First – one of the main reasons why I blog – I like to review the past weekend – month – year.
Lots of birding, and life for that fact, seems to be on the run. Birding sometimes seems like run, check, and move on to the next spot. And for me the jury is still out on using eBird apps to list from the field. I still like to sit down at the end of the day and go over the birds I have seen. I think I”ll eventually work the apps into that routine but still not sure yet.
Favorite New Bird
Looking back my favorite new bird of 2015 was the BURROWING OWL outside Denver. Who doesn’t love a small owl?
But the colors of GAMBEL’S QUAIL makes it a close second.
And for the umpteenth year in a row CAROLINA WREN comes in as my favorite Midwest bird.
Favorite Birding Adventure
I had many good adventures (really every birding outing is a good adventure) so it was hard to pick one out.
I’m going to go with chasing the CLARK’S NUTCRACKER through the alpine forest in Colorado as my best adventure on the Colorado trip and 2015. Sorry no photo of the Clark’s but here is the Alpine Forest that I would be running out of later.
And chasing the PINYON JAY through the semi-arid landscape of Rabbit Valley and finally catching up to it was also a fun time.
And without a doubt my best local adventure was seeing both RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and BONAPARTE’S GULLS, two new Johnson County Life birds, in one day at the same place.
And 2016 has already started off with 3, count’em 3, towhees in Indiana. What will the rest of the year bring?
You know one of the reasons I don’t particularly like urban birding is that there is always noise in the background. Always. That is why I go to Atterbury FWA. Usually before 10AM the gun range isn’t open and the National Guard isn’t in full swing yet. So most times it is relatively quiet on a Saturday morning. I can actually hear the birds without the sound of man-made noise in the background.
But Colorado National Monument at dawn on a Sunday morning was quiet. Real quiet. For someone who lives in Indianapolis and not that far from I-65, it was eerie quiet.
And the quiet was GREAT!
At first all I could hear were Gambel’s Quail giving their “ka-KAA-ka” call. No cars. No people. No machines. It was a great way to start the trip.
I picked Colorado National Monument for the first day since it was close to Grand Junction and after driving 5 hours the day before I wanted to stay close to town. So as was to be the norm for the trip I was up by 5, made the days PB&J sandwiches, and was out the door to meet the dawn a little before 6. And the quiet.
So here are some of the Western species I observed if not photographed for the first part of the morning – Ash-throated Flycatcher, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Black-throated Sparrow, Bushtit, Canyon Wren, Common Raven, Gambel’s Quail, Lesser Goldfinch, Say’s Phoebe, and Spotted Towhee.
I then decided to be SUPERMAN and make the climb into Ute Canyon figuring there would be a different variety of birds. It was already approaching 90F and clear. A good day for a hike. And I only ended up seeing Plumbous Vireo and Virginia’s Warbler.
The rest of Colorado National Monument was quiet. And this time I mean birds. I took a few scenic photos and headed out around noon.