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9137Crag Crest birds, etc.

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  • leon stigen
    Aug 19, 2014
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      Hi my fellow birders! I hiked the entire 11 mile Crag Crest loop on the Grand Mesa yesterday. It was a beautiful day for my "expedition".  I saw 3 "firsts" that I had never seen before on this hike(through the years, I've lost track of all the times I've hiked this loop. Anyway, I saw 3 male three-toed woodpeckers all in the same dying spruce tree at different elevations. What made this a first for me was that this spruce tree was right along the trail clear up on top!
         Then, I caught sight of a very large bird with a white tail flying up country above the large lake below me. I was pretty sure what it was, and, sure enough, when I hiked up the trail where I could see more of the terrain below and ahead of me, there sat a bald eagle in a spruce tree surveying the surrounding country. I'm sure that bald eagles get up in that country fairly regularly, but this is the first time I have seen one from the top of the Crag Crest!
         One last thing. I saw and heard 7 or 8 pikas during my hike(both in the rock talus up top and in several rocky areas off of the lower trail. I have hiked this loop when I didn't see or hear any pikas, so it was with some great relief to see that they are doing so well up there. I have heard and read that they think that the pikas in the high Sierras are not doing so well(the cause is usually attributed to global warming among other things).
         Lee Stigen
         Grand Junction
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