Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Marshall Mesa

There is a quote from Ferris Bueller's Day Off that runs as follows:
"How can I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this? This is my ninth sick day this semester. It's pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I'm probably going to have to barf up a lung, so I better make this one count."

Believe it or not I did not play hookey today. I posted the quote because I think everyone in Colorado has the same feeling today, that we had better make this one count. It is once again pushing 70 degrees along the Front Range, and we all realize we are living on borrowed time. So, knowing that there are still two of our snowiest months ahead I made sure to get out today to enjoy a bit of spring in advance.

I headed to Marshall Mesa, another trailhead area of the Boulder County Open Space land. It ended up being overly ambitious for good birding. I made a 2.6 mile loop in just over 45 minutes. It was enough to be a good well paced hike, but didn't allow time for stops to wait for birds to emerge. The warming Chinook winds, (blowing close to 20 mph), didn't help me hearing anything singing from cover either.
My three species total would have been very disappointing, except that it was a beautiful day, I got to be outside, and one of the species was a Golden Eagle - which I needed for my year list.

Unfortunately he was soaring towards the sun with respect to me, and despite standing for a few seconds with a balled fist blocking out the sun hoping he would angle back towards me, he continued to drift away.
I'm sure the biker who was stopped right there thought I was completely sane!

In addition there is a great PDF available on the site above that describes the history of the mining town of Marshall whose traces can still be seen in the landscape. Marshall was mined for coal from 1859-1946. It adds a nice backdrop for anyone enjoying the area, and even more so for someone who earned a history degree a few miles up the road! The same time constraints prevented me from taking pictures of any artifacts, but I am sure I will get them some day. I did get a shot of the Flatirons from the top of the trail though.

On a side note, to any of my friends or relatives in Minnesota who are reading this...Yes, I know I am spoiled, and yes I have been seeing just how cold it has been there. Stay warm!

2009 Count: 52

Lifetime: 85

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