This last morning of a crazy year brought a mixed bag: mist, snow showers, glimpse of sun, Golden Eagle.
The eagle showed up near the end of a quiet hike with Captain Jack—encountered one human friend and one dog friend, few bird species, and few photo ops. Then the snow picked up, and just after I said to Jack, “Guess it’s just six species today,” I spied the eagle. It was soaring low, scanning the landscape for rabbits. Soon enough it disappeared in the mist, and we resumed our descent.
But a couple minutes later, it reappeared, flying with a purpose, very nearby, heading in the opposite direction. I watched it pull up and settle atop the bluff behind us. Retraced my steps in a hurry (losing both ice grips) and managed a few photos of it from below.
Thanks for the 2020 send-off, eagle.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 9:22 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.
1. Black-billed Magpie 2. House Finch (v) 3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay 4. Rock Pigeon 5. Spotted Towhee 6. Black-capped Chickadee 7. Golden Eagle 8. Pine Siskin (v)
(v) Voice only *Also elsewhere **Voice only elsewhere
A morning much like yesterday—except I just turned 69. So thankful I can still get around well enough to climb a mountain or two, can hear well enough to hear distant singes, can see well enough to spy a perched bird (or is that a rock?) a half-mile away.
Nippy again—maybe even a degree or two nippier than a day ago—and with just a few wispy clouds drifting overhead. Few birds to start, and not a lot of numbers, but a nice birthday surprise on our return: a raven.
I heard it’s harsh cry high above us, dog and me. I stopped, turned, found it up in the blue, and fire off a mess of photos of it circling and gliding and calling before it drifted away off over the ridge.
Right after that is when I noticed I’d lost one of my ice grips and had I had to retrace my steps about 300 paces down a slippery slope to retrieve it.
Hey, life’s got its ups and downs!
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 9:02 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.
Cloudless, nippy, bracing morning. Got to the trailhead a bit late today, but still got a glimpse of a Cooper’s Hawk in flight right out of the pickup. Many more numbers than yesterday (though no Downy Woodpecker).
Most exciting to yours truly was a flock of 15 Cassin’s Finches in the Russian olive trees above the little old lime quarry. [Aside: thanks to an email from a local friend, I got confirmation that the hole at the bluff was, in fact, a quarry until about a hundred years ago—name of Monarch Quarry.]
All in all, a lovely hike, a lovely day. The year 2020 is nearly over.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 9:06 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.