Species Parade, Episode Eleven

Spring in February?

So it seemed. During last month, I saw two phenomena I usually witness in April or later:

  • Canada geese flying up from the south.
  • Magpies carrying nesting material.
Pie-billed Grebe

Pie-billed Grebe

For weeks, we have enjoyed sunny, 50-degree days full of bird song and snow melt. After the unusually cold, snowy winter (local Purgatory resort has had over 200 inches this year), it feels like the canyon is taking a collective breath. I was happy to see that Fred, the local magpie with zero tail feathers, made it through the tough times.

[Sure, as soon as I post this we’ll have more snow and cold. No matter.]

Up on the ridge (about 800 feet at about 8,100 feet elevation), I watched a curious hawk-raven interaction. I’m used to seeing one or two ravens heckle hawks and eagles. On this day, I watched a raven and hawk (smaller than a Red Tailed, maybe a Cooper’s or Northern Harrier) swoop and climb, swoop and climb. This was no heckling, where the raven stayed consistently above the hawk. The birds swapped positions. There was a casual nature in their movements. They seemed to be at play. How cool.

39 species over the course of a few weeks.

Mammals:

DSC00091Coyote

Mule Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Brush Mouse

Pocket Gopher

Chipmunk (still working on ID)

Rock Squirrel

Prairie Dog

Skunk

Elk

Birds:

Hairy Woodpecker

Nuthatch

Red-Winged Black Bird

Pie-Billed Grebe

Canada Goose

Townsend’s Solitaire

Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

Rufous Sided Towhee

Rufous Sided Towhee

Black Capped Chickadee

American Crow

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Great Blue Heron

Dark-Eyed Junco (and its many varieties)

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Mountain Bluebird

American Kestrel

DSC00051Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Golden Eagle

Bald Eagle

Pine Siskin

Rufous Sided Towhee

Species Parade, Week Ten

Coyote uses the road

Coyote uses the road

Father Winter has put the hammer down on the Species Parade. Due to heavy snow, poor visibility, and a busy work schedule, this rendition of the Species Parade is pretty darn slim. I did, however, have the thrill of seeing an ermine dash across the field. First ever sighting! The neighborhood Golden Eagle seems to have stuck around. The coyotes seem to have banded up. They brought down a buck mule deer in a nearby meadow. A few days later, there was nothing but a spine left.

Read more winter moments.

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).

Mammals:

Ermine

Web image. (I was too slow)

Web image. (I was too slow)

Coyote

Mule Deer

Cottontail Rabbit

Brush Mouse

Birds:

Canada Goose

Townsend’s Solitaire

Red Shafted Flicker

Steller’s Jay

Black Capped Chickadee

American Crow

This Pine Siskin needed a wake up call after hitting the window. It recovered.

This Pine Siskin needed a wake up call after hitting the window. It recovered.

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Mountain Bluebird

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Red-Tailed Hawk

Starling

American Robin

Great Horned Owl

Golden Eagle

Pine Siskin

IMG_2748

Species Parade, Week Nine

Moving 300 miles southeast 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

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