3 August 2020 Rockport, Maine, USA 

Banded Pigeon

August 2nd, 2020
Rock Pigeon, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 02 August 2020.
Rock Pigeon.

I see more doves and pigeons here than I ever did in Maine. For one thing, there’s an extra species (Eurasian Collared Dove); for another, the pigeons here come in flocks of a hundred or more—at this time of year, at least, when they swoop and veer in huge numbers up and around the foothill canyons.

Alhough I rarely get an up-close look at them, today dog and I encountered a solitary bird perched on a rocky overlook. We stopped. It stayed, I approached nearer. It stayed. I got near enough for close-up photos, and the pigeon didn’t move. Then I noticed the blue band around it’s leg.

Not the first banded pigeon I’ve seen here, turns out. I got nothing against pigeons, though. In fact, I rather like ’em.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

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

Elsewhere

19. Lesser Goldfinch
20. Black-billed Magpie

Mammals

Mountain Cottontail

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

Patch Birding

August 1st, 2020
Virginia’s Warbler, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 01 August 2020.
Virginia’s Warbler.

I’ll admit it: I’m a patch birder. For about a decade or so I’ve regularly birded one patch or other (with a rare—and delightful—excursion to Monhegan Island, one of my favorite places on the planet). Sure, patch birders might miss out on variety, rare vagrants, long life lists. But if you really want to get to know a place, it helps to get to know individual birds when they return to their particular trees each spring.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 01 August 2020.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (male).

I’m also an ear birder—that is, my very first true birding experiences involved chasing down songs until I found the birds that made ’em. (Fortunately, my ears remain more sensitive than my eyes even.)

In this new (well, almost year-old) Utah patch, I’ve gotten to know a bunch of new species, individual members of those species, their voices, their habits, their subtler sounds. Take, for instance, the Black-throated Green Warbler. Just today I confirmed that I can ID that species by its chip note. Tell you the truth, it feels kind of like a superpower.

Also today, I heard a chip note I had not yet learned. It sounded to me like a warbler’s, but it wasn’t a dry note (like the black-throated gray’s)—it had a touch of music to it. A tiny sweet tone. And then I spied the bird.

My next challenge is to be able to ID a Virginia’s Warbler by its chip. We shall see.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Rock Pigeon*
2. Lazuli Bunting
3. Mourning Dove
4. House Finch*
5. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
6. Brewer’s Sparrow
7. Spotted Towhee
8. American Robin**
9. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
10. Black-chinned Hummingbird
11. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
12. Cooper’s Hawk
13. Virginia’s Warbler
14. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay (v)
15. Black-throated Gray Warbler
16. Pine Siskin (v)
17. Barn Swallow

Elsewhere

18. Black-billed Magpie (v)

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

Life Goes On

July 31st, 2020
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, UTah, 31 July 2020.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (male).

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds have not been cooperative when it comes to posing for photos—until today.

I’ve caught glimpses of these high-elevation hummers in Coyote Canyon—the cool, shady valley that dog and I ascend each morning—as they zip around hunting tiny insects among the proliferous bigtooth maple leaves. But the light is dim, and hummingbirds are active, and I sort of gave up.

Today, though, there a few (or more) were making those cricket-like sounds with their wings above us as, so I stopped to watch and listen, and a male decided to perch right in front of me. (I rarely see males, either, since they’re basically chauvinist pigs who sleep around and the leave the nest-building, chick-rearing, and youngster-feeding to females.)

Male Black-throated Gray Warbler feeding fledgling, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, UTah, 31 July 2020.
Male Black-throated Gray Warbler feeding fledgling.

Felt good to grab that photo.

In contrast, just beyond the hummers, I happened upon a male Black-throated Gray Warbler bring a small lacy-winged insect to a begging fledgling.

And so life goes on despite it all.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Black-chinned Hummingbird
2. Mourning Dove
3. House Finch**
4. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
5. American Robin*
6. Eastern Towhee
7. Black-headed Grosbeak
8. Lazuli Bunting
9. Black-capped Chickadee
10. Red-breasted Nuthatch
11. Pine Siskin
12. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
13. Cooper’s Hawk
14. Black-throated Gray Warbler
15. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
16. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)

Elsewhere

17. Eurasian Collared Dove (v)

Mammals

Mountain Cottontail

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

 
Bird Report is an intermittent record of what's outside my window in Rockport, Maine, USA (44°08'N latitude, 69°06'W longitude), and vicinity. —Brian Willson



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