Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuolumne Meadows and Mono Lake


We finally got out of Hodgdon today!!! Jeff, Alan and I decided to go to Tuolumne Meadows to do some birding and alpine hiking. Tuolumne Meadows is amazing. We saw White-crowned Sparrows and Red-winged Blackbird in the meadow. At the visitors center I got a new book, Introduction to the California Condor, by Noel and Helen Snyder. I am really excited to start reading it; I love condors.

We went hiking to a lake at Gaylor Lake where we were looking for Rosy Finches. We didn’t find any, but I did get to see the Clark’s Nutcracker!!! It’s the bird at the top of the blog. I was so excited to see such an amazing bird.

After our hike we drove just a bit further to Mono Lake. There is a nice restaurant there where I got the infamous fish tacos that everyone has been telling me about. Mono Lake is beautiful. There are beautiful calcium carbonate deposits called tufa formed by freshwater springs. These springs must be few and far between because Mono Lake has three times the salinity of sea water. The birding there was great. New on my Yosemite list were Canada Goose, European Starling, Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalarope. The birds’ feathers are really matted because of all the salt. Phalaropes are amazing; they feast here on brine shrimp during the summer before a grueling migration to South America.

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