Birding the Burn at Basalt Mountain Species List
Friday, June 4, 2021 7am-12pm
Location: Basalt Mountain
This trip took us on a loop hike through a mosaic of habitats on the north side of Basalt Mountain where conditions ranged from green and unburned to a spectrum of burn severity levels from the 2018 Lake Christine fire. We learned about how different habitats such as aspen forest, mountain shrublands, and conifer forests recover from wildfire and how birds use these places during the stages of succession. An interesting take-away from recent wildfire ecology research is that birds do not just "make do" with burned landscapes, there are many species that actually seek out these unique places as secondary habitat. Such species that we saw on this field trip included western wood-pewee, American three-toed woodpecker, western tanager, mountain bluebird, and olive-sided flycatcher. With the abundance and activity of birds on our hiking route, we enjoyed many special moments, such as two male MacGillivray's warblers that sat and sang in view and in great light, providing excellent opportunities to study this species that is often difficult to see. We were also treated to excellent views of olive-sided flycatchers and an American three-toed woodpecker. Dusky and Hammond's flycatchers offered comparisons for learning these look-alike species' unique vocalizations that are key to identifying them on breeding grounds. Overall species count was 38. Wildflowers are beginning to bloom and the lush, post-fire understory appears ready to burst into bloom. Join us for other upcoming birding outings and for a repeat of this field trip to this fascinating area in early July!
American Three-toed Woodpecker
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong