27 June, 2011

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Scientific Name: Regulus calendula

Population Estimate: 70M

Range / Habitat: Temperate forest dweller. Summers throughout parts of the American West, Canada, and the interior of Alaska. Winters throughout the southern half of the US and throughout much of Mexico excluding the Yucatan.

Field Notes: Tiny, dull olive-green bird with light wing-bars and eye ring. Short tail and pin beak. Constantly in motion and continually flicking wings. Small ruby crown of the male is rarely seen. Golden-crowned Kinglet has yellow crown, white eyebrow and black eye-stripe.

Personal Notes: One of our favorite birds; we delight in seeing the crown and were fortunate to actually capture on the above photos.

Sage Sparrow

Scientific Name: Amphispiza belli

Population Estimate: 4.3M

Range / Habitat: Dry shrub land up to 3000m. Year-round along the southern US Pacific coast into Baja. Summers in the American West with winters in the American Southwest and northwestern Mexico.

Field Notes: Medium-sized sparrow, relatively long-tailed. Grey head and brown back. White eye ring and supraloral spots. White and black lateral throat stripes. Breast buffy with central dark spot. Five-striped Sparrow similar but little overlap and grey breast.

Personal Notes: First seen on a beautiful drive along the southwestern edge of the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming and then again in the Petrified Forest NP.

20 June, 2011

Lark Bunting

Scientific Name: Calamospiza melanocorys

Population Estimate: 27M

Range / Habitat: Tall, dense grassland. Winters in northern Mexico. Summers in Great Plains of the United States.

Field Notes: Medium-sized sparrow with short, thick, bluish bill. Large white patches in wing. Breeding male all back with white wings. Female and nonbreeding male grayish brown and heavily striped.

Personal Notes: Seen at Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, South Dakota.

Grasshopper Sparrow

Scientific Name: Ammodramus savannarum

Population Estimate: 15M

Range / Habitat: Tall, dense grassland winters in southeastern US, Mexico, Central America, and into northwestern South America. Summers throughout eastern US to Rocky Mountains, parts of California and Pacific Northwest.

Field Notes: Found singly. Relatively long-billed and flat-headed sparrow with short tail. Unmarked, buffy breast. Complete eye ring. Some yellow in the face. Dark crown with pale middle stripe.

Personal Notes: Seen in the South Dakota Badlands.

11 June, 2011

American Three-toed Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Picoides dorsalis

Population Estimate: 800K

Range / Habitat: Year-round in boreal and montane coniferous forests across all of North America

Field Notes: Medium-sized black-and-white woodpecker, more black than white. Head black with a white mustache stripe and a thin white line behind eye. Yellow cap in male. Throat, breast, belly and midline of back white. Black barring on flanks. Black-backed Woodpecker with all black back. Hairy Woodpecker with more white on face, no barring on flanks, red cap in male.

Personal Notes: Seen in the Laramie Mountains (Medicine Bow National Forest).

Mountain Chickadee

Scientific Name: Poecile gambeli

Population Estimate: 12M

Range / Habitat: Year-round in dry, montane forests of the American West up to western Canada.

Field Notes: Small, active passerine with oversized round head. Striking black and white head with black neck and grey body. The white eyebrow differentiates from Black-capped Chickadee, Boreal Chickadee, and Chestnut-backed Chickadee.

Personal Notes: Chickadees are hard to photograph but we have been able to "lure" them by tapping rocks together and mimicking their call.

04 June, 2011

Green-tailed Towhee

Scientific Name: Pipilo chlorurus

Population Estimate: 4.1M, Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in dry shrub land of montane American West. Winters extending into Mexico.

Field Notes: Small towhee but large and long-tailed for an American sparrow. Overall grey bird with striking rufous crown, white throat, and olive-green patches on wing. Ascending cat-like mew call, reminiscent of a Grey Catbird.

Personal Notes: Seen at Vedawoo outside of Laramie, then again in the Bighorn Mountains. Once again seen on Deseret Ranch in Utah.