Mount Elden Black-chinned Sparrows
8 Jun 2013, 10:14 AM,
Mount Elden Black-chinned Sparrows
This morning I made my annual sacrifice of blood and sweat to the Mt. Elden birding gods in the hopes that I'd be given a chance to see the local population of Black-chinned Sparrows that summers (and presumably breeds) on the south-facing slopes of the mountain. I first found this population of birds in 2010 and have checked for them annually since. The area I have found them is above and east of Elden Spring on the sun-baked and spine-ridden rocky slopes of the mountain. Getting up there is very hard going, and getting down tends to be worse. That said, the scenery is wonderful, and with an early start the heat isn't so bad.

Today I found either 3 or 4 BCSPs (1 female, 2 or 3 males), with two singing wonderfully.

Black-chinned Sparrow

Black-chinned Sparrow

These birds were at about 7400 feet, and I plotted their location on the Google map below. In past years I have found BCSPs quite a ways to the east of this spot, so I suspect they may be widespread along the entire slope of the mountain.

View Elden BCSPs in a larger map

Up near the BCSPs other birds included Red Crossbills, White-throated Swifts, Blue-gray gnatcatchers, Spotted Towhees, and Virginia's Warblers. There was no activity at Elden Spring when I passed by. Despite the blood-letting, it is a fine morning when I can walk from my house to a population of BCSPs.

21 Jun 2013, 8:36 AM,
RE: Mount Elden Black-chinned Sparrows
Since your post, Jason, I've been meaning to check out the Elden Trail side I saw a BCSP there a couple years ago. I appeased the birding gods with a quick visit this morning and was rewarded one BCSP. It had a beak full of insects, so probably feeding nestlings. It was in the a brushy slope of mountain mahogany after the rocky section of the trail and before the intersection where Fat Man's Loop trail goes north. Didn't hear any, in fact few birds were singing; the wind was picking up between 7 & 8 am. I'll try earlier next time.

Other birds - Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Flicker, Hairy Woodpecker 1, Broad-tailed Hummer 4, Crow 1, W. Bluebirds 3, Bushtit 2, Pygmy Gnatcatcher 3, Blue-gray gnatcatcher 1, Virginia's Warbler 1, Chipping Sparrow 2, Spotted Towhee 4, Red Crossbills 4, Lesser Goldfinch 3.

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