Friday, August 05, 2005

Lee Canyon Mt Charleston

What a beautiful day and what an absolutely gorgeous place.

Josh and I left early, by 8 am, which got us up to the meadow before the morning's dew had even evaporated. There was no one else around other than work crews we passed on the way up. We decided to bird the meadow first and came upon numerous chipping sparrows flitting back and forth among the trees. As we wandered around we came upon horse hoof tracks which reminded us of the time we saw the three wild horses in this very meadow. We heard and saw more than a few broad tailed hummingbirds as they dove all over the place. Coming upon a cluster of trees in one section we were lucky enough to spot a green-tailed towhee, a life bird for Josh. We watched the antics of a pygmy nuthatch pecking at the branches and hanging upside down. And we were given the remarkable gift of being just 3 feet from a dark eyed junco (along with numerous other friends of his) gray headed sub species. We stood absolutely still and watched in wonder as this bird pecked and walked on the ground until moving slightly we scared him up into the nearest tree accidently. This place to me has to be heaven on earth!

We moved on up the canyon to the top and parked at the ski area parking lot. We then began a slow amble along Bristlecone Pine Trail. Before going far we spotted a female yellow-rumped warbler, a black-headed grosbeak, a female cassin's finch, a female western blue bird, and a western wood peewee. Josh asked to just sit in the area we were observing and what a wise decision that was as we sat silently watching and taking in the beauty of this place suddenly we spotted a hawk fly out from a distant tree and circle. That hawk then flew within 6 feet of where we were sitting. Amazing!! Josh knew right away as he watched that it was a sharp-shinned hawk. Beautiful!!

Ambling along a little while after this we saw a male mountain bluebird, a male cassin's finch and two female western tanagers. We were given yet another gift as we were able to watch one of the females, who was about 10 feet from us, eating berries from a bush. THESE are the things I love about birding.

Even the drive back home gave a sighting of a red-tailed hawk!

All and all a wonderful day of birding :)))

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