Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Birding Arc Dome & the Toiyabes

Last tour, the Nevada Bird Count crew finished up the birding portion of the season with a few days in the Toiyabe Range, camping at Columbine Campground.  So beautiful!  A little stormy, though – lightning storms chased downhill our highest-elevation surveyors on both afternoons.  We explored the gamut from mid-elevation sagebrush and pinyon-juniper, mountain mahogany, up through aspen riparian areas to high-elevation pines, sagebrush and meadows. 

It was several days of highlights: getting attacked by protective Goshawk parents, getting attacked by protective Cooper’s Hawk parents, fledglings everywhere, mule deer creeping up to be startled at our presence, spectacular views, and cooking over campfires.  One of my personal highlights was right there in camp: one aspen snag with four active cavities, supporting House Wren, Red-naped Sapsucker, and Northern Flicker nestlings, as well as Violet-green Swallows.  The Violet-green Swallows appeared to be nest-building – Kaitlin watched one of them “manhandling” a feather into the nest cavity.

We found 64 species, and confirmed breeding for 31 of them.  To me, the biggest surprises were the presence of the Night-Heron and the absence of Mourning Doves!  Here’s our species list, with confirmed breeding noted where applicable.

Greater Sage-Grouse
Dusky Grouse
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Northern Harrier
Cooper’s Hawk (confirmed)
Northern Goshawk (confirmed)
Red-tailed Hawk (confirmed)
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
Long-eared Owl
Common Nighthawk
Common Poorwill
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Red-naped Sapsucker (confirmed)
Hairy Woodpecker (confirmed)
Northern Flicker (confirmed)
Western Wood-Pewee (confirmed)
Hammond’s Flycatcher
Gray Flycatcher
Dusky Flycatcher
Plumbeous Vireo
Warbling Vireo (confirmed)
Western Scrub-Jay
Pinyon Jay
Clark’s Nutcracker (confirmed)
Common Raven
Horned Lark (confirmed)
Violet-green Swallow (confirmed)
Mountain Chickadee (confirmed)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (confirmed)
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper (confirmed)
Rock Wren (confirmed)
House Wren (confirmed)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Mountain Bluebird (confirmed)
Hermit Thrush (confirmed)
American Robin (confirmed)
Sage Thrasher
Orange-crowned Warbler
Virginia’s Warbler
MacGillivray’s Warbler (confirmed)
Yellow Warbler (confirmed)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (confirmed)
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Green-tailed Towhee (confirmed)
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow (confirmed)
Brewer’s Sparrow (confirmed)
Vesper Sparrow (confirmed)
Fox Sparrow (confirmed)
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow (confirmed)
Dark-eyed Junco (confirmed)
Western Tanager
Lazuli Bunting
Brown-headed Cowbird
Cassin’s Finch (confirmed)
House Finch
Pine Siskin

Happy birding!