A lot of migration going on this clear, chilly (40s (F)) morning. Clear—but dog and I still spent much of the beginning of the hike in mountain shade.
But birds were moving through even in the shade. Many Yellow-rumped Warblers, many American Robins. A couple of gnatcatchers, a pack of six Mountain Chickadees, and a whole bunch of Ruby-crowned Kinglets.
I heard the slight, abrupt chatter a kinglet down in Coyote Canyon, but it had headed up the leafy slope and was out of photo range, so we continued down a ways before turning back up—and I heard it again, same spot. It occurred to me that the switchback for the high ridge hike was uphill of the bird, so we crept up that steep trail…
…and right into a flock of between sixteen and twenty kinglets. They were everywhere, but always in low tangles of foliage. I bet I stood there ten minutes before I finally got one of those quick-moving critters to stop long enough for a half-way decent portrait.
[Elsewhere, I snagged a pic of what I’m pretty sure was a migrating a Cassin’s Vireo—a lifer for me, if so.]
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:21 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
Nippy this morning, with a breeze. Got me thinking I might find some migration activity on the trail with dog. And I did: several Yellow-rumped Warblers, a random Dark-eyed Junco, bunch of towhees still, and a first-of-fall Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Also a couple raptors today. Spied a pair of Golden Eagles between our trail and the (still burning) Neff’s Canyon fire, and at the end of our hike, a kestrel appeared out of nowhere and headed east toward higher elevations.
I do love fall migration.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:18 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
1. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay 2. American Robin** 3. Spotted Towhee** 4. Black-capped Chickadee 5. Dark-eyed Junco 6. Northern Flicker 7. House Finch* 8. Yellow-rumped Warbler 9. Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10. Pine Siskin 11. Golden Eagle 12. American Kestrel
14. Eurasian Collared Dove (v) 15. Black-billed Magpie 16. Rock Pigeon
Red Squirrel (v)
v) Voice only *Also elsewhere **Voice only elsewhere
I’ve encountered quite a few Mountain Chickadees lately. Saw my species lifer back in April, and maybe another one or two in spring, but in the past three or four weeks—boom.
I know their call by now, and nearly always I hear them before seeing them—if I see them at all. (Instead of the chicka-DEE-DEE-DEE of a Black-capped Chickadee, their call sounds something like chicka-DRR-DRR.) And when I do catch sight of one, it seems invariably on the move. Unlike the black-cap, it doesn’t want to hang around. It’s got places to go.
So photos have been rare. But I did get a pic from a distance this morning.
Black-caps are a favorite bird (for many reasons). But the thrill hasn’t worn off when I hear the still-novel call of this handsome second chickadee.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:16 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.