City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

November 8, 2016

November 8th

Filed under: Gambel's Oak, Meadow Mile 1.3, River birch, Sounds, Stream, Unidentified, Watercress — canopus56 @ 11:13 pm

Birding Season Starts

2:30 p.m. On this warm, clear fall day, the first mile of the canyon is now leafless, and this has opened up the lower canyon. In the spring and summer, the first mile is green tube. One can see only a few feet into the surround thicket of Gambel’s oaks and River birches. At most, vision penetrates 20 or 30 feet, and this provides good cover for birds. In the summer, you can hear many birds behind the leaves’ screen, but it is fruitless to wait and try to catch a glimpse of them. Now with the leaves gone, you see 100, 200, and even 300 feet into the forest and around trunks and branches. The stream is also past its summer minimum; it is a few inches higher, as can been seen by some of the watercress that is now submerged. Since the leaves now longer muffle or block the sound of the stream and the stream makes more noise because of its higher flow. The stream, and not crickets, are the main background sound of in the first mile.

At mile 1.3, I hear an unfamiliar bird call – a series of short chirps. A mid-sized bird with a blue back (it is not a scrub jay) flutters in the middle of a scrub oak copse, but now I can see the bird. I follow it with my monocular as the bird flits from branch to branch, but it is too quick to make a positive identification. But this is a good omen. It marks the beginning of birding season, and things will only improve until next spring. During the coming winter, the cold weather will drive birds closer to the road, where they can be seen, and in the spring, when migrants first return to nest, there will be no leaves to hide them.

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