Rosy-Finch Rendezvous: Stop 2 – Virginia Lakes Resort

By Jim Gain
Rosy-Finch Rendezvous Birding Adventure Series


At a 10,000′ elevation, with a cool temperature of 38 degrees, 32 % humidity and brisk winds at 18-20 mph, the relative temperature of around 20 degrees made this stop a challenge. The folks that manage Virginia Lakes Resort are pretty good at keeping a seed feeder and black thistle seed sock well-stocked for all of the birds (and visiting birders). As we walked towards the store, we spotted Cassin’s Finches and Pine Siskins at the seed feeder.

Cassin’s Finch
Pine Siskin

As we got closer, we could see two Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches flitting between the ground, the tree and the feeder.

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

A short walk to the restroom and back showed how the altitude at almost 10,000′ was hitting me big time. I was huffing and puffing by the time I got back to the feeders. We chatted with the lady that fills the feeders and she commented that the Rosy-Finches tend to come down from the high elevations once the snow has melted. The Cassin’s Finches showed no fear and landed as close as 6 feet from us as they devoured the freshly placed seed.

Cassin’s Finch

As soon as the thistle seed sock was filled the Pine Siskins rejoined the feeding frenzy.

Pine Siskin

Soon the commotion drew in a pair of Clark’s Nutcrackers and a lone Dark-eyed Junco.

Clark’s Nutcracker
Dark-eyed Junco

There were also some cute Chipmunks and Belding Ground Squirrels, but there were no squirrel moments for us as WE WERE FOCUSED!

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the very cool breeze and with our primary goal in hand, we took a quick selfie to memorialize the success. Unlike our Operation PhotoTrogon adventure where we got our target bird on the last day of birding, we scored great, although somewhat brief views of two Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches on our first day!

Jim and Rich

2022 BIRD SPECIES #500

*SIDE NOTE: The Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch also happened to be bird species #500 for 2022 for me. Here’s another shot of this pretty bird.

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch

Next Stop: Mono Lake County Park

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