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Big loop desert birding

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  • scre@aol.com
    Sorry for the cross posting and long post but this covers quite an area. Just back from quite a trip to the desert and attempting birding in Yosemite. Austin
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2004
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      Sorry for the cross posting and long post but this covers quite an area.
      Just back from quite a trip to the desert and attempting birding in Yosemite.
      Austin Booth, Jeremy "Jez" Bird, and I headed for Yosemite Thursday afternoon.
      We arrived after dark at Cheveron Meadows and we attempted to walk around and
      find Great Gray Owls. No luck though we did tree some young Black Bears. We
      went to bed for a couple hours hoping to wake up early and try again.
      Unfortunetly at about 3:30 it started to rain, though we hoped it woud clear. It
      didn't. At about 6:30 we decided to try and cross the pass figuring the we
      might as well try birding the east slope instead. As we climbed it started
      snowing and continued to snow hard, we were hoping to cross the pass before it got
      to icy, but after a while the rangers turned us back saying the pass was closed
      though not after we had a dispaying male BLUE GROUSE alongside the road. We
      got back to Chevoron Meadows where the rain had stopped and learned that the
      pass was unikely to open then much that evening at best. We made the most of
      it and birded the meadows having most of the montane species. Lots of Dusky
      Flys around. We were told that Sonora Pass was open so we tried our luck there.
      Taking Ward Ferry's Rd mistakenly thinking it was a short cut (this road is
      not for the faint of heart. About halfway along this narrow winding road our
      car broke down. While waiting many hours for a tow truck we managed to have a
      couple BLACK SWIFTS fly over the valley. We got to Sonora learning that the
      car wasnt even going to be looked at till Tuesday, which just would not do!
      We had to get to Death Valley for birding! We managed to find a place that
      would actually rent to us. Taking our new nice rental car we crossed Sonora Pass
      without any probems having a GRAY-CROWNED ROSY FINCH along a snow bank near
      the top as it was getting dark. We arrived at about 2 AM ready for that 5 AM
      wake up call for birding. Saturday morning we meet up with Matt Brady, Scott,
      Linda, and Ryan Terrill, and Andrew and Vernon Howe. The highlight was the
      singing YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER I found in the tams near the north pond. We
      heard the bird a number of times as we birded the area. We ran into some
      unfriendly golfers and some friendly ones aso the people working there were friendly.
      Vernon had an Indigo Bunting and others had an Ovenbird at the Inn. Also a
      male Ring-necked Duck and Eurasian Collared Doves were present. We later
      headed up valley and into Nevada finding nothing unusal. At Oasis Mono County Jez
      found a nice adult male AMERICAN REDSTART and others had a NORTHERN PARULA
      and a possible Red-eyed Vireo. Also apprently Eurasian Collared Doves were
      present here as well. At Deep Springs College Matt, Andrew and I found a female
      HOODED WARBLER (wow after last weekend in Kern its almost become a ho hum bird,
      well amost they are stil cool). At Westergard Pass Inyo we had Juniper
      Titmice. The next day at Butterbredt we aong with neary every other birder in
      Califonia (or so it seemed with 24 cars there at one point!) had the
      YELLOW-THROATED VIREO found the day before. Also AM REDSTART. On monday Jez we had the
      VIREO (sounding a lot like a Cassin's) again, 2 PARULAS and 2 AM REDSTARTS and
      Jez came through again with a drab female CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. Taking off
      for Tulare County and the GRACE's WARBLER in the afternoon we managed to get
      out of the car and have Todd Easterla point it out for our group of John
      Luther, Jeff Seay, Rob Fowler, and the others present in Death Valley minus the
      Howes. We managed to get great looks at it singing also had Dusky and Gray
      Flycatchers and a Solitary type vireos singing. I believe that is about it. Good
      Birding all!

      David Vander Pluym
      UC Santa Cruz

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