Tuesday June 26, 2009
This was a bonus day and not all participants had opted for the quest for a single species: Black Swift. There were seven of us who made the run to Burney Falls State Park, about 130 miles southeast of Ashland on the plateau north of California’s most recently active volcano, Mt. Lassen.
As we drove up to the park entrance toll booth the woman there pointed to the swifts circling over the unseen falls. We walked down to the Burney Creek anyway, and looked up at the falls, the swifts, and wonderfully: our only Dipper of the trip. He flew straight up from the pool to the face of the falls near the top. His flight path alone was striking, as swifts never fly in a straight line. They are constantly circling, arcing, curving, swerving, dipping, rising, swirling about and giving circularity corporeal being.
Further downstream he had several riparian species, and the mother Common Merganser and her brood, so well-captured in this image by Len Blumin. From Burney Falls, four birders headed home to the Bay Area and three of headed back toward Ashland. The Sickles did stop at Mount Lassen where they added White-headed Woodpecker that the rest of has missed in the Siskiyous and Cascades, and they saw a Bufflehead as well. They were the only ones who saw the Kestrel as well, seeing one of the pair nesting along Bear Creek in Ashland when they went for an early morning birdwalk there Monday before brunch.
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