28 July 2021

Subtle Signs

July 27th, 2021
Lazuli Bunting (juvie male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 27 July 2021.
Lazuli Bunting (juvie male).

A mostly overcast morning, with a slight breeze and a trace of humidity in the air. Birds were active near the trailhead—but up on the deer trails, things were eerily quiet. For example, I counted a flock of a couple dozen magpies below the bluff, but heard only two singing towhees above it.

So I had to pay closer attention to subtle signs. The abrupt chip of a grosbeak. The sharper chip of a bunting (few of which were singing also). The dry chip of a Black-throated Gray Warbler. Heard a singing gnatcatcher. Heard both young and adult Cooper’s Hawks. Subsequently saw all these birds except the hawks.

True, most of the subtle signs were heard. But I did spy a faint movement among the rocks that turned out to be a pair of doves.d

No rain today, but the chances of thundershowers are forecast to increase as the week progresses.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 7:10 a.m. (8:10 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch*
2. California Quail (v)
3. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
4. Lazuli Bunting
5. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
6. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)
7. Mourning Dove
8. American Robin
9. Black-headed Grosbeak
10. Black-billed Magpie*
11. Rock Pigeon*
12. Black-chinned Hummingbird
13. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
14. Cooper’s Hawk (v)
15. Spotted Towhee
16. Black-throated Gray Warbler

Mammals

Rock Squirrel

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

Flocks

July 26th, 2021
American Robin, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 26 July 2021.
American Robin.

Lots of flocks lately. It’s that flocking time of year. On our hike this morning, dog and I met another dog and human, and the human told me she’d just seen a big flock of pigeons in which there was one white bird. That describes the local pigeons I’ve seen flocking nearly every day lately. Not this morning, curiously—only saw two.

But we did encounter a flock of fifteen robins, a mix of adults and youngsters. Saw them on the bluff, then again later up the foothills a ways. Next was a smallish flock of finches, adults and immature birds, in the burnt patch (as usual, albeit not nearly as many in recent days). Otherwise it was pretty quiet—maybe because of the smoke in the air from western fires, mixed with the usual ozone and particulates in the basin. Heard on the radio that we had the eleventh worst air-quality in the world today.

Finally, a little while ago this coolish evening, just after sundown, I watched a flock of 33 magpies fly noisily northward against the light in the western sky above Wasatch Boulevard. Yep, also adults and juvies.

Tomorrow we have about a 40 percent chance of rain, so they say. A little rain should clear the air.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 6:58 a.m. (7:58 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch*
2. American Robin*
3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
4. Lazuli Bunting
5. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
6. Mourning Dove
7. Black-billed Magpie*
8. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)
9. Rock Pigeon
10. Black-chinned Hummingbird*
11. Pine Siskin
12. Spotted Towhee
13. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
14. Chipping Sparrow

Elsewhere

15. House Sparrow (v)
16. Eurasian Collared-dove

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

Tasty Morsels

July 25th, 2021
Lazuli Bunting (fem), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 25 July 2021.
Lazuli Bunting (fem).

Seems everywhere you look these days, you’ll see a bird carrying a tasty morsel. That is, assuming you’re paying attention to birds.

They’re laying low these days, what with all the begging fledglings, still learning to fend for themselves. It won’t take long, but in the meantime, there are bugs to catch.

Notably, on this morning’s hike with dog, we spied numerous buntings trying to keep track of their youngsters. Also towhees (which have gone even quieter). Back home this afternoon, I stopped to watch a female house sparrow methodically tear the legs off a grasshopper on the street out front. Even the wild hummingbirds seem to be catching tiny flies in the shade, it seems.

(That’s one of several reasons I love insects: bird food.)

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 7:01 a.m. (8:01 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch*
2. American Robin*
3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay*
4. Lazuli Bunting
5. Mourning Dove
6. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)
7. Black-chinned Hummingbird*
8. Black-billed Magpie
9. Eurasian Collared-dove
10. Spotted Towhee
11. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
12. Cooper’s Hawk (v)
13. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
14. Rock Pigeon*

Elsewhere

15. House Sparrow

Mammals

Rock Squirrel

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

 
Bird Report is a (sometimes intermittent) record of the birds I encounter while hiking, see while driving, or spy outside my window. —Brian Willson



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