21 January 2021

Posts Tagged ‘Townsend’s solitaire’

The Solitaire

Friday, January 8th, 2021
Townsend’s Solitaire, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 08 January 2021.
Townsend’s Solitaire.
Townsend’s Solitaire, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 08 January 2021.
The Solitaire.

This quiet, clear morning, in the mountain shade, just as dog and I reached Coyote Canyon, a.k.a., “the gully,” a silent bird flitted up the trail in front of us. It was plain, but I glimpsed of a flash of white. “Could that’ve been a solitaire?” I asked myself. On our ascent, I caught sight of the bird again but couldn’t ID it.d

Three or four minutes and about a hundred yards later, I heard a faint, animated warbling song. It sounded like it was coming from the south slope above us. It also sounded familiar—like the song of a Townsend’s Solitaire. Too far up there, I thought, and memorized bits of the song to look up later.

Thirty seconds and maybe a dozen paces later, the direction of the song had changed. Now it came from behind us. I stopped, turned, scanned the treetops—and there, atop a juniper, perched a Townsend’s Solitaire. The bird was singing. Very, very softly, almost like a whisper.

I got a couple photos before it left its perch, and we continued up the gully and turned onto the deer trail. (Our daily route.) A few minutes later, I glanced down among the junipers until I found the solitaire’s tree. There it was perched there again. I couldn’t resist creeping down a different deer trail until I got near enough for another pic or two.

Pretty sure it’s the same bird I’ve seen there three or four other times the past several weeks. I really, really, like Townsend’s Solitaires.

Even so, my most thrilling sighting today happened earlier, on our short drive up to the trailhead: a Long-tailed Weasel, in its full-white winter coat (aside from black-tipped tail), dashing across the street in front of us and diving into a residential hedge.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:58 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Black-billed Magpie**
2. House Finch*
3. Black-capped Chickadee*
4. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay*
5. Rock Pigeon*
6. Spotted Towhee**
7. Townsend’s Solitaire


8. House Sparrow


Long-tailed Weasel
Red Squirrel

*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

Bird on a Wire

Friday, January 1st, 2021
Townsend’s Solitaire, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 01 January 2021.
Townsend’s Solitaire.

Ah, New Year’s Day. Much like 2020 but with a brighter future—the photoperiod continues to lengthen.

My hike with dog began quietly: most of my first several bird species were heard, not seen. Eventually, I did spot a few individuals of those early species, but not until we were descending the final switchback did I manage any photos at all (other than the pigeons).

Noteworthy—at least to me—was a Townsend’s Solitaire perched on a wire directly over the trailhead. I do love those guys.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 9:05 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Northern Flicker (v)
2. House Finch**
3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
4. Spotted Towhee**
5. Rock Pigeon*
6. Black-capped Chickadee
7. Black-billed Magpie* (v)
8. American Robin (v)
9. Dark-eyed Junco
10. Townsend’s Solitaire
11. Lesser Goldfinch (v)
12. Downy Woodpecker (v)
13. Song Sparrow


14. Eurasian Collared-dove

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

Ups and Downs

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020
Common Raven, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 30 December 2020.
Common Raven.
Raven in the blue.

A morning much like yesterday—except I just turned 69. So thankful I can still get around well enough to climb a mountain or two, can hear well enough to hear distant singes, can see well enough to spy a perched bird (or is that a rock?) a half-mile away.

Nippy again—maybe even a degree or two nippier than a day ago—and with just a few wispy clouds drifting overhead. Few birds to start, and not a lot of numbers, but a nice birthday surprise on our return: a raven.

I heard it’s harsh cry high above us, dog and me. I stopped, turned, found it up in the blue, and fire off a mess of photos of it circling and gliding and calling before it drifted away off over the ridge.

Right after that is when I noticed I’d lost one of my ice grips and had I had to retrace my steps about 300 paces down a slippery slope to retrieve it.

Hey, life’s got its ups and downs!

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 9:02 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.

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


11. American Robin

(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

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