Saturday, July 3, 2010

Colorado Trip (Days 5-8)

In the morning Dad and I went to Mancos State Park to look for Grace's Warblers. We heard several and after a bit of searching I was able to locate one at the top of a Ponderosa Pine. Its bright yellow throat and eyebrows really stood out. This was lifer 335 for me. A little bit later we heard and then saw a Western Wood-pewee (lifer 336). There is some great Ponderosa Pine habitat at this park.
On the way back to Mancos I was surprised to find a Bufflehead in a small pond; while they do nest in the Rockies further north this was quite far south for one in the summer. We spent most of the day at Mesa Verde but on the way there we stopped by the Sleeping Ute Rest Area because Riley Morris, a local birder, had told me that Pinyon Jays were often found at the feeders there. Just a minute or so after we got there two Pinyon Jays (lifer 337) landed in the tree where the feeders were. They only stayed for less than a minute, but I was able to get a picture of one. I also got a nice shot of a Western Kingbird there. At Mesa Verde I saw most of the same birds as the day before, the one exception was a Gray Flycatcher (lifer 328) in the Pinyon-Juniper across from the Cliff Palace. It seemed kind of odd to watch the Juniper Titmice and Spotted Towhees looking for food in the parking lots and under the picnic tables, I know I've never seen an Eastern Towhee doing this. I also found another lizard, I think this is a Sagebrush Lizard. Back at the Bed and Breakfast, I took several pictures of the Black-chinned hummingbirds, the females were much more cooperative than the male.I also saw this beautiful male Rufous Hummingbird. After dinner Mom took me to Cottonwood Park in Mancos. I had found out on one of the Colorado birding websites that Lewis's Woodpeckers could usually be found there. On the way we found a Say's Phoebe (lifer 339) on a fence. I tried taking a few pictures but he was in rather bad lighting. No sooner had I complained about this than he flew to a much better lit perch. His beak was still casting a shadow over his face, though, so I asked him to move it. After a minute he moved his bill and I was able to get a nice picture, I wish all birds were as cooperative. After I got to the park, I soon saw a large dark woodpecker fly into a nearby tree. It turned out to be a Lewis's Woodpecker (lifer 340). Unfortunately the sun was already setting and I wasn't able to get any good pictures. I also found a Western Wood-pewee on her nest. It was a nice way to end the day.
Wednesday didn't go too well. After we had passed Pagosa Springs, we realized we were almost out of gas and we had to buy gas from someone to get back to Pagosa Springs where we were able to get more gas. Then Mom got pulled over for speeding. After this I decided to stop by Alamosa instead of Monte Vista NWR because Sage Sparrow was possible at Alamosa, big mistake. Alamosa was really quiet except for several Sage Thrashers. I did see one lifer when a small flock of Band-tailed pigeons flew over the highway. On Thursday we went to Cherry Creek State Park before we went to see the King Tut exhibit in Denver. I saw a Yellow-breasted Chat and Black-chinned hummingbird along the trails.
In a small pond I found three Snowy Egrets and I also saw two American White Pelicans fly over. As we were driving into Denver I was surprised to see four more White Pelicans fly over.

Yesterday we flew back home. We flew in over Oakland county and it was neat to see some of the places I bird at like the American Center Marsh from the air. It was quite a successful trip for me with twenty-six lifers to bring my life list to 341 and 90 species on the trip. As with all trips, I missed a few birds I thought I would easily find at Mesa Verde like Bushtit and Ash-throated Flycatcher, but I also saw a few birds, like Prairie Falcon, that I was not expecting to see.

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding blog! I loved the whole "trip report" chapters. What fun!!! Thanks, I always love your sharing of experiences!