Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Boulder Valley Ranch

I spent a long afternoon in Boulder County yesterday. The first bird I saw as I began to walk was this Yellow-Breasted Chat on a dead limb. He was happy and singing, and I was happy because even before I had gotten to the parking lot I had picked up an unintended, and unmistakable life bird....

A Blue Grosbeak! I got the shot above later. I ended up seeing five individuals on the afternoon, four males and one female. It seems that perhaps they are somewhat common in the area, which is nice. Now that I can recognise such a colorful bird for what it is and know that it has an okay chance of being in the area I will be sure to stop back. The Blue Grosbeaks and Chats weren't going to be the only splashes of color in the area though.

Brilliant Bullock's Orioles were common, and their orange, yellow, black and white shapes were easy to spot chasing Western Kingbirds in the tops of the cottonwood trees. The open space area has a trail encircling a preserved working ranch. I walked a two mile out and back course along an irrigation canal lined with mature cottonwoods, willows and Russian olives. The trail did continue across a large open area, dipping down to a reed lined pond before circling back to the trailhead. I decided not to complete the loop through the open area with threatening storms skirting overhead, but I know that had I done so my counts would have been even higher. A great location that I will plan to get back to. Locations where, as you are about to pack up and drive off, you can stand feet from Barn Swallows and shoot pictures for minutes at eye level are certainly worth another look.

2009 Count: 152
Lifetime: 165

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