A Travellerspoint blog

Idaho Day 11: Hike down Baldy!

Ketchum, ID

semi-overcast 70 °F


Today, our last day in Idaho, Tian, mom, and I took the gondola up Mt. Baldy and hiked down! Tian was overjoyed as this was her first time on a gondola since years ago in Switzerland! We really lucked out as the smoke cleared today, allowing for great photo ops in front of three mountain ranges: the Smokies, the Boulders, and the Pioneers (with the Boise, Sawtooth, & White Cloud Peaks barely hazily visible in the distance).

MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS abounded near the summit:

This WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH was a surprise up here at such a high elevation — they are relatively uncommon in the valley:

The three of us were absolutely stunned when a family of four DUSKY GROUSE strutted out across the trail right in front of us, clucking all the way. Incredible to get such a close look at this shy species!!

A quarter of the way down for me, I parted ways with the girls who took the lower gondola back down to the base while I hiked and birded the rest of the way. I was afforded with incredible views of a male TOWNSEND’S WARBLER, an expected treat on my annual hikes down Baldy:

As well as a WILSON’S:

CLARK’S NUTCRACKER, very common throughout the hike:



Also surprisingly common throughout were OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS which were super fun to see as they are a declining species:

I even found a recently-fledged young of this species which was actively begging from its parents:



Mule Deer:


NASHVILLE WARBLER was really nice to see:

As was my year-bird DUSKY FLYCATCHER:

It was a great final hike to yet another absolutely fun-filled trip to Idaho. This was my eleventh August spent in Sun Valley (my parents play in the Summer Symphony out here) and my ninth summer here as a birder. Feel free to browse my previous Idaho trips which can be found easily by clicking on my August 2014-2019 posts here. It sure has been a fun few years and I am looking forward to many more. Of course I can’t end this post without thanking my wonderful friends Kathleen C, Poo W-P, Nubs F, Brian S, and Larry B for helping me find some great wildlife this year and for being just all-around incredible friends. I am lucky to have you all in my life.

Bird-of-the-day goes to the Dusky Grouse family with runners-up to the Townsend’s Warblers and the Dusky Flycatcher which I was beginning to worry about missing this year. Bird-of-the-trip goes to the Burrowing Owl family found with Kathleen, Poo, and Nubs, with runner-up to the Blue Grosbeak family found with Kathleen and Poo. I attached my Idaho 2021 list of birds below, with two asterisks next to Idaho lifers (never seen in the state before this year). I am pretty proud of 140 species and 9 Idaho lifers (including Wood Duck believe it or not!) in just 12 days, considering I didn’t have a car at my disposal!

Now I am back to Chicago until Sept 1 when I will fly to NYC to resume my undergrad studies at the Manhattan School of Music with my junior year! Before that though, I am leading five bird walks here in the Chicago area so stay tuned.

Good birding,
World Life List: 1125 Species

1. Canada Goose
2. Wood Duck**
3. Blue-winged Teal
4. Cinnamon Teal
5. American Wigeon
6. Mallard
7. Green-winged Teal
8. Redhead
9. Ruddy Duck
10. Dusky Grouse
11. Pied-billed Grebe
12. Western Grebe
13. Feral Pigeon
14. Eurasian Collared-Dove
15. Mourning Dove
16. Common Nighthawk
17. White-throated Swift
18. Black-chinned Hummingbird
19. Calliope Hummingbird
20. Rufous Hummingbird
21. Virginia Rail
22. American Coot
23. Sandhill Crane
24. Killdeer
25. Baird’s Sandpiper
26. Pectoral Sandpiper**
27. Western Sandpiper
28. Wilson’s Snipe
29. Spotted Sandpiper
30. Wilson’s Phalarope
31. Ring-billed Gull
32. California Gull
33. Caspian Tern
34. Common Tern**
35. Forster’s Tern**
36. Double-crested Cormorant
37. American White Pelican
38. Great Blue Heron
39. Snowy Egret**
40. White-faced Ibis
41. Turkey Vulture
42. Osprey
43. Golden Eagle
44. Northern Harrier
45. Cooper’s Hawk
46. Northern Goshawk
47. Bald Eagle
48. Swainson’s Hawk
49. Red-tailed Hawk
50. Ferruginous Hawk
51. Burrowing Owl**
52. Belted Kingfisher
53. Lewis’ Woodpecker
54. Red-naped Sapsucker
55. Downy Woodpecker
56. Hairy Woodpecker
57. Northern Flicker
58. American Kestrel
59. Prairie Falcon
60. Western Kingbird
61. Eastern Kingbird
62. Olive-sided Flycatcher
63. Western Wood-Pewee
64. Willow Flycatcher
65. Hammond’s Flycatcher
66. Gray Flycatcher
67. Dusky Flycatcher
68. Loggerhead Shrike
69. Cassin’s Vireo
70. Warbling Vireo
71. Gray Jay
72. Steller’s Jay
73. Clark’s Nutcracker
74. Black-billed Magpie
75. American Crow
76. Common Raven
77. Horned Lark
78. Bank Swallow
79. Tree Swallow
80. Violet-green Swallow
81. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
82. Barn Swallow
83. Cliff Swallow
84. Black-capped Chickadee
85. Mountain Chickadee
86. Bushtit
87. Red-breasted Nuthatch
88. White-breasted Nuthatch
89. Brown Creeper
90. Rock Wren
91. Canyon Wren
92. House Wren
93. Marsh Wren
94. Bewick’s Wren**
95. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
96. American Dipper
97. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
98. Mountain Bluebird
99. Swainson’s Thrush
100. Hermit Thrush
101. American Robin
102. Gray Catbird
103. Sage Thrasher
104. European Starling
105. Cedar Waxwing
106. House Sparrow
107. Evening Grosbeak**
108. House Finch
109. Cassin’s Finch
110. Red Crossbill
111. Pine Siskin
112. Lesser Goldfinch
113. American Goldfinch
114. Yellow-breasted Chat
115. Yellow-headed Blackbird
116. Western Meadowlark
117. Bullock’s Oriole
118. Red-winged Blackbird
119. Brown-headed Cowbird
120. Brewer’s Blackbird
121. Nashville Warbler
122. MacGillivray’s Warbler
123. Common Yellowthroat
124. Yellow Warbler
125. Yellow-rumped Warbler
126. Townsend’s Warbler
127. Wilson’s Warbler
128. Western Tanager
129. Black-headed Grosbeak
130. Blue Grosbeak**
131. Lazuli Bunting
132. Lark Sparrow
133. Chipping Sparrow
134. Brewer’s Sparrow
135. Dark-eyed Junco
136. White-crowned Sparrow
137. Vesper Sparrow
138. Song Sparrow
139. Green-tailed Towhee
140. Spotted Towhee

Posted by skwclar 01:20 Archived in USA

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