Saturday, July 21, 2012

Know snow?

Thursday, July 19th, John was in the eastern Wasach Mountains in Utah. There were gorgeous vistas, pristine forests and no people, but also, no snow, and John was again looking for the Black Rosy Finch, which is a snow lover. He did happen upon a tree that looked like a woodpecker haven so he pulled off the road and watched. The woodpeckers came, not to his tree, but to a clump nearby. They were a family group of American Three-Toed Woodpeckers! It is a little spooky sometimes to say, "We should be seeing (insert name of animal) here" and it shows up.  I think if you spend enough time searching in nature, you begin to read signs subconsciously. This animal ESP seems to happen to at least one person on every field trip I have been on. It started raining, again, and the roads in the Wasach were still in bad shape from the last storm, so John headed to Salt Lake City.

Friday, July 20th, John drove out on a causeway into the Great Salt Lake to visit Antelope Island State Park. There were tons of Franklin's Gulls, a covey of Chukar on a rocky hill and, not surprising, pronghorns. At the visitor center, John heard about a Long-Eared Owl seen at a ranch on the island. The rancher told him where to look, he met with a couple who were also looking, but though they stuck their heads into each tree in the area, they did not find it. We have looked for the Long-Eared Owls when they were perching at Scissors Crossing in Anza Borrego and would never have found them if someone hadn't kindly pointed to the branch they were sitting on. That owl could be called the stump bird, both because it stumps you looking for it and that it looks like a stump!

In the afternoon, John headed up into the Uintu Mountains, more gorgeous scenery, but people everywhere. He hiked around in the Bald Mountain/Mirror Lake area and realized he was not going to reach any snow, so had  little chance of seeing the Black Rosy Finch. Besides, as he was heading back to his car, there was - thunder and lightning and rain, oh my! The storm just kept getting worse as John drove towards Colorado. I hope some of these storms are getting to the parched prairies.

John is up to 589 birds.

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