Monday, January 19, 2009

White-winged Crossbill #298

The Southwest Idaho Birders Association had a field trip out to the Canyon Hill Cemetery in Caldwell, Idaho and they spotted a solitary White-winged Crossbill on Saturday. I was not able to attend, but their report brought birders from all over to see this rare winter visitor. I was able to go out there today, Martin Luther King Day, and met up with my father-in-law Lynn and a couple other prominent local birders.

Right away I was able to see the White-winged Crossbills feeding on pine cones near the tops of the trees in the cemetery. The folks there before me reported that they counted at least two dozen white-wings. While we checked out Golden-crowned Kinglets, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and Brown Creepers, we had a flock of Red Crossbills munching on pine cones right above our heads. The Red Crossbill numbers have also increased over the last couple of days. The Treasure Valley has been experiencing an inversion and perhaps the weather is moving these birds around in mysterious ways.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finch #297

I had read on the IBLE Yahoo Group that Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finches can be seen in the winter at the cliffs above Discovery Park near Lucky Peak dam just east of Boise.  We finally made it out there today in spite of the chilly wind.  I scanned the cliffs for a good hour and finally a half dozen of them came down over the top of the cliff and worked they way down the steep rocky ledge.  I am told that they sleep in the cliff swallow caves.  A red-tailed hawk sent the rosy-finches into the crevices, but I still got a good five to ten minutes to watch them.