I finally got a chance to try again for the South Lake Tahoe titmice yesterday, and was able to find them very busily flitting around in the pines in the lot behind the split rail fence. They were among a flock of perhaps 20 Mountain Chickadees, plus a few Red-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches, and mostly working Lodgepole cones for seeds. In about 20-25 min of observation over two visits, I never saw them anywhere near the ground, and they were always in the middle of that wooded lot. They were pretty tough to keep track of too, and I wondered if there might not be more than two individuals. The two kept somewhat separate from one another as well, and at one point one chased the other pretty aggressively, which seemed curious to me. Sounds like folks have mostly had them working the willows at the edge of that lot in the mornings, but I was there early afternoon. Lat/Long: 38.942848, -119.990708
I put a little seed down in a few spots in that lot, and the jays were instantly on it. In fact, I dropped my pack and the bag of seed while I was looking for the titmice, and they were checking out the bag like they knew the routine. Two jays in particular were incredibly tame and curious, as if they’re being hand-fed in a nearby yard.
Out on the beach the only thing of real interest I could find were the dozens of ravens all socializing and chasing each other, one raven chasing a Bonaparte’s Gull, Tahoe Yellow Cress still in bloom, and lots of Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies. But I wasn’t there for very long.
T. Will Richardson, Ph.D.
Tahoe Institute for Natural Science