Birding the Burn at Lower Basalt Mountain Species List
May 14, 2021
Friday, May 14, 2021 7am-11:30am
Location: Lower Basalt Mountain
This field trip explored a mosaic of habitats surrounding parts of the 2018 Lake Christine fire that burned 12,000 acres on Basalt Mountain and its surroundings. These habitats include: burned and living pinyon-juniper woodland, and riparian pond, spring, and streamside habitats with willows, aspen, cattails and sedges. The proximity of dry upland and riparian ecosystems brings together a rich diversity of birdlife. While bird activity was fairly quiet throughout the morning, we saw 32 species, including some migratory birds that had just recently arrived. A rock wren near the beginning of our route was difficult to see but its song was loud and clear; we learned about this obscure bird whose talus/rocky slope habitat can keep it below birder’s radar unless familiar with its vocalizations. Mountain bluebirds, broad-tailed hummingbirds, mountain chickadees, and chipping sparrows were the primary species seen in the burned areas today. The pond and streamside riparian areas were active with blackbirds, ducks, woodpeckers, song sparrows, and swallows. Upland habitats, both burned and green, yielded doves, towhees, lazuli buntings, kinglets, and migrating yellow-rumped warblers. High in the sky, we enjoyed excellent views of golden eagles, vultures, hawks, and a kestrel. Still higher, swifts soared, barely visible with binoculars. Join us for upcoming outings next week, exploring more mid-valley habitats and spring migratory birds!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong