Monday, January 7, 2008

Are there Oreos a Mile high?

As you know, single person who reads my blog, I went to CO. Jan 5 to see a Streak-backed Oriole that had been hanging out in someone's yard since Dec. 8th. My instructions were to be at the house at 7:ooam , enter through the garage, take my shoes off and view the feeders from the kitchen. I got up at 5am and drove up to Loveland. I got there just before 7am. At 7am there was no garage door open or inviting driveway light so I decided to wait until 7:30 and call. At about 7:20 this note was taped to the front window. "NO Oriole" Well, what can I say. The Streak-backed Oriole may become my "Moby Dick" now.

I headed out to Fort Collins using the advice of the book "Where the Birds Are" to bird the Ft.Collins/Denver area. The winds were howling with gusts up to 60mph so it turned into a birding by car day for the most part. I headed to Horsetooth Reservoir I believe it was called which is an area known for raptors and despite the high winds they were out. 2 Bald Eagles, one soaring on the winds eating a fish in its talons! 2 Prairie Falcons which were a huge highlight for me! Also a Red-tailed Hawk hunting with its head to the wind & wings against is body as a hawk would look in a dive.
That was a great stop. On the way to the Reservoir I got an excellent look at a Ferruginous Hawk which is apparently common in Winter in the Denver area but this is the only one I saw. I also saw Common Ravens which I thought I would have a hard time distinguishing from crows and wasn't sure I would see, but they are huge like a big hawk soaring and large, hoppy, croaky, shaggy -necked things up close easily distinguished from crows. Other highlights were a Canyon Wren at Red Rocks the afternoon before and a Mountain Chickadee at Barr Lake State Park east of Denver (rare down out of the Mountains like that)
Another awesome high point of the trip is when I was driving down from Estes Park near Rocky Mtn. Natl' Park seeing nothing(rain/snow/wind) I stopped at a pull off in the middle of nowhere to look and listen. I quickly spotted a Stellar's Jay, common out there but holy bananas they are cool looking! That was all I saw so I decided to try pishing just for the hell of it. I started hearing little peeps all around and all of the sudden I was closely surrounded by about 10 little grey peeping birds who checked me out and then flew on across the road. Bushtits! another lifer for me! I believe that is 9 life birds for me on the trip so it ended up worth it. I saw this, what I presume to be a Mule dear, where I saw the Bushtits.
Even regular birds are different out West. I saw what I assumed was an"Oregon" Dark-eyed Junco but it looked pink and washed out. I opened the book to learn there are "Pink-sided Juncos" Cool!

This is a carved tree I saw somewhere along a road about 80ft tall.

This was a bronze statue next to an otherwise unmarked piece of private property. And me locked in mortal aerial combat with it....or bizarre mating ritual depending on how you want to look at it. Or maybe just a dork by a statue?

This is a raptor viewing blind at the Cathy Fromme Nature Area overlooking meadow with praire dogs in it. On this day however the wind was absolutely brutal and I could only stay for about 10 min. and so no raptors here.

Although I didn't see the Streak-backed Oriole I came for I did have a good time and got about 9 life birds!

Colorado trip list - 33 species 9 life birds!

Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
COMMON MERGANSER Mergus merganser
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
PRAIRIE FALCON Falco mexicanus
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
STELLAR'S JAY Cyanocitta stelleri
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
COMMON RAVEN Corvus corax
BUSHTIT Psaltriparus minimus
CANYON WREN Catherpes mexicanus
American Robin Turdus migratorius
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
House Sparrow Passer domesticus

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice job weirdo.