Nature Adventures

  • September 2017 Virginia Rails

    Cherry Creek State Park is a lovely park in the southeast Denver/Aurora metroplex. Over the 18 years I have been birding, I've been there scores of times. One of my favorite experiences has been to sit quietly on a bench at the end of the walk to the wetlands and watch the shallow water or Cherry Creek for rails and soras...and the odd Wilson's Snipe, Common Yellowthroat or other fun bird. This year, I went again and was rewarded with exciting views of two Virginia Rails after only about 10 minutes sitting unobtrusively on the bench. They are so close! It's just amazing. The cattails have really grown in throughout that wetland over the past 18 years, and now our open water viewing area has shrunk to an area of only about 40 sq ft and that is sort of sad, but I guess it's just nature. I still got what I went for at 7:30 in the morning.
    If you haven't had this glorious early morning experience, I wish it upon you now!
  • Steamboat Springs August 2017

    Colorado's Steamboat Springs and Routt National Forest is absolutely a treasure. If you haven't visited, get on it. When my husband and I camped in Dumont Campground on Rabbit Ears Pass in mid-August, we happened to be in a spot just across the campground road from a couple of bird magnet bushes plus the wildflowers were sensational. Earlier I posted my two prize photos (Townsend's Warbler and Orange-crowned Warbler), but in this post I'll offer a bunch of other photos that, although perhaps not of great value in terms of their beauty, are quite interesting. I think you'll see the variety of birds and sites we had just sitting in two camp chairs next to our RV. Sometimes we find the most variety by just sitting still.

    Here are a few scenes from Routt National Forest, including the Rabbit Ears.
      

      Dumont Lake

     

    Aren't these two snuggly juvenile Cordilleran Flycatchers the cutest?
     
     
     
     
     

     

     And how about this bedraggled little Ruby-crowned Kinglet. It was the strong wing-bar and his "flittiness" that gave away his identity.

                 

     We saw a lot of White-crowned Sparrows,

    Chipping Sparrows,  

    Mountain Chickadees, 

    Dark-eyed Juncos,

    And Yellow-rumped Warblers everywhere you looked.

     
     

    And this must be a Lincoln's Sparrow. Speak up under "Comments" if you disagree.

    This bird had me going. I was thinking American Goldfinch, but now, in light of the very yellow vent and the slightly larger bill, I'm thinking Western Tanager lst year. Comments?  

    Baby American Robins seem to lack the dignity of the adult types.
    This female Wilson's Warbler found a caterpillar to eat.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    And, finally, here is a real winner for me..a first year Green-tailed Towhee, one of my very favorite birds. I guess the beautiful rufous head decoration will come later. 



     
    Happy Fall Birding to All!!

  • Orange-crowned Warbler

    Here's another beauty that popped up for me at Dumont Campground near Steamboat Springs. This is a bird I have found difficult to identify, difficult to separate from other beautiful yellow birds. During my struggle to come up with the proper ID, I learned that the Orange-crowned Warbler has no wing bars, has an unmarked tail, and tends toward gray on the top side and the head. The bright yellow coverts sort of threw me off, but they are all part of this guy's costume.

     

  • Migration Hits my Back Yard

    This tidy little bird showed up on my ground feeder last evening. It's a Clay-colored SparrowSparrow eating millet and is a new bird for our back yard.It's not rare in Colorado, but is usually seen a bit more to the east than the Denver area. It has been wolfing millet seeds like crazy and showed up this morning with two of its buddies.It has been a strange day at the ground feeder. All kinds of birds have been having a go at the millet even though they don't usually like it, and really don't have the equipment to pick up those little seeds and crack them, Blue Jays in numbers, a Common Grackle, even a Magpie. The sparrow has been drinking at the birdbath also. I wonder how long they'll stay. Here are a couple more pictures of this well-marked little bird. I like its gray neck collar.