by Tess O’Sullivan

The first annual joint Lava Lake Institute/ Sawtooth Science Institute fielHiking up Iron Mine Creek d ornithology class was held last week (June 23-24) in the Pioneer Mountain foothills at Lava Lake Ranch. Participants enjoyed two days in the remote Upper Fish Creek drainage, hiking along small streams, meadows, and sagebrush slopes searching out the diverse and often secretive bird community. A diverse group of participants joined instructor Jay Carlisle.

Both days of birding were a lot of fun, with sightings of many cooperative birds – including a Dusky (aka Blue) Grouse, Western Wood-pewee and Willow Flycatcher that both vocalized and perched in the open within 30 minutes of each other – providing a very helpful comparison, many Lewis’s Woodpeckers, Sandhill Cranes (considered a Species of Greatest Conservation Need by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game), a Moose, several Lazuli Buntings, a Red-tailed Hawk carrying a young (& recently dead) American Crow, and much more.

A sampling of the birds seen and/or heard on the trip included:

  • Birds of Prey: Prairie Falcon, Red Tail Hawk, Great Horned Owl
  • Riparian/wetland birds: McGillvray’s Warbler, Orange Crowned Warbler, Western Tanager, Flicker, Black-headed Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler, Song Sparrow, Lazuli Bunting, Bullock’s Oriole, Sandhill Crane, Dusky Grouse, Western Kingbird, Willow Flycatcher [and several other flycatcher species], Snipe, House Sparrow, House Finch, Cassin’s Finch, Western Wood-pewee, Lewis’s Woodpecker, American Crow Jay hiking with spotting scope
  • Water birds: Coot, Ring-Necked Duck, Canada Geese, American Widgeons, Great Blue Heron, Lesser (?) Scaup
  • Sagebrush-dwelling birds : Sage Thrasher, Vesper Sparrow, Brewers Sparrow, Western Meadowlark, Raven

Other wildlife observed by the group included mule deer, a nice group of pronghorn, and two moose, at least one of which was a young bull.

Attendees of the class are encouraged to comment on the blog with aRobert translating for Rosedditional species that were noted. Thanks again to Jay for a great experience and to Chris Gertchen for organizing the class through the Sawtooth Science Institute.

To see more of Kathleen’s photography visit: www.gotacameron.com and www.majesticfeathers.com

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