I woke up to a very cool morning next to a small river in the Silver Lake Campground with only a few birds calling. I guess they didn’t like the 30 something degree temperatures much either and were slow to wake up and only finally started singing in full force as the sun eventually cleared the mountains.
I spent a little time birding around the river and campgrounds but my main goal for the day was to explore Mono Lake so I eventually packed up and continued the drive around the June Lake area.
As I drove around June Lake I stopped at a couple of spots and managed to see pick up a few new birds. I saw Clark’s Nutcracker (L), Mountain Bluebird (L) and Green-tailed Towhee.
I finally arrived at Mono Lake around 10 and was immediately impressed with the tremendous amount of birds on the lake. I had read quite a bit about the lake and the unique geologic formations and while they are quite captivating the sight of hundreds of Wilson’s Phalaropes, Horned (L) and Eared Grebes and California Gulls (L) is what really excited me.
The California Gulls were wonderful to photograph as they were not shy and were flying around enough so I was able to get multiple images of them flying, swimming and picking alkali flies from the beach. Taking pictures of a “lifer” is always great but to have one this accessable was priceless.
The second most prolific bird was the Wilson’s Phalarope. I had seen this species before in Florida but they were very far away so it was very nice to be able to study these guys at a much closer distance.
I spent a good chunk of the day around the lake and would highly recommend this as a stop for anyone in Northern California. There were very few people around and most of the birds were fairly cooperative.
My next planned stop was the Lake Tahoe area where I was looking for a few specific species including one of my more sought after species the American Dipper. I still had a couple hundred miles to drive and will pick up on the road there tomorrow!!