Summary of 3/17-18/07 weekend trip to Inyo County

Observers: Kim Kuska and the Tulare County Audubon Society
Verification: MONO
Remote Name:
Date: 03/19/2007
Time: 01:41 PM -0500


On the weekend of March 17-18, 2007, the Tulare County Audubon Society had a field field trip birding Inyo County. In Aspendale (mainly at the feeders on Iris Drive and Cataract Drive) on Saturday (3/17/07)afternoon, we saw more Pygmy Nuthatches than ever before, 1 Pine Siskin, several Rosy Finches, great looks at Cassin's Finches, a Lincoln's Sparrow, an American Dipper (at the bridge on Cataract Drive), several Steller's Jays and Northern Flickers, and of course numerous Mountain Chickadees, Common Ravens, and Red-winged Blackbirds. The highlight though was a Northern Pygmy-Owl perched on a tree with one talon and holding a dead pocket gopher with its other talon! We saw it at the end of Cataract Drive! Other highlights of our weekend included an early Bank Swallow at Diaz Lake and another at Nik and Nik ponds, a Tundra Swan, Lesser Scaups and Ring-necked Ducks at Nik and Nik ponds, an early Western Kingbird, Nutall's Woodpecker and a Sora at Diaz Lake, a Virginia Rail at Cottonwood Marsh, a Cassin's Kingbird and Chipping Sparrow at the rest area just North of Little Lake, Redheads, Canvasbacks, Great Egret, Eared and Pied-billed Grebes at Little Lake, an immature Golden Eagle just north of Bishop, and an Eurasian Collared-dove across from Crowley Lake General Store. In the Crowley Lake area, we had 122+ (probably closer to 150) Greater Sage Grouse, 1 adult and 2 immature Bald Eagles, 4 Black-billed Magpies, numerous Sage Sparrows, Horned Larks, and Western Meadowlarks, a flock of 45 Pinyon Jays, 3 Sage Thrashers, 3 Greater Yellowlegs, several American Avocet (in beautiful breeding plumage), also several Cinnamon Teal and Canada Geese, a Common Merganser, and 3 coyotes stalking the sage grouse- one of the coyotes was hobbling, having an injured front left leg. At Convict Lake we had 2 more Adult Bald Eagles, 2 American Dippers nesting under the bridge, a Fox Sparrow, and 3 Clark's Nutcrackers. In the city park in Bishop, we had extremely close-up views of a Gadwall, numerous American Wigeon, California Gulls, American Robins and Cedar Waxwings. Our trip total was 90 species plus wonderful views of Venus, Mars, and the 4 visible moons of Jupiter! The weather was perfect throughout the weekend.