A (mostly) friendly competition between 2 avid birdwatchers that are also friends/co-workers. Who can observe more bird species in Idaho in 2009? Will they still be friends at year's end? ;-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Point counts, Grosbeaks, and Hail in Hailey!

From a coffee shop wireless hotspot in Hailey, ID....
After postponing our MAPS banding day again this week (we were originally planning on banding on Sunday) we were finally able to make it up to Lucky Peak to band on Tuesday. It was nice to see the sunshine again, and we had a fun day up there with volunteers Dave and Carol Wike. Highlights included a singing Mountain White-crowned Sparrow (we usually only see these guys during migration at Lucky Peak) and a PAIR of Townsend's Warblers! (will they actually breed at lucky peak this year?! Their normal breeding range is 50 miles north of here, so that'd be pretty cool!) We also caught 3 Cedar Waxwings! (before these guys I'd seen a single fledgling in the hand last fall)

A pretty Swallowtail rescued from the nets
a snooty-lookin' Cedar Waxwing :)

After finishing with MAPS we left Boise yesterday afternoon to continue counts near Hailey, ID.
Just after getting into town, we came up behind a vehicle with the licenseplate "BIRD ON". After a moment's thought of "oh, that's cool!" Jay remembered that this particular license plate belonged to our bird-nerd friend Jean! He dialed up her cellphone, and soon we were pulled off the road chatting with friends Jean and Poo. It was fun catching up with Jean since seeing her last when we took a birding trip to Hailey in February, and we parted ways after recieving some inside-information on a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak that had just showed up in a neighborhood down the road.....so much for our plans of a nap after point counts the next day! :)
Jay and I arrived at our chosen campsite just as the sun was setting, and with the weather this past week we set up our tents hoping that we would not wake up to more rain. We weren't disappointed! We woke up to clear blue skies and were able to get plenty of counts in. Jay saw a Golden Eagle and some Lewis' Woodpeckers and Sage Thrashers during his counts, while I had fun seeing a pair of Red-naped Sapsuckers, my first Cordilleran Flycatcher on a point count, and a cuddling pair of Mountain Bluebirds :)
After counts, we gave Poo a call and headed to the grosbeak house. We stood watching the feeders as they were mobbed by Western Tanagers (with jelly all over their faces) Cassin's Finches and Hummingbirds. I hoped in vain that Jay would not find a Rufous Hummingbird (since it was the ONE species I had that he didnt) but I was still glad to see the pretty male that showed up. No sooner had I said "alright, I just let you catch up with the Rufous...now where's my grosbeak?" when Jay oh-so-casually pointed him out to me!! He flew to another aspen tree, and then landed high in a tree behind the house next to a male Black-headed Grosbeak. He turned just right in the sunlight and dude, was he awesome!!!! We got to watch him for a short time more before the Black-headed male chased him off. The three of us barely had time to celebrate our success when the now looming gray clouds started dumping loads of rain and hail on us! Standing under the eaves in our sandals (brrr! why didn't I leave my boots on?) We made plans to head to lunch.......which takes us to where we are now, sitting at an internet hotspot getting some officy-type work done and waiting to head out to scout some of our counting spots for tomorrow....
that's all for now!

1 comment:

  1. Hi All -

    I'm enjoying Jay & Heidi's reports from southern Idaho. If you want to find out what's going on in north-central Idaho (and a bit of eastern WA) check out my blog here - chasbirds.blogspot.com