04 August 2011

Birding Colorado

On my first day in Boulder, Emily and I went to the Humane Society dog park to scope out some resident summer breeding species.  The trail here hugs the Boulder Creek and is very lush in summer.  We found a flock of Cedar Waxwings and a Yellow Warbler but we didn't make it down the trail very far.  The Boulder Creek was cresting the ridges and it flooded our path.  We reluctantly turned around and headed back towards downtown with 10 species on the morning.

We found the same thing at the Boulder City Library.  The river was full and we watched brave paddlers run the rapids under the city bridges.  We did find a nice Barn Swallow feeding 3 young by the library footbridge.  As we walked down the path we found a small Boy Scout pond that had a few Mallards and a Great Blue Heron. 

The best birds of mornings were a pair of Northern Flicker tending to their recent fledgling. We watched the parents forage on the ground near the pond. The young one always stayed close to their side and accepted each morsel of food with vigor. We left the birding after a few rain showers came down and headed home to pack for our trip to Grand Lake.  My last birds of the day were some Chimney Swifts flying over the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (we saw a outrageous rendition of The Comedy of Errors). 

On the way across Rocky Mountain National Forest and to Grand Lake we did take a few pit stops for birds.  The first stop was to the Fawnbrook Inn.  Located outside of Estes, this inn has several hummingbird feeders.  I merely jumped out of the car and found my lifer Broad-tailed Hummingbird on the nearest feeder.  Tree Swallows filled the air behind us and I was beginning to feel much better about the trips birding prospects.

After the Fawnbrook Inn we headed into the national park and decided to stop at a picnic area to eat our packed sandwiches.  As we were sitting at the table and I was drowning my lunch with a lifer beer, Maui Brewing Coconut Porter, I also saw another new bird!  My lifer Williamson's Sapsucker exploded from the trees and headed right towards us and up over our heads.  I scrambled to get my binoculars for another look but the bird was out of sight.  No mistaking it though and I happily added another bird to the trip. 

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