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Butterbredt Spring Holloween Campout Report: 3-4 November, 2012

November 6, 2012

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Planned for the weekend after 10/31, to facilitate maximum attendance, thirteen participants, plus the appropriate black cat, enjoyed perfect weather, sunny days, starry nights, and views of some great birds. By the leader’s count at the Spring, in Butterbredt Canyon, at Tunnel Spring on Kelso Valley Rd and at Sageland Ranch (our camp site), we saw 28 species plus 1 Coopers Hawk heard by Keith Axelson, our host, and distant hoots of Great Horned Owls in the night. (Possibly the leader may have overlooked a bird or two on this report.)

Keith & Lis (R. Seidner 11 3 12)

Keith & Lis (R. Seidner 11/3/12)

Besides expected White-crowned & Sage Sparrows, there were Loggerhead Shrikes (2), numbers of Northern Flickers, a Ladder-backed Woodpecker, American Robins, Bewick’s Wrens, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Rock Wrens. The most unexpected bird of the day was a Golden-crowned Kinglet in and near the big cottonwood tree below Butterbredt Spring. It was beautifully viewed by all, and the first I personally have ever found on about 25 of these outings. Another great bird was the Western Screech Owl who came out of his nest-hole at the Ranch, and most spectacular, 40 Chukars which flew up from the edge of Tunnel Spring and scurried up the hill beside us for excellent views where we had stopped on Kelso Valley Rd. No hoped-for Snipes or Solitary Sandpipers foraging there around the cattle-muddied waters of that spring, however.

Cattle trough below Butterbredt Spring (R. Seidner 11 3 12)

Cattle trough below Butterbredt Spring (R. Seidner 11/3/12)

In fact, heavy use by cattle was evident in all of the open land except in the Butterbredt Spring area and around Keith’s at Sageland. Tanks for water and feeder units had been installed for those animals. Hopefully, wildlife and birds also benefited in this very dry year. Another quite shocking experience to me was coming upon huge wind turbines standing on wide, graded platforms beside Jawbone Cyn. Road at the summit of Humbolt Pass. That pass would be a natural flyway for migrating birds, and for Golden Eagles, which we would have expected this trip, but none were found.

Not the windmills of your mind - Jawbone Canyon (R. Seidner 11 3 12)

Not the windmills of your mind – Jawbone Cyn (R Seidner 11/3/12)

Other fun birds were a Golden-crowned Sparrow, California Thrasher, a Roadrunner, Towhees, Western Bluebirds, numerous California Quail, Anna’s Hummingbirds on a feeder, a Sharp-shinned Hawk at Keith’s, a Red-breasted & Red-naped Sapsucker (the last not seen well by most}, the ever present Western Scrub Jays and Dark-eyed Juncos, one of which was slate-colored. Unfortunately for the Braggs, a flock of Pinyon Jays flew over the house five minutes after they had departed on Sunday. Maybe next Spring? Another visitor was a sleek, healthy appearing coyote which strolled through the grounds. One had to guess it had been well fed and seemed not afraid.

We few! We carven few! We group of gourds! (R. Seidner 11 3 12)

We few! We carven few! We group of gourds! (R. Seidner 11/3/12)

However, no one missed the great shared dinner Saturday night and the pumpkin carving contest, won predictably by Mr. Bragg (the judge). Competition was fierce and could only be appreciated if you were there.

Roxie & the rox (R. Seidner 11 3 12)

Roxie & the rox (R. Seidner 11/3/12)

Many took the hike up the rocky canyon off Dove Spring Rd on Sunday for a view of an amazing balanced rock, the surrounding beautiful hills and foliage turning gold for fall in the canyons, with brilliant, yellow Rabbit Brush everywhere.

Painted Lady butterfly in the Rabbit Bush blooms (R. Seidner 11 3 12)

Painted Lady butterfly in the Rabbit Brush (R. Seidner 11/3/12)

We owe much thanks to Mr. Axelson for welcoming us at his ranch and for instituting Butterbredt Spring and these trips many years ago. We hope lots of participants will venture to enjoy our next outing there in the southern Sierra mountains.    [Mary Prismon, leader]

Chilly Sageland Ranch morn (R. Seidner 11/3/12)

Chilly Sageland Ranch morn (R. Seidner 11/3/12)

PS: Did you notice the mention of Chukars?

One Comment
  1. Mary Prismon permalink
    December 6, 2012 11:28 pm

    Thank you Mr. Chukar. Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2012 02:40:57 +0000 To:


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