On this warm (70-ish (F)), overcast morning, I encountered many birds—both resident and migrating through—and most noteworthy were the sparrows.
Two were towhees (spotted and green-tailed), and two were, well, regular sparrows (chipping and Brewer’s). One of each group were only my second sightings (green-tailed and Brewer’s).
Besides the two resident chippies I know of, I spotted a few moving throgh this morning, in a small flock that included at least one Brewer’s Sparrow. They were staying low in the scrub, flitting into and out of the branches. The Green-tailed Towhee was perched low in a small tree a few hundred feet up the mountainside.
(I also learned today that Lazuli Buntings sing a whole bunch of variations of their basic song.)
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 9:00 a.m., I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.
A warmish, cloudless morning with plenty of birds around. A longer hike. Not as busy or surprising as the past couple days—but a treasure nonetheless.
Encountered a Townsend’s Solitaire right away. Lots of buntings about. Gnatcatchers. Warblers (though not as many as yesterday). I managed to learn the voice of the Virginia’s Warbler (after at first mistaking it as a Nashville’s yesterday).
Most noteworthy was my discovery of a female Cassin’s Finch—which I first heard calling and though it some kind of vireo (a call that helped me make the ID). Now I must see if I can hunt up a male.
Pretty fun spring migration so far.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:00 a.m., I hiked about 1,200 feet up a mountain.
It was hard for me to choose a high point of this morning’s short, extraordinarily sweet hike with dog. We were late to hit the trail, and left early because of errands that needed running. But, dang, did the birds put on a show.
Several first-of-year birds, a “lifer” subspecies—and at one point early on, from where I stood, I took decent photos of four bird species.
I was most excited, however, to solve a puzzle that’d been plaguing me for a week or more: what bird was making that faint, cricket-sounding call as it flew swiftly, intermittently, and (apparently) invisibly above us on our morning hikes? I’d been referring to it as “that cricket bird,” thinking the sound a vocalization. But this morning I finally caught sight of the source of the sound—a tiny hummingbird zipping away overhead.
Ah-ha! But which?
For some reason, I decided aloud that it must be a broad-winged hummer. And when I finally got home and looked it up, I was right! In fact, the Cornell Lab’s All About Birds website describes this wing-trill as having “a cricketlike quality to it.” Puzzle solved! (And what a relief!)
(Although I’ve marked today’s as a “first-of-year” sighting, the hummer has been hanging around for a week or more.)
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:30 a.m., I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.