Thursday, June 11, 2015

Yosemite Birding

Yosemite National Park - On the road to Glacier Point is a peaceful and beautiful meadow.  The majority of visitors to the park do not know what they are missing as they speed by in a rush to the famous Glacier Point.  A few days ago I spent a couple of hours at the meadow looking for birds and listening to their songs.  The only other sounds, besides the birds, were the cars and buses speeding by.  Trying to find a tiny bird in a tall, dense tree is rather a challenge.  I was determined to not only hear the birds but to see them.
Cute and perky Dark-eyed Junco (photo) and Song Sparrow, who sang continually were the easiest to see.  Brown Creeper, and Steller's Jay finally made an appearance, but there was no luck with the Red-breasted Nuthatch whose tinny, single, note call echoed thru the trees continually.

After the Meadow, I headed into Yosemite Valley to Happy Isles, one of the less touristy areas, and to the Happy Isles restored "fen" - a peat-forming wetland fed by moving groundwater.  The Fen restoration project began in 2002.  Today the wetland is a functioning fen habitat that provides nesting and feeding for many species.  A sweet boardwalk provides the only access.  While on the boardwalk I saw only one small group of hikers.  They were headed to the mist trail which leads to Vernal and Nevada Falls, and if you have the stamina, Half Dome.
The bird songs were nearly overwhelming - flitting around were Robin, Red-Winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow and an eye-popping, Yellow Warbler, and to my amazement managed to spot a White-headed Woodpecker. (Wow!)  The trickling sound of water flowing under the boardwalk was music to my ears.   Like magic, a deer appeared out the dense water plants (above photo), nearly close enough to touch - gently the young deer proceeded to nibble on a variety of leaves.  The deer was nibbling long enough to take a video.

Although Yosemite is the third most visited National Park in the United States with nearly 4 million visitors a year, it is possible to find serene, natural spaces where one can experience nature at their own pace. 

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