It was a perfect day for a hike in the mountains. Clear, sunny, T-shirt
weather. There was no snow on the North Canyon Trail going up toward
Marlette Lake. (The North Canyon Trail leaves from Spooner Lake State
Park, Douglas County, but most of the trail is in Carson City county.
However, I joined the trail by parking at the Spooner Summit parking lot
for the Tahoe Rim Trail, then hiked down to Spooner Lake, after paying
the $1.00 entry fee, north to the Spooner Lake Cabin Trail, and from
there to the North Canyon Trail.) After the North Canyon trail passes
over the summit and heads down toward Marlette Lake, there was enough
snow to make it a bit more difficult (I quit there and turned around.)
There were lots of birds around, with the highlight being a NORTHERN
PYGMY-OWL which posed for the best photos I've ever gotten of one. (I
put the best one on my website, address below. Click on the "Recent"
tab.) The owl was about 600 yards up the North Canyon Trail from the
intersection with the Spooner Lake Cabin Trail.
There were a lot of Warbling Vireos singing. This seemed a bit funny --
I haven't seen a single Warbling Vireo yet on migration in the desert
(and Greg says he's only seen one so far,) but there are plenty in the
high country. Wonder how they got there.
Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warblers and Wilson's Warblers were the only
warblers I came across. There was one Western Wood-pewee and two Dusky
Flycatchers (one Dusky was singing its full song, the other was doing
its special dee-dee-hic call, which I think is heard only near the
I saw a couple of White-headed Woodpeckers and a couple of Red-breasted
Sapsuckers (one of which posed for decent photos.) A Hairy Woodpecker
engaged in a running battle with the Pygmy-Owl (they seemed evenly
matched -- nobody won.) Several Northern Flickers were around.
One "Sierra" Fox Sparrow called from the brush, and one Sooty Grouse
hooted up near the top of the trail.
Surprising to me were three WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS. I have seen very few in
the Tahoe Basin (one at South Shore in September, 2010 and one at Tahoe
City in early May, 2004.)
Here's a complete list:
Sooty Grouse 1
Western Grebe 1
Northern Pygmy-Owl 1
Red-breasted Sapsucker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
White-headed Woodpecker 2
Western Wood-Pewee 1
Dusky Flycatcher 2
Warbling Vireo 12
Western Scrub-Jay 3
Fox Sparrow 1
email: Martin (...AT...) SierraBirdbum.com
Photo website: http://SierraBirdbum.com