21 September 2020

Posts Tagged ‘song sparrow’


Saturday, September 19th, 2020

It wasn’t a lot, but it was rain. The morning started off with a trace of drizzle, then the drizzle abated, and the weather radar showed a rain-free channel for a while—but that rain would likely follow. And afternoon thundershowers were possible.

An overcast filled much of the sky, and I could feel humidity for the first time in a while. Quite a few birds flitted about, and my hike with dog generally gave me the usual thrills. But the most thrilling moment came on our return, when I’d just seen a gang of magpies on the bluff, and the drizzle returned. I heard it before I felt it, but there it was. And then a sparrow popped up and posed.

The drizzle didn’t last very long, but it doesn’t take much to trigger a spark of hope these days.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:16 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch*
2. Black-capped Chickadee
3. Northern Flicker**
4. Pine Siskin
5. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay**
6. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
7. Spotted Towhee
8. Lesser Goldfinch*
9. Black-billed Magpie*
10. Chipping Sparrow


11. Eurasian Collared Dove (v)
12. Song Sparrow (v)
13. California Quail
14. House Sparrow


Red Squirrel
Gray Squirrel

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


Friday, September 18th, 2020
Black-chinned Hummingbird (imm./fem.), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 18 September 2020.
Black-chinned Hummingbird (imm./fem.).

Got a whiff of smoke this morning on my hike with dog. A haze hovered over the basin. The fires in California are alarming, to say the least—as is the local drought. Thought we’d be getting some rain tomorrow, but apparently not. Going on two months without significant rain.

Perhaps that’s why things continue to be quiet up the foothills trails. Mostly the usual suspects this morning, bu also a couple of birds whose calls I didn’t recognize. One in particular—with a semi-harsh, semi-musical chip-note—flitted out of a juniper and showed itself to be warbler-sized with flashes of yellow. Tried to track it down but didn’t see it again. Another little chattery bird, too, I couldn’t sneak up on.

“Dips” in birding lingo usually mean you’ve heard of a rare or interesting sighting and go looking for it but fail to find it—i.e., you “dipped” on the bird. In my mind the same applies in the shorter term: you see or hear something curious but don’t end up getting a good look. Happens a lot.

But also, on occasion, you stumble onto a pretty great sighting without even trying. It all works out in the end, I suppose.

No smoky smell later in the day. I hope at least the West Coast gets a little rain.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:13 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch*
2. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
3. Pine Siskin
4. American Robin**
5. Black-chinned Hummingbird
6. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
7. Spotted Towhee
8. Northern Flicker**
9. Rock Pigeon*
10. Black-capped Chickadee
11. Wood-warbler (sp)
12. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)
13. Black-billed Magpie*
14. Red-tailed Hawk


15. European Starling
16. American Crow
17. Mourning Dove
18. Song Sparrow


Red Squirrel (v)

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


Saturday, August 29th, 2020

During this morning’s hike with dog, as we were up in the junipers near where yesterday’s sharpie appeared, a hummingbird approached us quietly and hovered several feet away. It hung in midair and looked at Jack, then it shifted a bit higher—maybe four feet from my face—and inspected me. Then it lit on a twig about five feet away and posed for photos.

This kind of thing has happened several times along the trails we travel, and always I feel blessed (for both me and Jack).

I felt less blessed later, when trying to ID this young hummer. I had a very near view of the critter, but still the photos I checked online (and comparisons of field marks) didn’t prove especially helpful. I’d assumed it was a Broad-tailed Hummingbird—it was in an area they frequent—but its wings made no sound, and its sides seemed more orange than buff-colored, and its feathers had sort of orangish hue, and I wondered if it were a young Rufous Hummingbird.

I don’t have a lot of experience identifying hummingbirds, and young ones are especially puzzling to me. After nearly an hour struggling to make an ID, I finally settled on broad-tailed. (I’m still not sure.)

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 7:57 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Rock Pigeon*
2. Lesser Goldfinch*
3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay**
4. Mourning Dove
5. Red-breasted Nuthatch
6. Black-chinned Hummingbird*
7. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
8. Red-tailed Hawk
9. Spotted Towhee
10. Black-capped Chickadee**
11. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
12. House Wren†
13. House Finch*
14. Black-billed Magpie*
15. Barn Swallow


16. Eurasian Collared Dove
17. California Quail
18. Song Sparrow


Rock Squirrel

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

†First-of-year bird

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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