Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sugarloaf, Gold Fork Hot Springs, and a roadkill Ruffy

To celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary Ellen and I spent a few days in McCall. We spent a lot of time relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, and not as much time birding, but we did stop a few places on the way there and back.

Our first stop was the Sugarloaf area of Lake Cascade. We were hoping for shorebirds, but instead found the shores were covered in American White Pelicans.

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American White Pelicans at the Sugarloaf area of Lake Cascade, Valley County. August 17, 2013.

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American White Pelicans at the Sugarloaf area of Lake Cascade, Valley County. August 17, 2013.

The only shorebirds around were a pair of Wilson’s Snipes that walked right past us along the old highway.

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Wilson’s Snipes at the Sugarloaf area of Lake Cascade, Valley County. August 17, 2013.

Eastern Kingbirds and Brewer’s Blackbirds were hanging out in good numbers along the fences on the way in.

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Eastern Kingbird at the Sugarloaf area of Lake Cascade, Valley County. August 17, 2013.

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Brewer’s Blackbird and Eastern Kingbird at the Sugarloaf area of Lake Cascade, Valley County. August 17, 2013.

We also had a few other birds that we were able to photograph, including a Great Blue Heron, Lark Sparrows and Sandhill Cranes.

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Great Blue Heron at the Sugarloaf area of Lake Cascade, Valley County. August 17, 2013.

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Lark Sparrows at the Sugarloaf area of Lake Cascade, Valley County. August 17, 2013.

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Sandhill Cranes at the Sugarloaf area of Lake Cascade, Valley County. August 17, 2013.

The night before we left we spent the sunset hour relaxing at Gold Fork Hot Springs. We didn’t have our camera with us while we were soaking, but towards the end of the evening we saw five Gray Jays hanging out in the trees near the road in to the pools. These were our first Gray Jays in Idaho, so I was a little sad to not have the camera handy.

 

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Gold Fork Hot Springs, Valley County. August 19, 2013.

On the last day of our trip, we drove to see the old ghost town of Warren. The drive was nice, and it was fun to see the old mining and logging town, but the birding was slow. We did see a Great Blue Heron on the river on the way in, and a Red-tailed Hawk on the way out.

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Great Blue Heron near Warren, Idaho County. August 20, 2013.

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Great Blue Heron near Warren, Idaho County. August 20, 2013.

On the way home we swung by the old historical town of Roseberry, a couple of miles east of Donnelly. This townsite features several restored Finnish log cabins, and on this trip, quite a few blackbirds.

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Yellow-headed Blackbird (female) near Roseberry, Valley County. August 20, 2013.

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Brewer’s Blackbirds near Roseberry, Valley County. August 20, 2013.

Later on, we drove through Alder Creek Road from Garden Valley to Idaho City. The highlight bird for this trip was a Ruffed Grouse. Unfortunately, this particular grouse was roadkill, and had it been alive, it would have been our lifer Ruffed Grouse. We’ve spent quite a bit of time this year looking for Ruffed Grouse, and it’s been a little surprising how many birds that are much rarer than Ruffed Grouse that we’ve had an easier time finding.

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Ruffed Grouse on Alder Creek Road, Boise County. August 20, 2013.

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