A Travellerspoint blog

Twitch: Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Part 2!

Amherst Co, VA

sunny 43 °F

Well, after five days of continuous, infuriating Rosy-Finch reports from Mt. Pleasant, I had to find a way to get back up there to find this lifer. Luckily, this morning the young artists were free so I was able to take the car that the girls were renting up to the trailhead. This turned out, of course, to be a much more cost-effective and flexible plan than my crazy uber expedition the other day.

I really wanted to find this finch as it breeds in Alaska and the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevadas and the Idaho/Montana Rockies and usually stays generally west of the Continental Divide. This is the first-ever Virginia record of this species and is a nemesis bird for me as I have tried to find these in alpine areas of Idaho for over six summers now.

Here are views of the mountain from halfway down the trail — you can see it is quite the elevation gain:

The trail was beautiful but basically devoid of birds during this chilly wintry morning, apart from a small flock of DARK-EYED JUNCOS on top of a ridgeline:

As I neared the summit, about an inch of snow covered the ground:

A large foraging flock of a dozen+ EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were around the summit which was hopefully a good sign for finding the Rosy-Finch.

Then, it took us birders about fifteen seconds to process that a weird whistle we were hearing was coming from a human, and not just any human, but most likely a birder signaling us that he’d found the finch!

And found the finch he did! At first, my lifer GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH was tucked deep in a mountain ash tree foraging berries:

Luckily, it came to the outer edges of the tree within a minute of observation, allowing for STUNNING views showcasing why it is called a Rosy-Finch. Wow!!! What an impressive, long-awaited life bird.

Mob of birders on top of Mt. Pleasant photographing the Rosy-Finch:

What an incredible life bird, and my absolute bird-of-the-day: Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch. Runners-up to the Eastern Bluebirds. WOW!

Happy birding,
World Life List: 1187 Species (1 life bird today: Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch)

Posted by skwclar 22:26 Archived in USA

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