Saw hawks and a wren this unseasonably nippy, overcast, windy morning. The wren was hopping about in the rocks around the old abandoned Monarch Quarry, the hawks were sailing in the wind. A red-tail, in fact, looked to be hunting for rabbits at the quarry. (Saw a cottontail, early, but before the hawk showed up.)
At home, the robins are still constructing a nest—possibly in the ivy around the chimney.
Gonna snow tonight.
Grandeur Peak Area List At 8:02 a.m., sun time, I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
1. American Robin* 2. House Finch** 3. Rock Pigeon* 4. Spotted Towhee 5. Pine Siskin (v) 6. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay 7. Northern Flicker (v) 8. Black-capped Chickadee 9. Song Sparrow* (v) 10. Black-billed Magpie* 11. Turkey Vulture 12. Cooper’s Hawk 13. Red-tailed Hawk
14. House Sparrow (v) 15. Lesser Goldfinch (v) 16. California Quail
Mountain Cottontail Mule Deer
(v) Voice only *Also elsewhere **Voice only elsewhere
Cold to start, but also cloudless and windless, and the sun beat down and warmed this patch of the planet, and by the time dog and I had finished our two-hour hike on the deer trails, we both had a spring in our step. (Or an almost-spring: only nine days away!)
Up on the deer trails, lots birds about for a change. Most fun was the sudden appearance of a pair of vocal ravens, croaking and wheeling and circling above us. Couldn’t tell if this was the resident mating pair, or perhaps territorial rival males. (The behavior seemed different from the former.) Tree branches in the way or I’d have gotten a decent photo.
We’ll hike again tomorrow, when the forecast calls for warmer temps. Will still be snow about, though.
Grandeur Peak Area List At 9:02 MST, I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
1. Spotted Towhee (v) 2. Dark-eyed Junco** 3. House Finch* 4. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay 5. American Robin** (v) 6. Rock Pigeon* 7. Northern Flicker (v) 8. Pine Siskin 9. Black-capped Chickadee 10. Black-billed Magpie 11. Common Raven
12. Lesser Goldfinch 13. Song Sparrow (v) 14. House Sparrow (v) 15. Eurasian Collared-dove (v)
(v) Voice only *Also Elsewhere **Voice only Elsewhere
Today I heard my first Golden Eagle vocalization. Dog and I were hiking along our usual deer trail (on this unexpectedly showers-free-yet-mostly-overcast morning) when I heard it. A series of loud, declarative, high, clear notes. Didn’t recognize the sound at all, but it had me looking up in the direction of the ridge—where the eagle appeared, circling.
I’d heard voices of Bald Eagles—which are kind of thin and twittery for such a stately bird—but never a golden. When the eagle swooped down to a rocky outcrop and sat for a good long while without calling, and I began to wonder if I’d heard another bird. But back home, I confirmed the ID.
Right after the eagle, I spied a kestrel in flight. Also saw a cottontail and a Rock Squirrel.
A good hike on the day before the snow.
Grandeur Peak Area List At 08:44 MST, I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.
1. Pine Siskin 2. American Robin* 3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay** 4. House Finch** 5. Dark-eyed Junco 6. Rock Pigeon 7. Black-capped Chickadee (v) 8. Spotted Towhee (v) 9. Black-billed Magpie (v) 10. Northern Flicker (v) 11. Song Sparrow (v) 12. Golden Eagle 13. American Kestrel
14. House Sparrow (v) 15. European Starling 16. Mourning Dove (v)
Mountain Cottontail Mule Deer Rock Squirrel
(v) Voice only * Also Elsewhere **Voice only Elsewhere †First-of-year