Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Field Stuff


(Taylor, a field site, on a rainy day. There was a rainbow soon after this, also a Bald Eagle nesting pair)

We've been in Truckee since the 25th of May. The Willow Flycatchers are slowly (real slowly) starting to show themselves. The season is off to a late start because of the extra harsh winter in the Sierra Nevada. The willows (where the WIFLs hang out and nest) are not doing so hot. They are finally starting to green out at some of the field sites but at others they are still all dead and winter-y looking. (Below is the Red Lake site, not shabby at all).
I think we have roughly 15+ birds right now? But I know a couple already got pushed out of their territories and haven't been seen for a while. I really, really hope they have a successful year but I guess I'm a little skeptical because last year wasn't so hot for them and there just aren't many around yet...and apparently there is no good news in the world anymore.
(one of MANY garter snakes I've been seeing lately. Below, Zac at Red Lake)
So, the snow melt has been a bit out of control. It's Flooding the majority of the field sites, making a lot of them impassable and rather dangerous. I saw class 3 rapids in a 6 foot wide 'creek' that is usually 3 feet wide and a couple inches deep. A lot of the habitat (willows) has been flooded and completely submerged. Crazy. (Below is Salmon Creek, great views here too..but talk about sketchy maneuvering. Hundreds of dead, fallen trees under the water, which is everywhere here. Must watch your every step)
The water level is going to continue to go up for a while (there is still a hefty amount of snow on the mountains) before it goes back down. Check out the photos below. I guess it probably doesn't look like anything if you haven't seen those sites they way they usually look this time of year. But for those of you who do know - holy crap! These are from that pullout above the LT sites.
And here is the cause of the flooding: 15 foot snow packs above the meadows...
Below is Red Lake, where we have two sites. It sits at a little more than 8,000 feet.You can see that the willows are still brown and uneventful looking. Zac and I went up there a few days ago to survey. I actually found a WIFL who fitz-bewed two very quiet times and then promptly disappeared. But, I was happy because Lisa says there haven't been any there for 4-5 years. I really hope he hangs around.
There was still quite a bit of snow around the Red Lake area. We were camping and it took us 2 hours to find a spot to camp because all of the Forest Service roads are still officially closed or closed because they have 5 feet of snow on them still. We did finally find a spot to camp, a pretty nice spot too with a bubbling creek and bear scratches on the trees next to the tent, ha! (Below, me at the 'office')
It sure is a beautiful spot though, isn't it? I mean, come on...that's nice stuff. Lots of huge White Bark Pine around the sites at Red Lake too. Pretty fancy tree, I'm a fan.
Seen a lot of cool stuff out in the field already: Sandhill Cranes, Coyotes, Mountain Lion scat and tracks in the snow, lots of evidence of bears..everywhere, and all sorts of other bird species. Highlights later.

I don't bring the nice camera stuffs with me into the field for some very legitimate reasons, so these are taken with the old Rebel with the broken lens or my really old point and click.

Also, these photos are just some more reasons of why I will never work inside. Gross! Offices! Scenic Sunday, Nature Notes

21 comments:

cat said...

I once had a garter snake named Laban, so I happen to think that the little snake in your photo is adorable :)
Looks like a fantastic place for hiking and photographing.

eileeninmd said...

Gorgeous photos, Jill! The scenery is beautiful!

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Beautiful photos! But unlike cat I can do without the garter snake :).

Pam said...

I couldn't stop looking at those gorgeous mountains and vistas. What a breath taking office you work in, Jill.
I had to linger for awhile and catch up on all your adventurous photo escapades. Thanks for the beauty, Jill ;)

anw said...

Wow, the LTs are out of control!

Tammie Lee said...

it is quite beautiful where you are. spring the time of snow melt...

Carver said...

What a beautiful place to work outside. Your photography almost makes me feel like I'm there with you. The snake has such an expressive face.

Arija said...

Your blog is just tops. A real shot in the arm for someone like me no longer allowed to the pleasure of 2000m+.

Leora said...

What a great shot of the garter snake. Lots of gorgeous scenery you have to share.

Al said...

What a great series of photos, it looks like an incredibly beautiful place. I love the photo of the snake. Unfortunately I work in an office all day but I'm lucky enough to live in an area where I can be in the wilderness very quickly.

jeannette said...

Beautiful!!! Next week I'm going to Yosemite (CA), and I expect to see something similar near the North entrance! Your pic reminds me to bring some warm and rain clothes!

Colleen said...

Wow... it's just so beautiful there. I love the reflection of the mountains.

ramblingwoods said...

I'm sorry you aren't seeing more Jill. It does seem like a bad year for Mother Nature...You take great photos even without your good camera. Stay safe out there... Michelle

Clytie said...

What a wonderful office view you have! You've got to be one of the luckiest people in the world!

I enjoyed this wonderful post - broken camera and all!

Harold Stiver said...

That looks like a great place to visit. Love the shot of the White Bark Pine

A piece of news said...

Really, girl! You have the best job ever.

Love the snake photo. Nice of him to pose. ;)

Kitty said...

I hope to have an office like that some day! The first shot really makes me want to go there - bliss.

Jan's Place USA and Mt Forest Pictures said...

wonderful, makes me want to be there!

Jenn said...

I'm a fan too... of that beautiful huge tree! Definitely envious of your breathtaking office. :-) A sight to behold.

Ann said...

The third one, and the second last, the snow makes it very beautiful. Looks like you are having fun.

Steve Borichevsky said...

It is always interesting to read your accounts.