What a Great Evening – July 28, 2006

I took a walk at my favorite place: the Vermilion Gorge and as I contemplated if I was going to take my birding group to the Herriman Trail next year, I made up my mind. It will definitely be the Gorge Trail. The other night it was very quiet at Herriman; the only birds I saw were 3 Gray Jays. While it’s great seeing Gray Jays, or Canada Jays, the overall atmosphere was silence. Not so at the Gorge.

Least Flycatchers were in their usual spot, in the pine grove, and the babies were chipping all over the place. There were tons of White-throated Sparrows with their babies. And then I saw clearly a Winter Wren. He was making a little trill that must have been his alarm call or else he was begging, or maybe they just make that call so their parents know where they are. I don’t know if it was a molting adult or a juvenile, because it had no tail!

Then I heard the plaintive whistle of the Broad-wing Hawk, and Blue Jays trumpeting. Immediately following that were the grating calls of a Merlin Falcon.

I heard the wheezy sound of the Black & White Warbler; haven’t heard their calls since June. Got a nice look at one gleaning the insects off leaves. Then, I saw a warbler with an eye-ring. It must have been an immature Mourning Warbler – I know there were nests in this immediate area. Wow!

I walked all the way to the end of the trail and there were birds chipping all the way. There must have been lots of baby birds in the brush and the ferns. Every once in a while an adult White-throated Sparrow would come right out next to the trail and scold me. I think the ground nesting birds have had a good year; the only thing good that will come out of this horrible drought.

Now here is the highlight of the whole walk: when I got back to the area where I had seen the Winter Wren earlier, I heard his little alarm call. I recognized it and watched the bushes as he flitted about. Then I had an idea; I got out my little digital recorder and recorded him. I played back what I just recorded and he came right out! Flew right by me and was checking me out! WOW, I skidaddled out of there right away; I didn’t want to get the poor little guy too upset!

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