Yosemite National Park and Mono Basin: 4

Sunday was intended for driving and birding, but I did as much botanizing as I did birding, and that without a local field guide. I drove east over the mountains along the road to Tioga Pass, which was not cleared of snow and opened to traffic until June 18 this year. I used LoLo and Jim Westrich’s Birder’s Guide to Northern California and Jean Richmond’s Birding Northern California as guides.

lots of itflower and fruitAt Hodgdon Meadow (4,900 feet), I heard a few difficult flycatchers but saw few birds. At the campground, smoke was still evident in the air from a managed burn a couple weeks previous. I saw a lot of this lupine, perhaps Lupinus grayi.

yes, that's snowAt Olmstead Point, I couldn’t even scare up a Clark’s Nutcracker. Tenaya Lake is beautiful, but wasn’t birdy when I visited mid-day.

ahhAt Tuolumne Meadows, the bird that surprised me was Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia), working the banks of the river.

colonizer: 1colonizer: 2On a side trail from the meadow, I found this fuzzy congener of the lupine I saw at lower elevations. I believe this to be Lupinus breweri. It was doing a scrappy job of colonizing otherwise bare soil; pines were the only other veg in evidence.

A final stop at Dana Meadows (about 9,700 feet) yielded a distant look at a Cassin’s Finch (Carpodacus cassinii). I got a good look at the strong red crown contrasting with the rest of the head feathers.

I left the park at Tioga Pass, just shy of 10,000 feet, and dropped down into the Mono Basin via Lee Vining Canyon.

This entry was posted in Golden State, In the Field. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.