24 June 2024

Posts Tagged ‘black-headed grosbeak’

Subtle Signs

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021
Lazuli Bunting (juvie male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 27 July 2021.
Lazuli Bunting (juvie male).

A mostly overcast morning, with a slight breeze and a trace of humidity in the air. Birds were active near the trailhead—but up on the deer trails, things were eerily quiet. For example, I counted a flock of a couple dozen magpies below the bluff, but heard only two singing towhees above it.

So I had to pay closer attention to subtle signs. The abrupt chip of a grosbeak. The sharper chip of a bunting (few of which were singing also). The dry chip of a Black-throated Gray Warbler. Heard a singing gnatcatcher. Heard both young and adult Cooper’s Hawks. Subsequently saw all these birds except the hawks.

True, most of the subtle signs were heard. But I did spy a faint movement among the rocks that turned out to be a pair of doves.d

No rain today, but the chances of thundershowers are forecast to increase as the week progresses.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 7:10 a.m. (8:10 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch*
2. California Quail (v)
3. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
4. Lazuli Bunting
5. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
6. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)
7. Mourning Dove
8. American Robin
9. Black-headed Grosbeak
10. Black-billed Magpie*
11. Rock Pigeon*
12. Black-chinned Hummingbird
13. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
14. Cooper’s Hawk (v)
15. Spotted Towhee
16. Black-throated Gray Warbler


Rock Squirrel

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

The Pigeons

Saturday, July 24th, 2021
Flocking pigeons, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 24 July 2021.
Flocking pigeons.

Good walk with dog this morning. Cooler and drier than yesterday’s muggy hike. A few more species, still not much vocalizing, adults keeping track of juvies. And still big flocks of Rock Pigeons circling above the foothills.

I think a lot about the local pigeons. I wonder when and why they flock, why the flocks vanish, why they return. From what I’ve observed, they tend to stick around the neighborhood (unsurprisingly), where they hang out in small groups in fall and winter. Come spring, they must start to pair off, because they more or less disappear—or appear much more rarely, and usually in pairs. Then, after the youngsters fledge, they gang up again and flutter around the slopes together looking for food. Which they tend to find somewhere amid the myrtle spurge.

Maybe I’m wrong, dunno. Just don’t call them “invasive.”

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 6:48 a.m. (7:48 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch*
2. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
3. Lazuli Bunting
4. American Robin
5. Black-capped Chickadee
6. Black-chinned Hummingbird*
5. Mourning Dove
7. Rock Pigeon*
8. Black-headed Grosbeak (v)
10. Spotted Towhee
11. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
12. Chipping Sparrow
13. Cooper’s Hawk (v)
14. Northern Flicker (v)
15. Black-throated Gray Warbler
16. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)


17. Eurasian Collared-dove
18. House Sparrow (v)
19. Red-tailed Hawk


Rock Squirrel

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


Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
Black-headed Grosbeak, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 22 July 2021.
Black-headed Grosbeak.

Ever day while out hiking, we encounter at least a few surprises, dog and I. This morning—in a warm, dry (mostly) overcast—we encountered several:

• a random Red-tailed Hawk soaring over the elementary school below us;
• a random grosbeak flitting up to an exposes perch between us and the hawk;
• several sildent buntings popping up, males and females and juvies;
• three towhees only, and identified only by their voices;
• a surprise tanager (young male) appearing in a tree in front of us;
• the surprising discovery, when he turned his head, that the tanager had only one eye;
• the surprise appearance of a motionless gopher snake stretched out right next to the trail on our return.

I’m sure there were more, but those are the ones that stand out as I write on the evening of this day—after a surprise late-afternoon thundershower showed up and soaked our thirsty landscape.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 6:42 a.m. (7:42 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. American Robin*
2. Rock Pigeon*
3. Mourning Dove
4. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
5. Black-capped Chickadee
6. Lazuli Bunting
7. Black-chinned Hummingbird*
8. Black-billed Magpie*
9. Black-headed Grosbeak
10. House Finch**
11. Red-tailed Hawk
12. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
13. Spotted Towhee
14. Lesser Goldfinch**
15. Western Tanager


16. House Sparrow
17. California Quail


Rock Squirrel


Great Basin Gopher Snake

(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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