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NVBIRDS  August 2002

NVBIRDS August 2002

Subject:

Birds in Eastern Nevada

From:

Richard Brune <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 16 Aug 2002 09:09:17 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (213 lines)

NV Birders:

Bird sightings on a trip to Eastern Nevada

Aug. 6th, 2002:
20 Miles west of Austin, perched 10 and 15 yards south
of highway respectively: 2 Adult Golden Eagles,

At Bob Scott Summit, Hwy 50, Lander County
2 Mountain Bluebirds, Female.
2 Sage Thrashers
2 Spotted Towhee
15 Bushtit
5 Brewers Sparrow
1 Hermit Thrush
1 juvenile Scrub Jay
1 adult Scrub Jay
2 Northern Flicker, Red Shafted

August 7, 2002:
At Commins Marsh, White Pine County:
20 (app.) flying White Faced Ibis
2 Eared Grebe
10 American Coot
1 Common Nighthawk

At the Great Basin National Park (GBNP)
At Wheeler Peak Campground, GBNP:
4 Dark Eyed Junco, Gray Headed
2 Juvenile Dark Eyed Junco
2 Yellow Rumped Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Male Red Crossbill
1 Female Red Crossbill, (or 1st year male?)
2 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

At Lehman Creek Campground, GBNP:
1 Olive Sided Flycatcher
3 Clarks Nutcracker
12 Pinion Jay

At Strawberry Creek, GBNP:
1 Sage Thrasher
1 Western Kingbird
1 House Wren
4 Brewers Sparrow
7 Mourning Dove

August 8, 2002:
On the road to Miller Basin, Snake Range, Mt. Moriah
Wilderness, White Pine Co.:
1 Red Tailed Hawk
2 Raven
1 Rock Wren
1 Sage Thrasher
5 Doe and 1 Buck Antelope
2 Mountain Bluebirds
10+/- Mountain Chickadee
20+/- Bushtit, 1 very tiny and unafraid of me, a new chick I guess.
1 Yellow Rumped Warbler, motley looking thing

On the Wheeler Peak Road, 8500ft elevation sign, GBNP:
1 Northern Goshawk, Adult Male
1 Merlin
1 Kestrel

On the Wheeler Peak Trail, GBNP:
20+/- Dark Eyed Junco, a lot of splotchy breasted juveniles
3 Brown Creepers ( two were small and had tails that looked underdeveloped;
I suspect this years chicks)
1 Red Breasted Nuthatch
1 Blue Grouse, about 10 yards from a grouse dust bath in the middle of the
trail.
2 Yellow Rumped Warblers

August 9:
On the road from Great Basin National Park to Mt. Moriah Wilderness:
1 Golden Eagle, on power pole by highway
1 Red Tailed Hawk

Up Silver Creek, Mt. Moriah Wilderness:
2 Olive Sided Flycatcher
1 Hummingbird, ??
2 Lazuli Bunting, M&F
2 Western Tanager, M&F
2 Juvenile Violet Green Swallow?
2 Clarks Nutcracker
25+/- Pinion Jay
1 Scrub Jay

August 10:
Up the Timber Creek Branch of the Johnson Lake Trail, GBNP:
1 Virginia's Warbler
6 Chipping Sparrow
1 Green Tailed Towhee
1 Northern Flicker
2 American Robin
1 Rufous Hummingbird
2 Mountain Chickadee
2 House Wren
1 Fox Sparrow, Slate colored?
1 Townsends Solitaire
1 Mountain Lion romp in the tall grass

Up the Wheeler Peak-Stella Lake Trail, GBNP
100+/- Common Nighthawk
1 Blue Grouse
6 Juvenile? Yellow Rumped Warblers
5 Dark Eyed Junco, Gray Headed

At Lower Lehman Creek Campground, GBNP:
1 Townsends Solitaire
1 Olive Sided Flycatcher
2 Chipping Sparrow
1 Rufous Hummingbird?, F
1 Broad Tailed Hummingbird?, F
1 Common Poor Will

August 11, 2002: Drive to Cave Peak, Schell Creek Range,
White Pine County:
2 Dark Eyed Junco, Gray Headed
5 Female Mountain Bluebird
1 Male Mountain Bluebird
2 Mountain Chickadee in a very young Bristlecone Pine

At the North Side Commins Marsh
2 Juvenile Wilson's Phalerope, juvenile?:
2 Ruddy Duck, F
1 Mallard, F
10+/- American Coot, several light gray juveniles
3 Pied Billed Grebe

August 12:
At Steptoe Valley along Hwy. 50:
10 Bull Elk, including three big ones (perhaps a pre-season
strategy meeting)

At Green Springs, Paradise Range, Northern
Nye County.
1 Western Kingbird
1 Bullocks Oriole, 1st year male.


Notes:
At Bob Scott Summit: It is a dry year. Where I saw birds
last year I saw a bone dry meadow. I went on to an aspen
grove about a mile up the hill and found standing water in
cow tracks, and these listed birds.

Miller Basin, Mt Moriah Wilderness: On a 4 mile drive through
dry juniper/pinion/mahogany, I saw no birds until I came to
a mahogany grove where the cattle had spent considerable
time, for the shade I guess.Their droppings drew a lot of
bugs and these listed birds were in a feeding frenzy. I have
never seen that many Mountain Chickadee in the same place.
There were 2 water tanks nearby, placed by the rancher and I
saw no birds at them. The Miller Basin was also dry as a bone
but looks as if it sustains a wet meadow and small spring when
the monsoons are active for a lot of the summer.

Northern Goshawk: As I was folding my scope after watching
this Goshawk for a few minutes I looked up to see it diving from
its perch along the hillside to cross the road 10 yards in front of
my truck. Close on its tail was a Merlin. The Merlin drove the
Goshawk into a very awkward landing into the pliable upper twigs
of a Mahogany Bush. In an instant the Merlin came under attack
by a Kestrel. The Kestrel harried the Merlin until they apparently
came to an accommodation and each went its separate way.
In the air, maneuverability wins!

Cattle have been prohibited in the Great Basin National Park
for a couple of years and the grass now grows tall and
I suppose should foster better birding; more grass, more seeds
more bugs, more birds? Last year when I camped a night at
Strawberry Creek, its edges were blanketed in Mountain Lion
tracks (mother and cub) and in a nearby meadow a large area
where the tall grass had been pressed without sign of individual
body prints such as those left by deer. Now there was another
one at the meadow along the Timber Creek Trail. As far as I know
this is the one best habitat in Nevada for deer and Mountain Lion
and hunting for both is disallowed. The deer watching is great!
The Mountain Lion watching is poor and always accidental.

Wheeler Peak Nighthawks: I had been camping in the area for 4
days and had seen 0.00 nighthawks despite a nightly visit to the
area. Then this day there were over 100 of them chasing what
I supposed to be a huge new hatch of insects. They seemed to
be working above the Wheeler Peak/ Stella Lake trail. I went there
in hopes of getting a closer view. The setting sun cast a shadow
over the grove of spruce behind Stella Lake creating a background
and the sunlight coming through the saddle between Wheeler
Peak and Bald mountain lit up the flying nighthawks as the flock
drifted back and forth across the canyon following the bugs in the
wind. After about half an hour of feeding, they started to disperse
and in just a few minutes not a single one was visible.

I have occasionally wondered how the Bristlecone Pine acquired its
name but was never moved to investigate. The mature cones do not
seem particularly bristly. In chasing a couple of Bushtit on Cave Peak
I came upon one that was sprouting new cones. They are now small,
densely colored blue/green capsules about the size of the end joint
of a little finger, sporting bristles that more than double their diameter,
certain to gag any bird or squirrel that tries to make a meal of them.

I was glad to be able to remove the Virginia's Warbler and the Northern
Goshawk from my special category of "if they live here, how come I
never see them".

More Later;

Richard Brune
[log in to unmask]

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