24 June 2024

Archive for July, 2020

The Bird Tree

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Western Tanager (male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 28 July 2020.
Western Tanager (male).

There’s a particular tree overlooking what appears to be an old quarry near a bluff overlooking my neighborhood, a tree dog and I pass on the trail each day on our morning hike. For whatever reason, birds like to perch up in that tree. And among the species I’ve seen there multiple times is Western Tanager.

Today I spied a female tanager perched there, too far away for a photo. But we’ve been visiting the bluff both at the beginnings and ends of our stroll in the foothills, and on the return trip, both male and female were in the tree. The male had in its beak what looked at first like a dragonfly—but it could’ve been any other large insect. It let me snap a few pics as it dined.

I don’t know what kind of tree it is. But I want to know. I’m determined to put a name to it (and will let you know when I do). It’s a very cool tree, with extremely fragrant yellow flowers that’ve long gone by.

For now, I think of it as “The Bird Tree.”

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

1. Rock Pigeon*
2. Mourning Dove
3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay**
4. Black-chinned Hummingbird
5. Lazuli Bunting
6. House Finch*
7. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
8. Spotted Towhee
9. American Robin*
10. Pine Siskin
11. Western Tanager (v)
12. Black-capped Chickadee**
13. Black-throated Gray Warbler
14. Virginia’s Warbler
15. Warbling Vireo (v)
16. Lesser Goldfinch (v)

Elsewhere

17. Black-billed Magpie
18. Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Mammals

Rock Squirrel

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

BTYA

Monday, July 27th, 2020
Black-throated Gray Warbler, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 27 July 2020.
Black-throated Gray Warbler.

Serious birders use shorthand for the species they see or hear—four-letter alpha codes (based on the English names) standardized by the Institute for Bird Populations. So when you hear somebody say they saw a MODO and a flock of BOWAs, what they really mean is they saw a Mourning Dove and a bunch of Bohemian Waxwings.

The rules are fairly easy to follow, but sometimes there are conflicts. Back in Maine, for instance, when I saw a Black-throated Green Warbler, I might refer to it as a BTGW—but now that I’m birding Utah, what if I spy a Black-throated Gray Warbler? Welp, gotta learn to refer to it as a BTYW.

Long story short: today I saw a BTYW.

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

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

Elsewhere

17. Black-billed Magpie
18. House Sparrow

Mammals

Red Squirrel

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

Nice Surprises

Sunday, July 26th, 2020
Yellow Warbler (female), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, UTah, 26 July 2020.
Yellow Warbler (female).

This morning’s hike took dog and me along our familiar route south along the shoreline trail, up Coyote Canyon (so-called) and back via deer trails up among the junipers. There were a lot of nice surprises.

Up the in the cool shady canyon, I heard the sapsucker-like call of a female Cooper’s Hawk and got a nice look at a randomly appearing female Yellow Warbler. In the junipers, I have a favorite shady spot where I like to pause, look and listen. Warbling Vireos, Black-throated Gray Warbler, chickadees, robins. Returning I spied a tanager and oriole, heard a magpie—even caught sight of a collared dove.

Just about every bird occurs to me as a nice surprise.

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

1. Rock Pigeon*
2. Mourning Dove
3. Black-chinned Hummingbird
4. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay*
5. Lazuli Bunting
6. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
7. House Finch**
8. Pine Siskin
9. Spotted Towhee
10. Black-capped Chickadee
11. Lesser Goldfinch
12. Cooper’s Hawk (v)
13. Yellow Warbler
14. Black-throated Gray Warbler
15. Warbling Vireo (v)
16. American Robin
17. Western Tanager
18. Eurasian Collared Dove
19. Black-billed Magpie (v)
20. Bullock’s Oriole

Elsewhere

21. House Sparrow
22. Barn Swallow

Mammals

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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