A pleasant, quick, relatively low-key hike with dog this nippy morning. Quite a few bird species, although not that many individuals. Heard its tapping, then spied my Downy Woodpecker friend (the male), heard the raspy call of a Mountain Chickadee. One moment stood out, though.
We were standing on the bluff overlooking the neighborhood, where sometimes I spot a cool bird or two. Heard a finch, spied a scrub-jay carrying a peanut, heard a Townsend’s Solitaire. Wait—that latter was rather unusual for the residential streets below, but it sure sounded like the sweet, clear, repeated territorial note of the species.
Knowing a solitaire’s tendency to perch in high places, I grabbed my binocs and scanned the treetops in the residential yards far below. There, a slim gray bird. Looked like it might be… Took up my camera and fired off a few shots just as it flew, revealing those telltale white underwing stripes.
A solitaire after all.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:21 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.
A calm, nearly cloudless morning with chillier temps (20s (F)) than yesterday—and a bunch of nice surprises to discover. The first being a Canyon Wren in the rocky cavity up near the bluff. I heard it first, remembered the call from early spring, and managed even to spy the little energetic bird.
Soon after that sighting, I decided we should climb up to the ridge where the cairn stands—where I’d seen (from a distance) that it’d partly fallen in on account of (I assume) a few very windy days. It’d been a couple-three months, at least. Past time.
And it was a grand climb, a lovely view. I repaired the cairn (more or less), and dog and I ascended a couple hundred feet above it, sat a spell, then came back down (during which descent I heard—then spotted—a couple Chukars) and finally hiked a stretch of our usual trail, for good measure.
Good measure turned out to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk, perched low in the scrub not far away, casting about for voles or juncos until a trail runner jogged by.
All in all a very fine day.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:20 a.m. (MST), I hiked some 1,200 feet up a mountain.
A bit nippier than yesterday, nearly calm, mostly cloudless. No exciting sightings (like yesterday’s owl), but a few fun ones—including a surprise Juniper Titmouse, nice close looks at chickadees. Despite frost whitening the trailside rocks and fallen leaves, plenty of towhees, chickadees, and jays.
Also some nice Saturday conversation with a few trail friends—about the only human interaction I get these days (or, frankly, require).
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:21 a.m. (MST), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.