My newspaper column that is coming out in this Thursday’s Huntington Beach Independent is about the 40th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22) and our trip last weekend to the Eastern Sierras with a Sea and Sage Audubon group. Don’t worry, I tied those two topics together nicely with the theme of endangered species. Hope you’ll read my column online on Thursday. Meanwhile, here are more photos and some mini-videos from our trip.
Alabama Hills in foreground and the Sierras in the background as seen from Lone Pine, CA
Diaz Lake just south of Lone Pine was created in 1872 when an estimated 8.0 earthquake shifted the earth ten feet and dropped the valley floor. The former springs and wetlands were converted to a lake.
Pack horse fattening up on spring grass.
Female Yellow-headed Blackbird
Male Yellow-headed Blackbird
Eurasian Collared Doves, a non-native species to the US, are expanding their range throughout California.
Great-tailed Grackle male. This species is native to the US, but has expanded its range fairly recently to California.
California Ground Squirrel
Mt. Whitney historic fish hatchery
Male Western Fence Lizard
We checked out this Scrub Jay to make sure it wasn't the newly identified Woodhouse subspecies of the Western Scrub Jay. It wasn't.
Stream at Glacier Lodge
Steller's Jay gathering nesting material
Pond at Glacier Lodge
We enjoyed a picnic at Glacier Lodge
Steller's Jay at Aspendel
California Vole running for his life across a road in Aspendel.
Gray-crowned Rosy Finch in Aspendel
Dawn at Crowley Lake
Male Greater Sage-grouse on their lek, displaying to a female.
Greater Sage-grouse copulating
Sagebrush, rabbitbrush and the Sierras
Winter ice on Crowley Lake had broken up just the week before we were there. Winds piled the ice high on the shore.
Teal taking flight from a stream.
Stream near Crowley Lake that feeds into Owens Creek.
Plants growing in the creek.
We stopped on the drive home to catch this shot of the Western Mojave Desert in bloom.
Hope you enjoyed this photo tour of the Eastern Sierras. We got over 100 species of birds, including fantastic sightings of Greater Sage-grouse on their lek, Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles, and nesting bank swallows.
My husband, Vic Leipzig, leads private birding trips for clients from all over the world. To learn more, visit his website at www.southwestbirders.com. He’d love to take you birding.
(To read more of Lou Murray’s environmental writing, see her weekly column, Natural Perspectives, in the Huntington Beach Independent at http://www.hbindependent.com/blogs_and_columns/ )