I hiked from Timberline Lodge to the snow fields above Silcox Hut. My main target was Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch. I missed the finches, but there is always something fun to see on the mountain. There were a lot of skiers and snowboarders on the remaining snow fields. I don’t know how you expect to find Rosy-Finches while going that fast, but to each their own.
Several Clark’s Nutcrackers were hanging out near the lodge. This species can be quite tame, but the ones near Timberline tend to be shy and keep their distance. Perhaps I need to carry more snacks.
Lupines were one of several wildflowers that are currently in bloom.
A couple of Horned Larks were pretty cooperative.
This blurry creature is a juvenile Rock Wren. The pale sandy brown plumage had me stumped for a while, as the adults are more clearly marked with cold brown and gray colors and speckling.
No visit to Timberline is complete without Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, the Alpine Ambassadors of Cuteness.
Yellow-bellied Marmots reign over the higher slopes. The vegetation is so sparse here it is hard to imagine how these guys find enough to eat.
walking that fine line between majestic and adorable
I spent a morning above the tree line in Rocky Mountain National Park. We saw more mammals than birds (next post), and the two target species, Brown-capped Rosy Finch and White-tailed Ptarmigan, both eluded me. But any trip to this area is well worth it, whatever you manage to find.
One of the more common species on the tundra is American Pipit.
The choice of habitat, along with the scruffy plumage, really threw me, but this seems to be a Sage Thrasher.
These Common Ravens were feeding on an Elk carcass.
A few Clark’s Nutcrackers were hanging out near one of the parking lots.
Other species seen but not photographed included Golden Eagle, Horned Lark, and a couple of fly-by hummingbirds, probably Broad-tailed. So there was not a huge bird list by the end of the morning, but it is a treat to visit this habitat at an elevation over two miles higher than my home in Portland.
Some colleagues and I made a quick sweep through the Klamath Basin on April 30 and May 1. Late snows and cold weather have really delayed spring in that area, causing the Greater White-fronted Geese to remain in unusually high numbers. The morning of May 1 was clear and calm, inspiring thousands of geese to continue north.
Two of our favorite birding sites around Fort Klamath were snowed in, so we missed some upland species we were hoping for. We did spend some time at the Williamson River Day Use Area, across the highway from Collier State Park. As we were walking back toward the car, this Clark’s Nutcracker put on a nice show in the lawn.