Bird-watching on the beach and a slideshow of Eagle Lake, CA

Tuesday, October 2

By mid-afternoon the crew and I are set up in our waterfront campsite.

We’re at Merrill Campground on the south end of Eagle Lake, northwest of Susanville, California.

It’s short-sleeve weather with clear skies. 

We walk on the beach and I take photos, making sure to snap a pic of Spike soaking at the lake’s edge (slideshow below).

Back at our campsite, Spike, Bridget and I share some deli slices of roasted chicken.  Two stellar jays eye our picnic table and scold us for not sharing before flying off.

I lean way back in my anti-gravity lounger and the crew settles down in their pen for a doze.  Tilted back in my chair I watch as pelicans cross the blue sky, making great swirls in gentle motion.  Pelicans may be dorky-looking on land, but they are surprisingly graceful fliers. My activity — or lack of it, I should say — takes up the rest of the afternoon!

Wednesday, October 3  

After breakfast and a walk on the beach, the crew and I get comfy in the Best Little Trailer.  I have blogging to do and the crew has napping on their agenda.  It’s another beautiful day.  I realize I haven’t experienced rainy weather in months!

Around five or so, the three of us go down to the beach again. 

I carry my about-to-fall-apart, five-dollar camp chair, my camera, and my monocular (Tasco 10 x 25).  After exploring the beach, Spike and Bridget sit next to my chair at the water’s edge.  In the morning the lake is calm with a surface smooth as glass.  Now that it’s late afternoon, small waves appear, depositing foam on the sand, and soothing us with their soft, rhythmic sound.

My monocular is great!

I amuse myself by observing the various birds and waterfowl.  I see about forty coots (they’re tough to count because they keep going underwater and appearing again some twenty feet away!), four gulls, two meadowlarks (waterlarks?), two sandpipers, two northwestern crows (?), one grebe, and six pelicans.

A gaggle of Canadian geese waddle the beach near the wide strip of golden grass between the beach and the campground.  Spike sprints toward them and then realizes, when one stands tall and flaps his impressive wings: oh, excuse me, never mind, just passing by.

No one is on the beach. 

All those campers within walking distance and no one is interested in this abundant natural beauty? This morning I saw a young man jogging and a guy racing his motorboat.  That’s it!  Now, right before sunset, no one but me, my crew, and the birds are here to enjoy this gorgeous spot.

Thursday, October 4

This is our last day at Eagle Lake and I don’t want to waste it!  Back to the beach we go with camp chair, camera, monocular, and, this time, my kindle.   The pelicans are busy scooping up fish, pointing their beaks skyward to swallow, sometimes clacking their beaks together . . . pelican for yum-yum?  Coots also enjoy breakfast, making less commotion.  I read, enjoy the scenery, watch the crew, the birds . . . until around noon when the wind begins to blow.

“Let’s go home for lunch!”

Eagle Lake, California

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About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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40 Responses to Bird-watching on the beach and a slideshow of Eagle Lake, CA

  1. Hi, Hey Sue, you are close to me. I am in Truckee , Ca. near to Reno, and lake tahoe. If you come this way , email me at Maybe we could get together.
    I just got back from a week camping trip up off Highway 395 ,Ca. , just out of Lee Vining. It is gorgeous there right now !!! Fall colors are exploding in all the canyons. So, since you are getting close to that area, Just wanted to tell you. Now is the time to go there. I camped at a campground (Aspen ) on highway 120 just a couple miles out of Lee Vining. But, it looks to me like there could be numerous boondocking areas all around that area. Anyways, just another idea for you while in Ca. Of course, you may not want to miss the coast !! Any plans on where you are going???

    • Also, ,my name will link you to my facebook page. I will be posting some photos of the Lee Vining area later this evening.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Susan! I knew this would happen! I LOVE where I am and I know I’ll LOVE the places further down the road… and winter keeps marching forward! My plan is to camp along Hwy 395 so your comment is helpful and enticing!

      • Sue, I have posted some photos from Lee Vining area along highway 395. Just click on my name to go to my facebook page. I have lots more to post later.

  2. cinandjules says:

    Wow a bird watcher’s paradise. Never knew what a coot looked like. The wingspan of the pelican’s are massive.

    Aw…how cute. Spike giving Bridget some loves!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Funny, to me it seems pelicans are more fun to watch on a lake than at the seashore. Maybe it’s being able to see their landings and take-offs more clearly against the smooth water. I last saw coots when I camped at Fortuna Pond (Yuma) last winter.

  3. EmilyO says:

    Ahhhh, just what I need to see before putting my head down for an afternoon nap. Thanks Sue.

  4. Robert says:

    Has Bridget lost some weight, she does not appear to be as wide as she was a while back ?

  5. cinandjules says:

    Does she like to swim? That is non weight bearing and is an excellent form of therapy.

    SaraAnn swims everyday in the summer to shed her winter weight.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t think Bridget knows what it’s like to swim. She hasn’t had much opportunity as we don’t go to indoor pools. Most places we’ve been have not been swim places… water too cold, fast current, etc. I’m sure I could get her to like swimming if we ever have the right conditions for it.

  6. Tara says:

    Hope Death Valley is on your list as you head down 395. November is a great time to be there. But gas prices are very high there so fill up outside the park, and if you have to buy inside the park Stovepipe Wells is always the cheapest.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Tara. Maybe it’s the name, but is this a place I want to drive by myself? Will I be in long stretches of desert coming or going?

      • Tara says:

        No, you’ll be surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides, which are what create the valley. And they could be dusted with snow in November.. It’s really not a scary place, except in the middle of summer when it’s 120 degrees. Winter is the best time to go. Check out the National Park Service website to see how beautiful it is…..we’ve been there over Thanksgiving weekend for the past 5 or 6 years. The campgrounds are not spectacular, but there are a couple nice ones. There is so much to see in the park, most people don’t spend much time in camp. Also, check out this website, it’s updated about once a month, it’s not an official website, but has LOTS of good info about the park:

  7. Tia in North Carolina says:

    I recall you had a 3rd dog that wasn’t be suited for your vagabond life plans that a coworker adopted. Have you heard or seen updates. I imagine I would be very curious in your position, but also know it would bring tears. I have two mutts of my own. One I believe would adapt well to life in a trailer and traveling, the other one I think would be very out of sorts with the whole thing. It seems Bridget and Spike act like they were born for this life. You may go to many places, but I imagine there are the same cues they see over and over that they anticipate what is happening. Same bed, same food dish, knowing what breaking camp means…etc…
    Every time I read your blog I have more places to add to my Bucket List. One Day. Stay safe and keep writing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Tia,

      I recently heard from my friend Lynne in Georgia who adopted my third dog, Janie. If you remember, Lynne already had a dog, Romeo. She says that Romeo and Janie “adore” each other. Janie has a wonderful home because Lynne is a spoiler!

      Bridget not only know cues about what’s going to happen next, she also understands words like “home” (when we turn around on a walk), or “go” (when it’s time to get in the PTV). All I have to do is pick up the keys to the PTV, or my purse and she knows we’re going somewhere. When she sees the pen being folded up or me putting camp chairs in the PTV, she gets extremely anxious, not wanting to be left behind, so I put her on the bench seat in the PTV right away. Spike takes his cues from Bridget’s behavior.

      Dogs adapt amazingly well. Remember, the crew spent the first halves of their lives as house and yard dogs. Good luck with your Bucket List!

      • Tia in North Carolina says:

        My dog Bella has learned the word scootch. See likes to sleep at my feet. She always has to be touching me. When I say scootch, she stands up, rotates 360 degrees and lays back down about 1″ away. Of course with dogs, the higher the pitch you speak, the faster the tail wags.

  8. Glenda Cornwill says:

    Hi SUE…………..Many thanks for the recent entry and the photos. I am a bird lover and appreciate your bird commentry 🙂 Pelicans are my favourites to photogrpah and you caught some great action with them in flight over the lake. My husband and I have our caravan at a lake not far from home where we retreat at least once a month. We are not yet retired so we look forward to the day when we too can hit the road. Your blog is like a geography lesson too, as being in Australia I have not a clue about the places you have visited and I have so enjoyed looking up the places where you have camped along the way since I have joined your fan club 🙂 Plus the doggies who make me smile and sometimes I wish I could share my doggies with you as well. Love them so much!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Glenda… You told me that you were in Australia but I had forgotten! I guess my blog would be a pretty good geography lesson for someone not familar with the U.S. West.

      I was surprised I was able to get any pelican action shots at all with my slow Nikon. Glad you enjoyed them. Isn’t it amazing how people act like there’s nothing to see at the beach, and yet others, like us, find it fascinating, especially watching the birds.

      I enjoy your comments, Glenda. Best wishes to you and your canines!

      • Glenda Cornwill says:

        Yes Sue you did very well capturing the pelicans in flight. I have a Nikon too… SLR and having done some recent courses in digital photography I still have not got any of those graceful birds in flight. Got some great ones of them roosting near to shore thanks to my 300mm lens. One day I will get that perfect shot, I know………….perserverence.

  9. sandi says:

    I look forward to your daily blogs. I am at peace after with myself after reading each one and enjoying the slide shows.

  10. Jim says:

    Back from my Birthday swing to Sedona. Not impressed. I guess I am just TDO (too damn old). What with no parking spots, people on my back bumper (who knew where they were going) and roundabouts (which my sweet girlfriend on GPS pronounced as routeabouts) I was a nervous wreck. We had hotel reservations and I promptly cancelled them and headed toward home. Oh well, I don’t have either the temperament or luck you seem to carry with you. Sue, I am so happy to see Bridget doing as well as she is and Eagle lake makes me literally drool..I wish you and the crew only the very best of luck as you continue your journey.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Jim,

      I’m sorry your Sedona visit was a disappointment. All it took was for me to hear that Sedona is a pricey place with lots of tourists, and I avoided it when I could have easily gone there last spring. That’s not luck, just avoidance! I probably will skip Lake Tahoe though I’ll be driving right by it, for the same reasons. The pressured driving you mention reminds me of the day I drove through Sisters and kept on going.

      Good for you for promptly evaluating the situation and cancelling your hotel. Life is too short to drive around with idiots on your bumper. Enjoy!

      What a nice wish for our journey… The same to you and your girlfriend.

  11. Gabrielle Becker says:

    Hi, Sue: I was going to ask the same thing about swimming and Bridget. Also, do you swim? I have been following you for the past few months and seeing all the wonderful beaches, lakes and rivers, and it makes me drool. I love the water, and since the swimming season here is very short, it makes me want to jump into your pictures even more! My Penny hates the water, but I make her swim when it gets hot to cool down. Not impressed, even though her fur is very shiny and soft after the swim. Does Spike ever swim or just lounge in the shallows? What about fishing? Have a good weekend!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Gabrielle,

      The only time Spike swims is when he’s heading for shore! He’s a soaker. Once in Georgia, I took him out to deep water while I went swimming. He had his life jacket on. Once he realized he could float with no effort, he started to doze off… soaking in water over his head!

      I love to swim, or at least, to get in the water. That’s why I lay down in the North Fork of the Virgin River and also the Madison River. Actually I did some swimming in the Madison. Photos of mountain lakes are inviting but the water is often very cold! Rivers like the Rogue have too strong a current.

      I used to do a lot of saltwater fishing when I lived in Clearwater, Florida. That was fun. I’ve never been very good at fresh water fishing, although I’ve never tried much. At this point in my life I’m happy to watch other people fish and to see their catch. The killing part takes the fun out of it for me. I know, a wuss.

  12. Gayle says:

    As a native Californian and taking pride in how my Euro-friends regard California to be it’s own (innovative, colorful) country, I am holding my breath that California is good to you, Spike and Bridget.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Gayle,

      So far California has been wonderful to me and the crew! I made jokes about the checkpoint, but I do realize how important it is to protect California’s agricultural industry. I plan to come back and explore the coast, the sequoias, the redwoods, and all the other places I’ve heard about for years.

  13. Robin Harp says:

    Thanks for your beautiful, realaxing post! What a life! 🙂

  14. Rob says:

    Great post on eagle campground I love the photos of the sites. It makes it easy to see exactly what the campgrounds are really like.
    And if they are what we like . Glad the little ones leg is healing. Keep up the good blogging. We are headed out to Salt Lake City on the 15 and the. Over to California .
    Maybe we will see u along the way.
    Cheers rob and lyn

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rob and Lyn!

      I’ll keep that in mind and continue to take photos of campsites. I imagine Eagle Lake looks quite different in spring before the grass and bushes turn gold, tan, and yellow. It’s a very well designed campground.

      Safe travels. Enjoy the road!

  15. Sue, do not know if you got a chance to look at my photos of Lee Vining area on highway 395. Gorgeous area and bursting in color right now. A couple things I wanted to tell you . If you go there,be sure to fill up on gas and maybe even food in Reno. Gas is 3.89 I believe in Reno and then as you go along 395 it shoots up to about $ 5.00 in Lee Vining and all around there. There is a campground just out of Lee vining on highway 120 called Lower Lee vining campground, next one up is Aspen. I stayed at aspen. Forest service and $14.00. Rustic. water, yes, pit toilets. Campsite # 19 in on a waterfall. I stayed in #11 and it is very private. A couple more campgrounds beyond Aspen also. Or another nice one before Lee Vining is Lundy Canyon right up the lundy canyon road on the left. Big spaces all in large aspen groves. I think it was $12.00 . Also looks to belots of boondocking opps. in the area. The visitor center at Mono lake is nice to stop at. Well, you may be allready on the road but I doubt you will go that far today.
    As far as missing Lake Tahoe. It is not the busy season now so not so much traffic. You could go over from Carson city on highway 50 and drop right down to Tahoe and take a left and at least go to Sand Harbor. A beautiful area on the lake But, not sure about camping on that side of the lake . Come camp at my house one night if you want. I am in Truckee , off highway 80 … Anyways, wishing you a safe journey . Bow Wow to the doggies .

  16. Also, you can shower at the Lee Vining r.v park for $2.50 5 min. or $5.00 10 min.

  17. Marcia GB says:

    So glad to see Bridget walking. She looks to be doing well. Eagle Lake looks beautiful; I put it on the list for the next trip out West. Thanks for being our eyes and ears to these beautiful wild places.

  18. Bill and Ann says:

    You really got some good pelican pictures. We love watching them. We walked out in the wetlands today and saw more coots than you could count. Coots, all the black dots out on the lake. We also saw some pelicans and assorted other birds. What a wonderful camp spot you have, you don’t have far to go to get all the best shots.

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