So my biggest obstacle to better birding is the fact that I’m most definitely, decisively, not a morning person. Of course, the best time to see birds is in the couple of hours after dawn (you know, when all the birds are singing so loudly right outside your window).

Saturday I got it into my head I was going to get out to the Walden Ponds area at the crack of dawn. Didn’t quite make it, but I did get there at 7:30 am. (People who know me will be entirely amazed at this. I did it, guys! 7 freaking thirty!)

I sort of had this idea that if I got out early enough the birds would just swarm me, come right out of the trees and pose for me, making them easy to watch and ID. This did not happen. Like, at all. But, there were a lot more of them singing, and I bagged a few ID’s I don’t normally see at that spot:  lots of yellow warblers, a couple of cedar waxwings.

I did have two really great birding moments:

First, a whole flock of wood ducks. Half of them males in full plumage. Arguably one of the most beautiful birds in North America and they were all just right there.

Second: a western wood-pewee sitting on her nest. Her tiny little adorable cup-like nest, just comfy as she pleased, with papa bird sitting nearby. I would never have ID’d her without papa bird sitting there. I went home and checked the guide for the species, which describes their adorable cup-like nests. (I really like my new birding guide, because frequently it says exactly what I put in my field notes.)

Sometimes I get really frustrated, because I’ll spot a bird I can’t ID right away, and I make notes as best as I can — and then the guides fail me. The birding app fails me. They seem to contradict one another and my notes that I thought were so good aren’t good at all, because there are 15 species that size and shape that have a little bit of yellow on their bellies, and I forgot to write down the leg color, which turns out to be the decisive marking. I’m a terrible birdwatcher, I’m afraid.  I never thought I’d be able to ID this little gray thing on her tiny nest. But I googled “western wood pewee nest” and it’s right there, that’s just what she looked like. I’m calling it.

I bet if I go back in a couple weeks there’ll be little baby pewees sticking their heads up.

In other news, there is a bird called a wood pewee.

 

 

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CO book awad 2017

Big Day 2017!

May 12, 2017

Tomorrow, Saturday, is birding’s Global Big Day 2017! You may remember I participated last year, and found it to be a fun mini-challenge, a real spur to take my birding to the next level, visit some sites I’d never been to before, and be more diligent about recording my observations.

I learned a ton last year, and I’m going to try to apply some of that this year. In the first place, the weather is supposed to be a ton better, so I’m hoping my stamina will hold out longer. I’m also going to pack plenty of food and sodas and things. (Seems like a no-brainer, right? You’d be surprised…)  I’m going to try to use the spotting scope this year. I usually like to walk while I’m watching, but I have a couple of spots in mind where I can park with the scope and still see some cool things. I’m also going to make more of an effort to go after sightings of common birds that I just missed last year, like pigeons and crows, and record what I see in transit, driving out to the sites, which I didn’t do last year.

Other than those changes, I’m going to visit the same spots I did last year, because I really want to compare this year with last year. Both to see what a difference the weather makes, and also to see if maybe I really have become a better birder in the meantime. Last year’s goal was 50 birds, and I got right to 50. Let’s see if I can get past 50 this year.

Happy Birding!

 

ditched work

April 26, 2017

Ditched work this morning to go birding at Barr Lake and got to hang out with this 3rd year juvenile bald eagle.

on a walk

March 29, 2017

I went on a hike north of Lyons last week and saw this guy right on the trail. Not shy at all.

quick post

March 1, 2017

Dark purple crocus in my yard have bloomed. I should be happy but I’m worried for them, we always get a big snow in March and they might get hurt.

I go through this anxiety every single year but it feels new every single time. Weird.

 

wintery sundry

February 24, 2017

Winter in Colorado:  Went from 70 degrees F to blizzard in two days. Would have been awesome but I had to drive through it. Remember the manta of the Rockies this time of year:  We need the moisture, we need the moisture.

I’m visiting with my niece for a couple of days. She was super excited to show me that she’s learned to snap her fingers.

Of course this means it’s time to teach her to sing the Jet Song.

Her parents will be so pleased!