My morning hike with dog began quietly, in keeping with this quiet season, when I mostly scan for silent flitting birds. And, dang, did I hit the jackpot.
In particular, that pot appeared in the form of a trailside rose bush, where in the pat I’ve often seen lurking towhees. What I saw this morning were three quietly flitting Brewer’s Sparrows. As I stood still angling fdor photos, Another bird popped up: a Nashville Warbler. Turned my camera to the warbler, when another species appeared: a House Wren. Got some nice pics of the wren—when I noticed a Green-tailed Towhee in there, too.
Four species in the same little wild rose.
Later, on our return, I decided to head over and revisit the rose bush, and what should I find there? A Spotted Towhee.
You can bet I’ll be checking that wild again in the morning.
Grandeur Peak Area List At 7:07 a.m. (8:07 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
1. Black-chinned Hummingbird 2. House Finch** 3. Rock Pigeon* 4. Western Tanager 5. Eurasian Collared-dove 6. Spotted Towhee 7. Lesser Goldfinch* 8. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay (v) 9. Brewer’s Sparrow 10. Nashville Warbler 11. Green-tailed Towhee 12. House Wren 13. Chipping Sparrow 14. Black-capped Chickadee 15. Lazuli Bunting 16. American Robin
17. California Quail (v) 18. House Sparrow
Rock Squirrel Red Squirrel
(v) Voice only *Also elsewhere **Voice only elsewhere
This morning’s hike with dog began quietly. The air was cool (if a bit smoggy), but very few birds to start, not much very exciting to look at—other than the familiarly magnificent landscape—and a few humans and dogs as distractions. I detected within me a feeling of disappointment, bordering on mild depression. Why? The quietness? The bad air? The fact that Jack didn’t deign to follow me up a particular side trail (a route he never questioned before)?
I decided to take a detour down below the trail, into the thickets where the deer hang out in the off season. That’s because I heard the little whine of a vireo (same as yesterday) and wanted to confirm. The good news: Jack didn’t question this detour at all. The bad news: within a few minutes, I turned to check on him, and my dog wasn’t there. Because he no longer hears well, and he’s taken to staying in one place when he loses sight of me, I panicked a little. Retraced my steps, didn’t see him, but I did see a bird in a tree—the vireo!
(Crazy that, although worried about losing my best friend of all time, a bird distracted me.)
Soon enough, we found each other. But still no great bird photos—until we began our return trip when, scanning for hummingbirds, I heard an unfamiliar mewling alarm note. Caught sight of the bird perched on a twig nearby, and recognized it right away as a Green-tailed Towhee. First of year. Moreover, this shy bird perched and preened and posed and let me take plenty of photos before flitting away.
Just after that, I heard the high bright call of a falcon and spied, on a snag up-slope from us, a kestrel. Second of the day, actually. I know this because the first bird didn’t have a blue leg band with the number 16 on it (which I only discovered when reviewing photos).
Finally, we surprised a big group of sparrows and finches and such coming around a bend. Added chippie, Brewer’s, and bunting to this morning’s list.
Ironically, it being such a dramatic turn—from feeling blue to feeling high excitement—I discovered when I got back to the truck that I’d forgotten to turn my GoPro on. (First time in many months.)
Oh, well. Didn’t detract from this fun, dramatic day.
Grandeur Peak Area List At 7:09 a.m. (8:09 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.