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Seqouia/Kings Canyon trip report

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  • Thomas Miko
    Dear CalBirders, My wife Aniko and I arrived home late last night after camping for 3 days in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Those of you who have
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 29, 2002
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      Dear CalBirders,
      My wife Aniko and I arrived home late last night after camping for 3 days
      in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Those of you who have visited
      or birded the area will not find anything unusual here, as all of the
      wildlife that we saw was to be expected in the right habitats in the Sierra
      Nevada Mountains. However, if you have never been to Sequoia and Kings
      Canyon, or are a tourist who plans to visit California from another part of
      the U.S. or from abroad, hopefully you might get some useful information
      from this report. Before I continue, let me say this: the wildlife of the 2
      parks is superb. We saw 6 species of squirrels and chipmunks, a Marten
      (Martes americana), Mule Deer, 6 species of butterfly, many lizards and
      snakes, and around 70 bird species. Mosquitos are common at various
      elevations, so don't do what we did, forgetting the insect-repellant at
      home next to the door. Bad idea. Right now my face and arms look like I
      have some medieval contagious disease. Highlights are as follows:

      PILEATED WOODPECKER: We saw 3 while walking from Crescent Meadow to Driving
      Log in Sequoia, Wednesday afternoon. The last one we were able to drive up
      to in the car, and sit 4 feet away from, with the car parked next to the
      sequoia that it was hammering away at, and watched while it swallowed a
      grub. We also heard Pileated Woodpecker in other parts of Giant Forest.

      NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL: Wednesday night we camped in MIneral King's Atwell
      Mill Campground. This part of Sequoia is a 1 and 1/2 hour drive uphill on
      a steep, winding road. It is isolated from the main part of the park, and
      is much more primitive. There were no tourists, only campers. The bird
      life here is wonderful. We started walking on the trail that heads down to
      the nearest river (its name isn't on my maps), with a bridge that crosses
      in front of a spectacular waterfall (the trailhead starts at the end of
      Atwell Mill Campground). If you want to bird in a place that has few
      people, this is your destination. Thursday morning on the first hundred
      meters of the trail I noticed that a mixed species group of passerines
      (Golden-crowned Kinglets, Mountain Chickadees, Juncos, et al were having a
      hissy fit. They were mobbing a Saw-whet Owl that was sitting one foot (30
      cm) above the ground on the branch of a Jeffrey Pine. This area also had
      Clark's Nutcrackers, and we were woken by the sound of a chorus of Hermit
      Thrushes. We plan to return to camp in this campground again, and do a day
      hike to Monarch Lake, where a friend tells me that he "...easily had Blue

      GOSHAWK: I got lucky. The first one was being harassed by 2 Ravens at the
      General Sherman tree in Sequoia, and another one was 3 miles up the trail
      to Mist Falls in Kings Canyon, being harassed by Steller's Jays.

      LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCH: Halstead Picnic Area

      MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER: The parking lot for the General Grant tree near
      Grant Grove had several carrying food to nests under the ferns and columbines.

      CANYON WREN: We climbed to the top of Moro Rock for the specatcular view of
      the Sierras, and were treated to nesting Canyon Wrens at the top of the stairs.

      BLACK BEAR: On the way back from Mist fall, my wife stopped, and said,
      "Tamash! Bear! B-b-b-bbear!" She was standing 6 feet (2 meters) away from
      a Black Bear. We turned around, performed a tactical retreat about 50 feet
      (17 meters) uphill, and sat down. We probably could have stayed put, and
      made weird faces at this bear. It rather nonchalantly walked past us with
      her baby, barely acknowledging us (pun intended). She gave us a sideways
      glance that said, "Oh, humans. How boring," while Aniko snapped pictures
      with her pocket camera. The mother bear looked like she couldn't weigh more
      than 100 pounds (45 kilograms).

      MARTEN: We had this relative of the Mink on Highway 180 (the road to Kings
      Canyon), at the edge of the Incense Cedar/ Jeffrey Pine zone.

      VERY COMMON, HARD-TO-MISS BIRDS (at the right elevation): Golden-crowned
      Kinglet, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Western Tanager, Raven,
      Steller's Jay, Audubon's Warbler, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Scrub Jay,
      Black-headed Grosbeak, Winter Wren, Phainopepla, Lincoln's Sparrow, and
      White-throated Swift.

      Thomas Miko (Mikó Tamás)
      2445 Oswego Street
      Pasadena, CA 91107

      home: (626) 793-2133
      page: (310) 366-9990
      cell: (626) 390-1935


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