Ovenbird in North Fork Big Pine Canyon

Observers: Chris and Rosie Howard
Email: choward@telis.org
Remote Name: 65.244.205.63
Date: 05/16/04
Time: 09:20 PM

While returning from a hike to Black Lake on 16 May, we saw an Ovenbird just downcanyon from Lon Chaney's cabin. We watched it for half an hour feeding in the leaf litter close to the trail. Eventually it walked right across the trail in front of us. It was amazingly tame, walking straight toward us, affording excellent views. It never sang or called, but walked deliberately and methodically feeding in the forest duff. It thoroughly picked at a Lodgepole cone. 

For those of you interested, here are some directions that we hope will be helpful. Hike west up the north fork of Big Pine Canyon. Approx 15 minutes past second falls, you'll come out of a lodgepole grove into a mature aspen grove. The trail is level and close to the stream at this point and the stream makes a large meander away from the trail. Look for a mini-van sized boulder on the left with a dead trunk leaning on it. You can't miss this rock. If you reach Lon Cheney's cabin you've gone too far. The bird was feeding on both sides of the trail; it was last seen on the stream side near the creek. There is no snow on the trail until Black Lake.  Even if the bird cannot be refound, this is a beautiful walk. (Tons of Fox Sparrows, Green-tailed Towhees, Juncos, Dusky Flycatchers, Peewees, etc.)