Thursday, 15 August 2013

California - Reprise (Yosemite to San Francisco Bay) 2 to 3 August 2013 (part 6)

Day Thirteen

Our holiday was nearing its end so it was time to head west back towards the airport. We spent the first half of the day travelling through Yosemite.

Alpine meadows at one of the eastern entrances to the park

Edith's Copper

Ruddy Copper

We stopped just yards from the enterance and very soon got fantastic views of Clarke's Nutcracker.
We resumed our travels with fading hopes of seeing bear on our visit, even 'though all the indications were that bears were at large and living among the visitors. 

 Bearproof food containers are provided at every camp site.

Each year an average of 10 bears are killed or injured on the park roads.

Bear damage at White Wolf 

Tree lined road

We scoured the road sides checking every likely bear shape, but all turned out to be blackened tree stumps, eratics or shadows. Not one turned out to be a bear behind ( or butt as the locals would say.)

We drove out of the park and on through some different countryside until we joined the 101 back to San Francisco over the San Mateo Bridge.

Day Fourteen

Our time with James in California had come to an end and he was dropped off at the airport for a 10.40am flight. We still had time to fill until our 7.45pm flight so headed to Palo Alto wetlands to spend some time looking for Clapper Rails.

On arriving, we discovered the tide on the rise and too high to allow a realistic chance of seeing rails. But, at least we enjoyed views of nesting Cliff Swallows at the visitor centre. We walked some of the short trails finding American Avocets and Stilts really close to the path.

Juvenile Cliff Swallow

 Snowy Egret

Black-necked Stilt
American Avocets
Great White Egret

 Greater Yellowlegs

We continued working our way around the wetlands and got a few more species on the trip list. There were good numbers of Marbled and Hudsonian Godwit, Western Sandpiper, Willet and Dowitchers. Foster's Tern, Ring-billed Gull, Bonaparte'sGull, Cinnamon Teal and Common Moorhen were also present.

Least Sandpiper

American Avocet

American White Pelicans and Short-billed Dowitchers


 American White Pelican

Barn Swallow youngsters awaiting food bearing adults 
(and looking a little down in the mouth).

We also managed to photograph a Swallowtail butterfly.

Pale Swallowtail

After a fortnight in California it was now time for us to take to the air and fly back to the UK. We never did see Clapper Rail and missed California Thrasher, a few Woodpecks and all the Kinglets but we also got a few things that were not expected (see part 7 for species list). It's an awkward time of year with a lot of youngsters about and the added problems of high temperatures sending birds into cover and ultra bright light at localities away from the coastal murk, though often when mixed flocks were found they contained all the birds you might expect to find scattered around in the breeding season, altogether. We all had a great time and would definitely recommend a trip to California for birding.