Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Hayspur Fish Hatchery

Stoddard Davenport

Hi IBLErs,

In case you missed it, yesterday afternoon Jordanne Holst eBirded a Rose-breasted Grosbeak from her backyard on-site at the Hayspur Fish Hatchery. A few hours later she shared a couple of great photos to Facebook to get confirmation (I think she's planning to add these to her checklist). Apparently the bird visited her feeders on Saturday and Sunday. This morning a handful of birders went looking for it, including me and Ellen. We got there just before 11 and quickly caught our first glimpse of the bird from across the small pond/creek behind her house. We stood here and looked across the water at her backyard feeders: 43.338925, -114.147618.

It was the only bird on the feeders. Much larger/chunkier than House Sparrows and House Finches, with strongly contrasting white underparts and black back. We went back to the other side of the house to try to get a better view of the bird's front and couldn't find a vantage point we liked better, and when we got back to the first viewpoint the bird was gone. We hung out waiting for it to make another appearance and occasionally heard it vocalize (just one or two notes at a time of a slow whistly call, more flute-like than other finchy sounds in the area), and then finally the bird flew directly over our heads at maybe 15 feet or so off the ground. The white windows in the wings were immediately apparent, and as it got closer the red on the breast and under the wings was unmistakable. It flew past us and around a large Russian Olive tree, and then I lost sight of it as it was headed into the willows along Loving Creek just west of the hatchery. It seemed like maybe it landed somewhere in this general area: 43.336928, -114.148836

I had to leave to get back to work but a couple of others were still there looking when I left. I bet it will continue to visit the feeders, but if it's not at the feeders it might be worth birding along the creek in addition to the trees around the hatchery itself.

Good birding!

Stoddard and Ellen Davenport


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