City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

July 7, 2017

June 29th

Hidden Nests

3:00 p.m. On December 10th and after last season’s leaves had fallen, I made an inventory of nests visible along the first two miles of road. There were thirty-six bird nests. This season although there are many birds raising broods along the road, I cannot find a single nest, and this includes rechecking the locations of last year’s nests. The nests are hidden behind a screen of leaves. Known snag nests in tree holes are empty. They were probably made by Downy Woodpeckers (Picoides pubescens) or the rarer Lewis woodpeckers. Over the years, I have come to suspect that the Downy woodpeckers have moved to the cooler up canyon and have abandoned any nestbuilding in the hotter lower canyon. Hummingbirds have not rebuilt any of the last years’ four nests in the brush around picnic site 1. It may also be too early in the year of some of the canyon’s hummingbirds to nest. Four species of hummingbirds visit the canyon, and in order of frequency, they are: the Black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) whose males have a black-head; the Broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus), whose males have a bright pink-red patch with a green breast; the Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) whose males have a red chin; and the rarer Calliope hummingbird (Stellula calliope), whose males do not have a green breast.

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Per Thoreau’s “Journal” on June 29th, 1852, he describes white and yellow lilies, notes that blueberries are ripe, and sees thistle and columbine. On June 29th, 1859, he describes a warbler.

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On June 29th, 1938, Richard R. Jones was fined $3 for setting a campfire in City Creek Canyon (Salt Lake Telegram). On June 29th, 1915, work began constructing the 5,000,000 gallon reservoir at Pleasant Valley (Salt Lake Herald). On June 29th, 1907, an automobilist was cited for ignoring a large sign at the mouth of City Creek stating “No automobiles allowed in the canyon” (Intermountain Republican). On June 29th, 1899, City Creek patrolman Brown warned July 4th holiday campers that the making of campfires, shooting wildlife or fishing was prohibited in City Creek Canyon (Salt Lake Herald). On June 29th, 1872, St. Marks school announced their annual school children picnic in City Creek would be held (Salt Lake Herald).

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