Monthly Archives: March 2014

Notes at the end of March

Cove East

A winter’s morning in spring. Despite the clouds and chill, singers were out, marking territory and looking for mates. Robin and Junco and Song Sparrow, with Red-winged Blackbirds off in the marsh across the river.

Have I mentioned there’s always something interesting at Cove East? How about a band of Bushtits flitting in the willows? Little birds not exciting enough? How about something big?

White Pelicans

White Pelicans stopping by the Upper Truckee delta

Not far from the Pelicans, an early flight of American Avocets took a rest on their way north.

Osgood’s Swamp

With fresh overnight snow, we strapped on our brand new XC skis and headed out to Osgood’s Swamp. Since beaver took over some years back, it’s not so much a swamp as a pond, but ducks like it and there are usually forest birds about.

Well, not so much this Sunday. Ice was the order of the day on the pond. And the woods were surprisingly quiet. We did have one delightful sighting. A brilliant red Pine Grosbeak male perched in a dead fir top. There was a female too, flitting in lower branches, not very visible. Usually, Pine Grosbeaks are found at higher elevations. Very kind of them to come down and visit.


Spring Snow at Upper Truckee Marsh

Upper Truckee Marsh

Getting out of the truck, first bird of the day – a White-headed Woodpecker. Nice beginning to a birding outing. A Northern Flicker pounds away at someones siding. A Robin squeaks. Pygmy Nuthatch and Mountain Chickadee chime in from the canopy above, as Steller’s Jays scold someone about something a little ways off. Yes, a nice beginning.

Snow on the ground, mountains, clouds

Upper Truckee Marsh after late March snow

After a spring-like winter, and an ongoing drought, it’s nice to have the snow that brightens the Upper Truckee Marsh. 

Marsh Wren in willows

Marsh wrens are claiming territory early this year


Red-winged Blackbirds greet the morning, singing away in the willows. Song Sparrows and a Marsh Wren add to the chorus. With all the warm weather Tahoe has had, spring seems so early, they’ve already been singing for weeks.


Ducks swimming

Common Mergansers splashing about

Looks like the resident beaver have been busy again. The water level in the marsh has been down, then up, down, and now up again. There is a dam out beyond this picture and more off to the right that make this pond in Trout Creek. My speculation is something has been dam-busting, but have no idea what.

River, trees, clouds

The pines are a favorite Bald Eagle perch – but not today.


The Upper Truckee Marsh is usually a good spot for birds of prey. Not this day.

We’ve been very lucky over the last year with Bald Eagle sightings, but it’s been two weeks now. Osprey should be returning to Tahoe any day – there’s a colony over in Emerald Bay.