8 August 2020

Posts Tagged ‘turkey vulture’

Little Things

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020
Virginia’s Warbler, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 22 July 2020.
Virginia’s Warbler.

Ah, an overcast day for a change. Our morning hike was far more humid than usual, but there was no warming sun beating down on Jack’s heavy coat, and his panting eased up a bit. (Still drank all his water.)

The birds on the trails were furtive and not very vocal, but it wasn’t hard to spot usual suspects. On the other hand, a few species made themselves apparent very subtly: a voice here or there, a flit within a juniper. At one point, when a female bunting posed for photos, I stopped to oblige—and saw a second little bird perched there. A warbler, looked like.

Later, when I looked at the photos, it was easy to ID a Virginia’s Warbler. A female I believe. Never made a peep. Had I decided not to snap that pic, I would’ve missed it altogether.

Sometimes it’s the little things.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:30 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Rock Pigeon*
2. Lazuli Bunting
3. Spotted Towhee
4. Black-chinned Hummingbird
6. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
7. Mourning Dove*
8. Red-tailed Hawk (v)
9. Pine Siskin (v)
10. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
11. Black-capped Chickadee
12. Turkey Vulture
13. Cooper’s Hawk
14. Warbling Vireo (v)
15. Western Tanager (v)
16. Black-throated Gray Warbler
17. Chipping Sparrow (v)
18. Virginia’s Warbler
19. Cliff Swallow
20. California Quail* (v)


21. Eurasian Collared Dove
22. Barn Swallow
23. European Starling
24. Black-billed Magpie
25. Downy Woodpecker
26. American Robin


Mountain Cottontail

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

Cool Morning

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020
Lazuli Buntings (mama and juvie), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 15 July 2020.
Lazuli Buntings (mama and juvie).

A cool morning, a cloudless sky, a man and his dog headed up the trail again. The day began with the cries of a juvie Red-tailed Hawk and ended with the glide of a Turkey Vulture as we descended from a height.

In the interim, we encountered a load of birds—mostly (it seemed) fledgling Lazuli Buntings (a lot fewer singers than yesterday). but also a massive flock of Rock Pigeons, a flitting Black-throated Gray Warbler, and miscellaneous other usual suspects.

Our hike did include a spontaneous climb up to the cairn overlook—which left us both a little tuckered out, what with our advanced ages and all.

But seems we lived (truly lived) to see another day.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:30 a.m., I hiked about 1,000 feet up a mountain.

1. Red-tailed Hawk
2. Rock Pigeon*
3. House Finch**
4. American Robin*
5. Black-headed Grosbeak
6. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
7. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
8. Black-chinned Hummingbird
9. Lazuli Bunting
10. Spotted Towhee
11. Black-billed Magpie* (v)
12. Mourning Dove*
13. Pine Siskin (v)
14. Black-capped Chickadee
15. Black-throated Gray warbler
16. Warbling Vireo
17. Turkey Vulture


18. Eurasian Collared Dove
19. House Sparrow
20. California Quail


Rock Squirrel

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere


Saturday, July 11th, 2020
Juvie (left) and adult Red-tailed Hawks, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 11 July 2020.
Juvie (left) and adult Red-tailed Hawks.

Few sounds in nature thrill me like the scream of a Red-tailed Hawk. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t heard it often (not counting in movies or on TV, where the sound is commonly—hilariously—used to represent vultures or eagles). Or maybe because it’s so unique, unmistakable, and ethereal: it’s not very loud, but it carries.

Since moving to Utah nearly a year ago, I’ve heard the cries of a redtails in the mountains three or four times—possibly as many times as I did in my two score years in Maine. [Aside: the Red-tailed Hawk is arguably the commonest hawk in North America.] Today, I got that thrill five or six times in a matter of a few minutes.

Over the past few days, I’ve spotted a young redtail down near the trailhead, hanging out on utility poles. It’s been quite vocal, but its voice is that of a young bird: a fast series of high-pitched squeals—nothing at all like the ethereal voice of an adult.

Today I saw juvie and adult together atop a pole. The former just sat there, squealing occasionally; the latter repeatedly released its inimitable cry.

“Flyyy!” it seemed to say. “Flyyy!”

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:15 a.m., I hiked some 1,200 feet up a mountain.

1. Black-headed Grosbeak
2. Mourning Dove
3. Lazuli Bunting
4. Black-capped Chickadee (v)
5. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay (v)
6. Black-chinned Hummingbird
7. House Finch**
8. Spotted Towhee
9. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
10. American Robin*
11. Red-tailed Hawk
12. Rock Pigeon*
13. Black-billed Magpie*
14. Broad-tailed Hummingbird*
15. Warbling Vireo
16. Golden Eagle
17. Turkey Vulture
18. Northern Flicker (v)
19. Song Sparrow (v)


20. Eurasian Collared Dove
21. California Quail


Rock 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

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