Magpies are striking birds with bold black and white patterns. I enjoyed watching them as they ran about the ground or more often than not, perch in a tree. The other nice thing about magpies is you rarely see them alone. They are social birds very much like their kin the crows & jays. I liked seeing them give chance to one another and squak off into the distance.
The views were beautiful near Wonderland Lake. A Golden Eagle flew overhead near the mountains, only my second one in life. We watched a Mule Deer jump a fence, blending in well with the golden color of the grasses. We took a short stop at the low water level Wonderland Lake to scan for waterfowl. There were Canada Geese, Mallards, American Wigeon, and some scaup.
Later that day Emily and I were picked up by her friends Kate and Tara whom drove us out to Estes for the night. The next morning we drove into Rocky Mountain National Park. Along the way we saw a nice herd of Elk. I have seen Elk in a few states but this by far was the best look I have ever been provided. They have the cutest fluffly rumps.
Once in the park we stopped for a short hike. Emily totally jumped into the snow and soon was covered from head to foot. It must be hard for a Colorado girl to live in South Florida where snow will NEVER fall. I was a bit more hesistant with the snow drifts. I don't exactly own snow gear so even though I was partially protected I decided not to have wet pants for the rest of the day.
The only birds I saw in RMNP were a few Raven and some vultures. I am sure if you know the right places the birding would be better but this wasn't really a birding trip. This was much more a social trip with a little birding thrown in on the side.
We left the park and headed back to Boulder. Along the way we saw many American Kestral on the electric lines. Tara also gave me some nice book reviews for two birding books I want to read. All in all, it was shaping up to be an excellent trip!