leucosticte (from leuko, white, and stictos, varicolored) australis (a hypothetical southern continent)
Saturday, July 8, 2017 — 9:40 am
Mount Evans — Arapaho National Forest, Colorado
I climbed the trail from Summit Lake to the summit of Mount Evans with a group from my work. I was watching out for Brown-capped Rosy-Finches, but I knew I needed a good look because I didn’t have my binoculars. About a third of the way up, west of and high above Summit Lake, I saw two brown birds chasing low over the rocks and down into a gap below a rock. A short time later, I saw another one fly by about 20 feet away. I was pretty sure I was seeing Rosy-Finches, but I couldn’t be sure.
At about 14,000 feet, just before the Summit Lake trail met the trail up from the parking lot, I saw one for sure. A female was preening on a rock about 20 feet off the trail. She paid no attention to me or several other hikers who passed by during the five minutes I watched.
While I was taking photos of her, a male popped out from between rocks just below me, maybe 10 feet away.
He flew to another rock a bit further down the slope and posed for two or so minutes.
The male flew off somewhere, but the female was still on her perch when I continued on my way to the summit.