A very nice person informed me 2 days ago that the gate is open at the Maple Springs parking lot. when I arrived this morning it was open so I drove exactly 3.0 miles from the parking lot to where the pavement ends up in the mountains
This was both an exploratory reconnaissance trip for me as I am trying to learn where the various landmarks are up there, and an active birding trip. After the first hour of my walking uphill from where I had to park the car at the end of the pavement, I found myself in a small grove of pines and firs where I heard a Townsend's solitaire. I stated that area for a good while and eventually photographed and audio recorded both Townsend solitaire and red-breasted nuthatches. A mountain quail called from across the valley. Eventually, I worked my way back down to the car, and drove very slowly all the way back down to the parking lot, stopping here and there for 10 minutes at a time. I did not discover any interesting birds, but I did make a few audio recordings of birds that would not show themselves, then I could not identify. Later tonight, I am going to upload those audio recordings and asked for the input of others. When I drove out of the Maple Springs parking lot I continued driving slowly with all of my windows open and immediately pulled over less than 100 yards downhill from the parking lot, because I heard a large flock of goldfinches. having nowhere to park, I returned to the Maple Springs parking lot, and walked down hill, and looked to my left at a long white house that has several alders and sycamores inside its fence. There were multiple Pine siskins feeding on the catkins of the altars.
(My original plan was to go on this trip this morning, then be in suburban Orange County during the day, then drive back up to the end of the paved Road late this afternoon and then hike the one point five miles back up to where the pines are, and listen for the owls. needless to say, I am so tired that you couldn't pay me a million dollars to do that. I intend to return in the evening for the owls Saturday or Sunday night.)
My last stop of the day was Lake Irvine, where despite walking around for a long time at the GPS coordinates at the end of the peninsula, I never saw the Eastern Phoebe. Towards closing time for Irvine Lake an employee stated to me that he saw a series of birders arrive throughout the course of the day and they were staring intently at a bird much closer to the parking lot. He told me where to look, and I spent a long time searching there, also, without success.
Thomas Geza Miko
Claremont, LA County
"The plan was so full of holes it made Swiss cheese looks solid."--Lee Child