Hull Mt. Black-chinned Sparrows
- Sat, 21 Jun 2002 -- After the reports from last weekend by John Hunter and
Matthew Matthiessen, I went with Chuck Vaughn to Hull Mountain to look for
Black-chinned Sparrows in Mendocino Co. The MEN/LAK county line is unmarked
along M-1, and I have come to realize, after inspecting several maps and
aerial photos of the road, that all my previous sightings of BCSP along
Boardman Ridge have been entirely in Lake County.
We arrived at the high point where the spur road goes off to the
summit about 07:15. About 0.2 mi beyond this point there is a pull-through
with several fire rings on the W side ( BM 6425 on the topo sheet ).
Shortly beyond this pullout a motorcycle trail takes off to the west toward
Windy Point. This is labled 10W32 on the Forest Service map (but not on the
ground) and is called a jeep trail on the topo sheet. We went out this
trail about 1/2 mi. and John Hunter's excellent directions, which I
paraphrase, took us right to BLACK-CHINNED SPARROWS. The trail rises at
first to a low summit (6573 on topo sheet) and then descends. Where it
begins to descend rapidly there are several pieces of bright pink flagging.
We went off the trail to the left here, worked around a small rock outcrop
and downslope until the brush became rather thick. From here we could hear
one, perhaps two, BCSP singing from the brush downslope near a domed rock.
We found a singing bird sitting up on a dead branch in a patch of ceonothus
scrub and had this bird under observation from about 07:50 to 08:10. The
elevation here is about 6000 to 6400 feet.
We drove on to Spruce Grove where we found both HAMMOND'S
FLYCATCHERS and DUSKY FLYCATCHERS, WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKERS, and LINCOLN'S
SPARROWS , the latter singing in the corn lily meadow near the spring. We
returned south to the pullout mentioned above at 12:00, and while we were
eating lunch, Chuck heard another BCSP upslope along the ridge toward the
low summit. Matthew heard his downslope from this same place last weekend.
The wind made hearing difficult by this hour. These locations are at least
a half-mile into Mendocino County, so I redeemed my Mendocino tick on this
Concerning the location of the county line: As you ascend Boardman
Ridge in Lake county you pass Timberline Camp off the road to the left.
Above the camp you come to a section where the road winds up through the
brush. At the bottom of this section is a large pullout heavily used by
hang-gliders as a jumping-off point, and at the top of the section is a
similar pullout. Here there is a wooden post on either side of the road,
and the road straightens out toward the summit. I calculate that the county
line is about 0.135 mi (or 238 yards) beyond these posts, and I built a
small kairn on the uphill side where I estimate the line crosses the road
George Chaniot, Potter Valley, MEN, CA