Today I drove over to South Lake Tahoe to revisit the Angora Burn Area.  I arrived about 8:30 am and meandered up the trail.  It was a beautiful cool morning, in the 60’s when I started out.  I saw several Chickadees, Chipping Sparrows, and a Brown Creeper in the pine trees. Notable was the huge moon setting over the tree line at 9 am, and I couldn’t resist pausing for some landscape shots (see above).  I did not see the number of woodpeckers I’d seen last month (late July) but one White-Headed Woodpecker was busily pecking away at a snag quite close to the trail.  My goal was to walk up to a promising location where a small stream crossed the trail. I knew there were some warblers and/or sparrows in a nearby bush there. At first I was disappointed to see several yellow-tinged birds fly away when I approached.  But I sat down for a while and ate my snack – and after a few minutes, with the help of pishing, a couple curious warblers ventured close to check me out.  One was a Yellow Warbler who was the most outgoing.  A second warbler that also came near me turned out to be a MacGillivray’s Warbler – I was glad to add this to my list as I knew these were considered common in the area, but I’d yet to observe one! Notice the gray “hood” and the white eye “arcs”.

At around noon, I drove a bit south on 89 and then up to the Angora Lakes, which are two small alpine lakes southeast of Fallen Leaf Lake.  To get there was a 15 mile trip on the one-lane and sometimes unpaved Angora Ridge Road.  Driving with my sunroof open, I stopped in an area where the road was following the creek, when I heard birds singing. I found the ubiquitous Mountain Chickadees, and was just returning to my car, when I saw some chicken-sized brown birds crossing the road. I quickly determined it was a Sooty Grouse Mama with her three almost full-grown babies.  I realized this was the bird my brother had described to me the previous week.  These birds were not very concerned about my presence, so I snapped several photos.  One of the birds even plopped down to rest for a few minutes!  I continued on the road and pulled over again atop the ridge for the dramatic view towards the south.  I could see Fallen Leaf Lake on the opposite (north) side of the road.  Soon I reached the Angora Lakes parking lot and reached the lower lake after a short half mile walk.  It was a pretty area with some cabins, and I saw several families picnicking and kayaking. At this point it was after 1pm, so I didn’t see much bird activity – just Steller Jays, Robins, Chickadees, and Mallard ducks.

I observed one new species for my TBY list today.

Brown Creeper

White-headed Woodpecker

Fox Sparrow (Juvenile)

Douglas Squirrel (aka Chickaree)

Yellow Warbler

MacGillivray’s Warbler (TBY-95)

View from Angora Ridge Road, Looking South

Why Did the Sooty Grouse Cross the Road?

Sooty Grouse (Juvenile)

Sooty Grouse (Juvenile)

Upper Angora Lake

American Robin (Juvenile)

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