A Travellerspoint blog

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!

The view from the summit of Mt. Balde was incredible and panoramic. These are the Boulder Mountains:

And these are the Pioneer Mountains, the third-highest range in Idaho:

We even spotted the pool of the condo at which we stay, from 4,000 feet above it!

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:

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:

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:


OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, nicely perched in front of the mountains:

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:



WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKER, another uncommon high-elevation woodpecker species!

Toward the end of the hike, this Mule Deer stuck its head between two trees for a cute photo:

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!

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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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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