Went on a snowboarding trip that turned into a birding paradise. California is a birding Mecca! My friend John and I took off on a Monday to head up to Tahoe to do some skiing. The drive started off slow with just wide-open dessert landscapes with the frosted tipped mountains in the background. 3 hours into the drive we finally came across the Eastern sierras, which began the excitement. We come around a bend and John yells “Red tailed hawk!” I slam on the breaks and come to a screeching halt in the gravel. I didn’t want to scare the hawk so we opened up the sunroof and I slowly peak my lens out the top. We are in an instant stare down and before I know it the hawk flaps its wings and is off to the horizon. This was just the beginning to a birding paradise.
5 hours later we pulled up to Bishop and drove down a dirt road for a few miles until we came across 3 ponds in the middle of the desert. We parked the car and started looking at all the birds we could find but nothing close to a Golden Eagle. After about 10 minutes we looked up in the sky and about a few hundred feet in the sky we see a spec circling around us. There were two of them but one stuck out like a sore thumb. I took some photos but the lighting was horrible and we couldn’t positively identify what it was. After a while it began to make its decent and we started chasing it as it was getting farther and farther away. We finally got lucky enough for it to circle directly on top of our car and we were able to take photos and positively identify it as a Golden Eagle. Again we couldn’t believe that we had scene two of the biggest eagles on the planet in a matter of a few hours apart. After all of the excitement and a long day of driving we decided to call it a day and head home.