RFI: Bank Swallow, Evening Grosbeak, and Owls

Observers: Jon Rowley
Email: jonathan.james
Verification: MONO
Remote Name:
Date: 07/11/2008
Time: 12:37 PM -0400


My wife and I are going to be backpacking through Mono Pass soon, but beforehand we'll be spending a couple of days at my grandparents' cabin above Lake Mary. We've done a few summers' birding in the Eastern Sierra, now, but there are still a few species we haven't had any luck with. We've looked for Bank Swallows along the western shore of Crowley the last two summers. While we had a great time and saw fun Great Basin birds we missed Bank Swallows both times. Are we in the right area and being unlucky/poor observers, or is there a better place to see these? Perhaps at the boat launch area? The cabin's had a lot of great yard birds, including Williamson's Sapsuckers, a pair of Pine Grosbeaks, Brown Creepers, Cassin's Finch, and even some nearby Northern Goshawks many years ago, but I've yet to find Evening Grosbeak -- or Red Crossbill, actually -- and those are birds we'd really like to see. I've read at least one trip report on-line that lists the town of Mammoth as a good spot for Evening Grosbeaks. Does anyone know a reliable area that we could look for them? I'd also appreciate any info on Crossbills, though I suppose those are pretty erratic - even information on what kind of pine cone they prefer in the Eastern Sierra would be great. Lastly, I'm wondering if anybody's ever done any owling in the area around Lake Mary. I've never seen an owl in that area (though I remember finding a pellet as a kid), so even basic information on what kind of species to expect in Lodgepole Pine forests on the eastern slope at 9,000 ft would be great. OK, actually, one more question. Is there any good resource about the avifauna of the Sierra (I'm interested in what fills what niche at what elevation/habitat-type, etc) in print that I could purchase? I love the Sierras and I can't read enough about them or spend enough time in them. I hope this is OK, since I don't have any recent observations to report, but I'm not sure where else would be more appropriate, and any help would be greatly appreciated. You can contact me off-list at jonathan.james[at]gmail.com. Thanks, Jonathan Rowley -La Mirada, CA