Category Archives: Outings

Outing reports

Brewer’s Blackbird Invasion

Taylor Creek

Brewer’s Blackbirds. Brewer’s Blackbirds. Everywhere Brewer’s Blackbirds.

Brewers Blackbird male

Brewer’s Balckbird male

Female Brewer's Blackbird

Female Brewer’s Blackbird adds to the chorus









Duck on flooded trail

Beavers keep flooding this section of the Rainbow Trail



Beaver have been busy removing trees and restructuring the waterscape. It won’t be long before the Forest Service reclaims the trail by breaking the dam. Again.

Mallards enjoy foraging the extended territory.



Giant Trillium

Giant Trillium – a rarity at 6000+ feet



We’ve been watching this Giant Trillium for several years. Found in California’s Coast Ranges, how did it come to be here?




Lynn leads the way

Follow me down the Rainbow Trail



Lynn leads the way through a grove of Aspens heavy with catkins.




Mourning Cloaks overwinter as butterflies




We find a Mourning Cloak Butterfly, emerged from its winter shelter.

Swainson’s Hawk Show

Sierra Valley

Lynn and I birded in the Sierra Valley, with a run up to Frenchman Reservoir.
Most excellent – 55 species on the day.

Bridge over Feather River aswirl with swallows

Bridge over Feather River aswirl with swallows

Gorgeous day. Lots of water in the valley, green, green, green — probably won’t last long. Dry parts – brown, brown, brown.

Marble Hot Springs Road very productive, water at all the crossings.


Swainson's Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk put on a show


Bird of the day:
Spotted a raptor hovering. Too big for a kestrel. Flying. Hovering again.
Who hovers? Roughie?
Red-tails occasionally hover. Saw a Bald Eagle do it once, working a Coot.
Wing-linings lighter than flight feathers. Swainson’s.

Ooh! ooh! ooh! It’s dropping. Slow vertical wingspread descent. No movement, just sliding down out of the heavens. Spectacular. Awesome. Prime birding moment.
Didn’t get the mousie.

Heading from Loyalton to Sierraville, stopped at the high corner valley overlook. Rancher on an ATV swirled a flight of hundreds. Scope time. In a large area of wet, maybe up to 1000 White-faced Ibis and hundreds of gulls. Did I say a THOUSAND Ibis?! Also some cranes, geese, willets…. Too far for details. Many, many of birds.

Life in the Raw

Upper Truckee Marsh


On the Upper Truckee Delta

So this Bald Eagle is perched in the pines at the mouth of the Upper Truckee. And it’s off, straight out over the lake. We carry on, drinking cocoa, watching the Snowy Egrets working the river edge. And the gulls go up.

What do you do when the gulls go up? Look for Baldy. Coming straight back from where he(she?) went. With food. Lands out on the sand spit.

Five minutes? Ten minutes? This wasn’t a quick fish grab. Sure enough, feathers start flying. Coot? Duck? Peering through the scope — looks like a duck head. Feathers continue to fly. What are the Egrets doing? Mallards drift by. Still eating.

After a while, the eagle flies off to the west. What was the meal? Let’s go look. CSI mission. Guess the leftovers left with the eagle.


All that was left…

A Walk at Baldwin Beach

Baldwin Beach

Nice morning for a walk down at the lakeshore out to the mouth of Taylor Creek. Pretty quiet birdwise.

Swallows, Bluebirds, Meadowlark, female Williamson’s Sapsucker, Red-tailed Hawk. Only a few Mallards, Common Mergansers and a Killdeer at the creek. There may be Tree Swallow nesting in the snags in Baldwin Marsh.

Barn Swallow

The pause that refreshes

Mountain Bluebird male

Bluer than the sky

Spring is arriving at Spooner Lake.

Spooner Lake

Lynn looking Spooner LakeTaking our lives in our hands, we crossed traffic at the top of Spooner Summit (traffic was light!) to park at the Spooner Summit Trailhead. Parking is free. (In season, as it IS a State Park, they ask for a fee for using the Spooner Lake Trail. Still pre-season. No fee.

Parking there adds about a mile of fine forest birding (with highway noise) to the 2.1 mile loop.

Spooner Lake is a good place to see Osprey. One passes overhead and off out of sight. Then we hear Splash! All the way across the lake, Osprey rises with fish.

26 bird species, mix of forest birds and waterfowl. And a Mourning Cloak (butterfly).

It’s My Fish…

Cove East

We’re having a nice morning at Cove East. Sparrows are singing. There’s a Clarks Grebe in the marina. Magpies working on nests. Avocets on the delta.

We’re most of the way back to the truck and I’m thinking “Magpies nesting – is that something interesting?” I’m the guy who says “There’s always something interesting at Cove East.” What’s up?

With fish. Circling for altitude

With fish. Circling for altitude

Suddenly there’s an Osprey low overhead. With a fish. Circling. Gaining altitude. Right overhead.

Out to the east, over the marsh, here comes trouble. A Bald Eagle. Eagles take fish from Osprey. Better than working.

The Osprey heads west, Eagle in pursuit. Who had lunch?

Yes. There’s always something interesting at Cove East.

As a note: Around Tahoe, if you see an Osprey with a fish, look around for Baldy. And a possible aerial battle.

Many Species…

Upper Truckee Marsh

Smowy Egret wading

A Snowy Egret visits the Upper Truckee River

First of season Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbird, Least Sandpiper, Willet and Snowy Egret.

Two Red-tailed Hawks, a Northern Harrier, and old Baldy represented the raptors.

Wilson’s Snipe winnowing out in the marsh. Would love to see a winnow flight.

Looking across river

Can’t we get closer?


With all the species to see, rest and refreshments definitely in order. Lynn brought cocoa. Yum.

42 species for the morning. Excellent.

Dippers at Home

South Upper Truckee

Dipper collecting grass

Yes, yes. This will make a nice nest

A pair of American Dippers make their home under the bridge out at the end of South Upper Truckee Road. And are very entertaining…

Brief Pileated sighting!

Loon on Fallen Leaf

Fallen Leaf Lake

Mt Tallac reflecting in lake

Looking at Mt Tallac across Fallen Leaf Lake

April can bring migrating Loons to Tahoe. Fallen Leaf Lake is a good Loon looking locale. We went, we looked, we saw. One Common Loon.

Heard Pileated noises in the distance.

Looking for Woody

Pope Marsh

Quick stop at Pope to look for Wood Ducks (and everything else). Water Lilies beginning to show.

An Eared Grebe has joined the cast of waterbirds. Ring-neckeds still dominate. Ruddy, Bufflehead, Mallard, Canada Goose, Pied-billed Grebe, Cinnamon, Coot.

Glide and splash, there’s Mr. Woody, front and center…