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3952June 18-24 Southern Sierra Super Trip Report

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  • Bob Barnes
    Jun 25 11:30 AM
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      Yesterday afternoon, Paul Fox (Pacific Palisades, CA), Gerry Hawkins (Arlington, VA), and  I concluded a June 18-24 Southern Sierra birding super trip. We spent considerable time in both northeastern Kern County and southeastern Tulare County with brief time spent in Inyo County along Nine Mile Canyon Rd. Following is a trip report of HIGHLIGHTS, DIPS, and a WHOLE TRIP SPECIES LIST.

      Paul and I were very glad Gerry was along on the trip as he heard and saw birds/species we would have missed otherwise due to what Paul and I both recognize is the expected diminishing of auditory and visual abilities over time as the years pass (e.g.: not hearing all Golden-crowned Kinglets and Brown Creepers unless very close and vocalizing very loudly). Such is life for most of us over time. It is what it is. But, I do notice.

      We also had the pleasure of going out owling with John Schmitt for a couple of hours one early, pre-dawn into very early dawn morning. What a treat!

      HIGHLIGHTS included:
      • WHITE-TAILED KITE - Two at Kern River Preserve Headquarters
      • SORA - Three in Fish Creek wetland at Troy Meadow
      • WILSON'S PHALAROPE - Two females at the Inyokern Water Treatment Plant were the first of southbound "fall" migrants for that species. 
      • WHITE-WINGED DOVE - One observed in a Ridgecrest rural residential neighborhood
      • FLAMMULATED OWL - One in the Greenhorn Mountains courtesy of John Schmitt 
      • BURROWING OWL - Family group of 6 in Ridgecrest
      • SPOTTED OWL - One stunning auditory and visual observation in the Greenhorn Mountains.
      • LONG-EARED OWL - Three HY immatures just short of adult plumage in Ridgecrest
      • LESSER NIGHTHAWK - Six foraging over the old sewage ponds at Ridgecrest Watchable Wildlife Park
      • CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD - One at Troy Meadow
      • WOODPECKERS - Ten species including Acorn, Nuttall's, Downy, Hairy, and Northern Flicker
      • WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKER - One female and one male paired at Troy Meadow Campground
      • RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER - Multiple locations in the Giant Sequoia National Monument
      • LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER - Several locations in the Walker Pass region
      • WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER - One near Chimney Creek Campground; several locations in the Giant Sequoia National Monument and Greenhorn Mountains
      • PILEATED WOODPECKER - One female in the Giant Sequoia National Monument
      • PEREGRINE FALCON - One, possibly a pair, in the Kern River Canyon
      • ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET - In Bakersfield at both Beale Park and Union Cemetery
      • FLYCATCHER SWEEP - FOURTEEN SPECIES included Olive-sided, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow (Kern River Preserve), Hammond's (Trail of 100 Giants), Gray (Chimney Creek Campground), Dusky, Pacific-slope (Cedar Creek Campground), Black Phoebe, Say's Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher (Kern River Preserve), Ash-throated Flycatcher, Brown-crested Flycatcher (Kern River Preserve-Fay Ranch Rd), Cassin's Kingbird (Paul's Place in the South Fork Kern River Valley), Western Kingbird
      • PLUMBEOUS VIREO - One near Chimney Creek Campground
      • CASSIN'S VIREO - Three at Cedar Creek Campground; one along the Trail of 100 Giants
      • PINYON JAY - Forty+ on the east side of Walker Pass (CA 178 Mile 81.5), seven along Nine Mile Canyon Rd, two along Kennedy Meadows Rd
      • CLARK'S NUTCRACKER - One along Kennedy Meadows Rd, two at Troy Meadow Campground, two on Bald Mountain
      • VERDIN - Multiples at two locations outside Inyokern including Inyokern--Middlemiss
      • PYGMY NUTHATCH - Four at Troy Meadow Campground
      • CANYON WREN - Two in the Kern River Canyon
      • PACIFIC WREN - A record four in the Greenhorn Mountains at the southern limits of this species' breeding/nesting range in the Sierra Nevada
      • CACTUS WREN - Chimney Peak National Back Country Byway, Nine Mile Canyon Rd
      • AMERICAN DIPPER - South Creek Falls in the Giant Sequoia National Monument
      • MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD - One adult male at Troy Meadow
      • SWAINSON'S THRUSH - One late/getting late migrant at Inyokern--Middlemiss
      • LE CONTE'S THRASHER - Two outside Inyokern
      • PHAINOPEPLA - Nineteen at Tillie Creek Campground
      • WARBLER SWEEP - TEN SPECIES included Orange-crowned, Nashville,, MacGillivray's, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow, Yellow-rumped. Black-throated Gray, Hermit, Wilson's Yellow-breasted Chat
      • NEAR LARGE & SMALL SPARROW SWEEP - SIXTEEN SPECIES including Green-tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Rufous-crowned (Kern River Canyon), California Towhee, Chipping, Brewer's (Kennedy Meadows Rd), Black-chinned (Giant Sequoia National Monument lowlands), Lark, Black-throated (Chimney Peak National Back Country Byway, Nine Mile Canyon Rd, Walker Pass at CA 178 Mile 81.5), Bell's, Savannah, Fox, Song, Lincoln's, White-crowned (mountain/oriantha subspecies - Troy Meadow), Dark-eyed Junco  
      • SUMMER TANAGER - Three at and in the vicinity of Kern River Preserve Headquarters, one at Kern River Peserve--Sierra Way
      • WESTERN TANAGER - One adult male at Inyokern--Middlemiss 6/18/14 may be speculated as to whether it was a late spring migrant or an early fall migrant
      • BLUE GROSBEAK - Numerous individuals from among various Kern River Preserve locations (Fay Ranch Rd, Headquarters, Sierra Way) 
      • LAZULI BUNTING - One on Bald Mountain. Yikes! The only one detected during the entire trip.
      • HOODED ORIOLE - Inyokern-Middlemiss, Kern River Preserve Headquarters
      • SCOTT'S ORIOLE - Chimney Peak National Back Country Byway, Nine Mile Canyon Rd.
      • PINE SISKIN - Two at Quaking Aspen Campground
      • LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCH - Pairs and pairs only at Alta Sierra, Kern River Preserve--Fay Ranch Rd, Kern River Preserve Headquaters (two distinct locations), Troy Meadow
      DIPS including surprise misses, species we specifically tried for, and not necessarily expected species*** which reveal how much bigger the species list could have been beyond the impressive 154 species we did tally: Wood Duck*, Gadwall*, Cinnamon Teal*, Mountain Quail* (not only not seen, none were heard), Sooty Grouse*, Snowy Egret*, Cattle Egret (car trouble stopped us from getting to the Bakersfield Water Treatment Plant), Black-crowned Night-Heron, Osprey*, Golden Eagle, Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk*, Virginia Rail*, Common Gallinule*, Black-necked Stilt (car trouble prevented us from getting to the Bakersfield WTP), Band-tailed Pigeon*, Spotted Dove*, Yellow-billed Cuckoo*, Greater Roadrunner, Western Screech-Owl*, Northern Pygmy-Owl*, Northern Saw-whet Owl*, Common Poorwill (forest fire prevented us from getting to the traditional location for finding this species), Black Swift, Prairie Falcon, Bell's Vireo*, Hutton's Vireo*, Barn Swallow, Hermit Thrush*, Grasshopper Sparrow***, Vesper Sparrow*, Red Crossbill, Evening Grosbeak***

      TOTAL LIST OF 154 SPECIES RECORDED: Mallard, Ruddy Duck, California Quail, Chukar, Wild Turkey, Pied-billed Grebe, Western Grebe, Clark's Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, American White Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, White-faced Ibis, Turkey Vulture, White-tailed Kite, Cooper's Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Sora, American Coot, American Avocet, Killdeer, Wilson's Phalarope, California Gull, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Barn Owl, Flammulated Owl, Great Horned Owl, Burrowing Owl, Spotted Owl, Long-eared Owl, White-throated Swift, Black-cinned Hummingbird, Anna's Hummingbird, Costa's Hummingbird, Acorn Woodpecker, Williamson's Sapsucker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, White-headed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Rose-ringed Parakeet (currently not officially countable), Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Hammond's Flycatcher, Gray Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Say's Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Cassin's Kingbird, Western Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Plumbeous Vireo, Cassin's Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Pinyon Jay, Steller's Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark's Nutcracker, American Crow, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Mountain Chickadee, Oak Titmouse, Verdin, Bushtit, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Rock Wren, House Wren, Pacific Wren, Bewick's Wren, Cactus Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Dipper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Wrentit, Western Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Townsned's Solitaire, Swainson's Thrush, American Robin, California Thrasher, Le Conte's Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Phainopepla, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Green-tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, California Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Black-chinned Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow, Bell's Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Summer Tanager, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Tricolored Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Brewer's Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Hooded Oriole, Bullock's Oriole, Scott's Oriole, House Finch, Purple Finch, Cassin's Finch, Pine Siskin. Lesser Goldfinch, Lawrence's Goldfinch, House Sparrow,...154 species

      Serving as a Messenger for Paul Fox and Gerry Hawkins plus as an observer myself.

      Continued Happy & Productive Birding,

      Bob Barnes, Ridgecrest, Kern County, California

      Cell: 760-382-1260