Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pileated Woodpecker at Sage Hen Reservoir

On September 8 we made yet another attempt at finding a Ruffed Grouse, by heading out to Sage Hen Reservoir. While Ruffed Grouse are well distributed throughout the state, we chose to look for them in this area because it’s one of the areas where there status has been the most well-studied. One study by the Department of Fish and Game found that in boom years there are an average of 33 booming males per square mile, and in bust years there are an average of 11 booming males per square mile. With density this high, it seemed like it should have been easy to find them, but we still haven’t been able to track any down. We did, however, track down plenty of chipmunks.

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Uinta Chipmunk at Sage Hen Reservoir, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

There were lots of trails surrounding the reservoir, and we walked a few of them hoping to spook up some grouse. No such luck.

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Trail near Sage Hen Reservoir, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

Our most numerous bird of the day was Yellow-rumped Warblers. We had one large flock of them that we watched feeding right along the shoreline.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler at Sage Hen Reservoir, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

YRWA 2

Yellow-rumped Warbler at Sage Hen Reservoir, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

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Sage Hen Reservoir, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

There were a couple of Ospreys that were having a very successful time fishing on the reservoir.

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Osprey at Sage Hen Reservoir, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

OSPR 2

Osprey at Sage Hen Reservoir, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

Our most surprising find of the day was a Pileated Woodpecker. We thought we might have heard one drumming from across the reservoir, but we had never heard them in this area before, so were a little skeptical. However, as we drove through one of the campsites, we saw this big guy feeding on the ground. Nearby we also had a few Stellar’s Jays.

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Pileated Woodpecker at Sage Hen Reservoir, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

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Stellar’s Jay at Sage Hen Reservoir, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

We also walked a little nature trail up to a small waterfall, hoping perhaps there were some Ruffies hanging out near the creek. Once again, no such luck.

Sage Hen waterfall 1

Nature Trail waterfall near Sage Hen Reservoir, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

We drove home through the towns of Ola and Sweet, and saw a few birds, such as this American Kestrel, a Red-tailed Hawk, and several Ring-necked Pheasants.

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American Kestrel near Ola, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

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Red-tailed Hawk near Ola, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

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Ring-necked Pheasant near Sweet, Gem County. September 8, 2013.

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