Six female Pine Grosbeak flying high over the Pacific Crest Trail about 3/4 of a mile n. of the trail's intersection with Hwy 20 today was a tantalizing occurrence that kept me scouring the area (unsuccessfully) for several hours this morning with the hope of finding a large flock foraging at eye-level on the bear grass which many others have recently enjoyed. To add insult to injury - several woodpeckers were drumming in the area, but I was unable to visually locate a single one of them. I was off trail for about a third of the walk today chasing distant call notes to no avail. The most interesting find, besides the grosbeak and lack of snow at the 5,200 ft elevation level, was a pair of Mountain Bluebird actively working a nest cavity.
A map of our tracks, images of no-snow, and a few birds:
The fleeting-stop of the first female Pine Grosbeak flying through the area
Who would have imagined seeing this much bare ground at this elevation at this latitude at this time of year . . .
Looking south-southwest with Mt. Washington in (L) background and Hoodoo Ski Area (R) foreground:
Three Fingered Jack
Thinking Bobcat track - the measurements look right
The pen is three and a half inches long
Mountain Bluebird tending to nest