23 June 2021

Solstice Notes

June 20th, 2021
Lesser Goldfinch, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 20 June 2021.
Lesser Goldfinch.

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.

1. Black-headed Grosbeak
2. Rock Pigeon*
3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
4. Black-billed Magpie*
5. Lazuli Bunting
6. Spotted Towhee
7. House Finch**
8. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
9. Black-chinned Hummingbird
10. Black-capped Chickadee**

Elsewhere

11. Song Sparrow (v)
12. American Robin
13. House Sparrow (v)
14. California Quail
15. European Starling
16, Eurasian Collared-dove
17, Lesser Goldfinch

Mammals

Rock Squirrel

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

Neighborhood Quail

June 19th, 2021
California Quail (male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 19 June 2021.
California Quail (male).

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.

1. Black-headed Grosbeak (v)
2. Black-billed Magpie*
3. Lazuli Bunting
4. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
5. Spotted Towhee
6. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
7. Rock Pigeon*
8. House Finch**
9. Black-chinned Hummingbird
10. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
11. Warbling Vireo (v)
12. Black-throated Gray Warbler
13. Chipping Sparrow
14. Violet-green Swallow

Elsewhere

15. American Robin
16. Song Sparrow (v)
17. Eurasian Collared-dove (v)
18. California Quail
19. House Sparrow (v)

Mammals

Rock Squirrel

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

Gnatcatchers

June 18th, 2021

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.

1. House Finch**
2. American Robin*
3. Lazuli Bunting
4. Spotted Towhee
5. Rock Pigeon*
6. Black-chinned Hummingbird
7. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
8. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
9. Black-headed Grosbeak
10. Black-billed Magpie*
11. Warbling Vireo (v)ddd
12. Chipping Sparrow
13. Black-capped Chickadee
14. Black-throated Gray Warbler
15. Cooper’s Hawk
16. Northern Flicker

Elsewhere

17. Song Sparrow (v)
18. Eurasian Collared-doved
19. California Quail
20. House Sparrow (v)

Mammals

Rock Squirrel
Mountain Cottontail

(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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