2011 Northern California Trip (Part 4)

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is one of the iconic places in the United States to visit and in a normal year with more than 3 1/2 million people vacationing or visiting there.  It became a National Park back in 1890 and truly is one of those places you should have on your bucket list of places to visit if you haven’t already been there.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

There were many more people there than I had planned on and I will definitely have to go back at a less busy time of the year.  Literally every where you look in Yosemite there is a scenic view.  I can see why Ansel Adams and so many other famous photographers spent so much time there.

Yosemite National Park ... Bridal Vail Falls

Yosemite National Park … Bridal Vail Falls from a distance.

Bridal Vail Falls ... A little closer!

I don’t mind crowds all that much but when I say it was crowded … I mean it was WAY crowded.  First thing in the morning there was a little bit of wildlife action but by 9 am the crowds had pretty much eliminated all chances of birding.  I did manage to see some Brewer’s Blackbirds (L), Stellar’s Jays (L), Common Ravens, Acorn Woodpeckers and some American Robins.

Stellar's Jay ... I was fortunate to see this beauty a couple of more times on my trip ... what a stunning fellow!

Stellar’s Jay … I was fortunate to see this beauty a couple of more times on my trip … what a stunning fellow!

Brewer's Blackbird ... Not as elegant looking as the Jay but I was just as thrilled to pick up this lifer!!

Brewer’s Blackbird … Not as elegant looking as the Jay but I was just as thrilled to pick up this lifer!!

The Stellar’s Jay is an amazing looking bird an I couldn’t stop looking at this beauty.  On my way back to my Truck I noticed this Squirrel quietly feeding in a large group of flowers.

Western Gray Squirrel

Western Gray Squirrel

I left the main part of the park but continued taking opportunities to take landscape shots and did stop a few times when I saw bird activity.  I saw my first Mountain Chickadee (L) at one stop along with a Yellow-rump Warbler that appears to me to be a “Myrtle Warbler” which I did not expect out West!

Coming down from Yosemite.  What an amazing drive!!

Coming down from Yosemite. What an amazing drive!!

I next headed West on California 120 heading towards the Mono Lake area.  Mono Lake was a spot that most birding guides said was a must stop and I was very happy I did.  I’ll share it’s story tomorrow.  The drive West towards the lake was absolutely stunning.  I imagine most people come to Yosemite from the coast and most never get to experience this drive and that is certainly a shame.

I stopped at the beautiful lake from the above picture and was fortunate to see my first Clark Grebes (L) and a few Common Mergansers.  I’d see both later in the trip and get better pictures.

I got into the June Lake area late (but at least before it got dark) and was able to eat dinner and take in the gorgeous scenery before jumping into the truck for another wonderful nights sleep!!!

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About sheriffsmith

I have worked for the Broward County Sheriff's Office the last 13 years and spend most of my free time birdwatching / naturewatching and photographing the birds and nature that I encounter. I believe God has blessed us with a world that is so absolutely fascinating and wonderful and I'm doing my best to discover and show others all that he has provided us with in nature.
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3 Responses to 2011 Northern California Trip (Part 4)

  1. Terri Smith says:

    Boy, these photos REALLY make me miss California! You have to print out some of these please – the Stellars Jay is gorgeous – the squirrel is so cute too!!!!

  2. These are truly magnificent photos. I particularly like the Stellars Jay. I did not know Yosemite National Park contained so many treasures, both wildlife and landscape.
    Betsy

  3. Kathy Walters says:

    Sometimes it is nice to get out of you own backyard and see a whole new set of birds. Thanks for sharing what you saw. I’ve finally had a chance to read the series and really enjoyed it!

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