Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Oh My What a Beauty is Highway 395!

U 10/1-Tuesday

We packed up and left Goose Lake and Oregon after a great bird walk through the park. It was pretty brisk out so that kept us moving. We saw quite a few birds:

Northern Harrier

Red-shouldered Hawk

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)

Appears to be a hybrid Red-breasted & Red-naped Sapsucker (Otis & Vince what do you think?)

Sandhill Cranes flying over in the distance- I love to hear their calls

Northern Flicker

Northern Goshawk (juvenile)

We love this place-hopefully we will see it with water next time.

We arrived at Honey Lake RV & Campground on Honey Lake but Honey Lake dried up in June this year. They have been in a 5 year draught. It was still a beautiful area with lots of birds and critters hanging around:)

The owner's horse was so lonely he brought in 2 goats to keep it company

The Yellow Warbler right outside the door of the office caught our attention

Bob stopping to smell the yellow flowers that were everywhere (they smell so good)

Western Bluebird in flight


We woke after a great night sleep to a brisk morning. Bob was raring and ready to go and we were on our way before 9 am. 

Saying so long to the horse

It was a beautiful day and a gorgeous drive with the exception of Reno/Carson City/Gardnerville (avoid at all costs unless you want to go to a mall- this is an example of the American dream gone all wrong)

This is our back drop from our camp site in Walker

The West Fork of Walker River- what  magnificent scenery. In 1997 the river flooded and took out most of the riparian habitat- so the growth we are seeing is relatively new

This little guy was enjoying the sun

This Canyon Wren came peeking out of his home (this old galvanized drain pipe) and did a dance for us- it was amazing!

Views from the river

This Hairy Woodpecker was hanging around on the road

More spectacular views

This Clark's Nutcracker came down to bathe and drink

This map provides some perspective as well provides the history of the ancient Lahontan Cutthroat Trout-it is an ancient trout strain that is now land locked in the Great Basin. When the Great Basin was once a giant lake and drainage system those trout used to travel to the ocean like today's steelhead trout & other ocean going cutthroat. They got up to as much as 30 lbs!

Beautiful Red-tailed Hawk

This Stellar's Jay was collecting nuts and very excited about it

We hated to leave- another place we will return to:)

10/3- Thursday

We left Walker to lands south along highway 395-----we heard reports of high winds but had an amazing drive through the Mono Lake- June Lake- Mammoth area......the aspens were changing and we had crystal clear skies:) ......until we got to the Bishop area.... the wind started howling...the Owens Valley was filled with dust. The visibility was so poor that we wanted to stop somewhere we could breath reasonably clear air. ( LADWP has been ordered to restore some of the water in the Owens Valley that they have been removing for the past 50 years to reduce the toxic dust that was a result of their actions) We made it to Lake Diaz- a county camp ground..... We got settle in on the lake and soon after a gust of wind (the wind was gusting from 25-40 mph) tore a limb from a near by Cottonwood tree that took our antenna (ripped right out of the roof-screws & all) & tore 3 holes in our rubber membrane roof. UGGH!! Us being newbies thought we might be able to patch it up.

Although it was gale force winds we needed to take a walk to clear our heads!

Amazing views behind our campground 

This little Say's Phoebe was hanging around outside our windo


 I sent photos and had a call with our  manufacturer-- we learned that we would need to replace the roof. UHGG!! Here we are on the road and feeling a little vulnerable. At least we were headed to Arizona where rain would not be likely. Things were a bit unstable- here we were heading to a National Wildlife Refuge that was closed and we now have to have major work done to our home....anyways we kept on driving. Our stop on Friday night was in Newberry Springs CA- a little ghost town on Route 66.

10/5- Saturday

We woke up and got an early start to get to the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Reguge on the Colorado River in Arizona. What a sight the Colorado River was in the middle of the desert as we drove into the area. The area is very different than anything I have ever seen. Lake Havasu City was built in 1968 by the founder a chain saw company. He bought the London Bridge at auction and had it shipped over and put together brick by brick on the Colorado River(otherwise known as Lake Havasu- the body of water that lies behind the Parker Dam). The details are a bit confusing to me but so is the town? A lot of RV and Boat shops.

We meet Kathleen, our refuge contact & ecologist, and she welcomed us with open arms.

The refuge is an amazing spot on the Colorado River- red rock formations all around us. The Bill Williams River is across the street and accessed on Planet Ranch Road which we can drive on but we can not get out and access the area due to the refuge closure. 

This is the view of the Colorado River (or otherwise as known as Lake Havasu) 


10/6- Sunday

Woke to an amazing sunrise with the pinks illuminating the red rocks and balmy temperatures. After yoga and breakfast we left the trailer to take a walk and the birding started right out our door- I think it took us about 2 hours to make it 500 feet?? New birds- Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, Verdin (they love the Palo Verde Trees and make many nests and roost in them all year), Abert's Towhee, and more .....

Views walking out of our spot 

Our first Black-tailed Gnatcatcher comes out to greet us (we quickly fall in love with these little guys with a lot of attitude)

Black Phoebe singing away

Loggerhead Shrike

The adorable Verdins that have nests located in many of the Palo Verde Trees (they sound like an Anna's Hummingbird)

One of thier nests 

Double-crested Cormorant posing

Southwest version of a Song Sparrow (notice the light coloring and white malar stripe)- this was taken with my Iphone through Bob's scope

This Pied-billed Grebe was having a tough time swallowing this little fish

This is our first Sage Sparrow- what an attitude

In the afternoon we drove down Planet Ranch Road to check out the refuge and the river-it is stunning. The refuge manager has been working with a group of agencies to coordinate the outflows of water from the Alamo Dam to encourage the return of the riparian habitat. 30 years ago there was nothing growing along the Bill Williams River and now it is a healthy riparian habitat supporting over 350 bird species not to mention the other mammals (they say even beaver live here).

This is hard to see but there is a Verdin on its nest looking out at us

Northern Flicker

Incredible Rock formations all around us

It is hard to tell but this looks down towards the Bill Williams River- approximately 30 years ago there was no riparian habitat along this river that feeds into the Colorado because of the Alamo Dam. The refuge manager began working with organizations to coordinate the water releases from the dam to encourage a healthy riparian habitat. Before the dams were in place the rivers were subject to seasonal pulses & flooding- they worked to mimic mother nature. They have created incredible habitat and have provided a successful footprint for refuges all over the world.

More views

An American Kestrel hanging out in the shadows

We did do some research and went to talk to a RV Service Shop in Lake Havasu City about repairing our roof. Just like in the 3 bears- it was not quite right. We still have not heard from our insurance company. There was a mix up and they sent it to auto instead of RV. We are trying not to get frustrated:) we realize how lucky we are!

10/7- Monday

Another spectacular morning of birding!! Peregrines chasing swarms of Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Blue-footed Boobies............

Great-tailed Grackles hanging out in the morning sun

A gorgeous Clark's Grebe

2 Peregrines appear out of nowhere chasing a huge flock of Yellow-headed Blackbirds- it was like sharks chasing a school of bait fish

Yellow -headed Blackbirds resting in the tree- they may have been migrating through

In flight they move together like a school of fish

You never know what you are going to see... I was reviewing my photos and here is a Blue-footed Booby- it is surprising to see it here because it is native to the tropical pacific and an extremely rare visitor to California and even more rare to the Southwest

The Yellow-rumps are starting to show up

The Great-tailed Grackle family

The male 

The female

The juvenile 

One gull had ideas about stealing the other gulls breakfast.....

The rabbits are all over....coyotes must love them...we hear the coyotes going off in the mornings

A new bird.... Abert's Towhee

Eared Grebe

Say's Phoebe

At this point I  have still not heard from our insurance company. We checked out another RV Repair shop- this one felt much better but.......still not right.

So we decided to check out SARA Park for a hike (another park along Lake Havasu)

Amazing rock formations

Male House Finch

A group of Black-throated Sparrows appeared

Along with an Orange-crowned Warbler 

....... and
Black-tailed Gnatcatchers- I just love these guys

These little squirrels are all over the canyon walls- I am sure the coyotes love them

Blue sky and amazing rock

We have so much exploring to do:)

Once we got home I had a wonderful conversation with our insurance agent- Chad. Nationwide takes care of everything-they even have a partner RV repair shop in Lake Havasu City  where Nationwide guarantees the work for as long as we own our trailer! They also will pay for our hotel and meals while Shak3 is in the shop.

We had a beautiful evening and went for a little walk. We headed over to where the Colorado and Bill Williams meet- it is a very marshy and birdy area. We were there for 5 minutes and had to run back to Shak3 to get our scopes and Mosquito repellent (they are vicious!!)


10/8 Tuesday

Another amazing morning......

Eared Grebe

Belted Kingfisher

Great Egret with (many Coots in the background)

The Great Egret

Say's Phoebe ( a regular but stunning)

A sweet suprise --- A Sora was busy eating across the channel (this photo was taken with my iphone through Bob's scope)

A pair of Coots enjoying a quiet moment - they are here in the thousands

Then we took Shak3 into the RV Repair shop- they were very professional and took photos for the insurance estimate and patched us up incase of rain between now and the time they start the repair;)6

We came home and took care of some house cleaning items and relaxed for awhile and then went for an evening walk with our scopes again to see the herons & rails.

Clark's Grebes (parent and juvenile- the juvenile was relentless crying to be fed)

Eared Grebe in the golden light of the sunset

The days have been full & we are blessed ~


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