Photos of: Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch-Leucosticte tephrocotis. W. Line St. in Aspendell

Observers: Larry Arbanas
Date: 03/16/2008
Time: 06:46 PM -0500

Inspired by Sharon Ford's observation from a couple days ago, I drove up to Aspendell yesterday to find a small flock of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches and found one. One bird, that is. This little bird was a lifer! It was easy to find, too. From "downtown" Bishop, I took W. Line Street up the hill to where you can proceed no further these days due to fairly deep snow, and parked my pickup there. That would be just past Cardinal St/Rd. A few steps out of my pickup I spotted a little bird feeding on the pebbly ground near some dried grass and little snow bits. It let me get within 20-25', occasionally hopping quickly from one grassy patch to another, always staying behind upraised stalks. This made it challenging to get sharply focused images with my little telescope and auto-focus digi-camera. A few pics came out clear enough for ID'ing the bird, though. It's "dawsoni" race, the interior Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch. Seems all GCRF's have yellow bill in winter and dark other times of year, according to available pictures and information in our field guides. It's amazing how different things are just 14 or so miles W. of Bishop (and 4000+ feet higher in elevation). My hands got so cold they began to burn a bit in the 15 or so minutes I was "stalking" this little beauty, but it always seems worth a bit of discomfort for a new experience. And a new bird. Time of observation: 3/15/08. 5:25-5:40 PM-ish Temperature: Felt like below freezing, at least. Wind: <10 mph Sky: Very overcast Precip: A few minutes before light snow started to come down.