I had such a pleasant day up here last weekend that I decided to go up again. Went to my same sit spot and set up a little day camp. It wasn't quite as 'birdy' as last weekend, but there was plenty to make it interesting. The above view is looking towards the south--a really stunning view.
Here is a shot looking towards the canopy; there a quite a few dead and dying trees up here, most likely the victims of so many years of drought and the subsequent insect damage. But we've had over a normal year's rainfall this season, so the trees are getting a nice break.
The area in this photo shows where a lot of birds have been foraging on the ground. Not sure what they are finding, as I did not want to go down and disturb the area. But the nuthatches, chickadees, and woodpeckers all go down and pick through the duff.
There were three White-headed Woodpeckers this time--two males and a female. This is one of the males, although you cannot see his red cap in this view.
I finally got a halfway decent shot of one of the Pygmy Nuthatches--those little guys really move fast and are so small it's hard to keep them spotted. When they get up amongst the branches, the camera has a hard time resolving the image from all the foliage around the subject.
And then there were chipmunks! They were everywhere this time. Don't know if most of them were still hibernating last week or what, but there were at least ten of them in my general area. And I think my sit spot, which backs up against a boulder outcrop, is home to at least one; I nearly jumped out of my skin when one squeaked loudly right behind where I was sitting!
This photos is titled 'spot the chipmunk.'
Yes--I wasn't kidding. They were EVERYWHERE!
There is still quite a bit of snow up there. We are supposed to have more rain and snow this week, so not sure how much that will add to the remaining accumulation, but the snow levels are supposed to drop to 3500' by this Wednesday. That should translate to plenty at the higher elevations (at least .33 to .75 inches).
On the way down the hill I stopped by McGill Campground, which is still closed. I was aghast at the amount of trash people have left after using some of the sites for the day. Granted there are no trashbins yet, but jeez--can't they haul out their crap? The laziness of people and their lack of respect for the environment never ceases to amaze (and anger) me.
Down near the freeway onramp I decided to stop for a quick lunch, so went to a Jack in the Box. I was delighted to be joined by about a half dozen Common Ravens, who apparently have found out that the parking lot is a good place to look for scraps. I got good close looks at them--wow--they are HUGE birds!
Oh--and I forgot to mention the wildflowers! The rolling hills all along the Grapevine are covered with wildflowers: lupine, Califorina Poppy, and some sort of small yellow daisy. From a distance it looks like Nature has smudged colored chalk on the hills! Quite a lovely sight.