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U.S.A. -- NEVADA: Ruby Mountains

02 - 03 August 1996

by Mike Feighner

In a follow-up to the article which appeared in the February 1995 issue of Winging It I birded the Ruby Mountains of Nevada about 32 miles southeast of Elko, Nevada, August 2-3, 1996.  On this trip, my third attempt to find Himalayan Snowcocks, Himalayan Snowcocks were heard (at 6:50 AM and 7:00 AM) (and not seen) above Island Lake in the Southeast Cirque of Thomas Peak described in the Winging It article.  It was rather cool and windy at the time.  Either that may have been the reason the Snowcocks did not appear or the birds were weary of my presence (they are considered game for hunters).  I remained in the area until about 9:30 AM.

A word of caution for those wishing to search the Himalayan Snowcocks: the trail sign for Island Lake is not visible to the traffic approaching the trail head parking lot at the end of the road into Lamoille Canyon.  The other two trails leading off the west end of the parking lot lead to Lamoille Lake and Liberty Pass.  The sign for the Island Lake Trail is at the right side of the road at the fork in the road for the parking area facing the road and not the traffic.  The hiking distance to Island Lake is about 2.4 miles, and it is another mile or so above Island Lake to the Southeast Cirque.

List of Species Seen or Heard:

Red-tailed Hawk
Golden Eagle
Prairie Falcon
Himalayan Snowcock
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (single female)
Rufous Hummingbird (numerous)
Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker
Gray Flycatcher
Violet-green Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Clark's Nutcracker
Common Raven
Mountain Chickadee
Rock Wren
Mountain Bluebird (Nevada's State Bird)
American Robin
MacGillivray's Warbler
Dark-eyed (Gray-headed) Junco
Chipping Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Black Rosy-Finch (about a dozen birds)
Cassin's Finch
Pine Siskin

Good birding

Mike Feighner
Livermore, CA