Sunday, September 23, 2012

Two Ponds Bird Walk 9-22-12

Another great bird walk at Two Ponds NWR! Thanks to everyone who showed up!
This will most likely be the last bird walk that my dad and I will have lead at Two Ponds unless a special bird walk or birding event is organized at the refuge later in the year.  I know that I have had a great time leading bird walks and birding the refuge, and I know my dad has loved it as well.
We started the bird walk at 7am and the weather was a little chilly but not bad.  Our group of about 15 split up and some went with my dad and the others with myself.  My group went up to the canal to walk the path there and explore a section of the refuge that we hadn't birded yet before.  This part of the refuge is accessible via the open year round western section of the refuge.  American Robins were EVERYWHERE.  The choke cherries and plums and other fruiting plants were chock full of berries, which are attracting robins and other birds in large numbers.  Downy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker, Colorado's smallest and largest woodpeckers, were both present and feasting on the fruits.  A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk made a flyover.  Once we got to the canal, four Wood Ducks made a flyby, and both groups were able to see these magnificent waterfowl.  Robins, robins and more robins, with some Common Grackles, Blue Jays and Rock Pigeons also made appearances.  A Cooper's Hawk made a short appearance, but stayed hidden and hard to see.  We meandered along the trail enjoying the colors and birds, but no other birds of special note made appearances.  We headed back into the main part of the refuge and went to meet up with my dad's group.  We joined them near the blind and jumped into the finding and identification of a warbler that was working the trees there.  We all worked hard to try to see this drab little bird well enough to make an identification, and after a few minutes and some discussion, came to the identification of it as a Tennessee Warbler. This is a new bird for the refuge and a great bird to see in the state at any time!  We were able to get some decent views of the bird before it flew off.  A few seconds passed and I noticed a bird at the top of a tree and after getting glass on it, called out Western Tanager.  A male and female sat in a spot that allowed nice views and most everyone was able to see these wonderful and beautiful birds.  We all congregated at the main area of the refuge and were awed by the amount of calls and birds that were in the trees.  Dozens upon dozens of birds were present.  A Spotted Towhee made a brief appearance, as did a small flock of Cedar Waxwings.  Black-capped Chickadee, Orange-crowned  and Wilson's Warblers were also about.  After birding the area for a while, we all packed up and headed to City Pizza for Dave's presentation on binoculars.  A female Broad-tailed Hummingbird made a brief flyby during the presentation as well, but we were unable to point it out to anyone due to the briefness of it's appearance.

In total we saw 33 species, with the highlights being Tennessee Warbler and Western Tanager.

Morning light and colors at the refuge.

The juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

The path along the canal.

Two Mallards. Did you know, male Mallards can't quack? Only the female can and their quack doesn't echo.

Looking out over the refuge.

Geese in formation.

Very hard to see, but it's the Tennessee Warbler. Shows how difficult seeing them can be.

Mr. and Mrs. Western Tanager.

A reflection.

I just want to thank Joyce for getting these walks set up! Look forward to leading more whenever the time comes again!

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