Friday, September 28, 2012

Denver Trip (1)

Sunday morning I was up and on the road before dawn, driving to Rocky Mountain National Park. This time I wasn't intending to visit the park itself but just to do a little birding around the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center.

The landscape was beautiful and I shared the Center's grounds with a family of white-tailed deer.

Unfortunately, though, there were no birds except a Pygmy Nuthatch and several Black-billed Magpies. So I drove back south and spent a couple of hours at Barr Lake State Park, where I was hoping to see a range of shorebirds and waterbirds.

My luck wasn't very good, because most of the lake and the surrounding marshlands were bone dry. I could see hundreds of Canada Geese and gulls near the remaining stretch of water, plus 30-40 White Pelicans, but all were too far away for photos, as were a Bald Eagle, a Swainson's Hawk and five Sandhill Cranes. As I walked back to my car to drive over nearer to the water, I saw a few other birds - a White-breasted Nuthatch, a Gray Catbird and six Northern Flickers.

Arriving at the water's edge, I enjoyed watching White Pelicans glide by.

A Great Blue Heron was fishing nearby - the only heron or egret that I saw on my trip.

Franklin's and California Gulls were resting on sandbars while Ring-billed Gulls zoomed around overhead.

Finally I spotted one of the birds I had hoped to see during my Denver trip - a Western Grebe.

So far my morning's birding hadn't gone at all well. Was the rest of the day going to be equally disappointing or would my luck change?

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