Van Vleck Meadow birds

Craig Swolgaard

Hi Birders-

I had an interesting morning birding at Van Vleck meadow.  It is found at the end of Cheese Camp road which connects with Ice House Road in El Dorado County.  Turn right at the T about four miles in.  The meadow is sizable and has a good variety of SN birds.  Tells Creek runs through it.  The best find this morning was a lone Willow Flycatcher.  Also recorded was a pair of Williamson’s Sapsuckers.
Here is my eBird list: with photos.

After turning off Ice House Road, about a mile further is a large pond on the right.  There were four ring-necked ducks there.  I’ve seen this species in this pond every June for the last six years or so.  Pretty sure they are breeding, or trying to.  Some mornings I’ve seen up to five common nighthawks foraging over the edge of the pond.

To find the flycatcher and sapsuckers you park at the Desolation Wilderness parking next to an equestrian campground at the end of Cheese Camp Road.  Walk back out to the road and make a right through a big gate.  Follow the road about 1/2 mile till it forks, turn left and cross Tells Creek, make another left at a trail going to Loon Lake just after the creek crossing (sign).  Follow this trail along the edge of the meadow.  When the trail peters out and you see a branch of the meadow in front of you, spend time around there, listening and looking for the sapsuckers.  They are pretty vocal.  The flycatcher was in the same general area. 

Craig Swolgaard
Georgetown, CA