(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