Today Don and I joined a TINS bird walk in Donner Creek Canyon. We met up with several other birding enthusiasts and walked up the canyon. At the Beaver Pond (a very small pond at this time of year), there was quite a bit of bird activity, and our pishing brought in several sparrows and warblers. We saw several Yellow-rumped Warblers and a curious Wilson’s Warbler. Surprisingly, we observed a Great Egret who circled above our group (putting on quite a show) before perching in a dead tree. It seemed to be waiting for our group to leave so it could get to the pond. We also saw house wrens, and once I studied my photos, I identified a Lincoln’s Sparrow, a new TBY bird for me! Will, the TINS naturalist, pointed out an Anna’s Hummingbird, also a new species for me in the Tahoe area. (When we lived in Milpitas, we saw Anna’s hummingbirds all the time, but we’ve mostly seen Rufous Hummingbirds around Reno & Tahoe.) We continued hiking another mile or so up to the Donner Summit Scenic Overlook picnic area. On the way we saw various Chickadees, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Robins, and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Some of the group saw a Dusky Flycatcher, but it was elusive and I wasn’t able to photograph it. Just before reaching the overlook, we discovered a flock of small (4 inches in length) birds flitting about and eating small bugs off of the clumps of pine needles. One of the TINS members immediately identified these as Golden-crowned Kinglets; her comment was this was the best chance to photograph them I’d ever get. They were pretty close, but they mostly dangled from the pine branches and showed me their backs! At the overlook, we had a wonderful view of Donner Lake and had a snack. On the return trip, we didn’t see any new birds, but we saw several butterflies, including a pretty California Sister.

Today I added 4 species to my Tahoe Big Year list.

TINS Birding Group Takes a Break

Birders at Donner Overlook

Fritillary Butterflies

California Sister Butterfly

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