Today I joined the TINS bird walk that they have weekly at 7:30 am.  It was hosted by Michelle and Dan from TINS who helped us find a few species on this sunny Spring morning.  The highlight for me was the black-headed grosbeaks.  I wasn’t able to see them well during the walk, as they were hiding in the willow branches near the creek bank.  But after the formal walk ended I hung out for longer with my camera, and these birds started tolerating me and even venturing closer a few times.  One of the male-female pairs I observed seem to be flitting about, mostly with the male pursuing the female.  The males are much more brightly colored than the females but the birds are the same size.  Of course the typical Steller’s jays were out and about, as well as chickadees, juncos, and the cliff swallows which were gathering mud from the edge of the pond. Near the pond, I was also able to spot a Wilson’s warbler.  This bird had been pointed out during the walk but I hadn’t gotten a visual on it right away.  The bird flits around a lot in the willowing foliage and is difficult to get the camera focused on it long enough for a shot!

At around 11 I left and drove down to Sand Harbor, which I’ve always heard is a photographer’s wonderland, but I’d never been.  I took the opportunity to purchase the Nevada State Parks annual pass.  Just outside the office I spotted a busy house wren working on his nest which was entered from a hole in the fence. I guess the wren’s not real worried about the nearby humans.  While at Sand Harbor I saw another Wilson’s warbler, some common mergansers, and also several squirrels and chipmunks.  I’ll have to come back sometime for a great sunset on the lake.  I was tired now, but I made one more stop, at Spooner Lake, to see what was happening there.  By then it was about 1:30 so not a huge amount of activity, but saw some of the usual suspects (nuthatches, chickadees, Audubon’s warblers). Another birder I met told me there were other warblers around, but I didn’t observe them.  I did catch an American coot, fairly common but I’d not observed yet for the TBY.

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

Beautiful Sand Harbor

Village Green Park in Incline Village

This tiny chipmunk was no more than 4 inches long, Sand Harbor

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