Flammulated Owl Surveys near Ashton, Idaho

Our survey near Ashton, Idaho, was indeed delayed one night due to bad weather, mainly wind.  The wind died down over the next day, and we spent most of the day birding at nearby Chester Dam and the riparian area that leads to it.  It turned out to be one of our best warbler days in Idaho, including lots of Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers, a few Wilson’s and Orange-crowned Warblers, and a single MacGillivray’s Warbler.  We also picked up a new state bird (for me!), Eastern Kingbird.

Yellow Warbler

Pine Siskins were the most abundant species, moving around in small flocks from 20 to 50 individuals.  A lot of flycatchers were out, too, including Cordilleran, Dusky, and Hammond’s. A single male Bobolink was also in the riparian area.

Pine Siskin
Dusky Flycatcher
Bobolink – male
Bobolink – male
Eastern Kingbird

With the weather looking better, we were able to complete our Flammulated Owl survey that night.  Before dark, we heard Ruffed Grouse and Hermit Thrush, and spotted a few Calliope Hummingbirds during our vegetation surveys.  We didn’t hear any Flammulated Owls during our survey, but we did flush a Great Horned Owl on the way to our last point.  We finished the survey in record time since the elevation change was not very drastic and we were able to start very close to our points with only a short walk in.  Just as we set up our tent for the night, the wind picked up, and we were treated to another night of the tent wall smacking us in the face.  The rain persisted through most of the morning, but we made a quick stop at a marsh where we called out a Sora, and finally got a great look at a species that has been avoiding us for a long time!  Check out Alex’s post about the Sora for more photos.


On our way home in the rain, we didn’t make many stops for birds, but found these Cliff and Bank Swallows lined up together on barbed wire near American Falls Dam.

Cliff and Bank Swallows

Later this week I will head out with our new co-worker Morgan to continue owl surveys where Alex and I left off.  Also check out Alex’s post about his first week of Flammulated Owl surveys.