With the warmer weather new bird songs can be heard in Plumas County as spring migrants begin to arrive, buds are breaking and flowers are appearing. The Plumas Audubon Society has developed a program of bird and botany walks to provide all who are interested with an opportunity to see some of these birds and various plants with guidance from people who have expertise in identifying different species.
On Saturday, May 7, David Arsenault and Tony Hall will lead a morning bird walk that will explore Spanish Creek from Gansner Park down to the wastewater treatment ponds. The walk will start at the parking area next to the tennis courts in Gansner Park at 7:30 a.m.
In Gansner Park, male red-breasted sapsuckers might be heard announcing their interest in breeding by tapping loudly on trees. From the walking bridge across Spanish Creek, an American dipper might be seen because one nested under the Highway 70 bridge last year. There should be several warbler species in the willows along Spanish Creek. At the airport, California quail and various hawks often are seen. The wastewater ponds are a special treat in that about 20 different bird species have been seen there recently. Spotting scopes will be available to provide a good look at these waterfowl. In the marshy area next to the ponds a green heron might be seen, if we are lucky.
On Saturday, May 14, Ryan Burnett will lead a bird walk that will start at the Chester High School parking lot at 8 a.m. To carpool from Quincy, meet at the Post Office at 6:45 a.m.
This will be a several-hour walk so bring a pack with lunch and drinks. We will follow the old railroad tracks and cross the bridge over the North Fork of the Feather River. We will walk along the meadow and follow the river as it flows towards Lake Almanor and then walk along the lake shore. Due to the diversity of habitats that will be examined it is possible to see many bird species. Possible sightings include lots of warblers, willow flycatchers, Cassin’s vireos, black-headed and evening grosbeaks, bald eagles, white pelicans and several shore bird species.
On Saturday, May 21, there will be a bird walk, a botany walk, a barbecue and opportunities for canoeing at the Maddalena Ranch in Sierra Valley. The ranch is located 1-1/2 miles south of Highway 70 on road A24. The bird walk will be led by David Arsenault and begin at 8 a.m. There will be an opportunity to use the new viewing platform developed by the Plumas Audubon Society, so bring your spotting scopes. The botany walk will be led by Bill and Nancy Harnach and will begin at 10 a.m. There will be a barbecue at the corral at noon to which everyone is invited. A $5 donation for the food would be appreciated and you should bring a chair if you need one. Dedication of Harry Reeves’ interpretive bird painting signs will begin at 1 p.m. Canoeing can be done all day.
On Saturday, May 28, there will be another opportunity to see the birds of Sierra Valley in a car caravan led by Colin Dillingham. This field trip will start at the parking area across from the A-23/Highway 70 junction at 8:15 a.m. To carpool from Quincy, meet in front of Work Connection next to Sav-Mor at 7:30 a.m.
Bring lunch and drinks. We expect to find 40 to 50 bird species on this field trip. Possible sightings include: yellow-headed blackbirds nesting near the steel bridge and many waterfowl, including redhead ducks, cinnamon teal, willets, American avocets and, if we are lucky, black terns. On one of these field trips we saw a pronghorn antelope in Sierra Valley.
On Saturday, June 4, there will be a morning bird walk in Spanish Ranch led by Darla DeRuiter and Darrel Jury. The bird walk will begin at 6669 Bucks Lake road in Meadow Valley at 7:30 a.m. When coming from Quincy, No. 6669 is on the right, two houses past the Pineleaf intersection. Last year on this bird walk we saw 34 bird species including a pygmy nuthatch, a red-breasted sapsucker, three warbler species, an American dipper and a male lazuli bunting.
On Saturday, June 11, Jim Battagin will lead a morning trip that will begin at the Mt. Hough Ranger District visitors’ parking lot at 9:30 a.m.
Jim will share his wealth of knowledge of the many plants (including the famed carnivorous cobra lilies) of Butterfly Valley. His “Flora of Butterfly Valley” is currently being reprinted and should be available for purchase for $20 on the walk. You may want to bring binoculars in case a pileated woodpecker graces the group with an appearance.
On Saturday, July 9, Scott and Amber Edwards will lead a bird and botany walk on the Mill Creek trail along the shore of Bucks Lake. The walk will begin at the Mill Creek trailhead at 8 a.m. When coming from Quincy, the trailhead is on the right side of Buck’s Lake road 0.3 mile past the Whitehorse Campground.
Length of the walk is optional, if you care to walk past noon, bring a pack with lunch and drinks. Last year on this bird walk we saw 29 bird species including a Swainson’s thrush, a white-headed woodpecker, seven warbler species, warbling vireos, western tanagers and a fox sparrow, and lots of colorful plant species including leopard lilies.
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