Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ski Trip Birding

My first trip of 2011 was primarily a ski trip. Waking up early to catch the gondola, trying to cover as much territory of the destination resort, and spending time with friends were the real goals. Then again, California is a state I hadn't visited since I began birding, and spending a few days in a hotel located on Stateline Rd didn't hurt. I managed to keep my eyes on the treetops while riding the chairlifts, and took the camera along for afternoon walks to the lake shore, and was able to build some respectable winter lists as a result. The Pygmy Nuthatches, (above), moved about in flocks, much like they had when I watched them a few weeks ago in Boulder. In California, like Colorado they show a preference for the Ponderosa Pines.

The Lakeshore Park was popular with many of the tourists, not just photographers and birders. The children feeding bread to the birds pulled in a nice mixed flock of gulls. This Herring Gull remained aloof from the frenzy on a closed diving pier.

While the lake was the bird magnet, time spent on the slopes wasn't birdless. In the Sierras just like the Rockies it pays to keep your eyes open while enjoying some sun and lunch. A pair of Clark's Nutcrackers (above) and numerous Mountain Chickadees kept a close eye on the happenings at the new Tamarack Lodge near the summit base of the gondola, just on the California side of the border.

What trip to California would be complete without California Gulls, on the south shore of Lake Tahoe they even outnumber Ring-billed gulls - a welcome change for this Colorado birder. I think the bird above was disappointed that my camera did not generate scraps of bread.

Finally, who couldn't fall in love with a view like this out their hotel window? I've been to Tahoe before, and will plan to get back just as soon as I can, perhaps in a different season next time.

2011 Count: 23
Lifetime: 252

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