Slim pickin’s up in the foothills this cool morning. Quieter than on any recent day. But the birds in the neighborhood (where the water is) were active and vocal—even in the heat of afternoon.
Magpie fledglings, scurrying quail, song and house sparrows, robins galore. Starlings, collared-doves, a pair of goldfinches.
The extreme drought has made for a different kind of spring this year, with fewer species (and individuals). And on this first day of summer, I do rather wonder what these next three simmering months will bring.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 6:57 a.m. (7:57 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
Nice hike this early morning—even coolish, what with a partial overcast (and even some curtains of rain that I don’t believe ever hit drought-parched ground). The usual suspects, fourteen species in all.
Back at home, the quail were about, s they have been every recent day. California Quail were brought here back in the 1800s and have made themselves at home—to the point that they tend to hang out in the neighborhood, perhaps for the variety of fruit and other food, along with water. Yesterday, I spotted a teensy little baby quail hanging out with its mom. Sometimes the males will perch on the spherical top of the chainlink fence post and give their rather loud exotic call.
I never saw California Quail until I moved out here. Then again, I’ve never been to California.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 6:59 a.m. (7:59s MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
I’d seen a few Blue-gray Gnatcatchers before moving to Utah—all during migration at Monhegan, I believe— but these feisty, entertaining little birds are common nesters where dog and I hike every morning. By now, I feel kinda like we’re pals.
This morning was mostly (mercifully) overcast and so not as unseasonably warm as in recent days. The gnatcatchers were as usual vocal and active, flitting from twig to twig, dive-bombing scrub-jays, warning Jack and me away from their nest deep in a scrub oak patch near the bluff. Their calls when we pass near are bright and varied and urgent. They flash the white feathers of their tails.
Last year we passed an active gnatcatcher nest every day where the trail passes through a shady tunnel of greenery. Over winter, the nest disintegrated—but I still look fondly at the little scrub oak crook where it sat and think of the tiny bird nestled there, warming the eggs and protecting the hatchlings.
I guess I kind of have a thing for gnatcatchers.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 6:55 a.m. (7:55 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.