2011 Northern California … Part 6

Northwestern California ... None of the drives on my trip seemed all that long with beautiful scenery like this!!

Northwestern California … None of the drives on my trip seemed all that long with beautiful scenery like this!!

I had estimated about a 4-5 hour drive up to Lake Tahoe and it turned out to be almost exactly 5 hours which included quite a number of stops.  I’m sure from those who have followed the blog most would correctly assume that I am mainly a birder but because I covered such a good chunk of Northern California I ended up seeing many nice Mammals too.

Coyote ... This is the first time I'd seen a wild one!

Coyote … This is the first time I’d seen a wild one!

This Coyote was a pleasant surprise as I was headed up California 395.  I also stopped and birded a little as there seemed to always be a Hawk on the wires and during one of those stops I noticed this Black-billed Magpie (L).  From what I had read these guys were supposed to be much easier to find than their cousin the Yellow-billed but this was the only one I would see the entire trip!

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie

I ended up around Lake Tahoe at around 7:45 PM and just had time to take a few shots of the lake.  My intention was to bird around the lake, but that would have to wait till morning … and boy what a wonderful morning it turned out to be!

Lake Tahoe ... This was taken at a turn off on the Southwestern end of the lake.   You could probably spend a month just taking pictures of this beautiful lake.

Lake Tahoe … This was taken at a turn off on the Southwestern end of the lake. You could probably spend a month just taking pictures of this beautiful lake.

Like all good birders I was up at the crack of dawn and again it was quite chilly with a little frost on some of the shadier areas.  I had read that there was good birding areas near the Homewood Ski Area so I started my search along San Souci Terrace just North of the Resort.  The Madden Creek runs fairly close to the road here and I thought I might look here for Dipper’s and anything else that was about.

American Dipper

American Dipper

American Dipper ... This is a typical pose for these guys as they search for food.

American Dipper … This is a typical pose for these guys as they search for food.I think

I think that the American Dipper is one of the America’s coolest birds.  It spends its time feeding in fast-moving creeks and rivers with a good part of time with its head stuck under the water.  They will actually swim under the ice and water looking for food and there are some really cool videos on YouTube.

Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

Nashville Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Some of the other great birds I found along this creek and adjacent field included Pine, Yellow-rump, Yellow and Nashville Warblers, Fox Sparrow (L), House Wren, Mountain Chickadee some unidentified Quail that scared the crap out of me and a couple of Flycatchers.

I spent a few more hours around the lake and surrounding areas and sometime after lunch headed North towards my next destination … Lassen Volcanic National Park!

Thanks for following my adventure!!!

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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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