(Willow Flycatcher nestlings!)
The last couple days were spent in the Warner Valley area - not far from Lassen National Park. Unfortunately, the road to the park didn't actually open until Friday (yesterday, when we left). Little more snow this year than usual, so we were a little bummed we weren't able to go up there in the afternoon yesterday. (Because we wanted to search out more PIKAS!).
(above: Willow Flycatcher nest that doesn't really look much like a Willow Flycatcher nest. They are generally lined inside and have stuff hanging at the bottom. Not sure what the deal was with this one)
Wait, I take that back. We were kinda glad we weren't able to go because were physically wasted from work. Not to complain too much, but holy hell...that field site is a death trap. Six of us went and 4 of us topped our waders multiple times. The second I stepped into the meadow I flooded mine. Not cool at 5 in the morning. The good news is that there are many, many Willow Flycatchers at that site and I saw my first WIFL nestlings this season - super duper cuties!
(above: Leopard Lily! Beautiful flower, I saw quite a few of them in the meadows here. Below: WIFL Specials Ops, me)
But well yeah, getting around the site is brutal. There were many floating grass rafts...death rafts I prefer to call them...you step on them and you think you're going to sink to your death. We kinda cursed the beavers a few times because they made some insanely dangerous and horrifying 5-6 feet deep pools that came out of nowhere and everywhere. Zac fell up to his waist and someone else submerged the work scope which is currently destroyed. I lost count of how many close encounters I had with broken limbs - mainly wrists from breaking my falls and ankles from getting them stuck in submerged sticks). However, it sure is pretty. The willows and the meadows haven't been grazed and the view of Lassen Peak is quite nice. We're hoping we don't ever have to return though. (all pictures from the beat up point and click)
(above...not the cloud to be under when you're in standing water and carrying around a scope. Below: Zac doesn't seem to mind...dion't worry, we booked it out the second we heard thunder).
Almost forgot - we heard a Yellow Rail. Hearing it counts cause basically they are impossible to see. Very rare in California, so we were rather excited about this. Very cool! My World