Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring is in the Air

Ah...spring. The season where the weather gets warmer, days get longer, flowers start blooming, trees leaf out and, of course, spring migration occurs.  The time of year birders dream about, with the birds showing off in their brightest plumage, ear delighting songs and surprise appearances.  Though it isn't quite spring yet, the birding is picking up and March is probably my second favorite month to bird(second only to September).   I haven't been able to get out to bird much, but that looks to change in the coming months as due to a variety of changes in life, my schedule should be freeing up.  That means more birding adventures which in turn means more activity on my blog.   I was able to squeeze in two hours of birding yesterday at the wondrous Walden Ponds in Boulder.  I absolutely love that place and one of my earliest birding memories is of my dad taking me their to bird early in March many years back.  Well enough of the daydreaming about the coming spring and nostalgic talk of years past, let's get on to the birding trip wrap up.

Walden Ponds is a gem of a birding spot located in Boulder, Colorado. Walden has a diversity of habitats that attract birds ranging from swans to warblers, Sora to Osprey, and a trip at any time of the year(but especially during the months of March-June) will be productive and fun.  They have done some renovations to the trails and boardwalk, but nothing that changed any habitat.  My friend let me borrow his Canon Rebel t2i/550D, so I was very excited to put it through its paces and see what pictures I could take.  I got to Walden in the early afternoon.  To my surprise and delight(I haven't checked the rare bird alert lately, otherwise it wouldn't have been such a surprise to me), 12 Tundra Swans were gracing the lake with their presence.  A multitude of other waterfowl, including Canvasback, Redhead, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye and more dotted the surface Cottonwood Marsh.  I didn't have my binoculars with me but my car kept 8x21 monocular provided decent views as the light was good.  The t2i paired with a 55mm-250mm  lens took good pictures and provided a good viewing medium as well.  Outside of the waterfowl, there was not much bird activity.  I walked along the boardwalk and along the trails to Sawhill Ponds, but no birds showed themselves outside of a distant Red-tailed Hawk.  Some geese were setting up territories on one of the Sawhill lakes.  With the bird life being very quiet, I decided to head back to Cottonwood Marsh and see what other birds showed up, as well as to meet my dad and bird with him for a little bit.  I met up with my dad about 20 minutes later, and we had a nice conversation with another birder about bird life at Walden.  My dad and I spent about an hour birding, scanning the lake, walking the boardwalk and chatting with other birders and locals we met along the walk.  The bird life didn't change much, outside of a very distant Northern Harrier. A couple other birders had seen the Great Horned Owls by the South Boulder Creek, but we didn't have enough time to walk that far.  A wren made a flash appearance and disappeared into the weeds before we could get a look at it beyond a quick glimpse.  Red-winged Blackbirds started popping up and call-defending their territories.  There weren't many small birds at all, but the waterfowl made up for it.  I was very impressed with the t2i and had a very enjoyable day of birding overall, and can't wait to go back in the coming months to see what surprises Walden has in store later in the year.

Just a handful of the waterfowl on Cottonwood Marsh.

The Tundra Swans.

The new boardwalk.

Looking out over one of the Sawhill Ponds ponds.

A Red-tailed Hawk flying over the lake. 

Here comes the dad.

A Ring-billed Gull providing a nice photo op.

More pics of the swans.

Red-winged Blackbirds setting up their territories.

No comments:

Post a Comment