Birding trip to Eastern Sierras April 12-14, 2013

We just returned from the Eastern Sierras where my husband, Vic Leipzig, co-led a Sea and Sage Audubon birding trip with Linda Oberholtzer.

Diaz Lake, CA

Diaz Lake, CA

We started at 7 am at Diaz Lake just south of Lone Pine. You can see the brown Alabama Hills behind the lake and in front of the Sierras. The Alabama Hills and Lone Pine area was a very popular spot for filming Westerns.

Reeds in the lake

Reeds in the lake

Great-tailed Grackles

Great-tailed Grackles

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbird

View of Alabama Hills and Eastern Sierras from the visitor center south of Lone Pine

View of Alabama Hills and Eastern Sierras from the visitor center south of Lone Pine

 

Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery north of Independence, CA

Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery north of Independence, CA

We enjoyed a group dinner at Jack’s Restaurant in Bishop, and spent the night in Bishop.

We gathered at the Little Green Church south of Mammoth Lakes early Sunday morning to caravan to the sage grouse lek.

We gathered at the Little Green Church south of Mammoth Lakes early Sunday morning to caravan to the sage grouse lek.

Little green church at Benton Crossing Road and Hwy 395.

Little green church at Benton Crossing Road and Hwy 395.

A series of forks and turns on dirt roads took us to the entry gate to the lek area.

A series of forks and turns on dirt roads took us to the entry gate to the lek area.

The group hiked to the lek, approaching very slowly, and never getting close enough to disturb the birds.

The group hiked to the lek, approaching very slowly, and never getting close enough to disturb the birds.

Greater Sage Grouse males displaying.

Greater Sage Grouse males displaying.

The grouse disperse shortly after the sun hits the lek.

The grouse disperse shortly after the sun hits the lek.

These are a few of the three dozen mule deer that we saw.

These are a few of the three dozen mule deer that we saw.

These sagebrush flats are part of the Great Basin sagebrush habitat.

These sagebrush flats are part of the Great Basin sagebrush habitat.

We spotted a bald eagle feeding in the distance at the edge of Crowley Lake.

We spotted a bald eagle feeding in the distance at the edge of Crowley Lake.

Ken Wells led us to a site where bank swallows nest.

Ken Wells led us to a site where bank swallows nest.

The group needed to hike to see the swallows.

The group needed to hike to see the swallows.

Convict Lake is a beautiful spot. A few people spotted a dipper in the stream.

Convict Lake is a beautiful spot. 

A few people spotted a dipper in this stream. I missed it.

A few people spotted a dipper in this stream. I missed it.

We finished the trip with lunch at Tom's Cafe south of Mammoth Lakes.

We finished the trip with lunch at Tom’s Cafe south of Mammoth Lakes.

The group found 103 bird species, a record for the April Eastern Sierras trip. In addition, we saw mule deer, coyotes, and beautiful scenery. This is one of my favorite vacation spots. From Lone Pine to Mono Lake, I never tire of it, never get enough of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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4 Responses to Birding trip to Eastern Sierras April 12-14, 2013

  1. Chuck George says:

    Lou, thanks for documenting the trip. It was a pleasure to meet you. May I use a few of your images for a post on Sea and Sage’s Facebook page about the trip? I’ll credit you, indicate a copyright and I’ll not use your images beyond our Facebook page. Thank you.

    • Chuck, it was good to meet you too. It is probably too late for the Facebook page, but if not, then sure, you can post them. I’m not sure you will be able to download them directly from my blog however. Let me know which ones you want.

  2. leduesorelle says:

    Wonderful photos! I’ve never had the chance to explore the Sierras, as foreign to me as Iceland… and almost as beautifully austere!

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