We set out yesterday to add Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch to our life lists and a
few more birds to Pat's year list. We did. The highest highlights were
GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH at Ellery Lake and nesting WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKER in
the burn area south of Mono Lake. Here are the day's complete highlights for
a couple of sea-level dwellers.
Tuolumne County (Hwy 120)
At dawn we stopped at Olmsted Point on Tioga Road where we had our first
MOUNTAIN QUAIL and MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE of the day and year.
Mono County (Hwy 120 and Hwy 395)
Next stop was Tioga Lake where Pat added TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE and DUSKY
FLYCATCHER. At 6:20 A.M. we parked next to the Ellery Lake dam. Within a few
minutes we had our first GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH on the rocks below the dam.
(Year before last I walked (crawled) to the summit of Mt. Lassen and missed
G-C R-F. Yesterday I could see them from the car.) After a couple more
Rosy-Finches and a flyover EVENING GROSBEAK we pushed on.
At 7:30 BREWER'S SPARROW and SAGE THRASHER sang while we ate our breakfast
at a picnic table by Mono Lake's South Tufa parking lot. A few minutes
later, on the walking loop, we had singing GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE and
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD. On a tufa island a pair of OSPREY were feeding
their young. Nearby were several mostly alternate plumage WILSON'S
At the edge of the wooded stretch of Hwy 120 east of South Tufa a pair of
PINYON JAYS stopped briefly before continuing southwest. Birding in the burn
area was very active. We had GRAY FLYCATCHER, DUSKY FLYCATCHER, WESTERN
WOOD-PEWEE, WESTERN TANAGER (nesting), HAIRY WOODPECKER, MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD,
CASSIN'S FINCH, PINE SISKIN, BROWN CREEPER, and most exciting, a pair of
nesting WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKERS. The female Williamson's Sapsucker visited
the nest hole several times and repeatedly stuck her head inside without
entering. Once, the male sapsucker joined the female at the nest cavity
Stopping at Mono Lake County Park for lunch we found it infested with YELLOW
WARBLERS and juvenile humanoids. We also saw another OSPREY, a couple more
WILSON'S PHALAROPES, several more YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRDS, WARBLING VIREO,
LAZULI BUNTING, nesting HOUSE WREN, and BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE.
Alpine County (Hwy 108)
MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS were nesting across the road from the Sonora Pass parking
area. YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS foraged nearby.
Tuolumne County (Hwy 108)
At Donnell's Overlook, our last birding stop of the day, we had another
calling MOUNTAIN QUAIL, WHITE-THROATED SWIFT, and a pair of EVENING
Dennis and Patricia Braddy
Contra Costa County
P.S. My apologies if I ceded any territory from one county to another (DB)