Wednesday, July 02, 2008

American Birding Association: Saturday

During the American Birding Association's convention in Utah, the Mirror Lake field trip on Saturday began with a stop at the Bald Mountain trailhead at 10,759 feet. The target bird for this snowy destination: Black Rosy-Finch. With intense scrutiny of this landscape...


the group eventually spied the small black specks against the white or blue backgrounds. The rosy-finches appeared along the top of the snow, mostly to the left side of the above photo. At one point, I saw four finches fluttering about at the same time.

Other finds at this stop included Townsend's Solitaire, a singing White-crowned Sparrow, Mountain Chickadees, Cassin's Finch, American Robins, gray-headed Dark-eyed Junco and mountain goats. Yes, mountain goats!

The goats' appearance along the top of the snowy ridge elicited gasps and squeals of delight. Seven goats eventually ambled across the snow, with the two kids scampering about and providing quite a show.

Moving to a lower altitude, we stopped at Trial Lake campground and received greetings from a singing Ruby-crowned Kinglet. What a vivid crown! A small group hung back and saw Pine Grosbeaks and Gray Jay before rejoining the crew that set up camp below the American Three-toed Woodpecker nest.


While waiting for the woodpeckers' appearance, I reclined on the road and soaked up sunshine and views of a Tree Swallow perched on a snag in the lake. I eventually saw peeks of a woodpecker's head and felt satisfied with that.

Our lunch spot -- Soapstone Basin, next to Provo River -- yielded looks at MacGillivray's Warbler, Red-naped Sapsuckers, Mountain Chickadee, Red-tailed Hawk and Dusky Flycatcher. All the aspen trees enthralled me.


At the last stop, Taylor Fork, I got to see a Warbling Vireo on its nest, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Northern Flickers, Cedar Waxwings and Red-naped Sapsuckers. On the drive home, I spied Black-billed Magpies -- reminders of a previous visit to Park City with high-school friends.

One of the field trip's highlights for me was the chance to capture a real snowbunny. You never know what you'll see while birding.

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