Cold morning—teens for a while. Obliged to stay at the house until midday, then had a nice hike with Jack.
While at home, though, facing a window that overlooked greenery toward the north, I had a chance to watch several birds come and go—chickadee, Downy Woopecker, robin. The robin was most interesting. It perched on a utility line for a while, then bounce down into a vine full of berries, which it plucked an swallowed. Then it bounced over to a place where snow had collected on the leaves of the vine—and “drank” a couple mouthfuls of snow.
Also noteworthy: In afternoon, I saw a crow in town.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 12:30 p.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up the mountain.
1. Black-billed Magpie* 2. American Goldfinch** 3. Black-capped Chickadee** 4. Dark-eyed Junco** 5. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay** (v) 6. House Finch* (v)
7. American Robin 8. Downy Woodpecker 9. Eurasian Collared Dove 10. Rock Pigeon 11. American Crow 12. Northern Flicker (v)
v = Voice only *Also elsewhere **Voice only elsewhere
As forecast, we had a free last night. Temperature was 27° (F) when first I looked. Waited a bit to hike, an the trails turned out to be surprisingly crowded for a weekday morning. (Ran into four other parties.)
Not many bird species to start. Not surprising. But on our return trip, I heard a high-pitched cry from on high. My first thought was osprey, but the cry was different. Spotted three large raptors up there approaching from the south and realized—three Golden Eagles.
But when I checked the photos later, it seemed there were two goldens and one bald. The lead bird (what looked to be the bald) kept to its course and disappeared, while the two goldens circled for a good little while. (The photos also revealed one of the birds was carrying some kind of prey.)
As the eagles slowly circled away, a bird flitted across the trail and lit in a far tree opposite. It looked rather like a thrush, but not one I recognized. Got a shot of it also. Turned out to be a thrush all right—and what I thought at the time was a lifer. A Townsend’s Solitaire.
But the look of the bird got me thinking, and I revisited a backlit thrush I’d watched three days ago, and I’m now absolutely convinced that was my first ever Townsend’s Solitaire (not the Hermit Thrush I’d decided at the time). Eye-ring, erect posture, long wings, stripe at the base of the primaries—even the little tan wing patch. Cool.
(Oh, and one other thing: Today I saw my first crows in Utah—a little group of two or three at the supermarket in town.)
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 9:45 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up the mountain.