Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Hermit Thrush on California's Largest Volcano

We had a marvelous trip over the weekend through the volcano country of Northern California. Part of the fun was exploring some new places and seeing all kinds of birds, including this Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) near the summit of Medicine Lake Highland, the largest volcano in California. It was a quick shot off the side of the road, and it was gone.
Medicine Lake Highland (or the Medicine Lake Volcano) is barely half the height of Mt. Shasta, but it is much wider, and contains around 130 cubic miles of lava flows, compared to Shasta's 108. It is a shield style volcano, similar in outline to the gigantic basalt mountains that make up the Big Island of Hawai'i, but it is composed of a variety of lavas, including rhyolite and andesite. The mountain is covered by deep forests and barren lava flows, providing a variety of environments for birds.
Medicine Lake Highland is the broad dome in the distance on the center-left. Shasta can be seen in the distance on the right.

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