A Travellerspoint blog

Idaho Day 3: Warm Springs Road

Sawtooth National Forest, ID

sunny 69 °F

Last night, I was out late with friends so I decided to have a birding afternoon today instead of a birding morning. I walked out Warm Springs Road through a number of habitats including riparian forest & wetland habitat.

Female AMERICAN GOLDFINCH — there were many of these throughout the afternoon.
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DARK-EYED JUNCO:
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Female DARK-EYED JUNCO:
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Male YELLOW WARBLER:
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SONG SPARROW:
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I was surprised when I heard the “meow” not of a cat — but of a GRAY CATBIRD — a nice find since here I am on the edge of this bird’s range.
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CHIPPING SPARROW:
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PINE SISKIN:
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CEDAR WAXWING:
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Female MALLARD:
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WILLOW FLYCATCHER:
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The highlight of the afternoon for me was finding a big ol’ American Beaver and her pups. SO cute!
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Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel:
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WARBLING VIREO:
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Male LAZULI BUNTING:
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Another blue bird, this STELLER’S JAY, was my favorite species found this afternoon. It is my favorite western corvid species, so it will therefore be my bird-of-the-day.
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Tomorrow, I think I will hike up Bald Mountain in the morning again. Stay tuned!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 971 Species

Posted by skwclar 17:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Idaho Day 2: Bald Mountain

Ketchum, ID

sunny 78 °F

Today, my sister and I hiked a little ways up the Warm Springs Trail on the north face of Bald Mountain. It is a short walk away from our condo and always has quality birds, and they did not disappoint today.

Swallows were flying around at the base of the trail, including this more uncommon CLIFF SWALLOW which was the first of which I got a proper view:
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VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS, a western specialty, are definitely more common around here:
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A few PINE SISKINS made brief flyover appearances:
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CEDAR WAXWINGS:
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RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES like this one made a few appearances throughout the morning:
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Female AMERICAN GOLDFINCH:
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YELLOW WARBLER:
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A mixed flock on the side of the mountain contained a number of BROWN CREEPERS, a bird notoriously hard to photograph.
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I was hoping to see some Mountain Chickadees — at first I only found their BLACK-CAPPED cousins:
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But then one MOUNTAIN did make an appearance with its different facial pattern and huskier call:
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The YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS out here are the Audubon’s subspecies which has a yellow throat. The ones back out east have white throats.
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And the real gem of the mixed flock was this gorgeous and less-common male TOWNSEND’S WARBLER, a bird I usually see just about once a year, and almost always on Bald Mountain! I wonder if they nest up there?
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Other wildlife abounds along the trail as well.
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WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE:
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What kind of berry are these?
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Female LAZULI BUNTING:
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Bird-of-the-day to the Townsend’s Warbler with runner-up to the Cliff Swallow. A great birding hike, and a welcome reintroduction to the western passerines for me!

Happy birding,
Henry
World Life List: 971 Species

Posted by skwclar 12:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Idaho Day 1: The Search for the Sage Grouse

Hailey, ID

all seasons in one day 72 °F

Yesterday I flew from Erie, Pennsylvania to Sun Valley, Idaho to join my family out here for two weeks for our annual two-week trip! Sun Valley, Idaho is my happy place so it is wonderful to finally be here.

Here is the view landing into Salt Lake City on the second leg of the journey:
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Then, once I arrived in Sun Valley I already had my first birding stop planned out. I had researched a location between the airport and our condo where Greater Sage-Grouse, a possible life bird for me, have been seen recently.

Driving down Nez Perce Circle, I kept my eyes peeled for the Sage Grouse while we found this BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE:
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Male HOUSE FINCH:
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Female LAZULI BUNTING. So nice to be back with the western birds!
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Male AMERICAN KESTREL:
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More to come! Bird-of-the-day to the Lazuli Bunting. Unfortunately, no Sage Grouse were found.

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 971 Species

Posted by skwclar 12:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Presque Isle

Erie, PA

all seasons in one day 74 °F

Today, I went birding for the first time in a great while at Presque Isle State Park in Erie Pennsylvania with my “Chautauqua connection” for the summer, Mary.

I was hoping to find some shorebirds, many of which have been reported here recently.

GRAY CATBIRDS proliferated through the day:
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Male YELLOW WARBLER, one of many which I heard today but only a few of which that I saw:
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EASTERN KINGBIRD:
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PURPLE MARTINS:
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HERRING GULL presiding over a bunch of RING-BILLED GULLS:
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Unfortunately, the SPOTTED SANDPIPER ended up being the only shorebird for the day, probably due to crowds on the beaches.
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EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE:
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And my bird-of-the-day will be this WILD TURKEY that I briefly saw in the distance before disappearing into the weeds.
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Runner-up to a PINE WARBLER that was heard but not seen, and an OSPREY which was seen but not photographed.

Friday I fly out to Sun Valley, Idaho where I will stay with my family till August 23, and I have MANY great birding trips planned for then! It will be a bittersweet farewell to Chautauqua, but I’m happy to go on to the next adventure and to see my family again!

Happy birding,
Henry
World Life List: 971 Species

Posted by skwclar 16:23 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Sailing Day!

Chautauqua, NY

semi-overcast 78 °F

Today was my first completely-free day here since I arrived, and I took advantage of it by going sailing with a local sailor & airplane pilot, Mr. Wolfe! Two of my friends, Shan & Mathieu joined me and we had an absolute blast learning the basics of sailing. I did not bring my camera in fear of getting it wet, so iphone photos will once again have to suffice for the day. It was a beautiful day to be sailing:
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Right by the boat launch, there is a huge structure built for PURPLE MARTINS. Every cavity seemed to have an active nest!
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RING-BILLED GULLS such as these are a common sight here at Lake Chautauqua. While sailing further out onto the lake, I also spotted a few of their relatives, CASPIAN TERNS, flying about and hunting around.
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And before we went for a brief swim & ice cream stop, we stopped to play with this joyful 5-year old Golden Retriever.
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Bird-of-the-day to the Purple Martins with runner-up to the Caspian Terns. Not a whole lot to choose from bird-wise, but it was still a wonderful day out with friends!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 971 Species

Posted by skwclar 15:13 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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