Humphrey's Peak (7/11/11)
13 Aug 2011, 6:02 AM,
#1
Humphrey's Peak (7/11/11)
On August 11, 2011, Jesse Maestas and I hiked the Humphrey's Peak trail. We started up fairly late (~11:30am), so the bird activity was slow overall. However, we did have an awesome highlight of a DUSKY GROUSE family (appeared to be the parents and two juveniles) right next to the trail. This was just past where the trail leaves the monoculture of bristlecone pines and there is a bit of a meadow on the left of the trail, near the 11,400 ft sign (before you get to the saddle). Other highlights included a flyover PRAIRIE FALCON and AMERICAN PIPITS above tree-line. We did encounter one mixed foraging flock that was mostly made up of chickadees, but could not find any migrant warblers. Taking our time looking and plants and animals on the way up (and stopping frequently to catch our breath), we did not reach the summit until around 5:00pm. So, heading back down the trail we encountered darkness on the last ~1.5 miles of trail. Right around dusk a NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL called briefly, letting loose a short rapid set of notes before the regularly-paced toots, possibly startled by some other hikers jogging down the trail. Luckily I had my headlamp with me, although the batteries faded and we ended up using the faint light of my cell phone for the last 1/8 mile. Upon reaching the big meadow at Snowbowl, the full moon provided enough light to get back to the car at 8:15pm. Besides the pretty scenery with the moonlight, it was cool to see the flames from the fire burning to the west/southwest (somewhere south of Kendrick Mountain). Definitely an eventful hike!

NOTE: Although Snowbowl Rd. does have a one lane section because of the construction and signs say the road closes at 8:00pm, you can still get down the road if you are parked up at the trailheads past 8pm (the closure is for up-bound traffic so that folks heading down from Snowbowl don't have to worry about anyone coming up the one lane when flaggers aren't present at night).

Here is the sightings list:
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Prairie Falcon (1)
DUSKY GROUSE (4)
Northern Pygmy-Owl (1)
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Western Wood-Pewee
Steller's Jay
Clark's Nutcracker
Common Raven
Mountain Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
House Wren
American Robin
American Pipit
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Dark-eyed Junco

golden-mantled ground squirrel
red squirrel
gray-collared chipmunk


Good birding!!!
Eric Hough
thebirdwhisperer22@yahoo.com


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13 Aug 2011, 6:13 AM,
#2
 
Tons of flowers on the trail too. The names on the photos (when your cursor hovers over them) are mostly abbreviations, so here are their full names: fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), Franciscan bluebells (Mertensia franciscana), Bill William Mountain giant hyssop (Agastache pallidiflora), indian paintbrush species (Castilleja spp.), pink alumroot (Heuchera rubescens), redpod stonecrop (Rhodiola rhodantha), sidebells wintergreen (Orthilia secunda), mountain parsely (Pseudocymopterus montanus)--the red variety, San Francisco Peaks groundsel (Packera franciscana), and a shot of Snowbowl I took the day before the hike with mostly larkspurs (Delphinium sp.) and sneezeweeds (Hymenoxys hoopesii). I think they are identified correctly, but please comment if they're wrong!

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