Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch Species List | August 6, 2019
Tuesday, August 6, 2019, 7:30AM - 10:30AM
Location: Rock Bottom Ranch
This morning's outing began with a family of western tanagers in the oak scrub and serviceberry bushes across Hooks Spur Road from Rock Bottom Ranch's parking lot. Instead of the usual go-round and field craft tips that we usually do first, we decided to get closer to the tanager action and see these beautiful birds while they were within view. Warm morning sunlight coming from behind us illuminated the bright yellows and oranges of the tanagers as they flew from perch to perch, their movements echoed in the ooohs and ahhhs of the birders. A black-headed grosbeak, some white-breasted nuthatches, and a couple of flickers added to the show. After soaking in that first bout of bird activity, we covered logistics and headed down the trail at Rock Bottom Ranch. The rest of the morning followed suit with pockets of wonderful birds, including a family of Lewis's woodpeckers, yellow warblers feeding fledglings, black-capped chickadees, molting mallards, American goldfinches, and a western kingbird. We enjoyed glimpses of a belted kingfisher, a western wood-pewee, and a small flock of cedar waxwings as well. Violet-green swallows abounded, swerving to feed on airborne insects. We observed these birds occasionally coming together, and later research confirmed that this behavior was likely adults feeding fledglings while in flight, as they are documented to do. While walking down the cattail marsh trail, a lark sparrow was spotted perched on the fence railing. It stayed put for a good 10 minutes, allowing us a wonderful opportunity to study its unique color patterns. All twenty-two of us had to share a chuckle as we collectively 'geeked out' over the various shades of brown on the bird, reflecting a moment of total immersion in our birding experience! Join us next Tuesday for Morning Birding at Hallam Lake!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong