Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Looking Back: Colorado 1

On August 21st I followed up my early morning encounter with an angry mommy elk by driving into Rocky Mountain National Park. As on my previous visit in 2010, birds were few and far between. However, this time there were plenty of mammals around.

My first sighting was of several deer wandering near the road.


Higher up I kept seeing marmots, sunning themselves on rocks.

This one was doing some stretching exercises to prepare itself for the day ahead.

Pikas were easy to recognize because of their large pale-colored ears.

Chipmunks, of course, were even more distinctive. 

I saw only a few elk until I reached the Alpine Center. From there it was possible to see two large herds, each comprising 200-300 elk.

If mammals were plentiful, birds were not. On my 3-hour drive I saw only: one Steller's Jay, one American Pipit, three Chipping Sparrows and four Black-billed Magpies (below). 

However, on my way out of the park I dropped in at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, where I was a little luckier. American Robins (below) were everywhere, as were Mountain and Western Bluebirds. 

There were a few Lesser Goldfinch and Yellow Warblers, and lots of Cedar Waxwings.

A Broad-tailed Hummingbird disappeared too fast for me to get a photo but I had more luck with this Mountain Chickadees.

So certainly not great birding but definitely much better than in the park itself!    


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