This morning’s hike was interesting. It started cool and quiet and breezy, but it ended warm and rather active. The usual suspects were active—buntings, finches, gnatcatchers, hummingbirds—and were joined by a random female Downy Woodpecker. One of the Cooper’s Hawks delivered a loud soliloquy, a Black-throated Gray Warbler dropped by, and a single robin showed up out of nowhere.
But the most interesting—or at least entertaining—activity occurred out the front window, in the yard and garden.
For the past week or so, a family of California Quail have apparently taken residence on the property—an adult pair and three chicks. They lurk in the garden, the spring across the driveway, they’ve even taken swift flight (those tiny babies are great fliers!) up into the trees. I worried a bit this afternoon, seeing the mom and only two young ’uns (there’s at least one loose house cat in the neighborhood, grr), but the third showed up with the dad a little later.
(Also fun have been the butterflies, and occasional hummingbird—but those stories will have to wait for another day.)
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 7:04 a.m. (8:04 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
Woke up this early morning to the sound of thunder and rain. Aaaaahhhh.
Waited for a passing shower, so Jack and I got to the trailhead pretty late, where we enjoyed cool air, wet foliage, interesting wildlife activity, and walking in sweet, sweet mud.
The rain caused change. The atmosphere had completely change—damp, fragrant, different. Saw a living snail among the empty shells. And encountered an amazing fly hatch—wispy-winged flies rising like smoke, driving the little birds to distraction. Watched a bunting feed flies to a young one. Watched gnatcatchers catch ’em. Watched the flies themselves float through the air like some kind of earthly daylight constellation.
Another thing that happened involved the resident Cooper’s Hawks. While ascending the leafy gully, I heard the call of a young bird (possibly the only young bird, as I can’t remember hearing more than one at a time), then the ki-ki-ki-ki-ki! of an adult. We hurried up to a place where I could scan the hillsided. Just as I turned to look around, the adult took flight again and landed on a branch not far above us. Slowly, I lifted my camera—and the hawk too wing again. So I had to grab a photo of it crouching, pretty well camouflaged, in a tree.
More rain possible tonight. We shall see.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 7:30 a.m. (8:30 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
This morning was kinda cool—not only temperature-wise, but birding-wise. E.g., a random Olive-sided Flycatcher appeared out of nowhere and perched at the top of the tallest Russian Olive (no great photo, alas). And a good-sized flock of Lesser Goldfinches showed up out of the (literal) blue.
But most cool wasd my first-ever look at hummingbird parent dealing with hummingbird youngsters. The gully had broad-tails again, but this time I saw more than one—three, in fact. It wasn’t a close look, and I wasn’t exactly positive what was going on, but it sure looked like a busy adult was dealing (not always patiently) with a pair of fledglings. Twitters were uttered, and tailes were flashed. It was some fun.
(Back at the house, the little quail family remains obsessed with the garden out front. Also a fun distraction.)
No rain today. Now crossing my fingers for the weekend.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 6:57 a.m. (7:57 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.