24 May 2020 Rockport, Maine, USA 


May 19th, 2020

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.

1. Black-billed Magpie*
2. American Robin*
3. Black-headed Grosbeak (v)
4. Lazuli Bunting
5. Black-chinned Hummingbird
6. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
7. Spotted Towhee
8. House Finch*
9. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
10. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)
11. Mourning Dove
12. Orange-crowned Warbler (v)
14. Black-throated Gray Warbler (v)
15. Warbling Vireo
16. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay (v)
17. Chukar (v)
18. Western Tanager
19. Turkey Vulture
20. California Quail*
21. Barn Swallow†
22. Red-tailed Hawk


23. House Sparrow (v)
24. Downy Woodpecker
25. Song Sparrow (v)
26. Broad-tailed Hummingbird (wing-trill)



(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere
†First-of-year bird

New Empid

May 18th, 2020
Dusky Flycatcher, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 18 May 2020.
Dusky Flycatcher.

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?

Black-chinned Hummingbird, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 18 May 2020.
Black-chinned Hummingbird.

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.

1. Black-headed Grosbeak
2. Song Sparrow** (v)
3. American Robin* (v)
4. Black-billed Magpie*
5. Lazuli Bunting
6. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
7. Pine Siskin
8. Red-tailed Hawk
9. Black-chinned Hummingbird
10. Spotted Towhee
11. Dusky Flycatcher†‡
12. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
13. House Finch**
14. Turkey Vulture
15. Black-capped Chickadeed (v)
16. Warbling Vireo (v)
17. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)


18. House Sparrow (v)
19. California Quail
20. Mourning Dove



(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere
‡First-of-year bird


May 17th, 2020
Black-chinned Hummingbird, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 17 May 2020.
Black-chinned Hummingbird.

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.

1. Black-headed Grosbeak**
2. California Quail*
3. Black-billed Magpie*
4. American Robin* (v)
5. Lazuli Bunting
6. Song Sparrow** (v)
7. Black-capped Chickadee
8. Spotted Towhee
9. Warbling Vireo
10. Pine Siskin
11. Blue-jay Gnatcatcher
12. Chipping Sparrow
13. Black-chinned Hummingbird
14. Orange-crowned Warbler
15. House Finch*
16. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay (v)
17. Cooper’s Hawk
18. Golden Eagle
19. Black-throated Gray Warbler (v)
20. Sharp-shinned Hawk


21. House Sparrow
22. European Starling
23. Downy Woodpecker


Rock Squirrel

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

Bird Report is an intermittent record of what's outside my window in Rockport, Maine, USA (44°08'N latitude, 69°06'W longitude), and vicinity. —Brian Willson

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