25 January 2021

Posts Tagged ‘mountain cottontail’

Whispering Solitaire

Thursday, January 21st, 2021
Townsend’s Solitaire, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 21 January 2021.
Townsend’s Solitaire.

I can’t adequately describe the uplifting sensation of knowing the source of a very slight sound. I imagine it’s what levitation must feel like.

This morning while dog and I were ascending the steep, slippery trail in leafy Coyote Canyon, I heard the sound. So faint, but it made me stop stock still. A long warbling whistle, the pitch rising and falling abruptly, barely audible. But it made me suck in a little gasp. Because I knew at once what I hearing.

I knew at once because I’d heard it before, not that long ago, not far from that very section of trail: the “whisper” of a Townsend’s Solitaire.

I say “whisper,” but the song was clear—just exceedingly soft and delicate. You’d almost thing the bird that made the sound was perched at least a hundred feet away. But from experience, I knew better.

So right away I scanned the tops of nearby trees in the direction of the sound, and within a second or two I spied its source of it, a singing solitaire.

I’ve heard the same song at high volume volume, last spring a couple thousand feet up the mountainside: two male solitaires, each apparently working to outsing the other. And a sweet rollicking, beautiful song it was.

Today’s was like a ghost of that spring song, and I couldn’t help (again) but wonder why. Was the bird whispering to a nearby mate? Warming of the presence of a dog and human? Was the solitaire simply singing to itself, as I sometimes whistle a little tune quietly without even thinking?

I’ll likely never know the reason, but the magical thing to me is simply knowing where to look when I hear that sound.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 9 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay*
2. Black-capped Chickadee
3. House Finch** (v)
4. Spotted Towhee
5. Rock Pigeon*
6. Red-tailed Hawk
7. Black-billed Magpie* (v)
8. Dark-eyed Junco
9. Townsend’s Solitaire
10. Northern Flicker
11. Song Sparrow (v)

Elsewhere

12. European Starling
13. House Sparrow (v)
14. American Crow
15. Eurasian Collared Dove

Mammals

Mountain Cottontail

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

Yardbirds

Friday, January 15th, 2021
Apple-loving Spotted Towhee (female), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 15 January 2021.
Apple-loving Spotted Towhee (female).
Apple-loving Spotted Towhee (male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 15 January 2021.
Spotted Towhee (male).

My yard isn’t large, but it’s got a few birds. Since I moved here, a Song Sparrow’s been living in the viny western fence vegetation. And for the past few months, a pair of Spotted Towhees have been holed up in some thick foliage nearby.

Lately, I’ve spied the towhees been dining on fallen apples nearly every day. Today, for the first time I spotted both the male and female doing this. It’s kinda nice to have such unassuming neighbors.

Also nice to have a batch of trailside birds to visit every day. Not many during this morning’s hike with Jack. Every day’s different, though.

(As they should be.)

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:57 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay*
2. Black-capped Chickadee
3. House Finch*
4. American Robin (v)
5. Rock Pigeon*
6. Black-billed Magpie** (v)
7. Spotted Towhee*
8. Dark-eyed Junco
9. European Starling*

Mammals

Mountain Cottontail

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

Cassin’ses

Thursday, January 14th, 2021
Cassin’s Finches, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 14 January 2021.
Cassin’s Finches.
Cassin’s Finch (male), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 14 January 2021.
Cassin’s Finch (male).

I’d lived here in Utah about a year before I saw my first (ever) Cassin’s Finch. In the past few months, I’ve seen a bunch of ’em.

From what I understand, they tend to wander around in flocks, depending on food, weather, and/or reasons known only to themselves. They’ve been hanging around a lot lately, though, and I’m glad. I like the way they look—all clean-cut and stylish looks. I also like their habit of letting me approach nearer than other finches do. Makes for some nice photos.

I also like Lesser Goldfinches, Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches, and House Finches (in their original native habitat, unlike those back in Maine). But I’ve kind of got a crush on Cassin’s.

(Saw a dozen today.)

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 9:09 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch*
2. Red-breasted Nuthatch (v)
3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
4. Rock Pigeon*
5. Black-billed Magpie* (v)
6. Spotted Towhee*
7. Black-capped Chickadee
8. Golden Eagle
9. Dark-eyed Junco
10. Cassin’s Finch

Elsewhere

11. European Starling

Mammals

Mountain Cottontail
Red Squirrel

(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



3IP Logo
©1997–2021 by 3IP