Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bird of the Month: Gray-crowned Rosy Finch

My favorite photo (above)

Logan Pass Expedition

Logan Pass (pictured above). 6,689 feet above sea level. Great spot for birds and more abundantly, people. Mostly residents from all over, including Europe and Asia, just here for a few days.

The birds though, the birding is what draws me to Logan Pass. The views and mammals are draws "normal" people to Logan Pass. On this day, both took me there. My visiting relatives and I made a trip up the boardwalk to the Hidden Lake lookout. Here are the pictures and story.
In the first 500 feet of the trail, Columbian Ground-Squirrels dominated.
They definitely know how to show-off for the visitors. The ground-squirrels are very conditioned, which isn't the best thing.
The views from the boardwalk were killer!! The snow pack is continually melting, so there was a lot of water flowing around.
My target bird, Gray-crowned Rosy Finch. This bird always gets me. It's elegant and just down right cool!
I saw about 10 or so birds, and even got some killer photos!!!
I found an adult bird feeding 4 juvenile birds! WAY COOL!!!

Please check my next post for a series of photos of the birds!!
Finally, at the Hidden Lake Lookout, I saw a few White-crowned Sparrows and Golden-mantled Ground-Squirrels

Like the Columbian Ground-Squirrels, these little guys are also trained to beg for food. Sad but cute.

Views from the boardwalk, White-tailed Ptarmigan and Gray-crowned Rosy Finch habitat.
The Rosy Finch is my 198th yearbird!! WOOHOO!

Campin' and Birdin'

Monday, after work, I meet up with my family. We were to go camping, and they already set up camp at our spot. This was a great spot too; it was full of birds! Along Hungry Horse Reservoir, the birds are great and the water is warm...perfect.

Tuesday morn, I woke up at 6:30am to the sounds of Swainson's Thrush, MacGillivray's Warbler, Red Crossbill, Townsend's and Audubon's Warbler ((formerly the Audubon's form of Yellow-rumped Warbler-they were split, again)) What a wonder way to wake up!

I walked around the campsite, and down to the lake.

The birds were great!! I got eye-level looks at a Townsend's Warbler feeding in a bush. AMAZING! Juvenile Ruby-crowned Kinglets were right in my face! Cool stuff.

Walking back, I spooked a male Pine Grosbeak. I got some good looks at him. It sure has been awhile since I got good looks at a male Pine Grosbeak.

Swainson's Thrush were everywhere out there.
Huckleberries. The second greatest joy of camping up here.

Wednesday, my dad and younger cousin went and explored. We found a nice hiking trail up high in the mountains, and started trekking!
Up there, I saw a Cordilleran Flycatcher!! yearbird number 198!
Coolest butterfly!!

I saw some good birds, and had some good times.

Check back soon for more posts about my birding in the last 2 days!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Work Benefits...

Monday the 26th I woke up bright and early. Time to do some birdin'

I took a drive down Riverside Rd in Creston to visit the "Bobolink" spot off of O'Bryan Rd. Unfortunately, its just late enough in the season that the males aren't singing very much, but I did find 2 bird!!! I love seeing BOBOs

Right near there, along the stream, there was about 40 Bank and Cliff Swallows! I found a juvenile Bank Swallow that must of gotten clipped by a car; it couldn't fly and was sitting on the road.

I moved the poor bird off the road and wished him/her a good life, not knowing how much longer he/she will live.
That is one benefit of working in Bigfork. I have to drive past great birding spots to and from work!
Now after a great day at work (Kehoe's Agate Shop) I was told that there was a lot more shorebirds at the Farm Rd pond than last time I was there. On my way home, I went by, and behold! Shorebirds!!!
There was a lot!! About 30 or so!
15 Long-billed Dowitchers (above)
3 Greater Yellowlegs
8 Lesser Yellowlegs
3 Semipalmated Sandpipers
5 Killdeer
2 Least Sandpipers
and one Spotted Sandpiper
The first 4 listed were yearbirds!! Woohoo that makes 195
I walked up closer to the pond all stealthy like a ninja and attempted to get some good Shorebird photos :)

3 Long-billed Dowitchers and a Least Sandpiper pictured.

What a great day! I really do miss birding, and I am really really really glad I am getting back into the swing of things!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

And It Has Begun, The Birds that wander the Shore

I have been hearing news of it, but I was unsure if it was true. Could it be? It seems too early for it to start, or at least for here.

I was optimistic and had to go see for myself.

Sad part is that I needed an excuse to go out birding this time. I had to go pick up something in Bigfork, and made a birding trip out of it!

Many Brewer's Blackbirds along the various back roads out here. Also, a few geese just hanging around in the fields.

Montford Road pond (above) is getting more and more .... gross, but the water level is going down. That is good for August birding adventures. On the other section of the pond not pictured above, a very odd bird was hiding and I didn't see it until it flew up. A single AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN!! What the .....? That is a weird and good find for the valley!!! WOOHOO!

First pelican of the year! 190th ABA bird for 2010

Cinnamon Teal, a large family of Ruddy Ducks, many American Coots, Marsh Wrens and a single Great Blue Heron also were making a living here on the pond.

- Red-tailed Hawks are very common in the valley.

The next pond didn't really have much new at all, but did have a good amount of Clay-colored Sparrows in the bushes!! Sweet birds! I really like Clay-coloreds.
LOWER VALLEY: On to SPLIT POND. In the past, it has been the best pond to view shorebird in August. On the 22nd of July...not so much.
There was, however, Yellow-headed Blackbirds as usual. Red-winged Blackbirds, Redheads, Common Goldeneye, Mallards, Bank and Tree Swallows were also just hangin' round.

Next was the pond along Farm Rd. FINALLY! some mudflats along the edge of the pond! 4 or 5 Killdeer, 2 actual Deer in the background and a Turkey Vulture flying around....and wait...PEEPS! (birder slang for Sandpipers) After a long study of them, far away and in the wind, I came to the conclusion I need to read up on my shorebirds. I'm a bit rusty.

Least Sandpipers, 3 of them, along with a Spotted Sandpiper! Great stuff! The Least Sandpiper is my 191st yearbird.

It was true. Still a bit early, but it has begun, the birds that wander the shore have begun to fly. Fly south on there twice-yearly journey - migration.

A Light Touch of Boreal Birds

HELLO everyone! It has been a while, but I really am getting out and seeing birds!

Visiting family from out-of-town is always fun. It's even better when you get to see birds while being with your family! My little cousin and my uncle joined my dad and sister for a half-day hike up to the ridge along Mt. Aeneas.

I love the high alpine atmosphere. Just something about it, it's just amazing. The birds there are amazing too. Just amazing.

Hermit Thrush!! First yearbird of the day! Varied and Swainson's Thrushes were also singing all over the mountain side.

After hiking up part of the trail, listening to MacGillivray's Warblers, Fox Sparrows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, the trail levels of on a overlook of the moraine that the parking lot is in. As we stood and admired the view, a flock of 20 White-winged Crossbills flew over! That was cool!

...I do love that song. Pine Grosbeak, one of my favorite songs ever. WAIT!? Pine Grosbeak! Next yearbird! Unfortunately, like the Hermit Thrush, I did not see this bird. Listening to it sing is almost as good though!

The Microwave Relay Building on the ridge. Owned and operated by Bresnan Cable, which my dad works for!

Everything seems to look stronger up here. The trees and flowers have to fight to survive up that high.

On the way down, I heard some nestlings peeping like crazy, and saw a woodpecker form fly away down the mountain. The nest was in a large burned area so I camped out right in front of the nest to see if it belonged to a species of "special interest".

While waiting for the parents to return, I was visited by 3 Olive-sided Flycatchers! I absolutely LOVE those birds! My favorite Tyrannus Flycatcher yet! Then, not too long after they left, 2 BLACK SWIFTS flew on by!!! WHOA! yearbird! I really wish I could have gotten a better look at them though. They are such amazing birds...

AH HA! The mystery woodpeckers have returned! ... Not as "exciting" as I would have hoped but Hairy Woodpeckers are still fun!

Hiking back down the trail, looking forward to a nice cold Arizona Tea, I heard an odd chickadee call. GAHH! BOREAL CHICKADEE!! Only one problem...I didn't get to see it! I really wanted to see it! Oh well, I guess I have plenty of years to see more. That was the last yearbird of the day. Bringing my ABA yearlist to 189

There was many butterflies along the way, and I managed to get some shots of 3 species. All a very similar shade of orange...odd.

I hope to get out and do more birding soon!!!