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Some August Notes for Lake Valley

Milton S. Ray
Publication Information
3 (May-June)
From Field and Study

Some August Notes for Lake Valley.

I spent most of August, 1906, at Lake Valley, which lies at the southern end of Lake Tahoe. This being my first visit at so late a date, a comparison with the Valley's bird life in May and June may be of interest. While advancing summer finds certain birds ascending to still higher altitudes, on the other hand some species, or rather individuals, having reared their young in high altitudes, now descend to lower levels. In May and June at Bijou, such birds as the Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus pinus), Olive-sided Flycatcher (Nuttallornis borealis), Slender-billed Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis aculeata), Williamson Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus thyroideus) and Clarke Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) are either scarce or wanting; in August, however, I found these not uncommon and collected examples of all of them in the immediate vicinity of Bijou.

Green-tailed Towhees (Oreospiza chlorura), while scarce in the breeding season at Bijou, although nesting commonly in certain localities adjacent, were in August one of the most common birds, being found in large numbers along the now dry meadowlands in company with the Sierra Junco (Junco hyemalis thurberi).

In general birdlife, being increased by the young of the year, was more abundant than earlier. These conditions did not obtain at the Rowland's Marsh at Al-Tahoe, however, where the defection was very marked. Here we found almost the entire summer congregation absent. Of its usual quota of thousands of Yellow-headed Blackbirds (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) we observed only a single individual, an immature male; Forster Terns (Sterna forsteri) were entirely wanting and the very few Black Terns (Hydrochelidon nigra surinamensis) seen were all young of the year. In our tour of the marsh, however, we secured a new bird for the Lake Valley checklist in the Least Sandpiper (Pisobia minutilla). A flock of about twenty passed over our boat and we secured three specimens, all adults. Another species new for the checklist was the Sora Rail (Porzana carolina) . We first took this bird on the Bijou Meadow on August 12; on August 27, on our trip through the Rowland's Marsh, we noted two more rails of this species. During a stay of a little over a month the writer made a collection of about fifty skins, including a few of the smaller mammals. The two birds already noted, however, were the only ones to be newly recorded for Lake Valley.


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