Today Don and I drove northwest to the Truckee area to check out the wildlife near Prosser Creek, just southeast of Prosser Creek Reservoir’s dam. According to the Cornell eBird website, this area is a birding hotspot, and we were hoping to spot an American Dipper or a Kingfisher, species that are supposed to be common but are still missing from my TBY list. After crossing the Prosser Creek dam in our car, we drove down a dirt road that got rough fast, so we parked at around 9 am and hiked down to the creek. It was a beautiful morning, with little smoke in evidence, for once. There were several paths and we were able to hike right along the creek. We saw several sparrows and warblers (including yellow-rumped warblers and yellow warblers) flitting about the willows near the creek banks. I identified a new TBY species – the Savannah Sparrow. This is similar to the omnipresent Song Sparrow, but has a wash of yellow on its throat and along the sides of its belly. There were several swallows including barn swallows and the Northern Rough-Winged Swallow. The latter is a bit of a drab brown swallow, but I was able to capture its signature “rough” notches in its wing features. It is said the males use these notches to make some kind of music when flying to attract females, but the experts aren’t really sure about this. A rufous hummingbird appeared to be picked insects of the leaves of a willow bush.
Our fun surprise of the day was spotting the brown bear across the creek canyon. He was moving at a pretty good clip and stop to stare over at us. Thankfully we didn’t look like food, and he continued on his way. We also saw deer: two does with their fawns. The fawns were fun to watch, and stayed close to Mom. There were several ducks in the stream including both mallards and green-winged teals, as well as a perky spotted sandpiper foraging for tidbits at the creek, and bobbing its rear end up and down. We spotted a young American kestrel and a turkey vulture. On the hike back up to the dam, we took a higher route and saw some of the conifer-loving birds, including several green-tailed towhees, junkos, and a new TBY bird, the Bushtit, which was cautiously monitoring us from within a pine tree.
Today I added 3 species to my Tahoe Big Year list! This was a beautiful location, with not too many people. We vowed to return soon, and again seek out the elusive American Dipper and Kingfisher.
Fawns follow their Mother