Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fishing Convention

The fish were floppin, the grebes creeking, pelicans cruising, frogs chirping, doves cooing, gulls crying - it was a spring cacophony, and a  fishing convention.  Rocky Dog and I went camping out to Jackson Lake State Park out on the high plains two weeks ago in late April.  It's only about 60 miles north east of Denver to Jackson Lake, a fairly large irrigation impoundment near Fort Morgan.

We arrived early afternoon and set-up camp right next to the lake.  I counted, and on average you could hear a large carp flopping in the shallows every five seconds.  Amazing.  Took Rocky a bit to adjust to it.  He wanted to swim out and get whatever that was. Off across on the eastern half of the lake I could see a large congregation of white pelicans, western grebes and gulls.  Next morning we woke about dawn to a cacophony of bird noise.  There was a huge bunch of birds out fishing.  Pelicans were scooping up fish and flipping them up to swallow.  Grebes were catching crayfish every dive only to have many of them stolen by marauding gulls.  It was amazing. A real fishing convention. It was so immense and so hopelessly backlit there was no way to really catpure it with the camera.  I just sat there and marveled at it.  It didn't last that long.  Then, they were mostly gone.  Off to other area lakes, or on to the migration journey, who knows.

I had gone out to Jackson hoping to photograph some bbb migrants - big beautiful birds - but I really didn't see that many.  Maybe a week too early?  Been such a cold wet spring, maybe migration is just late this year.   Lots of blackbirds, lots of chatty western kingbirds, all twitterpated with spring love, but I only saw one bullock's oriole, one western tanager, and one brown thrasher and those were just glimpeses while driving.  Also saw the usual turkey, a high flying bald eagle, and lots of cormorants.  Walking early one morning, we came across this family of foxes.  Momma fox had five kits.  She ran off, but the babies were curious and kept coming up out of the culvert to see just what Rocky was. He was, of course, captivated by the little foxes.  Just stood there watching them with me. y

Drove up Bear Creek Canyon the other day to do some birding in the Liar of the Bear Park.  Again, I was disappointed not to find any really bright migrants.  Maybe cause there was a large group of school kids on a field trip.
Common grackle at Jackson Lake State Park.  Their irri   is just amazing. 

I think this is a brown thrasher.  It was pretty far away.  I have seen them at Jackson Lake before. 

There was a momma fox and five kits living in a culvert not far from our camp.  I heard them yipping during the night.

Did see a black-headed grosbeak.  Always lots of wrens around.  Several wrens and nuthatches were fighting over a nesting hole.  I think the nuthatches won out, but it was quite a commotion.  Found another pair of wrens cleaning out a hole for nesting.

Western kingbirds were everywhere, all twitterpatted with spring. 

Lots of great blue herons at Jackson Lake.

Hundreds of white pelicans at Jackson Lake. 
Pair of black-headed grosbeaks at Liar of the Bear.

I'm not very good at identifying butterflies, but got this one at Liar of the Bear.

Black capped chickadee at Liar of the Bear feeding in the blossoming wild plum.  

Killdeer down at our local pond in Arvada.

Sand lily at Liar of the Bear. 

Wilson's warbler at Liar of the Bear. 

Wren cleaning house at Liar of the Bear.

One of my fav wildflowers, a little yellow violet.