Monday, April 30, 2012
This morning's birdwalk in the Valley had so-so sightings of the bright triumverate of western tanager, black-headed grosbeak and Bullock's oriole. All of these, and the warbling vireos sang loudly in several places. Two species of swift were a nice plus, though we didn't see them well either. The small birds can't be happy that park biologist CB has identified 11 peregrine falcon pairs this season, with 8 known nests. Seven of these are along the Merced corridor between Arch Rock and Little Yosemite. Hungry baby predators will be hatching from eggs very soon, making our peaceful park a rough neighborhood for prey species. The river has dropped a bit since last week's rain; it's possible that it reached this year's peak on the 26th-about a month early. Meanwhile north-draining Sentinel Creek is now flowing in more channels. Indian Creek now flows beneath the Yosemite Art Center. This weekend afforded one of Yosemite's transient delights for visitors: bicycling on Tioga Road without cars. Several dozen cyclists rode the quiet corridor, from both east and west sides, with a good number rendezvous-ing at Olmsted Point. The marmots are standing by to pose for pictures there. Road crews are still working but it shouldn't be long until the pass is open to cars.