4 August 2020 Rockport, Maine, USA 

Posts Tagged ‘broad-tailed hummingbird’

Patch Birding

Saturday, August 1st, 2020
Virginia’s Warbler, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 01 August 2020.
Virginia’s Warbler.

I’ll admit it: I’m a patch birder. For about a decade or so I’ve regularly birded one patch or other (with a rare—and delightful—excursion to Monhegan Island, one of my favorite places on the planet). Sure, patch birders might miss out on variety, rare vagrants, long life lists. But if you really want to get to know a place, it helps to get to know individual birds when they return to their particular trees each spring.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 01 August 2020.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (male).

I’m also an ear birder—that is, my very first true birding experiences involved chasing down songs until I found the birds that made ’em. (Fortunately, my ears remain more sensitive than my eyes even.)

In this new (well, almost year-old) Utah patch, I’ve gotten to know a bunch of new species, individual members of those species, their voices, their habits, their subtler sounds. Take, for instance, the Black-throated Green Warbler. Just today I confirmed that I can ID that species by its chip note. Tell you the truth, it feels kind of like a superpower.

Also today, I heard a chip note I had not yet learned. It sounded to me like a warbler’s, but it wasn’t a dry note (like the black-throated gray’s)—it had a touch of music to it. A tiny sweet tone. And then I spied the bird.

My next challenge is to be able to ID a Virginia’s Warbler by its chip. We shall see.

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

1. Rock Pigeon*
2. Lazuli Bunting
3. Mourning Dove
4. House Finch*
5. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
6. Brewer’s Sparrow
7. Spotted Towhee
8. American Robin**
9. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
10. Black-chinned Hummingbird
11. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
12. Cooper’s Hawk
13. Virginia’s Warbler
14. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay (v)
15. Black-throated Gray Warbler
16. Pine Siskin (v)
17. Barn Swallow


18. Black-billed Magpie (v)

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

Life Goes On

Friday, July 31st, 2020
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, UTah, 31 July 2020.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (male).

Broad-tailed Hummingbirds have not been cooperative when it comes to posing for photos—until today.

I’ve caught glimpses of these high-elevation hummers in Coyote Canyon—the cool, shady valley that dog and I ascend each morning—as they zip around hunting tiny insects among the proliferous bigtooth maple leaves. But the light is dim, and hummingbirds are active, and I sort of gave up.

Today, though, there a few (or more) were making those cricket-like sounds with their wings above us as, so I stopped to watch and listen, and a male decided to perch right in front of me. (I rarely see males, either, since they’re basically chauvinist pigs who sleep around and the leave the nest-building, chick-rearing, and youngster-feeding to females.)

Male Black-throated Gray Warbler feeding fledgling, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, UTah, 31 July 2020.
Male Black-throated Gray Warbler feeding fledgling.

Felt good to grab that photo.

In contrast, just beyond the hummers, I happened upon a male Black-throated Gray Warbler bring a small lacy-winged insect to a begging fledgling.

And so life goes on despite it all.

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

1. Black-chinned Hummingbird
2. Mourning Dove
3. House Finch**
4. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
5. American Robin*
6. Eastern Towhee
7. Black-headed Grosbeak
8. Lazuli Bunting
9. Black-capped Chickadee
10. Red-breasted Nuthatch
11. Pine Siskin
12. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
13. Cooper’s Hawk
14. Black-throated Gray Warbler
15. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
16. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)


17. Eurasian Collared Dove (v)


Mountain Cottontail

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

The Bird Tree

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Western Tanager (male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 28 July 2020.
Western Tanager (male).

There’s a particular tree overlooking what appears to be an old quarry near a bluff overlooking my neighborhood, a tree dog and I pass on the trail each day on our morning hike. For whatever reason, birds like to perch up in that tree. And among the species I’ve seen there multiple times is Western Tanager.

Today I spied a female tanager perched there, too far away for a photo. But we’ve been visiting the bluff both at the beginnings and ends of our stroll in the foothills, and on the return trip, both male and female were in the tree. The male had in its beak what looked at first like a dragonfly—but it could’ve been any other large insect. It let me snap a few pics as it dined.

I don’t know what kind of tree it is. But I want to know. I’m determined to put a name to it (and will let you know when I do). It’s a very cool tree, with extremely fragrant yellow flowers that’ve long gone by.

For now, I think of it as “The Bird Tree.”

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

1. Rock Pigeon*
2. Mourning Dove
3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay**
4. Black-chinned Hummingbird
5. Lazuli Bunting
6. House Finch*
7. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
8. Spotted Towhee
9. American Robin*
10. Pine Siskin
11. Western Tanager (v)
12. Black-capped Chickadee**
13. Black-throated Gray Warbler
14. Virginia’s Warbler
15. Warbling Vireo (v)
16. Lesser Goldfinch (v)


17. Black-billed Magpie
18. Broad-tailed Hummingbird


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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