Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lassen National Park to Yuba Pass

I had never been to Lassen National Park, so I chose to go there for some of the higher elevation western breeding birds.  By the time we got there, we had in fact seen most of those we needed, but a key one left was the Black-backed Woodpecker. Until Mt. St. Helens blew her lid, Lassen Peak was the last volcanic activity in the continental USA.  We got to the park early on a beautiful day only to find that the road through the park was closed at the higher altitudes.  But the first ten miles were open so we started out.  We hadn't gone very far before we found the empidonax that we needed, the Dusky Flycatcher.  It's quite similar to the Hammond's Flycatcher we tallied yesterday.  So we spent time looking at a few and listening to their songs and calls and added it to the list.  I actually think it's easier to tell apart by sight than by using their songs.  The call notes, howwever, are easier to distinguish.  And yes, we did see and hear several Mountain Quail!  On down the road we worked our way through and around the campground at Crags.  The campgound was closed and there were very few people in the park at all, so we felt we had the place to ourselves.  We meandered over to an adjacent burn area where several woodpeckers were calling.  Suddenly a woodpecker flew into the burnt tree directly in front of me and the chase was over (web photo).  Moments later a female joined him and it was a grand sight.  We went onward and upward to the highest place we could visit where we encountered American Dippers and Clark's Nutcrackers.  Then we high-tailed it east nearly to the Nevada border before turning toward Yuba Pass.  At 6701 feet it's not the highest, but it is an interesting place.  The Golden Gate Audubon Society was there on a field trip and they told us what they had seen.  A couple of their people had heard Sooty Grouse, a key bird for us.  So we decided to overnight in Sierra City and return early tomorrow morning to give the grouse a try.  The two new birds brought the total to 635.


  1. Bob--any plans to hit Idaho?

  2. Good luck on the Sooty! I hope you know how exciting this adventure of yours is for a lot of people. I want to order my autograph copy of "Bob's BIG YEAR" now.
    Not much happening on the OBX. I did get my NC lifer Purple Gallinule in Duck 6/11. Hope to see ya soon. Audrey