Friday, July 12, 2013

Swan Falls and Silver City

On June 2 we took a trip out to Swan Falls to look for a few specialties we hadn’t found yet this year. On the wish list for this trip was Sage Sparrow, White-throated Swift, Bushtit, and Short-eared Owl. It was a little late in the year for Bushtit, and Short-eared Owl was kind of a long-shot since we weren’t staying until sunset. We spent some time looking for the Sage Sparrow, but didn’t have any luck, probably due to the large crowds of ATV and dirt bikers using the area where they’re typically found. We did, however, spot some White-throated Swifts as we scanned the cliff edge looking up from the park near the dam. They were too far for photos, but we did capture a few other nice birds, like this Western Wood-pewee we watched hawking for insects from a tree in the park.

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Western Wood-pewee at Swan Falls Park, Ada County. June 2, 2013.

Downstream from the dam there's some wonderful riparian habitat along the river where Bushtits are sometimes found in the spring. We didn’t find any on this trip, but did enjoy watching a pair of Yellow-breasted Chats have a singing match.

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Yellow-breasted Chat at Swan Falls Park, Ada County. June 2, 2013.

Yellow-breasted Chat at Swan Falls Dam, Ada County. June 2, 2013.

Our trip to Swan Falls went a little quicker, and I let my chase instincts get the better of me, and we headed out towards Silver City to look for Green-tailed Towhees that breed along the road in. On the way in we spotted a Northern Flicker hole with a nestling poking its head out, and begging for food.

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Northern Flicker nestling on the Silver City Road, Owyhee County. June 2, 2013.

Just before we reached the town of Silver City, we pulled over to listen for Green-tailed Towhees for a few minutes. It didn’t take long to find one.

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Green-tailed Towhee on the Silver City Road, Owyhee County. June 2, 2013.

On the way out we thought we saw a snake get run over in the road by the car in front of us. We pulled alongside it to see if it had been hit or not, and discovered it was just playing dead, waiting for the danger to pass. While that strategy may work against natural predators, I doubt its very successful against cars. Hopefully it moved along before any more traffic came behind us.

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Snake (species?) on the Silver City Road, Owyhee County. June 2, 2013. 

The scenery in the Owyhee mountains is wonderful, and we always enjoy our visits here. I’m sure this area would be much more popular if more people from Boise knew how nice it is.

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The Owyhee mountains, Owyhee County. June 2, 2013.

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