Windy, windy overnight, and windier this morning. Temps in the 30s (F), gray sky. Waited a bit before hiking with Jack, thinking it might be calmer up under the ridge—and it was. In fact, up on the deer trail, I removed my scarf and gaiter.
What with the wind, I figured there wouldn’t be a lot of species on my list—and I was right. However, down in the deer scrub, I spied a thrush of some kind. A Hermit Thrush, I was pretty sure. A new migrant. But I had my camera in my hands and tried to grab a photo. Couldn’t focus. Missed my chance.
But it was a promise of things to come.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 7:59 a.m. (8:59 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
As a part of our daily hike routine, Captain Jack and I climb a ways up a little shady canyon, to emerge on a well-worn deer tail that passes through an open area dotted with juniper trees. (It reminds me in a way of Maine’s blueberry barrens, but steeper, and with junipers instead of beech and birch and alders.) Sometimes it’s quiet up there, sometimes active.
Today it was quiet—not least because of a chill wind. But also likely thanks to a pair of Cooper’s Hawks that have returned this year to nest across the canyon. Still, House Finches were active (they apparently like to nest up there), as were a couple of scrub-jays—and I believe I found a tree that the Juniper Titmice seem to like. There were a couple deer up there, too—above us—and in a tree down in the canyon I’ve been watching chickadees clean out a nest dcavity.
We got an early start this day, dog and I. No unusual birds at the outset (although we both spied a cottontail), then when we got to little Coyote Canyon, I made a split decision to hike the ridge, and we headed up the switchback to the Pipeline Overlook.
A clear morning, cool in the shade, warm in the sun. From about 800 feet up, I happened to look down and see a coyote casually trotting along a trail we’d hiked about 45 minutes before. New flowers along the trail, little patches of remnant show.
Toward the end, I happened to spot a Sharp-shinned Hawk circling above us—a migrant perhaps. A good day, with exciting times to come.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 7:16 a.m. (8:16 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.