24 June 2024

Archive for January, 2022

Steller’s

Friday, January 28th, 2022
Glimpse of Steller’s Jay, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 28 January 2021.
Glimpse of Steller’s Jay.

The past couple weeks or so I’ve been following the travels of one famous vagrant Steller’s Sea Eagle that’s been wandering up and down my old Maine coast stomping grounds. Birder friends have taken some great photos of this huge eagle, one of about 4,000 left on the planet (the other 3,999 of ’em mostly staying back home in the Bering Sea).

Me? I’ve been stalking Steller’s Jays.

Both the eagle and the jay were first “discovered” by German naturalist Georg Steller back in the 1700s when exploring Russia and Alaska. The jay has many subspecies.

The only one I know hangs around here in the high desert of Utah, but it’s wily and shy and hard to chase. I happened to luck out today when first I heard one’s voice, then spied it in the crook of a juniper tree before it winged away with its patented call of shook-shook-shook-shook!

(Note: another jay answered it from below.)

Grandeur Peak Area List
At 09:31 MST, I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

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

Elsewhere

10. House Sparrow (v)

Mammals

Red Squirrel
Mule Deer

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

Certainty of Spring

Thursday, January 27th, 2022
Lesser Goldfinch, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 27 January 2022.
Lesser Goldfinch.

Nippier this morning. Temps down to about 20° (F), but nearly cloudless, so warm enough. Only a tiny bit of breeze.

And quiet. Few birds about—no calls of magpies, nor flickers, nor siskins. If not for the solitaires (saw two and heard a third) and a little flock of goldfinches, the most interesting critters would’ve been a little herd of deer.

Chickadees and finches were singing, though. Evidence of the certainty of spring.

Grandeur Peak Area List
At 09:20 MST, I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch**
2. Townsend’s Solitaire
3. Black-capped Chickadee
4. Rock Pigeon*
5. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
6. Lesser Goldfinch

Elsewhere

7. Song Sparrow (v)
8. House Sparrow (v)
9. European Starling
10. Mourning Dove

Mammals

Red Squirrel
Mule Deer

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

Dry Winter

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022
Dark-eyed Junco in a rose bush, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 26 January 2021.
Dark-eyed Junco in a rose bush.

A bit chillier this morning, cloudless, calm. Not a lot of bird activity, but a decent species list. Deer on the juniper slope (fewer than yesterday), where most of the snow has melted. (Still snow on the shady north sides.)

It’s a dry winter, though. One decent snow, a couple of dustings. More could come, of course, but who nows when. It might be a trend. A trend that might explain some of the differences between this winter and the last two I’ve seen here.

Meanwhile, Maine has a a powerful nor’easter bearing down. I’m kind of sorry I’ll miss it: I do like dramatic weather. Makes me feel alive.

Grandeur Peak Area List
At 09:26 MST, I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

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

Elsewhere

10. Spotted Towhee

Mammals

Mountain Cottontail
Mule Deer
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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