For Your Safety, Plan Ahead
and Be Prepared
Proper planning is key to enjoying your visit to the Eastern Sierra. It’s best to be prepared for many different types of conditions by having proper clothing, water, sunscreen, bug repellant, hat, wind and rain gear, suitable footwear, and food. Binoculars, scopes, and field guides are not essential, but will help to make your birding experience more rewarding.
Weather conditions vary dramatically depending on the time of year and the elevation of the site you’re visiting. Eastern Sierra winters can drop several inches to several feet of snow depending on your elevation. Summer weather can vary from over 100 degrees in the Owens Valley to cool, breezy conditions in the higher elevations. Mountain thunderstorms are also a possibility in summer. Having proper clothing and gear—and simply paying attention to the weather through observation and local reports—can make a huge difference in the type of experience you have.
No matter what the season, you should always have enough drinking water for your group. The combination of desert climate, bright sun, wind, and high elevation will quickly rob your body of water. Drinking frequently, using sunscreen, and wearing clothing that keeps you well covered will go a long way in preventing problems with the sun.
All sites on this map are accessible by standard two-wheel drive vehicles. Should you visit this mountain area during the winter months (November through March) or should you wish to travel on the area’s primitive roads, you should plan to carry chains or drive a four-wheel drive vehicle that can handle these conditions.
Respect Wildlife, the Land, and Rights of Others
All of us, whether resident or seasonal visitor, have a responsibility to our natural treasures here in the Eastern Sierra. As you leave your car and investigate the wonders of each site, please keep in mind the following:
• Practice quiet observation. You will see more if you go in a smaller group. Sit quietly in one location for a while to let wildlife feel comfortable with your presence.
• Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist. Walk on durable surfaces such as rock when trails aren’t available.
• Follow all laws, rules, and regulations on the lands you visit. This map cannot include all regulations for these sites, so be sure to check before or upon arrival.
• Do not enter private property without the owner’s permission. The majority of sites are on public land but many are adjacent to private property. Please help to ensure that landowners have a positive experience with birders.
• Observe from a distance especially near nesting areas and important feeding areas. Disturbing wildlife causes unnecessary stress and in some cases may impair their ability to survive. Use binoculars or a spotting scope for close-up views.
• Leave no trace. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
How to Watch Birds
Whatever the level of your interest, there are several simple techniques that will further your enjoyment of birding. Most importantly, take time to fully observe the bird while it is in view. What do you notice first about the bird? What is its color? Its behavior? What is its posture? How does it perch?
After a few minutes, revisit your first impressions of the bird’s color. What are the extent and location of prominent colors? Is there a pattern of color on the bird? What color are the wings, belly, and head? Details are crucial to making a proper identification when you finally turn to your field guide for help.
Try to always scan the area with both the naked eye and a pair of binoculars; keep your eyes active. Birds often remain inconspicuous until you make an effort to find them. Look for suggestive shapes perched on wires, branches, or atop rocks; watch for unexpected movements; listen for the calls and songs of hidden birds. Over time your senses will become trained and accustomed to this effort.
Guide To Using This Map
The Eastern Sierra Birding Trail map is divided into two sections: north and south. Each site is identified with a number. Find the corresponding number in the map margin for detailed information about the site. Habitat type and elevation are also provided to assist you in deciding where to visit and what type of terrain you can expect to encounter. Universal symbols are used to identify the facilities at each particular site (see legend). The Handicap Access symbol denotes areas that allow for wheelchair use; however, this does not necessarily imply a paved surface but rather a hardened and predominately level surface.
Keep in mind that the Eastern Sierra is a sparsely populated landscape with most services located in towns adjacent to Highway 395. For this reason, plan meals and fuel stops accordingly.
The Eastern Sierra Birding Trail map does not intend to provide detailed route information for those traveling throughout the Eastern Sierra. Rather, its purpose is specific to the various birding sites. Visitors should obtain additional detailed maps depending on their recreational goals and travel plans. These can be obtained in any of the local communities and at the various visitor centers highlighted on the map.
Big Pine: (760) 938-2114 ~ www.bigpine.com
Bishop: (760) 873-8405 ~ www.bishopvisitor.com
Bridgeport: (760) 932-7500 ~ www.bridgeportcalifornia.com
Independence: (760) 878-0084 ~ www.independence-ca.com
June Lake Loop: (760) 648-7584 ~ www.junelakechamber.com
Lee Vining: (760) 647-6629 ~ www.leevining.com
Lone Pine: (760) 876-4444 ~ www.lonepinechamber.org
Mammoth Lakes: (760) 934-2712 ~ www.visitmammoth.com
In your travels keep your eyes out for the Eastern Sierra Birding Trail Map sticker in windows of local businesses. These businesses support the ongoing printing of this map and birding as a low-impact, habitat friendly form of recreation. You can find a listing of these establishments here.