Sunday, February 19, 2012

4 new birds in one day!?

Today my dad and I decided to go to Pawnee National Grasslands. Here we found 4 new birds. These included: a Red-bellied Woodpecker ( very rare for Colorado), a juvenile Ferrugenous Hawk, 2 Rough-legged Hawks, and 3 Northern Shrikes. These were all new for my year list. My list s now at 107 and California is only a few weeks away and if anybody has any recomendations fOr there we will greatly appreciate them. We will also be stopping at Bosque Del Apache to see all of the birds there. Once again any info is appreciated. I am not sure but my Life List might break 500 this year, if so. . . wow, amazing.
Skyler Bol

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What s up with all the Northern birds!?

This morning my mom and I headed over to a house about 25 minutes out to the Northeast. If you read my last post I talked a little about this place. I had never been to Steve and Kathy's house, it was birders heaven! Their house is completely surrounded by a coniferous forest with some cottonwood trees by their house. The crazy thing is that it used to be a giant corn field and they planted all the trees there. To me when I get my own house I hope I can buy property and also do that. After 5 minutes (we hadn't even made it to the house) a Varied Trush (101) flew over our heads and landed into a tree. AMAZING This was the second Varied Thrush I had even seen,the orange slash over its eye contrasting to the black body color. After passing the Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees we moved to the Sparrows in the back.
Tree, Song, White-crowned, and House Sparrows along with Juncos, Finches (gold and house), and a Kestrel all visited the feeder. "Hay Kathy that is the Sparrow" I chimmed into my mom's conversation about mist nets with her, they all turned their heads to the millet outside where a beautiful White-throated Sparrow (102) hopped around. Two new birds at one house, amazing.
Skyler Bol
Ft. Collins CO

Longspur Luck

Yesterday my mom and I headed out to Fossil Creek Reservior where a Long-tailed Duck has been reported by a local birder friend of ours. Once we got there the reservior was suprisingly open, even though it hadn't gotten above 17 degrees all day. In the end we did not find the arctic traveler but got multiple good birds. Such included 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Western Grebe, a new bird, with a scruffy black eye, a giraffe's long neck, and a piercing ruby red eye that when it looked at you you felt like you would turn to stone.

As the morning roled a long we headed out to Timnath Reservoir to see a Barrow's Goleneye and any prairie bird that might be new for my year list. As we drove the road out to the reservoir on the south side a flock of at least 100+ Larks flew in (trying to aviod a Harrier coming down the road) and landed 30 feet out in a harvested corn field. Why not scope them we both agreed, so I hopped out of the car now at 11 degrees and started to scope the larks as snow crystals landed on my rosy-red cheecks. Lark..1,5,9.."9 more larks mom"... Is that a longspur... Yeah hay mommmmmmmm, the bird flew off with all the other larks, thanks harrier. In the flock of 100 or more larks was one (still winter plumage) Laplands Longspur. Most of the reservior was frozen and what little water it had was barren with a few Readheads and COMMON Goldeneye.

That night as I was checking over my year list I realized something, Laplands Longspur was number 100, cool! Today my mom and I might try for #101 and #102 at a local house where a Varied Thrush and also a White-crowned sparrow have been visiting. Hope we get this one.

I am very excited for Spring break, this march. I hope California turns out to be the holy grail we have heard it can be.

Happy Valentines Day
Skyler Bol
Ft. Collins CO

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A day from the spring,and the winter

Yesturday my mom and I headed to Valmont Reservoir. We got multiple birds including:
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 1 (audubon's that was giving its "chit" like call. This bird was originally found by the Boulder Bird Club.)
Red-breasted Merganser - 16 (the most beautiful rusty brown hash marks in its chest that I've ever seen. Combined with the striking ruby-red eye on the evergreen-colored head, wow!)
Pied-billed Grebe - 7 (it was crazy counting this bird like," oh there is just another Ped-billed Grebe, a summer bird in our home town.)
Tundra Swan - 1 (We saw both Tundra, at Valmont Res., and a Trumpeter Swan, at Cattail Pond, that day.)
Eared Grebe - 1 (It was interesting finally seeing this bird in winter plumage. Not what I expected.)
After a very successful morning and afternoon at Valmont Reservior and then the Walden Ponnds area we headed home, but decided to bird our way home. So, we moved on to Cattail Pond at about 1:30 PM where we refound ( for about the 7 time) the Trumpeter Swan, but that was not all that was there this time. Amoungest the many (47) Ring-billed Gulls was a slightly larger gull, with a more blue/gray color on the legges and a black bill tip with the slightest yellow on the tip barely seen through our scope at 60 power. After consulting our field guides (Nat. Geo., Sibley, Peterson, and Stokes(we wanted to sure that we were seeing this bird)) we decided on a California Gull, a rare bird for this time of year this far north in Colorado. This also was a new year bird for me.

On another note, we almost went out to go see the Common Crane last weekend in Nebraska but it didn't work with our schedule and we weren't sure if the bird would stay. I am glad too; some people say it was a one day wonder and others we know said it was there for only a few days so we did not chase this "Common" Crane.
Skyler Bol

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Visitors from the Northeast

Today my dad and I were looking for rare gulls at a local lake that can be good for this. We definetly found what we were looking for. As we searched for any rare gulls out sitting in the water, a gull with a brown/white wash over its whole body... white wing tips... pink feet and bill with a black tip... Smaller than a Herring Gull but a tiny bit larger than a Ring-billed... It was an Iceland Gull! Score! A great bird I have only seen once this December, in this great year for Iceland Gulls in Ft. Collins and Loveland. After examining the bird and other ducks on the lake (the best were 1 N. Pintail and about 12 C. Goldeneyes) we moved on to the East end of the lake where we saw a flock of about 60-70 Ring-billed Gulls and right smack dab in the middle of the flock was... with out the scope it looked like... a Crow? We pulled the scope out of the back of our black Toyota. As the scope moved onto the dark bird and my cold dry hands tightened the scope I realized what it was... "wow", I gasped as the dark shape formed into the huge midnight black back of a Greater Black-backed Gull, a life bird for me. "Wow" was all I could say as the largest gull in the world preened itself on the cold ice, acting like nothing was wrong just sitting on another cold frozen lake. This will definatly be one of the most memorable birds for my new year to come. On the first day of Febuary my list is at 90 birds. To me I'm amazed that I could get that in one month. My hitlist birds are now Rough-legged, Northern Gos, and Ferruginous Hawks and a Laplands Longspur, maybe a trip to the prairie in the future.
Good luck birding and finding truly memorable birds like me today.