A Travellerspoint blog

Day 6: Flycatcher Grand Slam & Other Rare Birds in Idaho

overcast 68 °F

This morning I hiked part of the way up Bald Mountain in central Idaho. The trail leads basically from the backyard of the condo in which I am staying and continues up the mountain, making it great and convenient for birding. Today it was especially productive with 49 species including a whopping 5 species of flycatchers, known as a "grand slam" in the birding world.

Despite the great birds around, the weather was less than ideal throughout the day with consistently cloudy skies, patchy fog, off and on rain showers, and the temperature only made it up to 68 degrees. Wacky mountain weather, I suppose...

Here are some photos from the hike:

My first sighting was not of a bird, but of a male Mule Deer:

Then, I found this beautiful HERMIT THRUSH:

And this strangely-plumaged RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER, which would turn out to be the first of five woodpecker species seen today:

This SHARP-SHINNED HAWK was also a nice sighting; I had never managed to photograph one before, even though this picture is bad:

Then, I saw this DARK-EYED JUNCO. This is a "Pink-sided" subspecies and I find these birds to be very colorful compared to the "Slate Colored" subspecies that occurs back in Illinois during the winter (which is a much duller black and white bird). Funny that birds that look radically different from each other can be part of the same species; some ornithologists believe that the junco subspecies should be split up, but the common knowledge is that, apart from the Yellow-eyed Junco which occurs in Arizona, the junco is just one species.

The first of the flycatcher photos of the day; this is a CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER, which was a life bird for me just a few days ago:

Bad photo of a WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, the second flycatcher species of the day:

Suddenly, I heard a loud, piercing "Quick! Three beers!" song erupt from the treetops, and sure enough, like this flycatcher is famous for doing, my beautiful FOY OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was perched at the tippy-top of a dead tree. This species is listed as federally threatened so it was a pleasure to see it; the only other time I've found one was about one year ago, actually on the same trail on which I found this one today.

Olive-sided Flycatcher acrobatics:

Then, I located my LIFE BIRD DUSKY FLYCATCHER, a subtly beautiful bird species that is uncommon throughout the coniferous forests of the western USA:

My fifth flycatcher of the day, the HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER, was uncooperative and therefore I wasn't able to photograph that one today. Other great birds that I saw but didn't photograph were WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKER, BLACK-BACKED & LEWIS' WOODPECKERS, CLARK'S NUTCRACKER, CASSIN'S VIREO, ORANGE-CROWNED & MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLERS, & CASSIN'S FINCH.

It was a fantastic morning of birding. Bird-of-the-day to my lifer and extremely photogenic DUSKY FLYCATCHERS and runner-up to the almost-as-photogenic federally threatened OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS, which was a first of the year sighting for me.

Stay tuned and good birding,

World Life List: 684 Species (1 life bird today: Dusky Flycatcher)

49 species today:

Canada Goose 20
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 5
Rufous Hummingbird 1
Lewis's Woodpecker 15 At roost site
Williamson's Sapsucker 1
Red-naped Sapsucker 1
Black-backed Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher 2
Western Wood-Pewee 1
Hammond's Flycatcher 5
Dusky Flycatcher 10
Cordilleran Flycatcher 5
Cassin's Vireo 2
Warbling Vireo 2
Steller's Jay 1
Black-billed Magpie 1
Clark's Nutcracker 1
American Crow 1
Common Raven 2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1
Tree Swallow 2
Violet-green Swallow 17
Cliff Swallow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 10
Mountain Chickadee 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch 6
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Brown Creeper 3
House Wren 7
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Swainson's Thrush 1
Hermit Thrush 4
American Robin 20
European Starling 4
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
MacGillivray's Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Chipping Sparrow 20
Dark-eyed Junco 7
Western Tanager 4
Brewer's Blackbird 5
House Finch 1
Cassin's Finch 1
Pine Siskin 10
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow X

Posted by skwclar 19:17 Archived in USA

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comment with:

Comments left using a name and email address are moderated by the blog owner before showing.

Not published. Required
Leave this field empty

Characters remaining: