My first lifer of 2013 was a Common Goldeneye seen from the Valmont Reservoir in Boulder County, Colorado. Originally we went looking for Tundra Swans at a marsh complex but it was frozen. Then we walked around Walden Pond but not much was happening. Finally we made it to the Reservoir settled with a nice mix of waterfowl including a good representation of Goldeneyes. It was January 2nd and I was pretty stoked to already see a new bird for the year.
After lunch I wanted to try out luck again so Emily and I headed for a walk around Wonderland Lake. This lake is in her parents neighborhood and surprisingly not frozen. There was a small group of ducks in the small unfrozen section. As we neared I thought it was all American Coots and Ring-necked Ducks but there it was, another lifer bird! A Western Grebe dove and swam all around the small opening. Two lifers and this Colorado vacation was shaping up to be a good one. The sun was setting and we were beginning to get a little cold but we had our duck and our grebe.
In the local newspaper the next day was an article on the Tundra Swans. I figured that if they were sticking around we should give it another go so we made plans for early the following day to try again and hopefully get lucky.
The day was noticeably warmer then any day we experienced on this trip so it was a relief to shed some layers and scramble up to the look-out point. I was beginning to get a little worried after not seeing the swans but a Bald Eagle spooked all the ducks close to our shore so we walked down to have a closer look. Just as we were heading that direction, the swans came flying in towards us.
We counted a dozen Tundra Swans in all. Two were definitely juveniles associating with two adults. We watched as the swans swam to the opposite shores and met up with the Common Goldeneyes from the day before. Mixed in with the myriad duck species was another Western Grebe. It was a fun day to see three lifers in my binoculars all at the same time. Not bad for a short vacation to Colorado.
We ended the birding excursion by hiking up the nearby hill and soaking in the mountains. It was a great day birding and one I hope to replicate many times in 2013.
Happy New Years everyone!