Upon arrival, we checked out where a pair of Cooper's Hawks had been seen making a nest earlier in the week, and they were still there today. A flock of Blue Jays came around to harass the hawks which made for an enjoyable sight. When the other two birders showed up, we headed down to the north eastern pond to find the Black-crowned Night-herons that hang around in the trees there. After tracking down the herons, we headed out along the first loop trail. Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds abounded, and pretty soon we tracked down our first Yellow-rumped Warbler of the day as well as our first pair of Bushtits. The Bushtits nested in the Refuge last year and from what we saw today it looks like they may be nesting there again this year. That is very exciting for me as they are my favorite bird. We hiked up to the canal and found Spotted Towhee and Song Sparrow. A Green-tailed Towhee made a brief appearance as well. Walking over to the bridge, we headed into the western complex. We thought we heard an oriole, but were unable to track it down. Another pair of Bushtits made an appearance, as did an Orange-crowned Warbler and another Spotted Towhee. A pair of Wood Ducks made a fly by and landed in the canal, but we were unable to find them on our return walk. Although the ducks eluded us, a pair of Eastern Phoebes made a surprise appearance just a few feet from us. These were new birds for the Refuge and a good bird to see in Colorado. A flock of sparrows got our attention and we put our sparrow identification knowledge to the test and were pleasantly surprised to find them to be Clay-colored Sparrows. We worked our way back to the entrance with no new birds to add to the list.
Our fellow birders headed out, and we set out to check on and refill the hummingbird feeders we had around the entry area. While we were doing this, we were treated to some great views of the Cooper's Hawks as they flew close by to us while making sure we weren't bothering their nest. A Red-tailed Hawk made a flyover and was immediately mobbed by two crows. I snapped off a quick picture of the action which is now one of my all time favorite photos. A Swainson's Hawk made a brief appearance as well. We finished up with the feeders and then looked around a little more. We heard a Broad-tailed Hummingbird fly through the park but did not see it. After a great three hours of birding, we called it a day and headed home. We compiled a list of 36 birds and had a great time. As always I can't wait for the next one.
Starting the morning off right.
Robins to welcome us.
The Cooper's Hawk building her nest.
One of the Black-crowned Night-herons.
Our little group. Thank you for coming!
A Common Grackle "hiding" in the reeds.
Song Sparrow along the canal.
Red-winged Blackbird making a statement.
Singing his heart out, a Spotted Towhee.
More of the many and beautiful apple blossoms throughout the Refuge.
Taking care of the feeders.
Cooper's Hawk flyover.
The picture. A pair of American Crows harassing a Red-tailed Hawk.