Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

The birding year 2009 got off to a fine start yesterday. The "real-life" year was a bit less promising as I was paged into work at 3:00 am, but perhaps that is just a sign that 2009 will be a year of early starts!?!

After work and a quick nap I headed off on an aimless drive to find some birds, while staying close enough to work that I could hurry back if needed.

I ended up in Adams county along the South Platte River, just outside of Brighton, Colorado.

While walking the river trail and exploring the Morgan Smith Nature area I found a few species and got 2009 off to a solid start. There were Mallards, Green-Winged Teal, Rock Pigeons and Starlings all in good numbers. I also heard and briefly saw a pair of Kingfishers.

After the trail veered away from the river I was treated to some true avian entertainment. A Common Raven and Red-tailed Hawk performed for me, engaging in several minutes of aerial combat.

The competition was spirited.

Eventually the Raven drove the Red-tail away, perhaps to prepare himself for another attempt tomorrow.

I retraced my path back downstream, and happened to catch a few jumpy Killdeer working a channel off the main river course. I pulled off into the brush and sat on a rock as I waited for them to resume their activities. While I waited a reliable Northern Flicker dropped in next to me to have his morning drink. He seemed quite at ease to perch near me and quench his thirst as I snapped off a few frames.

As I neared the end of my walk I had one last surprise in store. A different pair of Red-tails appeared and made two soaring circuits of the area. One perched and another came quite close to me, (first pic in post), nice pose hawk!

As I drove home I stopped off first at a reclamation pond to pick up a few waterfowl, and then hit the road once again. As I drove I saw a fairly large bird perched in a young tree right on the side of the road. I pulled into the next side-street and looped back to see if he had remained. He had, and seemed content to perch for quite a while.

2009 Count: 19
Lifetime: 80

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