Saturday, March 14, 2015

American Redstart at Blacks Creek Rest Area

Ellen and I have driven by the Blacks Creek Rest area just east of Boise on I-84 hundreds or thousands of times. On more than a few occasions, we’ve commented to each other that the trees at the rest stop might be a decent migrant trap in the spring, and we really ought to check it out! We never got around to it, but it turns out our hunches may have been correct. At the beginning of June, Carl Lundblad reported on IBLE that he had found an American Redstart there! That’s a heck of a find for Ada County! Being just 7-8 minutes from our house, we of course took off to find it on my lunch break. It was a little hard to track down, as it wasn’t being particularly vocal, it was staying high in the canopy, and in non-breeding plumage it wasn’t quite as eye catching as it could have been. We were patient, and eventually tracked it down!

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American Redstart at Blacks Creek Rest Area, Ada County. June 2, 2014.

The bird appeared to be a first summer male, hence the drab gray and pale yellow plumage. In full breeding plumage these guys are a deep black and orange with a white belly.

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American Redstart at Blacks Creek Rest Area, Ada County. June 2, 2014.

You can see from the map of reports of American Redstart on eBird that this bird has only been found in Ada County a handful of times in the past. We were figuring we wouldn’t be able to track down this bird until we made a trip to northern Idaho, which is within their breeding range.

Map

eBird map of American Redstart observations in Ada County.

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