Dog and I did the Millcreek circuit today—up the valley, over the ridge, down the switchback—an elevation gain of about 1,500 feet or so. The day was mild, a bit breezy, comfortable. The landscape was green.
And I’m kinda crushin’ on Black-chinned Hummingbirds.
So many today (I’m thinking at least eight), and in all the places I know they’ll be. I have a feeling that by now they even recognize Jack and me.
And I’m learning their behavioral quirks. In particular, I’m diggin’ their great pendulous flight displays—it’s as if they’re writing a gigantic U above the landscape. I’m also learning what flowers they like to sip.
Not seeing as many Broad-tailed Hummingbirds these days. (Guessing they’re earlier nesters and so have gone rather quiet.) But that’s O.K. by me.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 7:45 a.m., I hiked some 1,500 feet up a mountain.
Empids are hard. I’ve gotten to where I can tell them apart pretty dependably—those I know well, anyway—by their voices. But when a new species shows up and makes not a sound, what do you do?
Well, I spent a long time researching Utah flycatchers in the genus Empidonax, comparing field marks with several photos I took of this morning’s quiet bird. At first I thought it a Hammond‘s Flycatcher—but the beak seems too big and the primaries are too short. (Also, it didn’t pump its tail at all.) Finally settled on Dusky Flycatcher, whose tail looks longer (because its primaries are shorter) and has a longer beak.
(Both have white eye-rings and a whitish area about the lores.)
The habitat information also played a part: the dusky tends to lurk in shady greenery (where this bird was hanging out), whereas the Hammond’s will perch high.
I could be wrong, of course, but this is my educated guess. Hope to learn more about the flycatchers here over the course of the coming seasons.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8 a.m., I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.
There are so many hummingbirds around here. This, first spring in Utah, has me wide-eyed (and -eared) at just how many of these little hummers there are zipping around the sage and scrub.
Every day for a couple weeks, I’ve seen and/or heard at least six or eight individual hummingbirds—nearly always both black-chinned and broad-tailed—and often a dozen or more. Their behavior is interesting—wing-trills and pendulum dances and hovering in one place for seconds above a human and canine on the trail.
This gusty morning, at a fairly high elevation with few trees about, I came upon a black-chinned sipping on the lovely red Coarse Indian Paintbrush flowers. Just one of many things I’ve learned about these hardy little survivors.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 7:45 a.m., I hiked about 1,000 feet up a mountain.