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Posts Tagged ‘Lark Sparrow’

On Sunday morning, I headed back to Bear Canyon Road to look for Sagebrush Sparrow again.  Remember, I was looking for these birds instead of Black Rosy-Finches because I was scared to drive the Beartooth Highway.  I got to the road several hours earlier than the previous day, but I found even fewer species and did not find my target bird.

After two hours of serious searching along the two-mile stretch of road, I set my GPS for Tellico Plains and started driving.  I was soon in Wyoming and enjoying the beautiful landscape, even prettier than Montana if possible.  The distant mountains were gorgeous and before I knew it, I was driving up into those mountains.  The road became narrow and steep with sharp drop-offs and hairpin turns.  A sign at a scenic overlook told me that I was in Bighorn National Forest.  Another sign a short time later stated that the elevation was 9430 feet.

I talked with a guy who had ridden his motorcycle up and he told me that the Beartooth was “a piece of cake” compared to what I had just driven.  I’m not sure that’s true, but I did drive one of Wyoming’s scenic mountain roads that had not even opened for traffic until May 20.  I had been somewhat uncomfortable driving WY 14A, but not terrified.  There was no time to anticipate the road ahead and I had no choice but to keep driving.

After discovering that I can drive mountain roads, my only regret of the trip is not driving the Beartooth Highway to look for Black Rosy-Finches and, of course, enjoy the views on one of the most beautiful roads in America.  Next time …

After I finally got out of the mountains, I drove to Devils Tower.  I was stunned that a piece of rock could be so captivating.  The entire park around the landmark is absolutely gorgeous and easily worth a full or half day to hike the trails.  I walked a short way on one trail and saw this young guy.

And, the park had a prairie dog town! Who doesn’t love prairie dogs?  This time I heard them “talking.”

Update: The prairie dogs at Devils Tower are the same species that I saw at Grasslands National Park, Black-tailed prairie dogs.

Update: The prairie dogs at Devils Tower are the same species that I saw at Grasslands National Park, Black-tailed prairie dogs.

Yesterday, I started the day by crossing the state line just into South Dakota to look for Virginia’s Warbler in Roby Canyon.  It’s an isolated location where you don’t expect to run into anyone else, but I met two other birders.  Together, we searched for a couple of hours without seeing our target bird.  I was disappointed, but at least I could blame the miss on luck rather than lack of birding skill when two top local birders could not find it either.  They described the Virginia’s as one of the warblers that just does not want to be seen.

Here is a pretty female Mountain Bluebird that I did see on the way to Roby Canyon.

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird

I spent most of the afternoon driving through Wyoming and crossed into Nebraska just before I stopped for the night.  Before I left home, I had read about half of “The Oregon Trail” by Rinker Buck, a modern-day adventure with lots of history.  As a child, I was fascinated with the story of pioneers who moved west and now I am seeing the country through which they traveled.

I’ll leave you with a Lark Sparrow that I saw yesterday when I detoured down a random dirt road.  And, now I’m back on the trail, slowly heading home.

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

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