Saturday, March 31, 2012

Broomfield Open Space Bird Walk

Had a great day of birding today! My dad and I went to the Broomfield Open Space event at the Broomfield Community Center.  We attended the morning bird walk and had a great time.  Best birds were some Bufflehead(doing mating displays), a pair of molting Canvasback, some Lesser Scaup(my 60th month bird) and a pair of American Avocet.  We also saw a Double-crested Cormorant before the walk and I saw a pair of Sharp-shinned Hawks.  After the walk we chatted with many of the vendors who were present at the event, and hopefully we will be able to lead some bird walks for those that were interested!
Here are some pics from the bird walk:
Looking out at the lake.

One of numerous Red-winged Blackbirds establishing their territories around the lake.

The bird walk group.

Part of the float that was on the lake.  Ring-necked Ducks dominated the lake.

A pair of Buffleheads.

One of a few American Coots hanging out on the lake.

A female Mallard that came over to check us out.

On a side note, I finished this month with 62 bird species and have 74 species on the year so far.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Great Day of Birding

Today was an absolutely beautiful day to go birding! With temps in the upper 60's and no wind, things were a perfect recipe for a great day.  I started off the day at Baseline Reservoir in Boulder, scoping the lake with my dad.  We picked up Hooded Mergansers for the month list, as well as I got Great Blue Heron and Eared Grebe for my year list, moving me up to 65 on the year and 50 on the month.  The lake was otherwise fairly quiet so I moved on to Walden Ponds(yes, again, can you tell this is my favorite place to bird??).  At Walden I immediately picked up Common Grackle and Killdeer for the year and added many waterfowl to my day.  A couple Canvasbacks were still hanging around, as well as a handful of Bufflehead.  American Coot and American Wigeon dominated the waterfowl scene though, as they have the last couple times I've been to Walden.  A Pied-billed Grebe and some Northern Shovelers added a little flavor to the waterfowl buffet.  With the boardwalk still under construction(though it appears to be about halfway finished), I headed down the back trail to see what the rest of Walden and the back ponds of Sawhill had to offer.
After a short scan of Duck Lake, I noticed a large raptor heading my way and was ecstatic to discover it to be an Osprey! It flew off over to the Sawhill side and I was in hot pursuit.  After a few yards, though, the calls of some American Goldfinches stopped me in my tracks and I paused to admire these beautiful birds.  After a  brief pause in my chase, I was back after the Osprey.  I soon spotted it and another flying over one of the Sawhill ponds.  About halfway to the pond I suddenly felt all the weight disappear from around my neck, and I looked down just in time to see my binocs hit the trail.  Somehow the strap came undone but no damage was done.  I picked them up and in no time flat came to the edge of the pond and was viewing two outstanding raptors.  I was able to get some decent pictures and some good video, and at one point one of the Osprey flew over me by only 20-ish feet, one of my all time favorite moments of birding.   They continued to circle about, though back on the Walden side, for about 5 minutes before heading off.  I then decided to head back to Cottonwood Marsh and see if I couldn't tease out some different waterfowl.  Along the trail back, a flock of American Goldfinches flew in affording great views.  I paused to watch some Red-winged Blackbirds in a tree and noticed one to be crawling headfirst down a branch(not kidding), which surprised me as I never thought they would be able to pull off such a feet.  A Song Sparrow soon came hopping through the reeds just a few feet in front of me, offering up the best views I've ever seen of this bird.  Scanning the marsh, my heart skipped a beat as I saw a wader standing with it's bill pointed to the sky.  A quick look revealed it to be a Great Blue Heron, and my hopes of it being a bittern were smashed.  Back at Cottonwood Marsh, I met up with a wonderful lady who was just getting into birding.  My dad stopped by about this time and the three of us had a blast discussing birding and looking at the birds on the lake.  I picked up Belted Kingfisher, Horned Grebe and Blue-winged Teal for my year list, bringing me up to 71 on the year.
But...the birding didn't stop there.  On break at work at about 9:15, I saw a Short-eared Owl fly by, bringing my month list up to 59 birds.  Only three days left to March...can I hit 60? Stay tuned!

A pair of Wigeons.

A pair of Bufflehead.

Northern Shoveler.

Canada Geese.

Pied-billed Grebe.

One of numerous Red-winged Blackbirds.

American Goldfinch! One of the most beautiful birds.

The Osprey.

A Robin checking me out while I'm checking him out.

See it?

There he is.

A muskrat.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Upcoming Event- Hummingbird Day Bird Walk

The birds are out in force and the weather has been great for getting outside to bird!  With birds now wearing their vibrant plumage, singing their songs to attract mates and setting up territories, it's hard to miss the signs that spring is here!  Early movers are starting to come through, with my dad seeing some Common Grackles yesterday.  One bird that everyone loves that isn't here yet, though, is the hummingbird.  On April 14th we are going to be celebrating Hummingbird Day! To celebrate this event, Two Ponds NWR in Arvada, CO is going to have a guided hour long bird walk to try to track down hummers at this wonderful  refuge.  This will be followed up by an hour long presentation at City Pizza just down the street.  

Event Details: 
WHEN: Saturday, April 14th. Bird walk at Two Ponds from 7:30-8:30. Presentation to start when we all get to City Pizza.
WHERE: Two Ponds NWR and City Pizza. 
WHO: My dad(Nathan) and I will be leading the bird walk.  Dave Menough from Wild Birds Unlimited will be giving the presentation.
HOW MUCH: FREE!! Just bring yourself, friends, binoculars, cameras(if you want) and a love for birds!

If any more info comes up, I will post it to keep you all updated. Hope to see you all there and happy birding!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day After Spring Birding

Well I wasn't able to get out the first day of spring to do any birding, but I was able to yesterday.  A Mountain Bluebird a couple days ago was year bird #62 and my 40th month bird.  Western Meadowlark and Cooper's Hawk over the weekend brought my month list up to 42.

Yesterday I was able to get out and meet my dad at Sombrero Marsh in Boulder for some birding.  With wonderful weather we saw Song Sparrow, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, a lone Green-winged Teal, Mallard, American Coot, a pair of Red-tailed Hawks, a pair of Bufflehead and Red-winged Blackbirds.  The Song Sparrow was my dad's 52 month bird.
A look out at Sombrero Marsh.

A pair of Northern Shovelers feeding along the marsh grass.

Song Sparrow.  This little guy was very active and acted very "wren-ish."

After spending some time birding Sombrero and discussing the multitude of different calls that Red-winged Blackbirds make, my dad and I parted ways and I headed off to Walden Ponds for a short little birding excursion there.

Looking out over Cottonwood Marsh.  Still no green in the trees, but by this time next month there will be very little brown.

American Coots and a Wigeon.

A female Northern Shoveler in flight.  They have beautiful wing patches.

An American Robin relaxing in the thick brush just off the trail.

Walden had numerous birds on it including a few Canvasback, Ring-billed Gulls, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and a couple Ring-necked Ducks.  The Tundra Swan that had been hanging out here was nowhere to be found.  

Friday, March 16, 2012


March madness...not having enough time to go out to bird.  So far I've gotten to Walden Ponds for a wonderful hour long excursion, as well as some short stops at a couple of ponds near my work on Wednesday before my shift started.  Those stops included a Song Sparrow, bringing my month list up to 39.  A Butterballs(the old name for my favorite of ducks, the Bufflehead) was still around, with a lone female to be seen that day.  A pair of Common Mergansers were hanging out on one of the ponds as well.  Two pairs of Common Goldenye were still hanging around as well.  Redhead, American Coot and American Wigeon were abundant, as I saw about 50 individuals of Redhead and about 20-30 each of Coot and Wigeon.

The weather is warming up here along the Front Range, and I am still looking to beat my dad to seeing the first Killdeer, swallow and Turkey Vulture of the season.  What birds do you look for as a sign that spring is here?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Walden Ponds Trip

So I made my first birding trip of March, and I went to my favorite Colorado birding location, Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat in Boulder, CO.  Even though it was fairly windy, and the boardwalk was closed for construction, I had a blast.  I went to chase down the Tundra Swan that had been hanging out there for the last couple weeks, as well as to enjoy the waterfowl that congregate there.  I met my dad and we birded for a while together before he headed off to work.

A look west over Cottonwood Marsh at Walden Ponds.

The Tundra Swan.

Some Ring-necked Ducks. There were numerous individuals.

An American Coot. A fun little bird to watch.

A pair of Redheads flying away, beautiful duck.

Part of the big float that was across the lake.  There were around 1,000 ducks on the lake.

An American Wigeon and Canvasback.

Close up of a Ring-necked Duck.

Close up Canvasback.

Close up Coot.

The Canvasback.

I added two birds to my year list, Tundra Swan and Canvasback, bringing me up to 62 birds on the year.  I added seven birds to my month list at Walden Ponds, as well as Cackling Goose later on, bringing me up to 31 birds on the month.  I can't wait to get back out to Walden Ponds, hopefully on a less windy day and hopefully on a day when the boardwalk is finally finished!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Success and a New Month

As I write this, the last minute of February fades away.  Thanks to this leap day, I was able to reach and exceed my goal of 40 birds.  A short trip up to Blue Mountain gave me American Goldfinch, bird number 40 on the month, as well as Townsend's Solitaire and Pine Siskin.  The Solitaire was also year bird number 58.  Seeing the Solitaire was a fun as well, as there were two of them chasing each other through and around the trees for the better part of two minutes.  So in total, I finished February with 42 birds.  Now, time to start back at 0 and get ready to find birds this month!