Mount Lassen and Manzanita Lake

One of the best things about our annual Lassen Park campout is that we get to see several species of birds that are rarely, if ever, seen in the Sacramento Valley. Many of those species also nest in the park. According to their website, Lassen Volcanic National Park provides habitat for approximately 216 species of birds in which 96 have been known to actually breed in the park.

For those of you that have never been to Lassen Volcanic National Park, I thought I would post some photos I have taken inside the park of some of the bird and animal species we may encounter during our annual campout.

One of my favorite species is the Water Ouzel, more commonly known now as the American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus). This is a photo I took at King’s Creek picnic area of an adult feeding its nestlings. Click on photos for full sized images.

American Dipper

and a short video of the nestlings begging for food and being fed.

Of course, LVNP has a great variety of woodpeckers on their bird list, eight of them known to nest in the area, including the White-headed Woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus.) This is a male with some treats for the youngsters.

White-headed Woodpecker Male

 and a short video of the adults feeding the nestling and drumming.

We will hopefully see the rare Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) as well.

Black-backed Woodpecker

and maybe hear it drum!

There are Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus) that hang out just adjacent to our campground in an old burn.

Pileated Woodpecker Male

And Red-breasted Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus ruber) are common.

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Near Summit Lake we have been able to witness Williamson’s Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus thyroideus) raising their young in a snag near the campground. The handsome male…

Williamson's Sapsucker Male

and the not as recognizable female.

Another of my favorite Lassen Park nesting birds is the Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)…

Brown Creeper

This is a video of the nesting activity of a pair of Brown Creepers at Summit Lake. Their nest is concealed in the narrow space behind loose bark on a tree.

Mountain Chickadees (Poecile sclateri) are one of the many secondary cavity nesters at the park. This is a nestling waiting to be fed at Hat Lake.

Mountain Chickadee Nestling

Also seen at Hat Creek, Red-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta canadensis) tending their nestlings.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

And the video accompaniment.

Other secondary cavity nesters at the park include the Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea)…

Pygmy Nuthatch

the Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides), the male seen here…

Mountain Bluebird Male

and the Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola).

Bufflehead Female with Young

Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few places that this incredible cavity nesting duck breeds in Northern California.

This is a video of a female Bufflehead searching Manzanita Lake for a cavity to nest in for the following nesting season. She is in a snag, at least forty feet up!

American Coots (Fulica americana) raise their young at the park also. If you have never seen a American Coot chick, Manzanita Lake is a good spot to find them.

American Coot Chick

Since we’re checking out the youngsters of the park, I found this juvenile Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) at Bumpass Hell. Note the remaining flesh colored gape below the eye at the corner of the beak.

Clark's Nutcracker Fledgling

Other species that nest at the park include the Cassin’s Finch (Carpodacus cassinii). The male seen here…

Cassin's Finch Male
and the female.

Cassin's Finch Female

You would be hard pressed to miss the boisterous Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)

Steller's Jay

But if you are really lucky, you might find a young Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) at Hat Lake!

Spotted Sandpiper Chick

You gotta see this:

Or a Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) that also nests here.

Green-tailed Towhee

Of course there are more than just birds at Lassen Volcanic National Park. The park is home to approximately 57 species of mammals ranging is size from the tiny shrew to the North American black bear. We are most likely to see the Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis)…

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

the American Pika (Ochotona princeps)…

American Pika

and the Yellow-bellied Marmot (Marmota flaviventris).

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Written by Larry
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.