How shall I describe this morning? A little frigid, breezy at first, utterly cloudless. Low-key at first—but the excitement built to a minor crescendo.
A bunch of scrub-jays, for one thing. A dozen at least. They were noisy, apparently engaging in some kind of late-winter territorial shenanigans. And glimpses of four Juniper Titmice. A solitary goldfinch up the deer trails—and plenty of deer up there, too. At one point they began to run in various directions, though I never saw the threat.
Encountered another song-whispering solitaire. A Golden Eagle appeared, then disappeared. I waited for a while but it did not return. Perhaps a half-hour later, I glanced up at the ridge, and there it was again, but with a partner this time.
And I heard a loud distant bird call that sounded like a gull. Couldn’t have been a gull, though—not way up toward the ridge where the eagles flew. A mystery.
And Captain Jack had a fun time, too.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 9 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.
A winter-nippy, overcast morning, with snow on the trail and—after a few minutes—in the air. Fewer bird species than in recent days, but many more deer.
In fact, the most fun I had was—after failing to get a good look at a smallish accipiter flying low between the junipers—watching about a half-dozen deer, maybe forty or fifty yards from us, gaze down at us and communicate their concern among themselves before wandering in a gentle snowfall, as nonchalantly as they could, up the hillside and away.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:40 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.
I’d been angling for a photo of silent chickadees, as dog and I ascended the snowy trail up wooded Coyote Canyon, when the little birds zipped up ahead and began to call and scold. That’swhen I noticed a larger bird shoot down through the tangles to my left to a perchd. I aimed my camera at it and saw it was a small owl—but I couldn’t focus because of all the leaves and twigs between us. Again and again I tried, to no avail.
Wish I’d thought to grab my binoculars instead, ’cause then I might’ve managed an ID.
Since this was near the place I saw a Northern Pygmy Owl back in November, I assumed that’s what it was. But in looking at the blurry photos later, I couldn’t be sure. Its face seems to resemble a Northern Saw-whet Owl, but at the time (and in the photos), it looks like this bird has a long tail (the mark of a pygmy owl).
Still kind of leaning toward the latter—but I guess I’ll never know.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:57 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.