Big Country

Yosemite – the name invokes images of magnificent scenery and, when you visit, you are not disappointed. Pity they let humans in though, along with their carelessly discarded detritus and their cars and their yells, but they do. Our visit, like so many other people’s, was mostly via the car windshield as we funnelled along the beaten track, marvelled at the vistas and shuffled off to beat the crowds and head for our one night in Groveland, CA. Below are a section of Sandra’s photos. Even with the crowds it is still a fabulous place, as you can see.

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We picked Groveland for the night because the next day we’d drive across the Sierras to Nevada. Derek wanted to cross the Rockies and crossing the sierra part was as good as we could do from our location. It was a steady drive with several stops for both scenery and birds, the most memorable for me being finding a feeding party of Clark’s Nutcrackers and getting great views and a limited photo op.

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Going back to Groveland, we ended up stopping at a house run by the Hotel Charlotte in a gated community and set in a forest. We had a nice wander and saw a good few birds including a flock of what eBird insists must be Oak Titmouse but that sounded very like Juniper and responded only to Juniper Titmouse calls. One garden had a ton of feeders and was bird central for us. Unfortunately the light was iffy but I managed a few ropey images.

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Western Scrub Jay hiding its nuts.

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Western Bluebird, one of many.

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Red-shouldered Hawk hunting frogs.

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Acorn Woodpecker – no respecters of wooden signs or the many wooden houses, attractivel studded with acorns.

Our time around Reno was limited but a tree I became familiar with when there last year had a young Barn Owl in it but the hoped for Pinyon Jays didn’t show up for drinkies. The next day we headed off to Phoenix, got the car and motored south to Tucson. It had been pleasantly warm in California and Nevada, now we were really cooking.


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