2016-05-02 Monday on the Siskiyou Summit Road

Nashville Warbler - Oreothlypis ruficapillaOnce again I prepared to drive over the Siskiyou Mountains from the Applegate Valley to Ashland. I hoped to see Calliope Hummingbirds, especially males. Last year when I drove this road in June I found females, but no males. I hoped the boys would still be around today. The Calliope is the smallest bird in the northern hemisphere. For such a small bird, they have a very long migration. Each year they winter in Central America and each spring they travel as far as Canada to breed. Often they will breed at higher elevations, and that fact is what I placed my hopes on to find this bird on this day.

Last year I also found MacGillivray’s Warblers and Golden-Crowned Kinglets on this route. The images I collected of those birds were more satisfying than the hummer, so my drive to get more of these birds is not as high. Who knows? Perhaps I’ll run into something new today.

The route I planned to follow today is designated NF-20 (National Forest 20), sometimes called “Siskiyou Summit Road”. At its western terminus, it begins paved as “Beaver Creek Road”, but after about six miles the pavement ends until it reaches its eastern end 38 miles later, at the Ashland Ski Resort. It was my bad luck that at about 12 miles into the ascent, snowpack and fallen trees would prevent me from getting to the elevations that might give me the hummingbird. At about 10 miles from the start of this road I found an area with about a dozen Hermit Warblers and a few Yellow-Rumped Warblers, but they were so high in the trees that decent pictures were not attainable. As I drove further down the mountain I explored a side road and found rather cooperative Nashville Warblers.

Images can be seen below:

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