all photos & text by Don Roberson
all photos taken in California
Greater Sage-Grouse lek at dawn
5 Apr 1996 below Shafter Mt.
County is a large square chunk of high desert sage in northeastern
California. There are actually bits of mountain ranges here and there,
and some very large lakes [Honey Lake, Eagle Lake], but the county has
plenty of sage. It is thus quite unlike most of California. It has only
one decent-sized town (Susanville) and lots of room to roam. Birders often
prefer winter: there is then the chance for Northern Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing,
and American Tree Sparrows — species that are regularly here but hardly
anywhere else in the State. Honey Lake is the center of a major waterfowl
refuge. Yet at the county's western edge there are extensive forests, small
lakes, and mountain meadows.
County birding statistics and links are on Joe Morlan's site.
| For Lassen County the headline photo is of
a Sage Grouse lek just at dawn. It is freezing cold but the grouse are
out 'dancing' as they have for eons. I'm lying on the frozen ground behind
a small barricade of volcanic rocks, listening to the 'plop, plop'
sounds of the displaying birds. I was just really taken by this scene:
the grouse, the sage, the moon — and although my equipment was not up to
the task (slow shutter speed, high-speed grainy film), it does take me
back to the memory. A closer look at a displaying Sage Grouse is below
(left), taken after the sun was up. Later that day Rita & I checked
out Honey Lake refuge and found that male Yellow-headed Blackbirds had
just arrived on territory (below right).
|A view of Honey Lake from the hills, with threatening clouds looming overhead, is the subject of this Feb 1981 photo:|
|All photos & text © 2006 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.|
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