Tuesday 28 July 2015 69 °F
Today my mom and I drove the 3-hour drive from Boise, Idaho's largest city, to the small mountain town of Sun Valley famous for its winter skiing. After a buffet breakfast at the Hampton Inn & Suites, we were on the road at exactly 10:00am.
Although we didn't stop for birding during the drive, I saw quite a few birds including a flyover FERRUGINOUS HAWK, a gigantic raptor and only the second one I've ever seen! Other noteworthy birds along the way were SAY'S PHOEBE, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, COMMON NIGHTHAWK, and LEWIS' WOODPECKER.
The drive is beautiful in its own way. The scenery along the drive alternates from habitats as varied as upland sagebrush desert to pre-montane foothills.
A funny road we always pass on this drive:
Here is my bird species list for the drive to Sun Valley:
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Then, shortly before 1:00pm, we arrived at our trusty condo in the Warm Springs neighborhood of Sun Valley in which we have stayed for five years in a row now.
The view from the back deck is very pretty with a clear mountain stream called Warm Springs Creek constantly providing a babbling soundscape for the condo.
There were also a few birds around, including this uncommon CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER:
And this AMERICAN DIPPER, a characteristic bird of mountain streams ranging from west-central Canada all the way down to Panama. This bird's feathers are waterproof and are very thick to properly insulate the bird when it swims, and sometimes even dives, into the cold and sometimes even glacial-fed water where it hunts for underwater plants and critters. It also has a translucent coating under its eyelids that allows it to hunt efficiently underwater without damaging its eyesight.
This juvenile HERMIT THRUSH was a bit of a surprise:
I took a leisurely mid-afternoon birding bike ride down the nearby Warm Springs Road, which took me into the Sawtooth National Forest after a few minutes of biking.
There is one patch of sunflowers a short way into the bike ride where I always stop to take photos:
Can you spot the male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH?
The views are sublime here, and it was a beautiful day with very few scattered clouds and temperatures topping out at a seasonably chilly 69 degrees.
Juvenile LAZULI BUNTING:
Male WESTERN TANAGER:
Warm Springs Road follows and occasionally crosses Warm Springs Creek, the same brook that runs behind our condo:
Here is the bird list from my bike ride:
After shopping with my mom and practicing trumpet, we spent a quiet and relaxing evening at the condo. Stay tuned - tomorrow I plan to bird the entire morning!
World Life List: 855 Species (no life birds today)