all photos & text by Don Roberson
all photos taken in California
6 Feb 2005 along Hunt Rd., w. CLV
County is one of the small Gold Rush counties in the central Sierran
foothills. It was one of the 27 original counties and was once larger.
In 1854, Amador County was created from it and Alpine County took much
of its northeastern part. In 1861, Mono County took everything else east
of the Sierran divide. Today, Calaveras County stretches from Central Valley
grassland edge to montane forests, and includes a Sequoia grove (the Calaveras
Big Trees), but much of the county is gray pine and oak woodland. It was
famed as the locale for Mark Twain's mythical 'jumping frog' contest; today
the foothills are under significant development pressure. Most of the little
birding that is done here tends to be around reservoirs, where there is
a chance of county rarities, and the remainder of the county is rather
unexplored. There are several reservoirs in the foothills, like Salt Springs
Valley Reservoir and New Hogan Reservoir, that attract waterfowl in season.
County statistics and links are on Joe Morlan's site.
| For Calaveras County the photo is of a male
Phainopepla, sitting atop a bare tree in February that has not yet leafed
out. He surveys his domain regally in the crisp winter air (or, at least,
that's how I remember it). There were still no leaves in the oak woodlands
on this date, making it easy to spot the patches of mistletoe so favored
by this species. This is a county that we've rarely visited, so I'm pleased
to have at least one decent shot from there in my files. Actually, I have
two other okay photos. First, the same day as the Phainopepla (6 Feb 2005),
I got a snap of a soaring adult Ferruginous Hawk over Salt Springs Valley
(below left). Then, back in Sep 1976, I chased the rarest bird ever to
appear in Calaveras County — a Blue-footed Booby on New Hogan Reservoir
that remained for a month. I got a friend to snap this shot of me and the
booby with my camera (below right).
|The view below is of New Hogan Reservoir in winter, more than two decades after the booby (12 Dec 1998):|
|All photos & text © 2006 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.|
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