Saturday, July 10, 2010

Warner Valley Wanted us Dead

(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

15 comments:

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Beautiful shots.

Darryl and Ruth : )

Martha Z said...

It sounds like the life of a wildlife researcher is not an easy one. At least you get to do it in beautiful surroundings.

biobabbler said...

wow, sounds gnarly! Glad you all survived. =) Amazing shots of the fuzzy-headed babies. Cutest.

ChrisJ said...

Think I'll do my bird watching from the safety of my patio even though it means I won't see as many birds. Actually we have had 25 different species visit over the years.

alicia said...

Fabulous photos. Love the fuzzy birds and the sky pic! Beautiful.

ramblingwoods said...

Oh my gosh....I don't think I would be cut out for that kind of work. I like my feet dry and my bones unbroken.. Neat shots though... Michelle

Rob Fowler said...

Yellow Rails, too!? What county is this in? I'm sure the North American Birds editor would love to hear about this....and the Willow Flys! Stay dry!

zac loman said...

Plumas. We twitched the bird reported at Willow Lake

Sylvia K said...

Terrific captures as always, Jill! It does indeed sound a bit gnarly and I, too, am glad you survived! Have a great week, don't sink!!

Sylvia

Barb said...

Well, at least it was lush and green and you survived, even if the scope didn't! Is that a start of a rainbow in the storm cloud - I'll pretend it is. Your shots are wonderful.

ksdoolittle said...

Very cool, indeed!!! ~karen

Carolyn Ford said...

Those baby birds are such little fuzzy miracles! And, what a day you had...messy but, worth it?! You love it, I am sure of that!

VioletSky said...

It is good, sometimes, to hear about the other side of getting these amazing photos!

Powell River Books said...

I love the Lassen area. I remember going there back in the 50's as a child just after the road opened. They had tunneled one lane out of the banks over 6' high. Cars were caravaned through single file. We have an uncommon nesting pair near our cabin on Powell Lake, red-throated loons. They usually nest much farther north. Their call is a bit different from the Common Loons we see all the time. - Margy

dutchbaby said...

Glad to see that you lived to blog about it all.

Those nestlings are awesome!

We used to spend a week every summer at the Trinity Alps Resort in Trinity Center, due west of Warner Valley. Glorious country!