some
high-altitude species. We visited Spruce Grove, Hull Mountain Summit, Tar
Flats, and the Mendocino County Black-chinned Sparrow Spot. At Spruce Grove
we heard and saw a red-morph FLAMMULATED OWL on both nights we camped there.
We also had a female WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER, and numbers of songsters,
including NASHVILLE WARBLERS, GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES, HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHERS,
"THICK-BILLED" FOX SPARROWS, TOWNSEND'S SOLITATIRES, and CHIPPING SPARROWS.
In the Corn Lilly meadow next to M1 we saw 4 or 5 LINCOLN'S SPARROWS. Along
the road up to the summit of Hull Mountain we had a CALIFORNIA THRASHER walk
across the road. At Tar Flats there was a HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER singing,
another WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER, and several WESTERN TANANGERS. Along road
M6 we had a GOLDEN EAGLE soaring high above Penny Pines, and another near
the Black-chinned Sparrow spot. Also at the Black-chinned Sparrow spot was
a DUSKY FLYCATCHER, a HERMIT WARBLER, tons of "THICK-BILLED" FOX SPARROWS,
but NO Black-chinned Sparrows. Other birds of interest along the various
roads included a DUSKY WARBLER and a nesting HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER between
Spruce Grove and the BCSP spot along M1, and a COOPER'S HAWK soaring above
the junction of roads M1 and M61. MOUNTAIN QUAIL were abundant, with
several calling at all stops, and about 10 sighted along the various roads.
We also saw a Black Bear early this morning along M1 just past where the
road for Spruce Grove turns off.
Directions: Spruce Grove is off of M1, several miles north of Hull
Mountain. The turn-off is not marked, but there is an open meadow with Corn
Lilly on the left, where the Lincoln's Sparrows were, and a small marker
that says "Discovery Trail" on the right. The turn-off goes up the hill to
the right, and the Flamm Owl was where the road makes a shard turn to the
The "Black-chinned Sparrow Spot" is just below the summit of Hull Mountain,
and is just within the Mendocino County line. We used George Chaniot's
directions, posted to Mendobirds last year. His directions, which I will
paraphrase, are: about 0.2 miles past the turn-off for the summit of Hull
Mountain, there is a pull-through with several fire rings on the west side
of the road. Just after this pull-through is an off-road vehicle trail that
goes off towards the west, to Windy Point. This is labeled 10W32 on the
Forest Service map, but is not labeled on the ground. Austin and I then
followed this trail out to a rocky outcropping, which we sat upon, and
listened. We didn't hear anything, but people last summer at about this
time had luck with the Black-chinned Sparrows.
All roads we drove on were passable by passenger car.
UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA, currently Ukiah, CA
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