19 February 2020 Rockport, Maine, USA 

A Chill

February 18th, 2020
Dark-eyed Junco, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 18 February 2020.
Dark-eyed Junco.

Our morning hike began with a chill—lower-20s (F), to be exact. Cold in the shade, but warm in the sun. Lots of little birds about. Chickadees and juncos mostly. (Many of both.) Some distant elk on a sunny, snow-covered ridge; a few mule deer nearer, browsing.

But along the gulch trail, dog and I rounded a curve to find a deer lying on the trail—right on the narrow trail, not a dozen feet away. When it saw us it struggled to move off the trail and slipped a short ways down through the snow and under a low limb, where it curled up and went still.

A doe. Seemingly sick or injured. Not good.

Jack’s interest was high, but we pressed on. I thought perhaps the doe would be gone when we returned some ten minutes later—but it wasn’t. Still curled there, not moving, watching us pass with one eye.

Our morning hike ended with a chill.

(When I got home I called the Department of Wildlife Resources but was told there was nothing they could do.)

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 9:15 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up the mountain.

1. Black-billed Magpie*
2. Black-capped Chickadee
3. House Finch*
4. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay**
5. Dark-eyed Junco
6. Northern Flicker**
7. American Goldfinch** (v)
8. European Starling

Elsewhere

9. Eurasian Collared Dove (v)
10. Song Sparrow (v)

Mammals

Mule Deer
Rocky Mountain Elk

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

Caravan

February 17th, 2020
Many elk, one deer, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 17 February 2020.
Many elk, one deer.
Rocky Mountain Elk, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 17 February 2020.
Rocky Mountain Elk.

Got to the trailhead bright and early after a surprise (light) overnight snow. Dog and I were first up the switchback (other than a mess of deer). Spied a few dozen deer loping up the slope beyond the gulch, then happened upon a long caravan of elk on the mountainside not very far above us. (One elk had a GPS collar, I noticed.)

No cervids at all yesterday. Feast or famine, I guess.

Birds were active and vocal after yesterday’s overcast and precipitation. (Not a lot of species—but a lot of individuals.) Another sunny one tomorrow, or so they say.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 9:30 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up the mountain.

1. House Finch*
2. Black-billed Magpie*
3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay*
4. Black-capped Chickadee*
5. Dark-eyed Junco (v)
6. Song Sparrow* (v)

Elsewhere

7. Eurasian Collared Dove
8. Lesser Goldfinch (v)
9. American Robin
10. European Starling
11. Northern Flicker

Mammals

Mule Deer
Rocky Mountain Elk

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

I Miss Crows

February 16th, 2020
Black-billed Magpie, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 16 February 2020.
Black-billed Magpie.

A snowy, windless morning. Wet snowflakes, floating slowly, straight down. I waited until late morning to hike with Jack, not expecting many bird species—but I got quite a few. (No deer or elk, though.)

Among the birds were the usual high desert corvids: Black-billed Magpie and Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay. Each is endearing in its own way—but they’re not crows.

American Crows were such a ubiquitous part of my daily life back in Maine—their ever-present voices, their harassment of raven and raptor, their enormous conventions in fall. In my six months in SLC, I’ve had exactly two crow sightings, both in town. Not a single caw, though. Weird.

Miss you, crows. We’ll meet again by and by.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 11 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up the mountain.

1. House Finch*
2. Black-capped Chickadee**
3. Dark-eyed Junco
4. Black-billed Magpie*
5. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay**
6. Pine Siskin
7. Song Sparrow** (v)

Elsewhere

8. Eurasian Collared Dove
9. Lesser Goldfinch (v)

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

 
Bird Report is an intermittent record of what's outside my window in Rockport, Maine, USA (44°08'N latitude, 69°06'W longitude), and vicinity. —Brian Willson



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