Species Parade, Week Nine

Moving 300 miles southwest and up 1,600 feet in elevation from my previous stomping grounds means a whole new environment and a whole new parade of species to celebrate.

IMG_2072There are still juncos and deer. In town, there are still mostly white folks. But things are much different. People and the animals act differently here. Among the humans, there’s not a lot of road rage and Type A behavior, thankfully.

On the wildlife level, I’ve particularly noticed the effect of No Hunting rules in my neighborhood. Never in my life have I seen coyote poop, play, yawn. But, thanks (I imagine) to this neighborhood policy, the animals aren’t as stressed as I’ve seen them everywhere else. It also allows for more intimate viewing and reminds me that we’re in their space, not the other way around (as so often happens when animals struggle to adjust to habitat encroachment. Darn us humans!)

To note: This week, I include animals I may not have spotted face to face, but have either heard or seen fresh signs (scat, fresh pawprints, calls in the night).

I did see with my very own eyes (and up close) a bobcat and a golden eagle. The cat was small and the bird was huge. They seemed about the same size.

Mammals:

Coyote

Black Bear

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

Elk

Mule Deer

Racoon

Cottontail Rabbit

Grey Squirrel

Brush Mouse

Mole

Prairie Dog

Chipmunk

Bobcat

Beaver

Birds:

Canada Goose

Mallard Duck

Townsend’s Solitaire

IMG_1643Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

Clark’s Nutcracker

Tufted Titmouse

Black Capped Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Bear print

Bear print

Dark-Eyed Junco

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Mountain Bluebird

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Western Screech Owl

Great Horned Owl

Dusky Grouse

Golden Eagle

 

 

Species Parade, Week Seven

Back in the day, bird identification came with a gun, not a pair of binoculars. Of course, the explorers and scientists didn’t have

Townsend Warbler

Townsend Warbler

a Peterson Guide on their desk. They quantified and qualified what would later make it into the Peterson Guide. Nearly two centuries ago, naturalist John K. Townsend was just out of graduate school and headed west on an expedition from Missouri. He found birds alright: “I think I never before saw so great a variety of birds. All were beautiful…and my game bag was teeming with its precious freight.”

Forty five species this week, highlighted by a Townsend Solitaire and Townsend Warbler.

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Mammals:

Black Tailed Jackrabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

Mule Deer

Coyote

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Rock Squirrel

Brush Mouse

Skunk

Birds:

California Gull

White American Pelican

Grackle

Townsend’s Solitaire

Townsend’s Warbler

Yellow Warbler

House finch

Red Shafted Flicker

Tufted Titmouse

Black Capped Chickadee

IMG_0960Mountain Chickadee

Bushtit

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Western Kingbird

Mountain Bluebird

Meadowlark

Rufous-sided Towhee

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Chipping sparrow

Song sparrow

Black Headed Grosbeak

American Kestrel

IMG_0980Turkey Vulture

Prairie Falcon

Red-Tailed Hawk

Killdeer

Starling

American Robin

Common Poor Will

Common Nighthawk

Alder Flycatcher (perhaps. See at right.)

 

Species Parade, Week Six

What can I say? I can be attracted to flash. So, it was quite fun to see the Western Tanager checking out the neighborhood as it did this time last summer. All bright orange and yellow, contrasted with black.

But I also love the dull-colored birds, like the Townsend’s Solitaire. Are they so named because they live seemingly solitary lives? Or, is it for the lone, plaintive song note?10303759_1534626430098002_9048411538769046290_n

Forty one species this week, highlighted be a Western Tanager and the successful ID of a Prairie Falcon (finally and we hope!). There was also a few first-ever sightings of a high elevation mountain birds, like the Say’s Phoebe and the Western Wood Pewee. Love them birds.

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Mammals:

Black Tailed Jackrabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

Mule Deer

Coyote

Rock Squirrel

Brush Mouse

Birds:

Townsend's Solitaire

Townsend’s Solitaire

Western Tanager

Say’s Phoebe

Western Wood Pewee

Grackle

Townsend’s Solitaire

House finch

Red Shafted Flicker

Tufted Titmouse

Black Capped Chickadee

Bushtit

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Prairie Falcon

Prairie Falcon

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Western Kingbird

Lesser Goldfinch

Mountain Bluebird

Meadowlark

Rufous-sided Towhee

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Chipping sparrow

Black Headed Grosbeak

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Prairie Falcon

Red-Tailed Hawk

Killdeer

Starling

American Robin

Common Poor Will

Common Nighthawk

 

Species Parade, Week Five

Babies have left the nest. You can hear and watch them still begging their parents for food, beaks open, wings shivering. They can be clumsy flyers, sometimes struggling to land right on branches. The ravens, in my observation, are the loudest and klutziest of newbies. Raven siblings hang out together all summer and beyond.

Thirty-nine species this week, highlighted be a Lazuli Bunting and by flushing and getting a good luck at a nighthawk.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 11.49.56 AMFollow our weekly updates to appreciate the outstanding opportunities for wildlife spotting ‘round these parts! Sign up for our newsletter.

Mammals:

Black Tailed Jackrabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

Mule Deer

Coyote

Rock Squirrel

Brush Mouse

Birds:

House finch

Tufted Titmouse

NIghthawk

NIghthawk

Black Capped Chickadee

Bushtit

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco

Nighthawk in flight

Nighthawk in flight

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Western Kingbird

Lesser Goldfinch

Mountain Bluebird

Meadowlark

Rufous-sided Towhee

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Chipping sparrow

Black Headed Grosbeak

Lazuli Bunting

House wren

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Great Horned Owl

Ferruginous Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

Killdeer

Starling

American Robin

Cooper’s Hawk

Common Poor Will

Common Nighthawk

 

Species Parade, Week Four

In my twenties, I worked for two summers as a field researcher in Michigan and North Carolina. My job was studying Indigo Buntings, finding their nests, catching and banding the adults, as well as the young.

aaBuntings like to nest in secondary growth – tall grass, brambles, prickly shrubs. Their nests are hard to find if you’re just using your eyes.

But if you use your ears and knowledge of bird behavior, the job becomes much easier. Birds get upset when you’re near their nests. Depending on the species, they made chirp wildly, flit about, or get downright aggressive (Gulls will dive bomb and poop on you).

Paying attention to bird behavior is how I stumbled upon this fantastic Cooper’s hawk and her nest full of babies. I noticed her because of the cacophony of smaller birds, upset by her presence. She was perched above the trail, examining me, and did not take flight as raptors usually do. That was the tip off.

I looked around. Deep in the scrub oak, twenty feet off the ground, sat her nest. A nestling looked back at me, then another.

I was reminded again that the key to winning the wilderness lottery (seeing stuff, having cool moments) means following the ‘Can’t win if you don’t play’ mantra. It’s directly proportional to the amount of time you spend out there and the attention you bring to it.

aaaForty species this week.

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Mammals:

Black Tailed Jackrabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

Mule Deer

Coyote

Rock Squirrel

Yellow bellied Marmot

Birds:

House finch

aTufted Titmouse

Black Capped Chickadee

Goldfinch

Bushtit

Red-Tailed Hawk

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco

aaaaRinged Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Catbird

Red winged Blackbird

Western Kingbird

Lesser Goldfinch

Mountain Bluebird

Meadowlark

Rufous-sided Towhee

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Chipping sparrow

California Quail

House wren

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Common Poor Will

Common Nighthawk

Great Horned Owl

Killdeer

Starling

American Robin

Cooper’s Hawk

 

Species Parade, Week Three

IMG_0335

 

At night, outside my window, there’s an intermittent beepy-buzzing. It’s not one of the familiar goatsuckers (nighthawk or poor will). It’ll keep me guessing, I’m guessing.

That’s the fun of getting out and seeing (or not seeing) animals. They keep you guessing. They’re like the weather, with rhythms of predictability and unpredictablity.

Mr. Hare (black tailed jackrabbit) never showed at the water tub until this week. Now, he’s a regular.

The coyotes practically hiked with us months ago. That’s how often we encountered them. Now, we only hear them at night.

One day, you’ll see adult animals with young. The next day, there are no young. Did they take off? Did they die?

Thirty eight species this week. We could have topped forty, if we were better listeners and ID-ers.

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Mammals:

Black Tailed Jackrabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

Mule Deer

CoyoteIMG_1358

Rock Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Uinta Chipmunk

Birds:

House finch

Tufted Titmouse

Black Capped Chickadee

Goldfinch

Bushtit

Red-Tailed Hawk

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco

IMG_1002Ringed Turtle Dove

Mountain Bluebird

Meadowlark

Rufous-sided Towhee

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Chipping sparrow

California Quail

Black headed grosbeak

House wren

IMG_8365American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Common Poor Will

Common Nighthawk

Great Horned Owl

Small Eared Owl

Killdeer

Steller’s Jay

Starling

American Robin

 

Species Parade, Week One

“Wilderness. The word itself is music,” wrote Edward Abbey in Desert Solitaire.

There are songs of wind and of light and shadow. There’s a fabulous rhythm to animal movement. And, of course, there are the more literal songs of birds: buzzes, chips, whistles, screeches, caws, growls, and melodies. Birds often announce themselves more vociferously with voice than color.

We count 31 species in our first weekly tally of birds and mammals in and around UtahOutsider. We saw them, heard them, or both in our approximate area of the Oquirrh mountains, at 5,800 feet. Follow our weekly updates to appreciate the outstanding opportunities for wildlife spotting ‘round these parts!hare

Mammals:

Black Tailed Jackrabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

Mule Deer

Coyote

Rock Squirrel

Birds:

House finch

Titmouse

grosChickadee

Goldfinch

Bushtit

Red-Tailed Hawk

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco

Ringed Turtle Dove

turkMountain Bluebird

Lazuli Bunting

Meadowlark

Rufous-sided Towhee

Rufous Hummingbird

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Chipping sparrow

California Quail

Black headed grosbeak

House wren

Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Common Poor Will

Common Nighthawk

 

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