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Hike down Mt. Baldy

72 °F

Today (Tuesday, August 9), my dad and I rode the ski lift up and then hiked all the way down Mt. Baldy in Sun Valley, Idaho. It was a beautiful partly-sunny day with temperatures ranging from 47-72 degrees.

The ride up the ski lift offered some breathtaking views of the mountainous scenery around, and we even spotted some paragliders flying right above us!
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The view from the summit of Mt. Balde was incredible and panoramic. These are the Boulder Mountains:
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And these are the Pioneer Mountains, the third-highest range in Idaho:
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We even spotted the pool of the condo at which we stay, from 4,000 feet above it!
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Then, we hiked the numerous trails on Mt. Baldy all the way down the 4,000 feet to the condo. It was killer on our knees; however, beautiful scenery and a fantastic array of birds distracted us sufficiently. I had a few target birds including Black-backed Woodpecker, Dusky Grouse, Rock Wren, & Northern Pygmy-Owl.

This is a juvenile MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, aptly named:
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BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER! One of my target birds for this hike, I have only seen this bird twice before (both times also on Mt. Baldy) and the views were even more horrible than this:
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In the tree next to the Black-backed was an equally-uncommon pair of AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKERS, which also happen to be the Black-backed's closest relative. Here is the male Three-toed:
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RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH:
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OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, nicely perched in front of the mountains:
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A big surprise was seeing three TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS in a row! Sun Valley is on the far eastern edge of their regular range so it was a treat to see three of these beauties! Just like any warbler, they wouldn't stop moving, so I only obtained this one poor photo:
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Female WESTERN TANAGER:
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CLARK'S NUTCRACKER:
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WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKER, another uncommon high-elevation woodpecker species!
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Toward the end of the hike, this Mule Deer stuck its head between two trees for a cute photo:
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It was a great hike! Thanks to my dad for hiking and birding with me. Bird-of-the-day goes to the Black-backed Woodpecker with runners-up to the American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Townsend's Warblers, & Williamson's Sapsuckers. The complete eBird species list for the hike is attached below.

Stay tuned and good birding!

Henry
World Life List: 923 Species (no recent life birds)

28 species (+2 other taxa)

Turkey Vulture 1 Flyover Traverse Trail
Red-tailed Hawk 1 Flyover Warm Springs Trail
hummingbird sp. 1 Probably Calliope, flew by very fast
Williamson's Sapsucker 1 Warm Springs Trail
Hairy Woodpecker 2 Bald Mountain Trail
American Three-toed Woodpecker 2 Bald Mountain Trail, maybe a mile from the summit
Black-backed Woodpecker 1 With the above American Three-toed Woodpeckers
Northern Flicker 1
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1 Bald Mountain Trail
Hammond's Flycatcher 2 Bald Mountain & Warm Springs Trails
Cassin's Vireo 1 Bald Mountain Trail
Steller's Jay 1 Heard-only Warm Springs Trail
Clark's Nutcracker 3 Bald Mountain & Warm Springs Trails
Violet-green Swallow 5 Flying all over the place, very conservative estimate
Mountain Chickadee 25 All 3 trails, quite common
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 Bald Mountain Trail
Brown Creeper 1 Bald Mountain Trail
Rock Wren 3 Bald Mountain & Warm Springs Trails
wren sp. 2 A pair, either House or Rock
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2 Bald Mountain Trail
Mountain Bluebird 5 Summit of Mt. Balde
Townsend's Solitaire 1 Flyover, Warm Springs Trail
Yellow Warbler 1 Base of Warm Springs Trail
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2 Bald Mountain Trail & base of Warm Springs Trail
Townsend's Warbler 3 Bald Mountain Trail, photos obtained. Nice close looks at all three.
Chipping Sparrow 6 All 3 trails
Dark-eyed Junco 25 Very common everywhere
Western Tanager 2
Cassin's Finch 2
Pine Siskin 20 Very common everywhere

Posted by skwclar 14:26 Archived in USA Tagged idaho western_tanager mt_baldy sun_valley mountain_bluebird black_backed_woodpecker american_three_toed_woodpecker red_breasted_nuthatch olive_sided_flycatcher townsends_warbler clarks_nutcracker williamsons_sapsucker mule_deer

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Comments

Wow Henry,
3 fabulous woodpeckers that we don't see down here on the valley floor! You might have to take Kathleen and I up there to see them, I think she still needs a lifer black-backed!

by Poo

Great photos, as usual! I hope you publish a book soon!

by Liz Cifani

It sounds like you've been having a great trip! Those are some awesome birds, especially for midsummer. I love how you can see the mountains behind that Olive-sided Flycatcher, too.

by Jonathan B

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