Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Weeknight hikes at Bogus Basin and Lucky Peak

As the days have been getting longer this spring we’ve been making an effort to get out for evening hikes or walks, both to take advantage of the extra daylight hours, and to keep up with spring migration. On May 12 we headed up to Bogus Basin, and on May 13 we hiked around Lucky Peak.

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Bogus Basin, Boise County. May 12, 2014.

At Bogus Basin we were happy to find a Clark’s Nutcracker right off the bat.

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Clark’s Nutcracker at Bogus Basin, Boise County. May 12, 2014.

There were several Stellar’s Jays hanging around as well.

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Stellar’s Jay at Bogus Basin, Boise County. May 12, 2014.

A Common Raven watched over one of the parking areas.

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Common Raven at Bogus Basin, Boise County. May 12, 2014.

There were several Red-naped Sapsuckers advertising loudly.

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Red-naped Sapsuckers eat Bogus Basin, Boise County. May 12, 2014.

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Red-naped Sapsucker at Bogus Basin, Boise County. May 12, 2014.

We also heard a Pileated Woodpecker, but couldn’t ever get a good look at it, though we did find a Northern Flicker, which can sometimes sound fairly similar to a Pileated Woodpecker.

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Northern Flicker at Bogus Basin, Boise County. May 12, 2014.

The next evening after work we headed up to Lucky Peak, which we get a great view of everyday from our home in Columbia Village. It’s a wonderful view looking at Barber Valley from the peak as well.

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View of Barber Valley (east Boise) from Lucky Peak, Ada County. May 13, 2014.

All the way up to the peak there were great birds, but Lark Sparrows were probably the most abundant.

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Lark Sparrow at Lucky Peak, Ada County. May 13, 2014.

At the peak our best find was a Cordilleran Flycatcher, identified by the medium length bill, with a bright orange lower mandible, an oval eye ring, and a few other more subtle features. They’re annual in southwest Idaho, but are not always easy to find.

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Cordilleran Flycatcher at Lucky Peak, Ada County. May 13, 2014.

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Cordilleran Flycatcher at Lucky Peak, Ada County. May 13, 2014.

Heading over the back side of the hill we had a few other nice flycatchers and forest specialties, including several Chipping Sparrows, which seem to be ever present this time of the year.

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Chipping Sparrow at Lucky Peak, Ada County. May 13, 2014.

We found a nice shady trail around the north side of Lucky Peak that had a nice handful of birds in it. Among the fun birds we found, we also found a set of Black Bear tracks along the trail as well!

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Trail along the north side of Lucky Peak, Ada County. May 13, 2014.

When we came out the other side of the stand of pines, we found a Hermit Thrush foraging along the trail.

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Hermit Thrush at Lucky Peak, Ada County. May 13, 2014.

As we were approaching sunset and were about to make a loop back to our car, I discovered that I had misread my map, and there was no trail where I thought there would be. It was getting late enough and dark enough we were hesitant to head back the way we came (and past those fresh bear tracks!), especially since it seemed like it should be such a quick hike over one ridge to get back to our car. In hindsight we probably should’ve just gone back out the way we came where there was a clear trail to follow, but instead I marched us up a steep, thickly vegetated hillside, trying to find deer trails to follow when we could to make it a little easier, but it was rough going, and we had our tiny little Nora with us who would be waking up and getting hungry soon. It was a bit of a panic moment, and I will certainly make wiser choices on future hikes. We were so exhausted after we bushwhacked our way back up to a real trail that we could hardly get excited about the pair of Dusky Grouse we saw and heard displaying near where the trail re-joined the road. They were close enough to the road that we should be able to re-find them at this spot another time without having to actually hike a big loop around the peak to get there.

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Sunset from our Dusky Grouse spot at Lucky Peak, Ada County. May 13, 2014.

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