From May 3 to May 7, 2019, 12 birders from Palomar Audubon made a fantastic trip to the Eastern Sierra, racking up a total of 140 species during the trip. Led by Steve Ellis and Hal Benham, the group was treated to spectacular sights of snow covered mountains that never stopped to amaze.
We visited over 20 birding spots, including the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery, Long Valley Grouse lek, Crowley Lake, Convict Lake, Lee Vining, Aspendell, Glacier Lodge, Lake Sabrina, Billy Lake and, of course, “Dirty Socks.”
Although the target birds were the Sooty Grouse and the Greater Sage Grouse, we were also looking for higher latitude species that we seldom see in San Diego County. Favorite birds included both Gambel’s and California Quail, Lesser Nighthawk, breeding plumage Dunlin, Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalarope, breeding plumage Common Loon, Bald Eagle, Bank Swallow, Swainson’s Hawk, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Black-billed Magpie, American Dipper, Mountain Bluebird, LeConte’s Thrasher, Sage Thrasher, Cassin’s Finch, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Green-tailed Towhee, Yellow-headed Blackbird and of course Sooty and Greater Sage Grouse.
We were treated to a very informative talk by Eric Tymstra, a doctoral student from UC Davis regarding the habits of the Greater Sage Grouse at the BLM office in Bishop. We were also joined by Ken Wells and Steve Brad on the grouse lek as well as Bishop birders Ron and Nancy Ovderholtz who guided us to a couple of really nice spots they knew about. We invited them to join us down here to do some birding with PAS in the future.
The weather was great, the scenery fantastic and the birding was excellent! A very successful trip!
Red Breasted Sapsucker
Greater Sage Grouse