Sunday, January 1, 2012

the first day with 54 species!

Today was a truly amazing day filled with all sorts of birds and birding firsts for me. This morning I got up at 7:00 and stepped outside to hear the first bird of the day, an American Robin called out its in flight call. The first bird of the day is cheery and numerous, always able to get and find what it needs (most of the time it's berries). This is what I will try to shape my big year off of ..... the Year of the Robin.

Our first stop of the day was a local pond called the Drake Substation.  Here the most notable thing was  4 Ring-necked Ducks, along with some Goldeneye and a Common Merganser.

After that we headed to the local cemetery, here we got both nuthatches, Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees, Pine Siskin, and Cedar Waxwings, nothing too mentionable. At this time we had about 25 birds. So we kept on going.

The next stop was Rist Canyon home of the elusive Pygmy-Owl (which we did not get). This was the place were we got the most surprises, 3 Canyon Wrens were the biggest but we also got: Golden Eagle, Song Sparrow, Stellar's Jay, 2 Pygmy Nuthatches, and 1 Western Scrub-Jay.

Still not out of steam we headed onward to Sharp Point ponds, home of the rare geese. As soon as we pulled in we could almost not hear ourselves talking because of the Cackling and Canada Goose choir. besides that we did not find anything good except some Green-winged Teal and as I looked at the teal through my Vortex binoculars I hear my mom say "I see a weird goose." I walked over to the spotting scope and low and behold a Ross's x Cackling Goose hybrid was in the scope. We quickly showed it to some other birders who had passed over it and went to yet again the next place, Environmental Learning Center.

My mom/dads 600mm lens clicked 1,2..3...4,5 as she took pictures of a Wilson's Snipe 15 ft away, being as obvious as I have ever seen one be. He moved to the left, stuck his bill into the creek, and then repeated. Here is what we got.

Wilson's Snipe

 Besides this a beautiful Green-winged Teal preened himself, we also got him.

Green-winged Teal

Besides both of these we got a Kingfisher, Coot, Gadwall, and a Shoveler at ELC.
The next stop, and the last for the afternoon was at Timnath Reservoir, surrounding fields and marshes. Highlight birds here were Tree Sparrow, a Morning Dove Roost, 45 Horned Larks, and this little beauty.

White Crowned Sparrow
That was the end for the afternoon so after a lunch and some relaxation we headed out to Lake Loveland in search of rare gulls. Luckily when we got down there the best person I know for gulls (Nick Komar) was there. As soon as he gave us a run down of all the gulls I quickly picked out the Glaucous and Herring Gulls. Then,  mom found a Bufflehead and dad picked out a Lesser Black-backed Gull. The one that was hard though was the Thayer's but eventually we found one. As the sky got dark we decided to head back and to wrap up my first day of my big year. What a day!

Skyler Bol
Fort Collins, Co

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome first day Skyler! Way to go. Wondering, when you say "both nuthatches", which two are those? Here in Virginia there's 3, Brown-headed (rare in my area of the state), White-breasted, and Red-breasted. I'm guessing yours would be Pygmy and Red-breasted?