Monday, August 29, 2011

A new lifer! Pine Grosbeak

As a Scoutmaster, I go camping almost every month...and I love it! My family really enjoys camping too, but we've had a hard time working in a weekend of family camping this summer.  Finally, this last weekend, we took the whole kit and caboodle up to the Monte Cristo campground in northern Utah. This is very near the area Kyle and I had gone on the 4th of July to see the Purple Martins and Williamson's Sapsuckers.

While we were unloading the family minivan at our campsite, I heard bird calls I didn't recognize. Of course, I had my binoculars harnessed to my chest and quickly put them on the birds. Well, I'll be...A life bird, Pine Grosbeaks!

That evening and the next morning especially I enjoyed watching several Pine Grosbeaks, males, females, and even juveniles. We had the camera with us, but the distance was too much to get any quality photos.  Oh how I longed for a digiscoping rig!  I'd like to thank the Utah birder/photographers who allowed me to share their quality photos below so you can have a glimpse at the beauty and awesomeness of this mountain bird.

Pine Grosbeak - female - photo by Paul Higgins
Pine Grosbeak - male - photo by Tim Avery
This campout also yielded a couple firsts for my Utah bird list:  Red Crossbill, Clark's Nutcracker, and Golden-crowned Kinglet.  There were also plenty of other mountain specialty birds including: Flammulated Owl - hooting at night and even into the early morning, Stellar's Jay, and Mountain Chickadee.  I also enjoyed Brown Creepers and a Purple Martin fly-over.  There were of course other common birds too.  Not bad for a family campout, wherein birding was secondary!

Below are some maps to help you understand the range of the Pine Grosbeak.


  1. Congrats on the grosbeaks, last week I unsuccessfully spent a few days in Yellowstone/Grand Teton looking for them. I do remember driving past a sign for Monte Cristo afterwards, guess I should have turned!

  2. Oh, congratulations Robert! Sorry you couldn't get any decent photos but these are beautiful. Much thanks to those who shared! You are in my favorite part of the country!

  3. Excellent... A beautiful lifer with some nice pictures. Well done!