Sunday, June 22, 2014

Red Crossbill near Idaho City

On May 18 we enjoyed a nice relaxing drive through some favorite, (relatively) close to home parts of the Boise National Forest. We started in town and headed out on Rocky Canyon Road, which cuts over the Boise Ridge, and then spent some time at Robie Creek, then headed up to Grayback Gulch and Shaws Gulch near Idaho City.

Boise NF Map

Map of our birding stops on Rocky Canyon Road (point B), Robie Creek (point C), Grayback Gulch (point D), and Shaw Gulch (point E). May 18, 2014.

Nora was napping in the back of the car for most of the trip, and since she tends to stir easily when we slow down too much or turn off the car, we enjoyed most of our birds by ear as we rolled along with the windows down. We did see a few fun things though. The south-facing slope of the Boise Ridge is fairly dry and scrubby habitat, but as soon as you hit the ridge and start coming down the north side, the habitat transitions to dense forest. When we hit that part of the road there were so many birds to listen to, including loads of flycatchers and warblers. We decided it was probably a good opportunity to try to get a MacGillivray’s which we did end up hearing. While we were pulled over for a minute hoping to see the MacGillivray’s Warbler we got a nice view of this Calliope Hummingbird.

IMG_3096

Calliope Hummingbird on Rocky Canyon Road (point B on the map above), Boise County. May 18, 2014.

Robie Creek is also great for warblers, wrens, sparrows, swallows, and vireos in the spring. We had quite a few Yellow-breasted Chats, a colony of Violet-green Swallows, and several Yellow Warblers, to name just a few.

IMG_3102

Yellow Warbler at Robie Creek (point C on the map above), Boise County. May 18, 2014.

Nora was waking up by the time we got to Grayback Gulch, so we spent a little extra time there, feeding her and enjoying the birds in the group campsite. Historically, the group campgrounds have been a reliable place to find White-headed Woodpeckers, so we stop in occasionally to see if we can find one there.

IMG_3198

Grayback Gulch group campsite (point D on the map above), Boise County. May 18, 2014.

We had several fun birds while we were there, but the most abundant were Chipping Sparrows and Hammond’s Flycatchers.

IMG_3121

Chipping Sparrow at Grayback Gulch, Boise County. May 18, 2014.

IMG_3151

Chipping Sparrow at Grayback Gulch, Boise County. May 18, 2014.

IMG_3140

Hammond’s Flycatcher at Grayback Gulch, Boise County. May 18, 2014.

Since we didn’t find a White-headed Woodpecker at Grayback Gulch, we headed just next door to Shaw Gulch where they nested last year. We didn’t find our woodpecker, but were pleased to find a few Red Crossbills instead. They can be surprisingly tricky to track down, given how abundant they likely are in this type of habitat, so we were thrilled to find (and be able to photograph) one.

IMG_3243

Red Crossbill at Shaw Gulch (point E on the map above), Boise County. May 18, 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment