- We spent the weekend in the Owens Valley area, & here are the highlights of the trip.
Two Swainson's hawks were soaring over the Fish Springs Fish Hatchery agricultural areas. At the pack station near Glacier Lodge, there were at least 4, if not 5 calling Blue Grouse, one of which put on quite a show. He was out near the end of a branch, in a large pine a few trees up the ravine from the usual flat-topped tree. He would alternately feed on the fresh budded tips, then call, then feed, & so on, all in full view. There were at least 2 others calling from further up the ravine, & another lower down that wouldn't show itself, despite many searchers.
In the Jeffrey pine forest along Hwy 120, about 8 miles east of 395, in the large burned area, we had a male & female Black-Backed Woodpecker. They were about 4-500 yards west of the hwy near MP 22.2. The female was doing a very interesting display/behavior. She would perch near the top of a tree, & move her head from side to side while calling her high pitched "pik" note, not unlike an upside down metronome. The male would respond by drumming on a faraway stump. Also in the same area we had a male & female Pine Grosbeak, a new bird for us in this forest. There were a few Red Crossbills flying around as well as several Pinyon Jays. In the Greengate Cottonwoods, there was a Great Horned Owl, perched 3 feet off of the ground, giving great looks to all & avoiding a marauding Kestrel. At the Nik & Nik gravel pit, we had the flock of Bank Swallows that have nested there for the past several years, at the NW corner of "Curve Pond'. They were investigating the nest holes, but apparently haven't taken up residence yet.
The weather was beautiful, very summer-like, with highs in the high 80's to the mid nineties.
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