After a breakfast at the only eatery in Big Pine that opened early, we drove up Big Pine Creek to a grove of Jefferies Pines, those pines whose bark smells like vanilla. This is the location where Gene Cardiff showed me my life Blue Grouse, now the Sooty Grouse. After a brief period of re-orienting, we headed up a trail that led to a nice grove of pines. We did some serious scanning of limbs, but no grouse was seen or heard. We came back to town, packed up, and checked out of our motel. We grabbed the pieces of a picnic lunch and drove east up the road to Westgard Pass. We passed our intended stop and had to turn around and go back down the hill to Tollhouse Spring. There was an amateur herpetolist, Gary Nafis, there who has a fine California herp website. Gary told us he'd heard Chukars not too long before we arrived. We told him that's why we stopped and that's what we were interested in seeing. Very soon after, they called and it wasn't long before we had about nine birds up on the rocky hillside, calling and jumping around. It was a welcome sight (web photo). We then drove on up the road to the Bristlecone Pine grove and a fine view of the Sierras across the Owens Valley while we finished our picnic lunch. Then it was on to Lee Vining, the gateway to Yosemite NP, where our early arrival there helped us secure a room for the night in this tourist spot. After some computer work and a shower, we had dinner in one of three places to eat. Lee Vining is also on Mono Lake, a large basin fed by fresh water, but which is losing depth through evaporation and because Los Angeles is withdrawing water at a faster pace than the replenishment rate. We went down to the lake which is a major breeding site for California Gulls, Wilson's Phalaropes, and some Eared Grebes. It is a major fall stopover location for over a million Eared Grebes. Quite a spectacle! After the sun went down, we went looking for Poorwills again. But this time we succeeded in hearing several and seeing a couple on the road (web photo). We headed back to the motel much happier than last night. Tomorrow we cross through Yosemite NP looking for Sooty Grouse starting from the Tioga Pass entrance. The two new birds today brought the total to 640.