Saturday, July 3, 2010

Colorado Trip (Day 4)

After spending the night in Montrose we headed south for Mesa Verde. Our first stop was Ouray where we went to Box Canyon Falls park to look for Black Swifts. I saw White-throated Swifts flying high above and an American Dipper. These were lifers 326 and 327. A Violet-green Swallow landed on a nearby rock, creating an excellent photo opportunity.
I was unable to find the Black Swift nest that was supposed to be visible from the metal walkway that went back into the crevice where the falls were. As I was about to give up, however, I finally spotted a Black Swift flying in the crevice and it disappeared behind the falls; it was lifer 328. There were also several Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels under the feeders.After a stop in Durango for lunch we went to the Rafter J subdivision west of Durango. This subdivision is home to the only colony of Acorn Woodpeckers in Colorado. I found three Acorn Woodpeckers in the large, dead Ponderosa Pine as well as a Western Bluebird; these were lifers 329 and 330. Next we stopped at the place we were staying, the Riversbend Bed and Breakfast. They have a really nice place and a cabin as well, which we stayed in. They had three hummingbird feeders where I saw several Black-chinned Hummingbirds (lifer 331). They also had thistle feeders with Cassin's Finch, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, and Lesser Goldfinch. We packed a dinner and headed to Mesa Verde National Park to spend the evening. At the Far View Visitor I saw an adult Green-tailed Towhee (lifer 332) being followed around by two begging juveniles. At the Spruce Tree House I saw and heard a Plumbeous Vireo (lifer 333), many Black-throated Gray Warblers and several Lesser Goldfinches. After checking out the cliff dwelling we went to a picnic area across the road. It was in the middle of a Pinyon Juniper forest and almost immediately we saw several Juniper Titmice (lifer 335). There were also Mountain Chickadees, Mountain Bluebirds, Black-throated Gray Warblers and a Plumbous Vireo.I also found a small lizard that I haven't identified yet. This was the most successful day of my trip as far as the number of lifers goes with eight for the day.

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