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.