When I left the mountain to produce this story (and warm my non-gaiter-protected frozen toes), Dave Mehlman and Jesse Vooz had spotted a total of 11 bird species. By the end of the day, the list was substantially longer: 27 species, including four raptors.
Says Mehlman, "The most interesting bird turned out to be the Canyon Wren we heard up the trail, which was the only one on the entire count."
Not being a birder myself, following in the footsteps (literally) of these two pros was a real treat. What seemed, at first, like a beautiful but solitary landscape quickly morphed into a place brimming with life as they pointed out the sights and songs that should have been obvious all along.
If you’re thinking of giving it a try, here’s some inspiration in the form of Mehlman’s final list:
1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, 1 American Kestrel, 3 Northern Flicker (Red-shafted), 7 Western Scrub-Jay, 1 Chihuahuan Raven, 1 Mountain Chickadee, 3 Juniper Titmouse, 12 Bushtit, 1 Canyon Wren, 2 Bewick's Wren, 1Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 39 Western Bluebird, 14 Townsend's Solitaire, 6 American Robin, 2 Spotted Towhee, 4 Rufous-crowned, Sparrow, 4 Canyon Towhee, 1 White-crowned Sparrow, 16 Dark-eyed Junco, 6 Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon), 2 Dark-eyed Junco (Pink-sided), 6 Dark-eyed Junco (Gray-headed), 7 Cassin's Finch, 6 House Finch, 1 Pine Siskin