We took a trip that involved staying in various places in Nevada with some ventures into California, Utah and Oregon.
The first little side trip was to Fort Rock to look for raptors. I was looking for early arrival Rough-legged Hawks but did not find any.
Left - On the other hand I got my first ever decent photo of a Ferruginous Hawk. The bird was nicely perched on a power pole cross-arm. It looks small so it could be a male.
Right - A Red-tailed Hawk nicely perched on a fence post.
Unfortunately birding really slowed down from that point. We forgot it was "Ducktober". Infact, duck season opened the next day. The hunters were out in force and really made any birding in the Summer Lake refuge impossible. Goose Lake, by Lakeview, is down so far that it is a mere puddle of its former self. We did stop and bird the campground at Goose Lake were Yellow-rumped Warblers were in abundance. A few other Warblers were in the groups of Yellow-rumps but I never got a good ID. In Alturas we visited the Modoc NWR. There is a nice driving loop and no hunters in the driving area.
~~~~~~~~ October 8th, 2010 ~~~~~~~~
There were lots of Sandhill Cranes at Modoc. At one point a large flock went by in the distance. How many Sandhill's are in the picture?
Above - Female Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Above - Greater Yellowlegs.
Right - White-crowned Sparrow.
~~~~~~~~ October 9th, 2010 ~~~~~~~~
We stayed near Gerlach, NV for two nights. We visited some friends at Deep-hole Ranch. We stayed at a place called Planet X Pottery. There is a vacation rental on the property. What a funky place. Beautiful pottery, birds, a horse, a friendly cat and a very neat parrot.
Left - Red-naped Sapsucker.
Right - Logger-head Shrike.
Both photos taken at Deephole Ranch.
~~~~~~~~ October 10th, 2010 ~~~~~~~~
This was a great day. We all got to go out to see Fly Geyser (on Fly Ranch). This is on private property but it sometimes is a real benefit who your friends know. Fly Geyser has two other cousins which were also very photogenic. We were out there at high noon. The photo ops at sunset would have been just awesome but you got to take what you get.
Above - The Bar at Planet X. Our friends at Deep-hole Ranch came over and John at Planet X grilled some sausage and pineapple. Wow, was it good! We made it a very happy couple of hours consuming large amounts of good food and wine. We also met Mesha the parrot. See pics of Mesha further below.
Left - Red-naped Sapsucker - Planet X.
Right - Say's Phoebe - Near Gerlach.
Funny thing about Say's Phoebe...I have for years been trying to get a good picture of this bird. As you will see I made up for lost time this trip.
Fly Geyser (named after Fly Ranch), as beautiful and natural looking as it is, is a man made phenomenon. A water well was being drilled in 1916 and stuck a geothermal source. A Wikipedia article has some neat info on the
geyser which I did not get from our host who took us to the geyser. This was a functioning well until the 1960's until it started leaking and this is the result of the mineral buildup from the leak.
We stayed with some friends for three days at the Ridge Tahoe. The Stellar's Jays kept visiting in the tree right off the deck. The Ridge Tahoe -10-12.
Left - I call this geyser the "Mt. Fuji" Geyser. It was difficult to get a picture of this geyser. It is about 6' tall and is surrounded by reeds and lots of water. I was not prepared to get that wet! The geyser to the right is not as active as Fly Geyser but is slowly dripping and building away.
Right - Deep-hole Ranch sunset (or moonrise). I was just playing around seeing what kind of pictures I could get. It was quite dark. The photo was lightened a bit in Photoshop.
~~~~~~~~ October 11th, 2010 ~~~~~~~~
Mesha at Planet X. She is an Eclectus parrot (Australia region). The females are much more brightly colored than the males. She was lots of fun to photograph. I just moved her here and there to take pictures.
Off we went to South Lake Tahoe.
~~~~~~~~ October 12th and 13th, 2010 ~~~~~~~~
We visitied Taylor Creek on the CA side of Tahoe to see the spawning Kokanee Salmon.
Above right you can really see how the male's jaw deforms along with the hump formed on his back.
The left picture was taken with my little Nikon point-and-shoot from the foot bridge right near highway 89. Wow...that's a lot of salmon. 10-13
Lots of Mallards were in Taylor Creek dabbling on salmon eggs. This male looked real nice just resting on the smooth clear water his tummy full of salmon eggs.
A Great Blue Heron was sitting quietly near the small pond just off the Lam Watah trail (Stateline, NV). I caught him getting a fish in the lower picture. 10-13
I think White-headed Woodpeckers are some of the coolest looking North American woodpeckers. These two were sighted near the Lam Watah trail. 10-13
Above - A nice hike along the west shore of Lake Tahoe was done on 10-12. Another pic from the Nikon point-and-shoot. This is looking across Tahoe to the east shore.
Right - This is the same small pond where I took the pictures of the Great Blue Heron. Fall colors were starting to show and I really like the reflection in the water. Another really nice picture from the little Nikon.
~~~~~~~~ October 15th, 2010 ~~~~~~~~
We flew down to Vegas on the 14th. On the 15th we headed out to Mesquite, NV. I wanted to stop at the Flamingo Hilton to see the birds. There seemed to be a lot less then there were in the past. Left is a Flamingo. Top is a male Guinea Fowl.
On the way out to Mesquite we detoured to the Valley of Fire State Park. We went here many years ago and truthfully remembered little! The lighting is not the best in these pictures. It was mid-day and things were bright. You can see the cloudless skys. The rock formations were really neat.
Top left looks like an alien head to me. Look hard at starting at the left is a mouth and moving up is the eye and then there is a big rounded pointed top skull.
The picture left middle looks like a dinosaur head.
Below left and right are some neat rock formations. I like the angles on the lower right picture and the rock pile kind of matches the profile of the mountains in the background in the left picture
Bottom left is a White-tailed Antelope Ground Squirrel. What a big name for a little rodent. This guy was cooling off its belly on a rock wall at the park visitor's center.
As we left Valley of Fire state park we came across the Overton Wildlife Management Area. We stopped in for a brief look and could not really figure out where to go in the place. It appeared like you had to walk everywhere. That's a concept! We would return to this place the next week to bird some more.
Left - In the parking area I got a first look (for this trip) of one of my favorite desert birds...the Phainopepla. I think these birds are just great looking with the crest and the red eye.
Right - Dragon Fly. I have no idea what kind.
The rest of the trip