22 July 2024

Archive for January, 2021

The Olive Tree

Sunday, January 31st, 2021
American robin (with Russian olive), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 31 January 2021.
American robin (with Russian olive).

A patch of Russian olives grows on the rim of the century-old Monarch Quarry behind the bluff overlooking my neighborhood. The tree might be considered invasive—but the birds sure like its fruit.

And the largest of the olive trees offers a perfect perching spot. I’ve seen dozens of species in its branches—Northern Goshawk, American Kestrels, Nothern Flickers, Woodhouse’s Scrub-jays, Mountain Bluebirds, Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees, Juniper Titmice, and more. (Most of the birds enjoy the olives, but the hawks just like the view.) Even spotted a Green-tailed Towhee bouncing around its trunk one day.

And in spring—before I knew what kind of tree it was—I marveled at its tiny, oh-so-sweet-smelling yellow flowers. (Arguably one of the sweetest things I’ve ever smelled.)

Today a flock of robins stopped by this big ol’ tree to gulp down gobs of olives. Invasive or no, I love that tree.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 9:09 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.

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


11. Song Sparrow (v)
12. House Sparrow (v)


Mountain Cottontail

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

The Whitening

Saturday, January 30th, 2021

The Whitening has come later this winter than last. Only about three inches of snow fell overnight, but it had the effect of thoroughly blanketing the landscape—for a time. Because rising temps and afternoon soon took care of much of it by nightfall.

Heard the usual birds, saw a few. Plenty of animal tracks—three or four being coyotes’. Also spotted a couple deer this morning. No elk yet, though. (My first sightings last year were a week or ten days earlier—I looked it up.) We were first up the trail, dog and I, and alone until near the end of our hike.

The only bird species that decided to pose today was Dark-eyed Junco. Snowbirds don’t mind snow.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:39 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.

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


11. Song Sparrow (v)
12. Eurasian Collared-dove


Mule Deer

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

Chickadee Hike

Friday, January 29th, 2021
Black-capped Chickadee, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 29 January 2021.
Black-capped Chickadee.

A stout warm breeze greeted dog and me when we emerged into this overcast morning. Also plenty of bird life, now that the nip had gone out of the air.

Not many bothered to pose for photos, though. For much of our hike, my ears made most of the IDs. That is, until we started up little Coyote Canyon, when a little gang of Black-capped Chickadees decided to accompany us. One in particular seemed to like the camera. And they always seem so bright and carefree, the chickadees.

In afternoon, around the house and running errands, I added quite a few nice species—American Crow, California Gull, Canada Goose. Place-name species, they were.

Still my thoughts turns back to those early chickadees.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 9 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.

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


11. Eurasian Collared-dove
12. Song Sparrow
13. American crow
14. California Gull
15. Canada Goose


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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