26 September 2008

Guided to a Grouse

Today Stephanie and I took a much-deserved day off and headed up Logan Canyon in search of Dusky Grouse. I've spent at least three birding trips looking specifically for this species, only to come up empty-handed. Stephanie took a little bit of pleasure in this, since this is the only species that she's seen in the county this year, but I haven't. But she was still nice enough to lead me to a place near one of her field sites where she's seen them somewhat regularly.

It took us about an hour of wandering up and down the steep forested hillside, but the fall colors alone would have made it worth it, and the Dusky Grouse, which I flushed and then was able to photograph (below), was a welcome bonus.

After the grouse, we went up to Tony Grove to hike towards Naomi Peak in search of White-winged Crossbills and American Three-toed Woodpeckers. We found an American Three-toed Woodpecker just a couple hundred yards from where I found one two years ago, and Stephanie and I both got great looks as it worked its way around a dead tree. On the way down the mountain we also found a Merlin, a species that usually winters here in small numbers. It felt like a warning that winter is coming soon, but with only six birds left to beat the record, I'm ready for some more winter migrants!

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