Wednesday, June 29, 2005

First Intern Shift News

Hello Everyone,
The summer field season is now well under way at Hi Mountain Lookout. Three interns started their first official shift this past weekend, and we had a wonderful time! On the first day, Greg and I hiked down to Hi Valley to do some point counts and find some study plots, while Julie and her sister Holly
did telemetry at the lookout. The Hi Valley hike was simply gorgeous! We saw an unidentified falcon (peregrine or prairie?), some White-breasted Nuthatches, a Western wood-pewee, and a Blue-gray gnatcatcher, among others. The hike back up to the Lookout was, of course, long and strenuous, but the following morning Greg (the rockstar!) hiked back down with Julie to do more point counts and some veg work. That day I did telemetry and only got signals for one Pinnacles bird. Despite the long days of field work and only a couple signals, we had a great time! I am looking forward to the rest of my summer at Hi Mountain!
A note on Lookout wildlife… The feeders and birdbath have attracted about 6 or 7 band-tailed pigeons, numerous scrub-jays, a pair of oak titmice and a family group of 5-7 Bewick’s Wrens. I also saw a Rock Wren on the road by the trail to the bathroom! I had never seen one before, but I’m not sure what else it could have been. Long slightly decurved bill, pale/buffy chest, light spotting on the back and a very light supercilliary. I think it may have been a juvenile since the coloration was subtle. Unfortunately, by the time I grabbed my camera to take a shot, the bird was gone.
A Peregrine Falcon soared by the Lookout while we were taking some signals. As it passed the Lookout, it went into a stoop (awesome!!!) and crashed into some scrub oak along Hi Valley trail. It stayed there for some time so it must have caught a fat, juicy quail for lunch! It was definitely the highlight of our day!
On the way home, Julie and I drove the AG side and stopped by a marsh to find some rails or sora. We found a Virginia rail (by almost stepping on it!) and saw a juvenile Bald Eagle fly overhead! Quite an exciting weekend!
Have a great week everyone!
~Jamie Miller
Hi Mountain Intern