2020-11-07 November in Northern Nevada

Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia
Driving south of Jackpot Nevada I found sparrows and juncos at a roadside rest area next to Salmon Falls Creek.

Yesterday I left Payette Idaho and headed south, looking forward to exploring new roads. I had a great stay with my friends in Payette, while I got my RV into shape for the road again. I spent the night in Buhl Idaho and looked forward to exploring new highways into Nevada. From Buhl I drove south down the US 93 and crossed the broad agricultural plains of southern Idaho. For miles in all directions, all I could see was agricultural grassland.

A few miles south of Jackpot Nevada, I stopped at a rest area called Salmon Falls Creek Rest Area, where aside from the abundance of graffiti painted on the bluffs overhead, the scene that greeted me was gorgeous. I collected some images of the local birds there which included Song Sparrows, first winter White-Crown Sparrows and Dark-Eyed Oregon Juncos. I heard a nearby Belted Kingfisher, but I never had eyes on it.

When I left the rest area, the storm that had been bearing down on me since I left Payette, unleashed its wind and rain, which I’m sure was quite welcome in the barren sage desert that I drove through. Later, south of Wells Nevada, I stopped to photograph the storm as it interacted with the surrounding mountains.

Stormy Nevada Skies - Scenery
South of Wells Nevada the storm’s impact on the surrounding mountains was more than I could pass by without attempting a photo or two.

Thirty-two miles south of Ely Nevada, just north of Lund, I stopped at a truck-stop to spend the night. I woke up to several inches of snow on the ground. Like it or not, I had no option but to drive this now icy road and continue my journey south. For the first 10 miles I was white-knuckle driving, with only the roadside metal posts to help me guess where the roadway was. Later, just before the pavement cleared, I picked up a train of big rigs eager to pass. With nowhere for me to pull off the road, they had to stay behind me. I dared not travel more than 35 mph without risking ending up on the side of the road in a ditch. When I found a clear wide shoulder to pull off, I let them by. The snow continued for several more hours, with temperatures hovering between 28° and 29°F, but I was grateful it wasn’t sticking on the roads. I knew when I left for Idaho that I was pushing my luck with the weather. Today I was grateful I didn’t have to put chains on my wheels to complete my journey.

I continued southward, with plans to visit friends in Thatcher Arizona. I’d have enjoyed hunting birds in the region I passed through, but not under the wintery conditions I found. Despite the weather, I passed several flocks of small passerines I assume were sparrows. I could only marvel at the tenacity and durability of these small birds. With no safe places to pull off the road, I could not stop to investigate.

At day’s end, I found my way to warmer weather in Henderson Nevada. I spent Sunday night there and made plans for a Monday visit to the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, where I’ve had some lovely visits in the past.

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