21 January 2021

Archive for December, 2020

Eagle in Snow

Thursday, December 31st, 2020
Golden Eagle in profile, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 31 December 2020.
Golden Eagle on the bluff.

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)

Mammals

Red Squirrel

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

Ups and Downs

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020
Common Raven, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 30 December 2020.
Common Raven.
Raven in the blue.

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.

1. Black-billed Magpie (v)
2. House Finch (v)
3. Spotted Towhee
4. Rock Pigeon
5. Townsend’s Solitaire (v)
6. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
7. Northern Flicker (v)
8. Black-capped Chickadee
9. Dark-eyed Junco
10. Common Raven

Elsewhere

11. American Robin

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

Cloudless, Nippy…

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020
Cassin’s Finches, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 29 December 2020.
Cassin’s Finches.

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.

1. Cooper’s Hawk
2. House Finch (v)
3. Black-billed Magpie (v)
4. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
5. Rock Pigeon
6. Black-capped Chickadee
7. Northern Flicker
8. Dark-eyed Junco
9. Spotted Towhee
10. Cassin’s Finch
11. California Quail (v)

Elsewhere

12. American Robin (v)

Mammals

Red Squirrel

(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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