Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Color

About the only color around here in the winter bird-world are the wintering ducks and our residents woodpeckers. Been out a few times recently. We'll start in my backyard in Edgewater. I have a seed feeder and a suet basket. Every winter for the past couple years I've had a pair of Downy's who frequent the suet.

I enjoy going out and looking for ducks in the winter. It's been persistently cold so most of the lakes are totally ice covered. A few little open holes, but not many. So lots of the ducks go to the creeks and rivers that say open, making for closer approaches. Gadwalls aren't the most colorful of ducks, but the males do have some color on their backs, and both sexes have nice mottling on their breasts, I think. I always enjoy the Green-winged teals. Shovelers are ever present in huge numbers here in the winter. Don't often see them in running water, but I found a couple along Clear Creek in Edgewater. The weak afternoon sun was just right on this one male. .

Down along the South Platte last week, I found a couple of Great Blue Herons in the ponds below Chatfield. They looked very cold.

Was out at Bear Creek Lake the other day looking for ducks but never got anything good. Was walking out thru the downed Cottonwoods and the shadow of a big stubby bird flew over. No, two. I'd spooked a pair of Great Horned Owls. They were anxious to get back to sleep so I worked quickly, but got a shot of both.

Walking around Sloan Lake the other day watching a flock of Canada Geese taking off from the lake to go feed up by the tennis courts. I noticed one that looked a bit different. They were moving fast, but looked like a white head in the group. I finished my walk and got my camera and binocs out when I got back to the car and went looking. I spent a good twenty minutes glassing the hundreds of grazing birds before I picked out a dark Snow Goose. Certainly sounded different, but seemed perfectly happy in with the White Cheeked fowl.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pueblo Reservoir October 2011

Needed a quick get-a-way from all the family obligations of late, so camped over night at Pueblo Reservoir. Birding was slow, but I did find this nice Canyon Towhee, a first for me, right in the campground. A very stocky bird.

Down by the river, a saw an Osprey land on a big old dead tree, but it was pretty far off. Also found this pretty butterfly feeding on the lingering rabbit brush.

There was a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers working the willows along the river, but never got a decent shot.

Back home, hanging around the last blossoms on the Butterfly Bush was this dragon fly.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

No Birds

Been a messed-up summer with family medical emergencies. Did get over to the wildlife area at Crown Hill Park in Wheat Ridge the other day. Didn't see many birds, but did shoot a few pics of insects, reptiles and such.

The water was high with tons of dragon flies out over the flooded field. They are very interesting insects. I have to research why it is some fly around attached to one another. I assume it's a mating thing, but I don't know.

Also saw this nice green frog hiding out in the duck weed. Had to really look closely to pick it out.

I always enjoy turtles. Don't know why, I just like them. They are difficult to sneak up on, however. This particular one has a slug riding along on it's shell.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer 2011

It's been kind of a lost summer. Spent a good month or more dealing with family emergency issues, so didn't have a lot of time out in the field. Missed the best part of the season. But, I have gotten out a few times. Went camping with Connie along the Arkansas. Been out to Bear Creek Lake Park, Chatfield, and White Ranch Open Space. I'll just post the pics, and not worry about a lot of story here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

First Part of April

Birding has been pretty slow so far this spring. I did take a trip down to Pueblo Reservoir earlier in the spring to look for Bluebirds. I saw a few, but it was windy and birding was tough. It's such a windy dry spring. I hope that doesn't deter migration, but it does seem slow to me.

I heard about a Mandarin Duck over at Prospect Park in Wheat Ridge. Drove over there one afternoon to a small crowd of birders and photogs looking for it. Sure enough there it was as reported over by the dock and in love with a female Mallard who's side he rarely left. Gorgeous duck. I don't know much about them, except that they certainly aren't native to North America. Almost certainly an escapee from a zoo or something. While there I got a couple of shots of a Great Blue Heron on a nest in the Cormorant rookery. Also a pair of Downy Woodpeckers working away in a tree.

Went up to Lair of the Bear the other day up Bear Creek looking for early migrants. It was dead quiet. Didn't see much of anything. While checking a tree where Mountain Bluebirds have nested in the past I spied this hind quarters of a dead mouse hanging out of their hole. I'd bet it's an owl cache. Been reports of an owl up there, but I forget what kind.

Finally, I was up in Indian Creek Canyon down in Douglas County yesterday looking for some reported Three-toed Woodpeckers. As usual, the wind was howling and didn't see much. I did come upon this early Swallowtail butterfly fighting the wind down low on the ground.

Hopefully I'll come across some good migrants soon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Long-tailed Duck

Went down to the Platte again to look for the reported Long-tailed Duck. Found it this time. Female. Not an especially colorful bird, but very interesting and a lifer for me. Also saw the odd hybrid again. People have been speculating on what it might be. I wonder if maybe it's not a cross between a Northern Pintail and a Eurasian Wigeon. Just a thought. Perhaps it's just a maturing male with those odd cheek patches.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ducks on the Platte

Been hearing reports of a Long-tailed Duck down on the South Platte in Denver. Lots of ducks down there in the winter cause the river usually stays open. Went twice before I found what, at first, I thought was the Long-tailed. Now, I'm thinking it's some kind of hybrid, or a molting Pintail. Pretty duck, all the same.

Also saw some Hooded Mergansers, Common Merganser, and Buffleheads, and
Common Goldeneye, . Ducks are so beautiful. They keep birding interesting in the dead of winter.