Thursday, May 13, 2010
This morning's YA birdwalk featured good looks at at least a dozen male tanagers in the black oaks near the Valley Visitor Center. The birds were quite silent, we saw no females, but the guys gave us some lively, near eye-level views of their brightest tropical plumage with the morning sun behind us. I've seen similar concentrations of male tanagers before; once I counted 125 streaming through the oaks near the medical clinic, all moving east together. My eyes hurt for some time afterward from all that color.
The trail beyond Mirror Lake has some muddy, wet stretches, but few people. The view from just ten switchbacks up the Snow Creek Trail is remarkable, with melting snow pouring down from Clouds Rest. In bloom: Nemophila, Phacelia, Castilleja, Viola, banks of Claytonia, and of course, Cornus.
The Tuolumne Grove has about 50% snow cover, with depths of less than a meter. It's melting out quickly and the big trees are drinking big from the melting snowpack. Did we see a goshawk flash by?