26 February 2021

Clear Day

February 25th, 2021
Golden Eagle, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 25 February.
Golden Eagle.

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.

Townsend’s Solitaire, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 25 February 2021.
Townsend’s Solitaire.

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.

1. House Finch* (v)
2. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay* (v)
3. Black-capped Chickadee
4. Spotted Towhee** (v)
5. Rock Pigeon*
6. Black-billed Magpie**
7. Dark-eyed Junco
8. Townsend’s Solitaire
9. Juniper Titmouse
10. Lesser Goldfinch**
11. Golden Eagle
12. Northern Flicker

Elsewhere

13. Song Sparrow (v)
14. American Robin (v)

Mammals

Mule Deer

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

Deer in the Snow

February 24th, 2021
Spotted Towhee, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 24 February 2021.
Spotted Towhee.

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.

Mule Deer, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 24 February 2021.
Mule 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.

1. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay (v)
2. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)
3. Black-capped Chickadee**
4. Spotted Towhee*
5. House Finch* (v)
6. Rock Pigeon*
7. Black-billed Magpie
8. Northern Flicker
9. Hawk (sp?)

Elsewhere

10. American Robin
11. European Starling
12. Song Sparrow (v)

Mammals

Red Squirrel (v)
Mule Deer

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

Which Owl?

February 23rd, 2021
Mystery owl, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 23 February 2021.
Mystery owl.

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.

1. Dark-eyed Junco
2. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)
3. Black-capped Chickadee**
4. American Robin* (v)
5. Spotted Towhee (v)
6. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay**
7. House Finch* (v)
8. Rock Pigeon*
9. Townsend’s Solitaire
10. Black-billed Magpie** (v)
11. Owl (sp?)
12. Northern Flicker (v)

Elsewhere

13. European Starling
14. Eurasian Collared-dove
15. Song Sparrow

Mammals

Mountain Cottontail
Mule Deer

(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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