The quiet was broken by a bird approaching overhead, with a buzzy "Cheer" flight call. Wes jumped up "That's your bird!" and overhead was a large finch with a yellow belly, black wings with white wing patches - Evening Grosbeak! During a visit to the area earlier in the week Wes had heard some in the distance but not seen them. Seeing one this morning was a great surprise as they appear in our mountains infrequently, during "irruption" years (years when they leave their normal home range). Evening Grosbeak joins the list at #268!
We searched around a bit more but could find nothing else unusual. There were no other finches around this morning. It is interesting how the birds seen in a particular location can change so dramatically from one day to the next.
I headed down the mountain so that I could spend some time searching along the flat portion of Figueroa Mountain Road for Lewis' Woodpecker, Prairie Falcon, and Golden Eagle. I can report there were no Zombie Dancers at the gate to Neverland this morning. Nor did I find any Lewis' Woodpeckers or Prairie Falcons. Wes caught up to me and we did see not one but two Golden Eagles. Both far away, one in a tree and one on the ground eating a squirrel. Golden Eagle for #269!
After watching the eagles for a bit I headed for home. The weather was pleasant and I arrived home in the late afternoon without incident. My right knee would have been happier if the riding had been over by noon. So ends a grand trip to Figueroa Mountain. Some great birds and a highlight of the year.
Some photos from today:
IPhone handheld to spotting scope. Better than nothing.
After the addition of these 2 species, the year's total stands at 269
The Score: Vermont 264, Green Big Year 269
Today I rode a total of 67.4 miles