Snow Mountain Wilderness Birds- Lake County
I don't normally post on this listserv, but thought these sightings may be of interest. Last weekend I spent a few days in the Snow Mountain Wilderness, which is about 30 miles or so straight north of Clear Lake, accessed through the town of Stonyford. Snow Mountain is unusual in that it is 7000 feet asl and contains many species found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The best sightings this weekend were nesting purple martins (about 5 pair located in an old burn area off Milk Ranch Loop Trail) and a vesper sparrow (!) I found at the top of Snow Mountain (west peak). I will post photos of the martins later this week. I was unlucky in not getting a shot of the vesper sparrow, but had a clear and conclusive view of it.
Other species of interest included Cassin's finch, Townsends's solitaire (one flushed from its ground nest), mountain chickadee, green-tailed towhee, and northern pygmy owls. I also found a rattlesnake at 6600 feet! Normally it is a 2.5 mile hike from the Summit Springs trailhead to the area mentioned but this year the road washed out, adding another 1.7 miles to the hike. Best to check with the Stonyford ranger station first about where to park. It is a very long drive from anywhere!