This nice morning’s hike, under (mostly) overcast skies, was surprisingly quiet—for most of it. For nearly all of it, in fact, there were few birds to see or hear. Magpie, finch, junco, flicker. My list had seven species when we started back down toward the switchback.
Then we encountered chickadees, and I spied a kinglet, and heard the voices of a Steller’s Jay. That changed things. Because I decided I wanted a photo of the jay.
So we left the trail, dog and I. And retraced our steps, ascending again, chasing the voice of the jay. Which turned out to be two jays, no three. Four—fur Steller’s Jays.
Finally got a few pic. None that great, but I didn’t care.
Grandeur Peak Area List At 8:07 a.m. (9:07 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
A nearly cloudless, chilly morn—but not as chilly as yesterday. Soon enough, in fact, the rising sun warmed us up considerably, dog and me. And there were birds.
Heard, then saw, a male American Goldfinch. Not a migrant necessarily, but my first since last year. Two vultures moving through. A calling Red-breasted Nuthatch. A calling quail. Two scrub-jays “kissing.” A couple vultures circling, A solitary solitaire.
On our return, not far above the trailhead, I heard the sudden, loud song of a warbler in a leafing-out maple nearby. I left the trail and slid down the slope a bit and finally got a glimpse of it: a first-of-year Orange-crowned Warbler. (I’m determined now to become wholly familiar with their song.)
Tomorrow it’s supposed to get to 80° (F). I expect more new birds moving through.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 7:12 a.m. (8:12 MDT), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
1. Song Sparrow** (v) 2. American Robin* 3. Spotted Towhee 4. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay 5. American Goldfinch 6. Rock Pigeon* 7. Red-breasted Nuthatch 8. Townsend’s Solitaire 9. Northern Flicker** (v) 10. California Quail 11. Lesser Goldfinch* (v) 12. House Finch** 13. Cooper’s Hawk 14. Turkey Vulture 15. Dark-eyed Junco 16. Orange-crowned Warbler†
17. House Sparrow (v)
Rock Squirrel Mule Deer Red Squirrel
(v) Voice only *Also elsewhere **Voice only elsewhere †First-of-year bird
A calm, nearly cloudless morning with chillier temps (20s (F)) than yesterday—and a bunch of nice surprises to discover. The first being a Canyon Wren in the rocky cavity up near the bluff. I heard it first, remembered the call from early spring, and managed even to spy the little energetic bird.
Soon after that sighting, I decided we should climb up to the ridge where the cairn stands—where I’d seen (from a distance) that it’d partly fallen in on account of (I assume) a few very windy days. It’d been a couple-three months, at least. Past time.
And it was a grand climb, a lovely view. I repaired the cairn (more or less), and dog and I ascended a couple hundred feet above it, sat a spell, then came back down (during which descent I heard—then spotted—a couple Chukars) and finally hiked a stretch of our usual trail, for good measure.
Good measure turned out to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk, perched low in the scrub not far away, casting about for voles or juncos until a trail runner jogged by.
All in all a very fine day.
Grandeur Peak Area List Beginning at 8:20 a.m. (MST), I hiked some 1,200 feet up a mountain.