Just outside of Nevada: We spent the nights of Oct 17 and 18 at the Black Mountain Fire Lookout in the Diamond Mts of California, south of Honey Lake. (The fire lookout is no longer functioning and is rented out by the Forest Service.) The area around the lookout has a lot of mountain mahogany (including "skeletons" from a fire in the not-too-distant past), tobacco brush, and manzanita, and some Jeffrey pine. Here's the short list of birds seen at or within a few hundred yards of the lookout, Oct 17-19:
1 Northern Harrier
1 Acorn Woodpecker
1 Canyon Wren
1 Mountain Chickadee
2 Clark's Nutcrackers
5-6 American Robins
2 Golden-crowned Sparrows
1-2 White-crowned Sparrows
1 unid. raptor, probably an accipiter
There are lots of oaks in the Diamond Mts and Acorn Woodpeckers are resident, but I didn't notice any oaks near the fire lookout, so that bird was probably just passing through. The Canyon Wren seemed a little out of place too -- there are some rock outcrops near the lookout but they're not large and I didn't see anything like a cliff right there (although many distant cliffs are visible from the lookout).
(Not surprisingly, the lookout has an amazing 360 view and, with only a crescent moon, the stargazing was fantastic. Quarters were a little cramped for two adults and two small kids though.)
In the afternoon of Oct 17, on our drive to the lookout, there was a Varied Thrush on the Milford Grade maybe a mile or so north of the road to Black Mountain. The bird was hopping in the road which looked odd to me only because I think a robin would have been walking (or running) on such an open surface. I've never heard anything one way or another about hopping vs walking in Varied Thrushes, but I don't think they spend much time on open ground, so it makes sense that they would have less of a tendency to walk than robins do.
This morning (Oct 19), there was a White-headed Woodpecker in the pines in front of Pope's General Store, on the Milford Grade right by Hwy 395. The playground just southeast of the community center in Milford had quite a few birds, including Eurasian Collared-Doves, White-crowned Sparrows, a Spotted Towhee, and a couple of Acorn Woodpeckers. The woodpeckers are using a telephone pole as a "granary" for storing acorns, so that spot should be a reliable place to see them.
Alan de Queiroz
Not surprisingly, the lookout has a fantastic 360 view and is great for stargazing (but is a little cramped as lodging for a family of four!).