Wednesday - 23-November 2005 - Today I traveled to the high country of Mendocino County with my dad and brother in hopes of birds such as Clark's Nutcracker or Gray-crowned Rosy Finch (seen once before in very late November) or Northern Goshawk. No such luck. Going up Boardman Ridge on the Lake County side I did see 4 Thick-billed Fox Sparrows and about 12 Sooty Fox Sparrows. 1 Townsend's Solitaire and a pair of Western Bluebirds were also on the Lake County side. Mountain chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches were also there.
Once we reached Mendocino County at slightly higher elevation on Hull Mountain I could not find any Thick-billed but did see 20+ Sooty Fox Sparrows. It was rather "dead" up there despite beautiful clear weather and excellent "listening" conditions (important for possible Clark's Nutcrackers). At Windy Gap there were 8 American Robins... nothing else. Further I found a couple flocks of Mountain Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches.
Onto Spruce Grove for lunch (11:00 AM) ... still rather "dead" with heavy frost still matting the west side of the meadow. I saw 1 Winter Wren in the meadow, and found a large mixed flock of Mtn. chickdees, R-b. Nuthatches, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and a lone, very silent, female White-headed Woodpecker. One Pileated Woodpecker was heard.
Continuing on towards Bald Mtn on Road M-1 and then east on Road M61 only turned up more Chickadees and R-b. Nuthatches and a few Dark-eyed Juncos. One pair of Western Bluebirds was near Bean Rock.
I took advantage of the day because as soon as the first major winter storm event hits then the road is usually closed with snow for the winter. Despite few birds, the drive was again peaceful and the views spectacular. We saw NO ONE ELSE on the "loop" all day!
Good Birding. Bob Keiffer
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]