25 July 2021

Big Day

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020
Western Kingbird, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 18 August 2020.
Western Kingbird.

This morning started out about like the two or three mornings before it: Not too warm or cool, breezy, shady. But very soon my hike with dog began to reap fruit. Scrub jay, gnatcatcher, and—wait—a Western Kingbird? This early bird, perched above the little rockfall quarry we pass every day, was my first-in-Utah sighting.

Soon after, we encountered a Green-tailed Towhee, the first Rock Wren since spring, and a family of five Chipping Sparrows. By the end of our mountain stroll, I’d listed sixteen species—more than in the last many days. Could these be early signs of fall migration?

American Kestrel, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 18 August 2020.
American Kestrel.

Don’t know about that, but the last species on my list today was American Kestrel, after I spied a pair circling nonchalantly up in the afternoon blue, despite being hollered at by magpies.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:05 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
2. Black-billed Magpie*
3. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
4. Mourning Dove*
5. Western Kingbird††
6. Black-chinned Hummingbird
7. Green-tailed Towhee
8. Spotted Towhee
9. Rock Wren
10. Chipping Sparrow
11. Black-capped Chickadee
12. American Robin
13. House Finch**
14. Broad-tailed Hummingbird*
15. Virginia Warbler
16. Lazuli Bunting


17. Lesser Goldfinch
18. Eurasian Collared Dove (v)
19. California Quail
20. American Kestrel


Red Squirrel
Rock Squirrel

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


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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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